Planning for Uncertainty

I was big into yearly goals/resolutions before I got cancer. You can see my yearly goals posts here, here and here. They are all SMART goals, and I generally hit about 85%-90% of my plans, even during Covid times, when my mom got sick, and when I changed jobs. I set them up in such a way that even after getting cancer in mid 2021, I managed to hit almost all my basic 2021 goals and even a few stretch goals. So you’d think that what has worked for me for so many years (from 2015) and under such extreme circumstances would be something that I’d carry on with me into 2022, right?

But it isn’t. I struggled with planning ahead during treatments, and even once the treatments finished, I still find it hard to plan as I used to. There’s a new and large element of uncertainty that has taken a hold over my life, and ignoring it is just not possible. Yet not planning ahead, living day to day, is also neither healthy nor helpful, so I had to come up with a new solution to deal with my new circumstances – a way to do “softer” and more pliable long term planning.

My daily planner remains the same: a large squared Moleskine with a daily to do list on each page. I’ve tried various digital task lists in the past (Things, Omnifocus, other apps that I can’t recall right now because they are so many of this kind). As I’m working from home, it includes both work related and home related to dos on the same page.

My daily planner, customised with a Chewie decal.

My weekly planner also hasn’t changed: it’s a large squared Moleskine with the week on one page and general goals for the week on the other side of the spread (the page across from it). I find myself using it less, though, just referencing it a few times a week to get a feeling for how my week is shaping up. My day to day calendaring needs are filled by the wonderful Fantastical. I also use this notebook to track certain long term projects, although I’ve been gradually moving those to the back of my daily planner because I no longer reference my weekly planner on a daily basis.

What has been added is connected to my work on ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). ACT puts a lot of emphasis on values and goals and tasks that are tied to those values. What replaced my “yearly goals” list was a list of goals that are tied to each of the five values that I chose for myself. The goals are not time-based, they are “soft” and neither promises or predictions. They represent commitment to a valued direction, and many of them are meant to be continually ongoing. Which is why I added a “habit tracker” of sort that is inspired by “Atomic Habits” and parts of the “Theme System Journal“.

One thought on “Planning for Uncertainty

  1. Pingback: Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – February 6, 2022 | Fountain Pen Quest

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s