by Karine Tovmassian
There comes a point where we sort of glance around and notice no one is watching us. This is a crossroads. We must act and as such our lives are defined by our ability to sit back at this defining moment and push, with all our might, launching the rolling office chair into a smooth glide across the leased space, letting it flow as far as it is able, thereby solidifying the longest vault from office desk to last recorded point and finalizing the glide-a-thon olympic score for the set year. It also works with colleagues, freshly waxed floors and the brilliant ability to dull them using only the socks one has worn on the day of. The challenges are never written in the rule books. No HR department has ever highlighted “Sumo-Suit Wrestling Day.” In fact, most HR people are raising a well-trained eyebrow at my harrowing examples. It’s ok. Calm down. The people with passion and imagination are quite ready to cease all morale-building activities and get back to soul-crushing 9-5 that pays the bills and destroys inspiration.
I don’t have this problem. I stopped working for other people back in 2006. It was a fantastically stupid move, which I cleverly shrugged off as “brave” when everyone asked me about it. I got myself the best boss in the world, me. I love me as a boss. I am really cool about starting hours and don’t ever have to punch in or out so long as the work gets done. Naps are par for the course. Bunny slippers, check. Water kettle with exotic teas, at the ready. I’ve been working for myself since 2006 and I’ve looked back a thousand times only to realize it really doesn’t get better than this. The only real hardline rule I have is “the work gets done first and it all doesn’t have to get done today.” Having worked for other people, agencies, departments and all that jazz, I realized the common rules were in place to ensure the laziest and least competent worker ensured his or her work was complete. But these common rules laid waste to any kind of imaginative desire, ability to think freely or any inkling of efficiency. I’ve worked in places where being 10 minutes early to work was punished by forcing employees to wait outside until 2 minutes before the hour. I’ve worked for those who considered their staff to be hired help for the day and made sure they excelled at menial tasks despite the requisite for higher education degrees. Like I said earlier: “soul-crushing.”
So, I got mad enough to create a vision of the kind of work environment I wished I had. The type of colleagues I wished I had and when I lined it all up, instead of complaining, I quit my job and started my own company. That’s a fancy way of saying I stoped getting a steady paycheck and panicked at the end of every month until I figured it all out. I’ve been working for myself for over 13 years now. I still haven’t figured it all out. I’ve never taken a business course. I studied Humanities and Classical Languages and Literatures in college. They’ve served me quite well. The ability to articulate a point, either in written form or during a speech, has been essential to my success. Every field I’ve worked in has needed someone to “get this down on paper so everyone can understand it.” Business calls it “marketing.” Government calls it “contracts.” Law Enforcement calls it “outreach.” Everyone needs their message relayed, and in our world of instant social media hysteria, the ability to focus on discussion is even more relevant. Being a wordsmith in times of linguistic shenanigans is doubly relevant because meaning, for us writers, lives in the hearts of words. Writers ought to consider all aspects of a word, weighing its perception along with its actual meaning or meanings before slapping them down on paper. I don’t fling them about carelessly. Those who create dis-ease with their writing are lovers of chaos. Real writers love order. We create order from chaos. That’s why our notebooks look so freakish sometimes. It takes a lot to coral chaos. It doesn’t always happen in our heads we need to get it down onto paper. Thus, notebooks and planners.
The reason analogue planners have gained and are continuing to gain momentum, despite the increases in digital gadget sales, is because human beings need a moment to collect their thoughts without something urging them along or interrupting mid-thought. What I’ve noticed, however, is a massive portion of the Plannerverse is defining it’s success based on the number of planners they own or have purchased. There are only a few who have actually taken the time to set the framework for success in planning. There seems to be a false notion of order following anyone with a planner. Not so! The order exists between the written pages. The accoutrements that comes with planning are viscerally addictive. In fact, I could be so bold to say that some have actually purchased a planner because they wanted to justify their stationery purchases. Quite right.
And to become a force to be reckoned with in this life, one must write one’s plans down on paper. One must learn to lasso the chaos and repurpose it for order and beauty within paper-lined pages.
But how do you do this without a vision? You don’t. Without a vision you flounder about, hitting the mark every so often, by mistake. There is no focus. Every day might seem like a repetition of the last. To truly take over your world one must come up with a vision statement.
Creating a vision statement is not a difficult task. I am about to demystify it for you right now.
Start with what you want your day to look like. What would you be wearing? Eating? Where would you spend your day? Who would be with you? What do you absolutely have to have, in terms of environment, to get you excited about your plans to take over your world? Write all this down. Check it every day, make adjustments as needed. As the motto at Plannerology headquarters reads:
Make A Plan.
Write it Down.
And Work On It.
What happens usually is people get pee-pants excited about their vision and get cracking on getting things done, but by day 3 there are back in their old ways. Maybe part of their plan should have been to create a group of friends that can help push the vision forward. Maybe the vision wasn’t big enough? Maybe their reason for doing what they thought they wanted to do wasn’t really written out in hot, steamy detail. You need hot, steamy details to make visions work. You’ve got to see the whole thing in your mind’s eye. You want to KonMarie your house, but you don’t know what you want it to look like or you think you want what someone else created. Start looking at what you want and need while allowing yourself to be inspired by what others have already accomplished.
Things your vision statement will need:
- Accountability: You must be able to hold yourself or have other hold you accountable for the things you say you are going to do. Otherwise, no go.
- Biggie Smalls: You’ve got to have a big idea and break up the big idea into smaller, workable sections.
- Put in the time: You’ve actually got to do the work. You can have all the vision boards in the world and they won’t help you if you don’t get up off your glide-a-chair and get to work. Put the hours in, daily. 1 hour a day at anything creates a history of 30-hours/month of running laps around anyone who is not doing the work. Work hard. Head down. Get it done. There are a lot of people out there with wonderful visions that are going nowhere because they don’t get the work done.
That’s it. If you can manage these 3 things then you will begin to see your vision becoming a reality. Let me know how you get on, or join us at the Plannerology group on Facebook to tell us what you are up to.
Karine Tovmassian spends her days embroiled in others’ resumes, consulting and advising military and law enforcement veterans and genuinely caring where people end up in life. If you need a resume or you have an old one you can’t really use and don’t have the heart to throw it away, or want to learn how to change where you are in life and don’t know where to start, reach out to her at Karine@Plannerology.com
Karine was a speaker at the first ever Official PlannerCon, and continues to actively speak about the values of writing things down and the benefits of having a large RAS. She’s the (better) one half of the ‘gruesome twosome’, developing content and co-hosting the HitchHiker’s Guide To The Plannerverse podcast, broadcasting the first planner podcast.
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