Living the Real

Can planning and spontaneity ever be compatible?

January 14, 2021 Matt Boettger Episode 17
Living the Real
Can planning and spontaneity ever be compatible?
Chapters
Living the Real
Can planning and spontaneity ever be compatible?
Jan 14, 2021 Episode 17
Matt Boettger

This week is about how planning and spontaneity are really the best of buds!

If you want to get started with your own ideal week and time-blocking, you can download my Ideal Week template here.

Please consider supporting this podcast:

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/ltr)

Show Notes Transcript

This week is about how planning and spontaneity are really the best of buds!

If you want to get started with your own ideal week and time-blocking, you can download my Ideal Week template here.

Please consider supporting this podcast:

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/ltr)

Matt Boettger:

The fact of the matter is I am a planner. And a lot of times, oftentimes I get these questions. Why be so planned out? Do you have any fun in your life? Do you want to have a little room for spontaneity? I get this all the time because I'm obsessed with planning. And my question typically back is something like this. Out of curiosity, how do you see spontaneity and planning as opposed to each other? In this episode, I'm gonna show you exactly how planning is not opposed to spontaneity. In fact, planning, elevates spontaneity, but you have to plan well and, and plan in a particular way. So hold it to the very end where I give you a tip that is rock solid, that my clients love, that helped to give them really a solid planning in their lives. Get control in their lives. Without the sense of feeling as if you are locked into your day. That there is room for newness moments, spontaneity. So let's get going. Um, Are you living the most real life possible? I ask myself this question all the time. Most of the time, the answer is, I just don't know. But sometimes the answer is definitely not. This is why I have this podcast. I'm Matt Boettger and welcome to the show. Two small things. If you get a chance, please leave a review on Apple podcasts and also check out my website, live in the real.com where I offer lots of resources in how to live the most real life possible. Now on with the show. Welcome to episode 17, where we talk about planning and why it's important and why it doesn't remove the spontaneity the lightness of your life. If you do it the right way, and I'm going to give you a tip at the very end, that will change your life and change the way you plan that leaves room well, gives you control but also leaves room for the things that come at the last minute. But I wanna start with a story. This happened about, I don't know if it was a first year into our marriage or the second year, but we were constantly under the grind. There was so much stuff going in our life. There was so many things that we had to tackle. We felt like every single day, our lives were just constantly busy now, full disclosure. I think that part of that was because of me, my planning and my way of planning was getting in the way of actually living life. And so there needed to be a change. And so I proposed this. We weren't planning our weeks. We're just allowing the world to happen to us. And every day there were new things, new obligations, new urgencies that were taking us away from having fun. So I said, every Sunday. Now we didn't have kids yet. So it's a whole different ball game. We're newlyweds, every Sunday, let's plan the next three weeks out. Pretty much every day. We had work there. Those things took up time, but our weekends were planned down and we would alternate who had date night or date day. So maybe the first one weekend it's me. And that could weekend. This is my wife. And we did this for probably six months and our life was completely different. All of a sudden we looked back and there were moments in our life that were just really fun. There were fun to reminisce about and no longer were we stuck in this cycle every Saturday, Sunday, grinding out all these random tasks to do things that didn't give us life. But rather now we can look back. And say, man, you were that we went on that bike ride, went to the zoo. We had that incredible dinner at this restaurant. We had a lot more things to reflect upon. And that was a big aha moment that planning does not remove spontaneity. It actually elevates it. It gives spontaneity room to be genuinely free. I want to talk about that, how that happened. So now let's just take a quick look at how spontaneity comes in our life. There's really two ways. The first one is when a last minute opportunity comes our way, right. Something just arises out of nowhere and we already have nothing to do. And so we're like, Hey, let's do this thing. Let's roll. The other way. Is that, Hey, a last-minute thing comes your way. A new opportunity is presented to you, but you already have something planned, right? Those are the two things that come. This is how sparsity comes in our life. So my question to you is that what kind of life do you want to live? Do you want to do the one where you kind of keep your calendar as free and clear as possible so that you can really just hijack and take that spontaneous event, whatever it comes or, or do you want to have the other one where then your face to decide either to revoke your plans that you already had, or keep your plans and revoke that spontaneous opportunity? I would choose the latter one because in the end, you're going to have way more moments in your life, way more moments of enjoyment, things to reflect upon versus keeping your calendar more clear so that you can