Preparation and Planning

March 24th, 2013

When I’m not attempting to be facetious or entertaining I would like to think that I offer a number of poignant and profound thoughts on subjects that I consider to be interesting and fun to talk about.

In many of these instances I am not an expert on the topics I talk about, nor am I even particularly well versed in some of them. Rather, I am usually familiar enough with them that I can critically think about the concepts and their implications and prefer to speculate and draw conclusions on my own more for the sake of mental exercise than to offer any groundbreaking discoveries.*

Which is not to say that the following thoughts or advice is valueless. On the contrary, I think it has significant value if it can be properly understood and implemented. I say it more because many other people with better credentials than myself have said it in other places. I am simply saying it here, again, in a manner which I found helpful so that perhaps you too may be able to find it useful.

Like many other people with little or no regard for the integrity of the scientific community I have for some time been mildly interested in the theory of biorhythms.

My sporadic inquiries into the subject are typically sporadic and fickle in nature, but one thing I have noticed is that coincidentally or not I usually feel a bit surprised about the accuracy of at least one of the three rhythms when I bother to check mine out.

My point is not to argue whether or not the theory is at all viable, but rather I want to focus on the practical side of this knowledge.

The reason this theory even exists in the first place is that people discovered a pattern in the emotional, intellectual, and physical wellbeing of themselves or others and that pattern was namely this: somedays are better than others.

Anyone with any sense of self-awareness knows this already, but does anyone actually do anything about it? And more importantly, what can be done about it?

Recently I have felt myself to be in an intellectual slump. Physically I have energy but I don’t have the mental ambition to take on any of the high-level thinking projects which fill my to-do list(s).

As such I have found a small amount of solace in going to my friends who need physical and mindless labor and asking them for something to do. Typically this is a luxury that I don’t usually have.

But think about this situation for a minute. At this point, I know that I have the energy to do a mindless task and do it pretty well. I know that I have been in this state or similar states before, which leads me to believe I may be in this kind of situation again in the future.

When people think about being tired it is seen as a problem. Lack of energy is undesired. It’s harder to do the things that need to be done. But what if you have a list of low-energy tasks that needed to be accomplished? What if you had a project which required no thinking?

The secret to being productive is not necessarily to force yourself to do things you don’t want to do. That kind of willpower is admirable, but it is hard to maintain. The secret to being productive is knowing when to best do the tasks at hand.

If you’re better at writing in the morning, don’t start your day reading. You need to know how you operate, you need to know when you operate best, and you need to plan to operate at that time.

I know a lot of people who hold themselves to a pretty high standard. I’m one of them. But it’s silly to expect your best when you don’t allow yourself the best time to do something.

Save it for a rainy day.

Planning this sort of arrangement can be tricky. You need to have the presence of mind when you’re in a tired mood to remember the things you should do at this time. As usual, you need a trustworthy system to help track these things.

Think of how rewarding that would be–to be completely exhausted mentally but still end your day having accomplished something worthwhile.

And that is why planning is so important.

*I’m going to blame some of the mannerisms and phrasing of this post on my recent and current reading of C.S. Lewis, not because I would not have normally written this way, but because I tend to write in the style that I am reading at the time of my writing and given different circumstances, could probably say this in a slightly more succinct manner.