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Planning for non-planners

Confession: I’m not a planner.

There, I said it.

I love to implement ideas as soon as I have them.
I like to focus on the part of my business  that I’m most excited about, at that moment.

I run two businesses, teach classes monthly, email tips for craftybiz weekly and write daily.
And yet. I’m not a planner.
I write, teach, email as inspiration strikes.

This is my dirty secret.

Because  this is not what I recommend.
Operating ONLY in this way ensures that I forget all about things like holidays, or anniversaries, or opportunities to do something really cool.

Luckily, it’s possible to both ride the wave of inspiration and to plan a bit.
It’s all about the Cycle of Creativity.

When I’m on a high, when I’m feeling the momentum of creativity pushing towards more creativity and action, I ride it. I do it.

But when that fades and I’m feeling fallow, I can take the time (and energy) to stop and look around.

Where am I now?

Where do I hope to be? What deadlines (real and imagined) are looming?

I was doing a bit of this planning today (because, yes, the combination of a yarn flurry last week and the flu has landed me squarely in the restive part of the cycle) and I thought I’d share some of the process.

Most of this is done in my journal and all of it comes organicially. I try to let myself write and write, without editing and without worry about What It All Means.

An assortment of non-planning questions

What’s coming up? Dates, classes, holidays, themes, money needs? What does the next week  look like, as it is, right now?
The next month?
What would I like to have the next week look like? What about the next month?
(this includes: personal and business, emotional and financial)
Is there something that’s been on the back burner that’s ready to move forward?

Now. What does it all Mean?

What fits together? What doesn’t fit? What can be moved around? What can be put aside?

In other words: what are the connections? The patterns?

And then, if I’m still in the mood

What small steps will take me from Here to There?
Don’t be afraid to list Every. Single. Step.

(for example, one of my plans is to take over 100 skeins of handspun to Seattle. How many skeins a week is that? How many a day?)

And the amazing thing?

This planning, it is usually the impetus that moves me from fallow to creative, from empty to full of ideas.

This morning I was achey and tired and mope and now, 1101 words (thanks to 750words) into answering these questions, I am full to bursting with plans and inspirations and plots.

In fact, I came up with a don’t-be-overwhelmed-by-the-holidays plan for myself that  I think I’ll invite you to play with in the next week or so!
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  • http://kirstyhall.co.uk/blog/ Kirsty Hall

    I quite enjoy the planning process but like you, I like to leave space to be impetuous. My last product went from idea to sales page in a single day!

    I like to plan in a very visual way, with lots of coloured pens, mind maps & little notes in boxes. I also keep notes of what I need to do in Toodledo & on my iPhone and calendar because I have such a terrible memory that I need my trusted systems.

  • Anonymous

    This brings up a great point! For me, there’s a difference between
    “planning” and “systems”. My systems keep me going (google calendar + email
    reminders + set days for doing X), but I think of planning as more long-term
    and all-inclusive. It’s like systems = daily, planning = longterm.
    And it totally makes sense that an artist like you would like your planning
    to be full of colors!

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