Planning Mojo & Unpredictable Responsibilities
I’ve gotten a few questions related to planning when your days are relatively unpredictable and filled with ever-changing demands.
From Lily: “I’ve realised that the reason I’ve lost my planning mojo lately is that my systems don’t work well for my current role. I’ve moved into a management role with a team of staff. A big part of my day is unpredictable.
At 9am the day will be clear with a couple of meetings scheduled so I have some tasks planned in and then all of sudden I will get an urgent request that needs a response immediately; something else comes in due by the end of the day that requires a few phone calls to resolve; my boss’s boss pops by my desk to ask a question; I attend the meeting as planned; then a corridor conversation reveals that a staff member has a problem that I really need to meet with her about and…etc etc and then all of a sudden it’s late and my husband is texting me about dinner and those tasks from the start of the day are still on my to do list. I know that this problem is not unique to my kind of job at all – and in other fields this kind of juggle may actually have life or death implications so…
What does a morning planning session look like when the plan may change very quickly? How do I keep track of everything and make sure balls I drop are balls I dropped intentionally? How do I get the strategic things done AND make sure all the little fires are out before they become bigger problems?
And bonus points if the answer involves use of my beloved Hobonichi!
I thought this was a really interesting question. In part, because I know my job DOES have these sorts of issues — but they do not seem to block my planning mojo too much. I will either get an urgent patient-related request, or there will be a residency-related problem that was unanticipated, and sometimes tasks from the start of my to do list DO end up abandoned.
(Maybe Lily has a much higher volume of these kinds of issues – that is definitely possible).
In my process of laying out my day on paper each morning, I put the hard-scheduled items (patient care blocks or meetings) and then look at the available space remaining. Sometimes there isn’t much (patient days) and other times there is. I will then turn to the week’s goals and add a couple of things depending on the amount of space that appears to be there.
If something is urgent or MUST be done that day (I have a letter of rec I have to do by tomorrow, for example), it goes there first. I really REALLY try not to get carried away with the number of things I put on there because I KNOW urgent little things will come up.
Then, when things come up — as they inevitably do — I deal with them. I do not necessarily write them down and add them to my planner, to be honest, unless they are triggering some other big project that needs to happen in the future. They just happen, and maybe they push off my intended to-do items, and that’s okay. I do not always achieve everything on my to do lists! There may have been a time when I was ruffled about this, but at this stage in life I just migrate to the next day/week/etc.
If I see that something is being continually migrated, I will think about a) whether it really has to happen and b) if the answer is yes, figure out a protected block where I can at least attempt to just turn off all other inputs and get it done.
I do think that there are probably days that ARE less crazy for Lily and maybe she is able to get through her items as planned – but we do tend to remember the days when things go awry. I think having a record of life in the Hobonichi (here you go!) is a helpful tool to allow you to look back and see the incremental progress you have made in various areas even if every day does not go as perfectly choreographed.
Anyway, that’s my take! But you all are brilliant and I am sure Lily would be interested in other thoughts & opinions!!
The Social Dilemma
Let it be known that prior to watching this documentary, I did not need much convincing about the addictive and distracting nature of social media.
It has been the habit I have struggled with the most in recent years and quite honestly the past ~20 days with very minimal and controlled use have felt like an awakening. I have no desire to go back to scrolling as a habit.
I didn’t think the film was earth shattering; having read several books about “quitting your phone” and being a Manoush Zomorodi & Cal Newport fan, I felt like some of the lessons were a little . . . well, obvious. (PS: wish both of these had been included somehow!).
I already knew about the curated addictive features, the ways kids & teens get sucked in, and the fact that OUR EYEBALL TIME (ie, hours and hours of our irreplaceable lives) are the product these companies are selling and making BAAAANK from. However, one aspect that was powerfully emphasized was the way these platforms bring on more divisiveness and hate, as well as potential threats to humanity. I hadn’t really thought of that angle all that much, and I thought it was a good argument.
I didn’t really need more fuel for my Operation 100 fire; it’s been going really well. But I did enjoy watching it and felt it had at least something to offer. What did everyone else think?
Note: watching a documentary BY MYSELF ON A WEEKNIGHT is something that literally never would have happened pre Op-100. However, I have spent the equivalent length of time scrolling on numerous evenings.
Finally – look what came out! Yes, a review will be coming to BLP 🙂