Stick to the process

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Stick to the process even if you need to replan. Sticking to the process and having a plan are two different things. The process is the order in which you do things, the plan is how you are going to do those things in the order that is required.

My youngest son works on a farm. When it comes to farming there is indeed a process. It would be no good simply deciding to plant crops whenever you fancied. Or getting the ploughing, seeding, and fertilising in the wrong order. You have to do what you have to do in the order you have to do it at a particular time.

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The first thing is to establish what the process is. This is where you you take the task, the goal, and break it down into all of the steps that it will take to achieve the goal. Now you have a process. In many of the jobs we do there will be processes mapped out. Remember this and get someone to tell you the process if they haven’t already and this will save you a huge amount of time. As a friend said to me recently, “It’s so time consuming not knowing what you are doing”. Unless you are a trailblazer doing something completely unique someone will already know the process. Find that person. Get them to tell you.

Then make a plan. The farm my son works on has a plan and sometimes the plan works and sometimes it rains. When it rains they have to replan the plan. This is fine. One of the benefits of having a plan is that replanning a plan is fairly easy because you have a plan. If you don’t have a plan then you have nothing to replan because you have no idea what you were meant to be doing in the first place. You were just drifting about like a rudderless ship just going wherever the wind and sea takes you. You need to grab the rudder and steer the ship.

When it rains on the farm they can’t work the land. This means that they have to do other things, they can’t just go home! They then plough or seed or fertilise twice as much land tomorrow, working late, or work an extra day. This is how life is.

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The crucial part is having a plan. Have you got a plan?
What came to mind when I asked that question? That’s probably the thing you need to start with. ‘You tend to mention what has your attention’ (or you tend to ‘think of’ in this example). That thing is eating away at your psychological energy to get that thing and other things done. Having a plan helps you settle the thing that is not yet complete in your head and in your system. Then if that’s the thing you need to do you can get on with it. If you don’t need to do that thing yet – then you have freed up psychological capacity to do other things because you’ve sorted the attention seeking task out.

Unmanaged, incomplete tasks drain psychological energy.
Managed, incomplete tasks don’t drain psychological energy (or at least not as much)

Planning is the cornerstone of a productive less stressful life.

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