possibly engage an opportunity that comes your way, which leaves so much more times for idleness. And when there were idle and we don't even have a framework to know what we want to do, we find ourselves bored and not fulfilled. I would encourage you to start planning. And in a few minutes, I'm going tell you just how you can begin planning in a way that I think is incredibly effective and makes your life also incredibly flexible. So what do I mean by planning? I don't mean planning every single moment of your day. In the sense of you fill in every half hour, every hour, every minute with concrete things you want to do, I'm going to use the bathroom at 9:00 AM. I'm gonna eat my breakfast from 9:15 to 9:30 or whatever it is. This is not planning. That is micromanaging, that gets in the way of life. And it's just too many things. To juggle. What I want to talk to you about is using blocks of time. Now, some of you may have already heard of this time blocking. I'm not the inventor of this. Now I have a way by which I use it, I think is the most effective way to use it. You are going to have to hold onto the end to listen to that. The blocking is the most important way by which we can plan life that gives structure and awesome and amazing flexibility. So what we do is we block our time the day before. At least the day before with big chunks of thematic areas of work. So, if you've listened to my episodes in the past, especially the first few episodes, I talk about my framework, my method of living the most real life possible. It's built into three major blocks: margin. The first one, it's the most important one. It's that space, that air by which you can breathe and know who you are. And what you're meant to be. Its a place by which you're rejuvenated, reenergize. It's leisure, it's connecting with friends and family it's things that are ends to themselves. It's one thing to make a wonderfull dinner for your spouse, for your friends, for your family, because you love it. It might be very well another thing to be a chef and cooking for a full-time job that is not necessarily margin. That is a job, that is a duty that you have to do it's responsibility. So margin is most indispensable. It needs to be coveted because that is where we get our energy. The next one is momentum. Another big block. That's those things that move the needle forward in your life. Legitimately, we can't rationalize this. Real things. And that means, Hey, it's New Year's. It's January. You realize maybe, Hey, I'm need to be a living a little more healthy of a life. In so I'm going to move the needle forward in my life to become more healthy. And the last one is in maintenance. It would be carrying that example along the way. Is that maybe I achieved that milestone, that momentous milestone of getting where I want to be in my health. Now, the thing is you need to maintain it, right? This is the hard part. This is why new year's resolutions fail miserably in so many ways. And one way is that maybe we do achieve our goal, which I think goals are a difficult, or maybe a hard thing to actually use. And maybe not the best thing to use when it comes to new year's resolutions. We achieve our goal, losing weight, becoming more healthy, and then in the end we end up bingeing and getting all back. And now it's a momentum again, versus maintenance. Whereas I'm here, I've reached my destination. I've reached the way I want to feel, and look, now we need to maintain it. The three major blocks by which we live our life and have the most fulfilling life possible. And the goal is: to have margin be at the top by which it feeds and fuels both momentum and maintenance because without energy, what? You can have all the time in the world, but you're not going to do anything. I know what it's like to wake up super early in the morning and then go to bed super late, constantly. It's not healthy. like I have three hours by morning to do things, but I have no energy. I can barely keep awake. So it's pointless. I might as well go back to bed. Margin is that sacred place by which we can actually have the energy to do great things and maintain our life well, and not be sucked into temptation when we're weak. So this is the way by which we block out our days. The big three kinds of blocks. So what's the benefits of, of time-blocking. Well, there's tons, especially this kind of time-blocking. It gives you structure in your day, but a lot of freedom because there's a block, it's an area of your life that could be filled with just about anything in that category. And this is the beauty of time blocking in the way that I'm proposing. Cause you just time block areas and you say, well, I'm going to block here. It's hard because there's so many options to think about what I'm going to do. But if you use these three areas, you kind of put a perimeter, a boundary, right? You, you limit your options in a way Okay. From 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM, this block is margin, personal margin. So now I know my playing field is not doing the dishes, unless that gives you energy. It might be meditation, prayer, exercising, journaling, listening to music, reading a good book, connecting with a beloved family member or a friend. And the list goes on and on: playing your musical instrument, whatever it may be, right. It narrows that. And then I time block for a couple of hours, momentum where this is strictly an area by which I'm going to move the needle forward in my life. And in my coaching program, I give you an entire system of framework, a method, to be able to determine what those things are in your life that you want to move the needle forward in. How they're connected to your