Updated: Aug 28, 2019
One of the most common questions I see coming through a planning group I am in start something like: "I'm bored with my journal" or "I'm no longer motivated to plan" "I used to love planning, but now I find myself putting it off" or "I just cant seem to stay on top of creating the new layouts/projects/goals"
"How do I re-inspire myself and keep myself on track with my planning?"
To understand this, we need to step back from planning, or any activity, and see what lays beneath our choices and our actions. The code behind Self Sabotage and Procrastination. There are a number of models I use with clients to do this, one of my many favourites is 6 Core needs from Tony Robbins. These basic human needs drive our awareness of choices, our decisions and our actions. Something that we want to do on a consistent basis must in some way empower us to meet at least 3 of these needs. They are: Certainty, Variety, Significance, Connection, Growth and Contribution.
While we could spend a day unpacking all 6. Let's take a brief moment and look at how the first two and the intricate balance between them relate to planning and in particular our motivations for planning.
Certainty comes when we know what is going on. We have a clear plan. We know which steps we need to take, which step is next, and when they fit in our schedule.
Variety is an interesting one and far more individually influenced. I see some people bringing this to life by decorating, using different themes, adding colour and variety to their layout. If this is a sustainable choice this is a great way to do it. What I found for myself was that creating new layouts, frequently decorating, needing to find colours wasn't sustainable for me. However, when I gave that up, I felt bored, demotivated because I was no longer meeting my need for Variety.
We need to find a way that not only meets our need for Variety, the methods are also sustainable, and sit well alongside our need for Certainty.
For me, now, I meet this need for Variety by using a number of tools - Asana, Hubspot, RocketBook, a mandala from my Period coach, Wisteria Planner, and the #DailyFROG Facebook group. With my Variety needs met in this way, I then found I had too much variety, too much uncertainty, and found myself in overwhelm, I needed to bring back some certainty. Now, I have a very clear criteria of what goes where, how I decide between paper and digital for my dailies.
Generally what I notice is someone will have too much of something, and in an attempt to
'fix it' they add in more of what they have. Let's make this really clear. If we have too much Variety, and not enough Certainty it will mean Overwhelm or Procrastination. Antidote: Lower your Variety or Raise your Certainty. If we have too much Certainty, and not enough Variety we will experience Boredom, perhaps to the point of Self Sabotage. Antidote: Lower your level of Certainty or Raise your access to Variety. If someone is bored, lacking motivation or sabotaging in an effort to raise variety, they will often try and formulate more certainty through rituals, habits or rules. Which fails, because it increases the certainty even more, and the variety decreases comparatively.
To bring in more Variety: Add colour. Add more options. Create some choices (digital or pen and paper) (Layout options) If someone is Overwhelmed or Procrastinating, often people will attempt to add in more choices, more options, if I was more creative, if there were more choices, perhaps I would know what to do. And again the balance gets stretched, more choices, mean more variety, and less certainty. To bring in more Certainty
Create rituals and habits. Add some clear guidelines.
When adding in Variety or Certainty we need to make sure the actions we add are not only going to meet that need, that they are also sustainable. As a Mum with 4 kids, running a business, managing a household, building extensions around a shift-working husband creating new layouts every day while met my need to Variety, was not sustainable. Having a set time to plan, met my need for Certainty, and was not sustainable when my kids were small. Instead I choose to have variety in tools, and mediums, and a time range when I would plan.
I trust you've got some value from this. You can identify if your motivation is caused by too little certainty or variety, and have some ideas on how to bring that to your planning. If you'd like to share your thoughts and discoveries we'd love to hear from you in the #DailyFROG group where we focus on creating fulfillment in each and every day through baby steps. You can join us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DailyFROG/