Proper planning and scheduling help you consistently do the important things that keep you happy and set you up for success.
The simple answer was as disappointing and boring as saying, “I work for fun”.
But it was the truth.
Sure I see movies, drink, and enjoy some romance, but those are seldom the case. I could go an entire month or two without seeing a movie. I can go for months without drinking. And I can go for years without getting even a hug.
So, how is it that I haven’t shot myself? How is it I can live with myself? Heck! how is it that I am happy?
The simple answer was that I found joy in working – I was in alignment with my Ikigai: I was happy about writing, sharing what I’ve written, and getting paid for it.
It was no wonder last week my happiness gauge dropped so much.
I realized the culprits after complaining to a dear friend about my dissatisfaction with myself for not being where I think I should be in life.
The truth was, what was really bothering me wasn’t “not being” there, but “not approaching” it.
I was loathing myself for not working.
When she identified this, she asked me to draw up a plan and set up a schedule.
It worked like magic.
The next day, after writing and reading (as planned and scheduled), I was filled with a sense of accomplishment once more. My dissatisfaction disappeared.
Many people feel planning is too much work, and that scheduling is stifling, but this is not the case.
Yes, if the plans and schedules are not in alignment with your ikigai – if you do not enjoy doing the things on your “to-do list” – you may feel stifled.
But, if you enjoy working, planning and scheduling become liberating as you no longer have to worry about outcomes, or how to get there.
You stop comparing results and start looking at how much fun the other person is having to get to their destination – their “success”.
It will simply be you dancing through life not caring if you get a trophy or not.
And, oftentimes, you will get your trophies.
Like Steve Jobs said, “the only way to do great work is to love what you do”.
How Planning And Scheduling Expels Sadness And Depression
Depression occurs when you feel hopeless and powerless – when you are not doing what you want or being who you want to be.
Happiness occurs when you feel hopeful and in control of your life – when you are doing what you want and being who you want to be.
To increase your hope and be in more control of your life, try PLANNING and SCHEDULING.
Having a plan helps you work towards something. It makes you believe that there will be a reward for your efforts. It makes you have something to look forward to – it gives you a goal.
While scheduling helps you to consistently approach that goal.
Combined, they cast away the fear of the future. It allays questions like “what am I doing with my life?”, or the worry, “how can I be happy in life?”.
Considering happiness is triggered by getting “new nice things”, planning and scheduling ensure you keep getting a continuous rush of happiness as you keep checking off tasks on your schedule.
A great day is often the day you accomplished the most – the day you finished all your tasks – the day everything works out as planned.
This is why even people with jobs they “hate” may find themselves happier than those who are jobless or don’t have anything taking up their time.
The person with a job HOPES to get a salary or promotion. The other has nothing.
But that is just one instance.
(Un)Happiness In Doing
When talking with someone, I replaced the question, “what do you do for a living?”, with “what takes up most of your time?”.
This is because not everyone has a typical job.
In this situation, not everyone has to plan and schedule “work”. What is important is that you are consistently doing the important things.
You can find a sense of hope and control when you study for an exam, nurse a kid, code an app, write a book, etcetera.
As you approach your goal, you should already be feeling happy (supposing that goal is really what you wanted – supposing it was what you controlled)
This is why people who look forward to an event making them happy often get disappointed.
Once you hit a goal, you need another goal. This is known as the Hedonic treadmill; we are all biologically wired to be like that – to be never fully satisfied…not for long
So, unless you’ve been relishing the little steps it took to get there, the result may not be all that worth it. The joy would be temporary.
The point is, having FREE time won’t necessarily make you happy. And, winning the TROPHY won’t keep you happy for long either.
What you need is a long unending plan (with infinite, yet bite-sized tasks), and a schedule to help you stay happy.
You simply need to find something worth your time and keep doing it.
That is why it is hard to resign from a job if that job is your source of joy. It is also difficult to quit a relationship if that relationship keeps you preoccupied – as you keep planning and doing all you can to make things better.
Why A Plan And Schedule Is Important To Protect Your Happiness
I used to think my Dad was indifferent about festivities whenever he went to work on New Year’s Day. Mom used to complain about it. And maybe he was indifferent about those festivities.
But, when you think about it, even Santa works on Christmas. And the chefs too. I even caught myself working from 9pm (31st December 2021) to 2pm (1st January 2022) – I was behaving like my Dad.
The problem is that we associate work with suffering. It’s not so.
It is true a lot of people dread their jobs. But I think a lot of the problems stems from
- Working too long and hard (this may be out of the person’s control)
- Working on a job they do not enjoy (this too may be due to limited choices).
- Working with toxic colleagues and bosses.
- Working on something they do not believe in.
- Not being paid their worth.
Suggested Post: Why Making money should be a fun, exhilarating, and fulfilling experience
When people find a job they like, they seldom want to leave it.
This job (more correctly, Ikigai) can be to
- Connect, or
It is no surprise people shed tears leaving (or worse, losing) a job, family, or something else that occupies this position…
It is also not a surprise that people quit jobs or relationships that do not give them satisfaction, or which limit their happiness. It is often a relief to cut off a cancerous limb after all.
I think everyone should aim to start, or transition to a lifestyle (job, relationship, etcetera) that fills them with the highest sense of meaning and accomplishment – something that makes them happy to be alive.
In the end, what you need may not necessarily be “success”, but a “direction – hope and control”.
And, the truth is success sometimes takes generations to materialize. Of course, this is dependent on “how big you dream”.
“Aiming high” without a plan and schedule (that keeps you happy at the moment) may just be you delaying your happiness, and calling in bitterness, depression, and suicide.
Not having a plan and schedule keeps your happiness in a precarious position.
You may not have all the power and control to choose exactly what to do and when to do it, but you can strive for that.
If you are worried about how to plan and schedule for happiness, I’ll write about that in a future post.
Thanks for reading 🙂
A Self-Help Writer And Editor Who Keeps It Simple (Yet Elegant)