overall vision. And step-by-step how to achieve this by little movements every day. And then you have blocks in your day for maintenanc. All those other things by which, gosh, I got to respond to emails, call this person back, go get the groceries, go get an oil, change, get a haircut, whatever it means. All of these things fall into maintenance. So it gives you structure. But also it gives you an enormous amount of freedom to choose which things you want to fill with that. So I, myself, I decided to particulars about this the night before. So when I wake up early in the morning and I'm groggy and I don't know what to do, I just look right in front of me. And the very first thing that's there. I know what I'm committing to. It's the lowest hanging fruit. I know that when I wake up. I'm going to be groggy. I'm going to be tired and I'm going to try to take the least amount of effort to accomplish something. So I have to make the important thing in my life, easily accessible. I need to prepare that for the night before. And I mentioned this works best because we limit our options by these kinds of blocks. And it also gives us spontaneity. To move blocks around or fill it with other things when the time comes, because it's easier to move blocks around versus every little thing that you schedule for the day. And then you have to constantly move in blocks all over these little blocks. These are bigger blocks. Now at the end, I'm going to give you an example by what you could look at to see how I block things out. Those are time blocks, but of course my appointments are very specific and they're in my calendar. They're not just blocks, but they're specific appointments. Another huge thing is that it also puts me in control of my day when someone asks me to hang out. This is where spontaneity comes in. How many times, has someone come to you and say, Hey, are you available Wednesday at noon? And I'd love to grab lunch student catch up. And you're like, that's awesome. Maybe you look at your calendar or maybe you don't even look at your calendar. You say, let's do it. And then you realize, ah, crap, after you made the commitment. That I was going to do this at noon today with myself or whatever I want you to. I have this thing that I wanted to work on. And I remember telling myself I was going to work on it this day and I forgot. And so you constantly lose control of your day invitation by invitation. But when you time block, it's like a trigger. Somebody asks you to go out to lunch, say at noon on Wednesday. You say, that sounds amazing, let me check my calendar. And then you see the time block. Maybe it's a momentum block. Like, Oh yeah, crap. I was going to work on this one thing. That's really, really important to me. Right. Then you can say, Hey, I'm not available. I have an appointment at noon because you do a point with yourself. Can we do it on Thursday? Or you can say, you know what, it's not worth it. This can wait, my momentum thing. My thing can wait until Thursday. I'm going to move it to Thursday and invite this person and say yes to them to lunch. Right. Again, see, now you're truly living spontaneity at its essence because you're not just filling things in and then having, Oh, crap moments. You're truly in control of the spontaneity. Another great thing about planning that it's good for friendships Like how many of us. Seem as if we ask our friends last minute to get a drink, to go out to dinner, to hang out. It's okay once in a while. But it was constantly last minute, it kind of feels like you're a plan B person. I want you to live the most intentional life and say, you know what I've been thinking about you are you available next Saturday, two Saturdays from now to get some drinks. I'd love to hang out. Now you're being intentional. You reached out to them, they feel good. They're like, wow, you're actually calling me in advance and really wanting to be with me. I love when people do that to me. Last minute? Hey, it's great. But over and over and over, I feel like I'm just being slid in and filling the gaps of boredom. And I don't wanna do that to anybody else. So it increases your ability to have deeper friendships by being intentional. And it makes you look for the joy in the commitment. We are a commitment averse culture, at least in the U S. We don't like to commit to anything. And it's hard because there's joy in commitment. There's joy and commitment in marriage. There's freedom by limiting yourself and the options by reducing your love to one person. There's something so expansive, and so freeing in that. And these micro-commitments are a beautiful freedom. I want to share this story. This is when I was dating my now wife and it was relatively early on maybe three or four months in, and we had committed to going on a bike ride together later on that afternoon, but we had things we had to get done, of course. We were working, getting things done in my apartment. And when the time came to get on our bike ride, of course, what did I want to do? My natural penalty is let's just keep working. Let's make void our commitment and let's just keep working. And my then girlfriend, my now wife, was like, no, no, no. We said, we're going to do this. Let's do this. Like, ah, crap, this sucks. I didn't want to get on my bike clothes on and then to get our bike out and go for a ride and this is going to suck. But we made a commitment and I think she's cute. So let's just do it. So we'd go on the bike ride. Guess what? That's one of the most memorable bike rides of my life. It was so fun. It was just what we needed. My then-girlfriend, my now wife, knew exactly what we needed. To remain committed to our commitments, but it's