Adrian Stobbe

Finding mental peace with planning

2 minutes (518 words)

When giving a todo planner to my friends birthday the other day, I was asked if I am super organized and into this “GTD” (Getting Things Done) thing. After affirming it, we talked about how it helps to get all thoughts out of the mind, because everything is captured in the system. Whenever, I think of a question, a gift idea, something I want do or commit to do, I track it. Ideally I do it right after, but I am still not systematic enough in my capturing (working on it!). My problem is that I am not yet disciplined enough to only focus on one thing and finish it before moving on. It’s yet another reason to practice meditation - to observe thoughts and regain focus.

People ask why am I so meticulous about it and why I would want to be so systematic (unnatural). For one, it’s a life philosophy to be more intentional. I plan to stay aligned with my priorities and to ease my mind. I used to worry and think a lot about how to do things and if nothing slipped through. Now, my calendar and todo app tell me what should be done today. That’s why I do weekly reviews and why I want to plan the next day ahead. To free my mind from organizing when I want to focus on my priorities of the day. Does this mean that I am not spontonaeous? No, I am not rigid about plans, they are just a guide. On an unplanned day, the mind does what is comfortable in the moment. And usually it’s the shortsighted me that wins in these instances.

Another thing that really drains my mental energy is decision making. Even trivial decisions such as choosing food, in what order to do things are exhausting. As a morning person, my energy levels are high early in the day and low in the late afternoon. So the later part of the day is also when I make bad decisions. Especially if they are spontaneous. I try to defer these decisions to a moment where I can clearly think and not feel pressured.

Let “No” be the default answer. People mistakenly say yes to work, people, and places they don’t like, then need to escape to get away from their mistakes. People make bad decisions because they felt they had to decide. It would have been wiser to do nothing.

When someone asks you to decide, just refuse. The longer you go without deciding, the more information is revealed. Eventually, the choice is obvious and made without an agonizing decision.

Derek Sivers, How To Live

Currently, I am experimenting with a decision making blocker where I batch non-trivial decisions. In a calm moment, I then go over them. I am saying experimenting, because it’s hard to change such fundamental things that I used to differently for so many years. I want to stack it with my journaling routine during my energy peak before sleep. I first heard about this peak on the Huberman Lab podcast and want to explore more what triggers it and at what time it happens.