It’s ok for plans to change!
‘Creating a Plan’ – these words evoke different reactions in people, from excitement for some to dread for others. Some may be thinking, “I don’t want to be constrained” or “I like to be spontaneous”. However, even the seemingly small act of making an intention to do something can offer clarity. For example, the ‘to do list’ at the start of the day provides an intention and some guidance to our focus. Plus a feeling of great satisfaction from crossing things off. I make a list and keep it visible throughout the day. I gain much more from it and, consequently, so do the people impacted by me taking those actions.
Guidance and business plans
Yet we all have to be flexible and open to adapting – something organisations value and require as a skill set – even more so when we consider what we have been experiencing this year! For HR departments it has required constant changing to implement government guidance and schemes. In some cases at impossible speed. It has also meant a change in terms of economic and financial predictions, resulting in widespread changes to fundamentals of the business and their business plans. Who knows what changes and adaptations are still to come as we continue to work our way through this pandemic?
That may sound rather drastic and foreboding when we consider it. However, although it’s been highlighted this year, the reality is we can never know what is going to happen and planning always requires a degree of flexibility. Regardless of whether we need to detour from it, having made an initial plan at least sets the intention and keeps the direction in mind. At the beginning of 2020 I decided to make a list of 20 things that I wanted to do in 2020 – a mix of professional and personal aspects which I have kept visible throughout the year. In my heart of hearts, I probably knew I was unlikely to achieve all of them. However, making them initiated my commitment and having them there to review kept me active in taking steps towards achieving them.
As I look at them now some clearly won’t be achieved, for example, a visit to the Edinburgh Festival. Whilst others have taken a different path to how they started. Loving reading even though doing it slowly due to my dyslexia, I set the intention to read 1 book a month. This soon expanded, partly due to my rekindled excitement of reading again but partly because of lockdown, and I have read at least double the 12 I was aiming for. I’ve even started a book club, over Zoom of course, one of the positive outcomes for me of Covid.
There are things I can easily see why they didn’t happen, whilst others became far more important to my wellbeing than I thought they would – such as growing more veg. Others changed tack completely – instead of having weekends away with more friends, I have picked up the phone, written letters, been online and those rekindled connections in different ways have meant I’ve ‘met’ with more people than I would have gone away with.
The two weekends I did manage at the beginning of the year have given wonderful memories to be so grateful for. As for sorting out files in my study, who knew I would have hours at home with no travel time to clients? That meant me not only sorting out the files but having time to reconnect with articles, CPD I have completed and recognise past accomplishments ; all resulting in me being able to bring those outcomes to the benefit of my client work too.
So, plans can still be made, plans can be changed and plans can be broken and remade! That simple act of making an intention, and it doesn’t have to be a big intention, can allow us to consider possibilities and then to recognise and celebrate what we have done. I am already starting to get excited thinking about 21 things for 2021 and, yes, it will include carrying some over from 2020, amending others and adding some new ones in.Why not consider ‘creating your plan’? It’s one of our 12 themes in our Wellbeing That Works programme created for organisations. Or if you simply want to try this out for yourself, try the Pathways to Happiness programme.