going to give us life. It was an end to itself, a time to get some leisure and connection and it was great. I loved it. And in fact, I'm so thankfulI she made us go on that, that bike ride. Remain committed to our plans because there was so many spontaneous moments in the context of that planned bike ride. And at the end, being so full of joy and happiness, and just like this was flipping awesome. And she was freezing. She was freezing, ended up being so cold. So it got a little lost in the temperature was dropping quickly. It was early spring. I remember looking at her and thinking in my head, I think I love this girl because of that. Just her spontaneity or desire to just let's just do this. Let's not keep going. Let's stay committed. And in the midst of that, having some beautiful, spontaneous moments. So by planning, it also gives us the chance to enjoy the spontaneity, the powerful moments in our commitments. Planning is not about being busy It is about being intentional. It is about ensuring that we happen to life and that life doesn't always happen to us. Yes. I know people are averse to planning and planning their day and it's hard. And I see those people drift through life. They're the ones who don't quite get where they want to be in fillment or success. And I am not proposing micro-managing and filling your day with every particular, what I'm saying, proposals. When you plan your life in these kinds of blocks, you open up new horizons of fulfillment in your life. Especially when you start with margin. I want to tell you a little bit more about that in just a second. When I plan my weeks, I enjoy everything so much because I feel like I choose this. I'm choosing my week. Even if I choose to do nothing, at least I'm choosing it, right. I'm not drifting into nothingness. I'm not drifting into binge-watching. I'm choosing it. And it's in my plan. And I know that I'm allowed. I don't have to stress. I don't have to feel guilt about binge-watching for 12 hours, some kind of season, because in my plan that comes to an end, and there's something else to be done soon. I have way more moments in my life that I can remember fondly. Spontaneity is much more fun and enjoyable because I know what I'm saying no to and what I'm saying yes to. And I want you to have that same thing. So here is your call to action this week. I want you to try blocking your week next week and start with margin. That's the most important thing. Your blocks. As much as you can start with a blank canvas. I know it's impossible. You already have things filled up you're committed to. But as much as you can, begin with the big rocks, the important things in your life that give you energy: prayer, meditation, exercise, journaling, playing your favorite musical instrument, listening to music, connecting with a friend, family member, going out, enjoying a play a musical, a movie. Put these in as the first big things that give you the energy to actually leverage your week and then fill it with the momentum and maintenance blocks. So commit yourself to this. Try this out for one week. I promise you it's going to make a huge difference. Now there's more to this There's margin. There's momentum and maintenance. Well, what next? What is in margin? What is momentum? What is maintenance? And that is all my coaching program. And if you want to join my wait list, go to livingthereal.com/coaching. And you can at least get started in my waitlist where I will offer a free masterclass to show you my coaching program, but how you live out the most fulfilling life in this living the real method. So that when you do have that block of margin, you know exactly what you want to fill it with. Right? So if you're looking for an example of time blocking. Go to livingthereal.com/timeblocking. I'm going to give you a free downloadable of an example of an ideal week. I encourage you to do this too. If there's two things you do is that you spend 30 minutes blocking out your week next week, and then over time, develop an ideal a week for you with the blocking method. What does a general ideal week look like that makes me feel like, yeah, that was a good week. That was balanced. I had some solid margin in my life, had space, energy connecting with friends. And in margin, I had this thing called madness. I wanted to make it a fourth "M" but I thought it really falls under the framework of margin. There's a lot of things that give us space: reading meditating. But sometimes we just need to enter into madness for a little bit. Maybe that allowance to simply binge episode upon episode for 12 hours. It is part of margin. It's something they want to do. It's like eating sweets, right? We don't do this every day, but allow us to go into an episode of madness and plan that as well. For example, what does this look like? How do I get my mind around this? Go to livingthereal.com/timeblocking to give you an example of what an ideal week might look like. All right. I hope this is helpful for you. I hope in light of January, you can make this year one of the most incredible years of your life by putting more planning in your life without sacrificing any spontaneity. And then reflecting at the end of 2021, saying, man, this year had the most profound moments of my entire life. Okay. Go to it. Have a wonderful week. We will see you next week. Take care, and bye-bye. Thank you for listening to this episode of Living the Real. If you want to check out more information, go to livingthereal.com and sign up for my newsletter. If you want to support this podcast, you do that at patreon.com/ltr as well as one-time payments at Venmo and PayPal in the show notes. See you all next episode. Take care. Bye-bye yeah.