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Fresh Perspective On Planning: Go With The Follow

Perspective On Planning:

Come with us for a moment on a hypothetical and slightly stressful journey—for the last month you’ve planned the perfect day at the beach with your family. You buy a full BBQ feast, you pack all the beach toys, you lay out everyone’s swimsuits, and you take time out of your busy schedule to go above and beyond so your ‘perfect’ family day feels as special as you’re trying to make it. But, when the day comes along, the kids are glued to their phones, the clouds look ominous, and you realize just how tired you are after a long week. Nevertheless, you still pack up not wanting to waste all the effort you put into this excursion, and you get to the beach just as the waves are swelling and the dark clouds previously on the horizon are now overhead. As you start to pull out the beach chairs and BBQ items, lightning and thunder crack above. In this moment, you could cry in frustration thinking of all the scheduling, preparations, and cajoling it took to get everyone this far. You feel defeated and disappointed…again. But what if next time, you tried a different approach to creating a special family moment, and experienced exactly how a fresh perspective on planning can transform your personal and business life?

Going with the flow and letting your planning be flexible doesn’t just lead to less stress and anxiety but can actually help with productivity and eliminate ‘analysis paralysis.’ To see how taking a laid-back approach to life can actually make you more productive and successful in the long run, let us first take a look at how packed agendas can inhibit career advancement and personal fulfillment below.

Are Agendas Archaic? Perhaps…

Agendas and constant scheduling were once the norm for women leaders to feel productive and valued by society. However, this doesn’t have to be the case now with most work being done remotely, and the concept of success being redefined as well. While agendas were once used to keep track of daily tasks and make the most out of the 24 hours we have each day, the desire to ‘fill up’ our schedules and feel productive has led to us bombarding our days with menial tasks and becoming overwhelmed and depressed from the inability to complete them all as we had hoped.

This is why many leaders have now chosen to do the complete opposite by going with the flow and intentionally leaving openings in their schedule for opportunities and self-care time. As Mandy Hale once put it, “Go with the flow. Force nothing. Let it happen…trusting that whichever way it goes, it’s for the best.” This simple concept may seem outlandish when dealing with something as typically structured as planning and scheduling, but the science behind this more ‘chillax’ lifestyle doesn’t lie.

According to Harvard Business Review, “In a 10-year study conducted by McKinsey, top executives reported being five times more productive in flow.” Similarly, according to CNBC, “One Stanford researcher argues that longer hours won’t make us any more productive. The secret to getting more done is to do less.”

Knowing this, it may be time you take a step back, learn to enjoy life, and allow yourself to go with the flow for more productivity, happiness, focus, and drive overall.

The Advantage of the "Go with the Flow" Approach

According to Zen Habits, “What is going with the flow? It’s rolling with the punches. It’s accepting change without getting angry or frustrated. It’s taking what life gives you, rather than trying to mold life to be exactly as you want it to be.”

In a situation like the beach scenario above, going with the flow would have been preparing only in ways that don’t inhibit you, allowing you to pause and pick a later date instead of forcing everyone to go on a potentially rainy day or pivoting to an at-home beach movie viewing party and living room picnic.

Going with the flow also means accepting when failures happen in business and choosing to learn from them instead. If a deal falls through or a coveted position is given to someone else, this method would have you take it in stride and learn how you can make improvements for better results in the future.

This approach is only effective, however, if you can actually teach yourself to let go effectively. Without the ability to let go, you won’t learn the true meaning of going with the flow and won’t feel content as you’ll still be trying to aggressively control certain parts of your life. For you to execute this concept to its optimal potential, you will need to yield in a healthy and definitive manner that improves your planning and success accordingly.

Learning to Let Go for Greater Success in Planning

The best way to start letting go for success and productivity is by implementing this flow approach for brief periods of time until you become accustomed to less planning throughout your day. Next, try taking part in events you wouldn’t have attended or scheduled otherwise. Lastly, be open to new opportunities as a leader and utilize your new ‘flow-centric’ schedule to be available for them. If you can master these things, you should be able to find a sense of freedom and focus you never experienced before.

In order to find that peace, embrace the concept of JOMO (joy of missing out), discover your sense of purpose outside of planning and working and escape ‘analysis paralysis.’ You might also consider joining us at our upcoming She-Suite Summit23 for a day full of learning, sharing, and connecting.

At the end of the day, letting go and going with the flow is truly a more effective approach than the anxious and overloaded lifestyles of the past. As such, it’s about time you follow suit and see what a flow-ing lifestyle can do for you and your success.