Saturday, December 05, 2015

preparation vs planning

Ooops, November seemed to get away on me. I've had this half written for a while though....

I have a reputation for being organized. I'm not entirely convinced that I deserve it (especially having missed out on blogging in November!), and many the occasion has been when I've felt well if I'm the organized one heaven help everyone else. However having known several people who really would fail to organize the proverbial piss-up in a brewery maybe it's all relative.

After 30 years or so of planning Quaker events, 5 years of juggling up to 4 part time jobs simultaneously (not to be recommended I hasten to add!) and finding myself in life situations both through work and my personal life where organizing others has been required, as well as organizing myself I suppose I do have a tendency to try to plan.

But slowly over the years and particularly in recent months I've been learning the difference between planning and preparation. You can't plan for every eventuality no matter how much time is spent on risk management strategies. Rules will get broken in ways you haven't thought of, the unpredictable will happen and there is no legislating for the quirks of human nature, nor mother nature come to that.

I was jokingly saying to someone a while ago how it's always good to have a 'plan b' up your sleeve, but the concept of 'plan b' does rather rely on there being a 'plan a' in the first place. Right now in life I have no 'plan a', and as Steve Hanson put it the only thing I have up my sleeve is my arm. I have hopes and dreams, and one or two 'well if nothing else turns up I can always do...' options, but there are too many variables beyond my control to make firm plans.

So instead of trying to plan I'm focusing on preparing instead. The downsizing/decluttering is a part of this, so is trying to maintain a certain level of voluntary work so I can keep a handle on just what my capacity is for paid work should something suitable and manageable come along, and being realistic about this. Whilst the theory of a regular extra couple of hours or so a day looks good on paper, the reality is flexi-time is still far more sensible. Some days my brain still decides that today is not a day for thinking, making decisions or even any sense of the world, and still I easily get overwhelmed. Thankfully the worst days come around far less often than they used to, but they crop up often enough for me to still have to factor them in to the equation. Those days however are great for getting simple tasks done at home that don't need much thinking about, and I now have a pile/list of them so I don't even have to try to remember what they!

Another side of the preparation is continuing my journey in extending my urban homesteading skills. Obviously these skills are useful right now, but being able to learn them when I have plenty time and have a well equipped home and garden at my disposal helps me figure out just what I would need in terms of time/energy and resources to carry on doing it in 'the future'. There are many more things that yes I could make my own of, but is it really what I want to spend my time and (limited) energy doing?

I'm being more proactive regarding my 'well if nothing else turns up...' options; doing a bit of research and sounding out some ideas, so when I finally do have to make a decision it can be a more informed one which hopefully will ease the pressure on making proper plans somewhat. I suppose it is like an extension of the Civil Defense Emergency kit, you never know exactly what might happen, but having some basics sorted out in advance means the essentials are hopefully covered in the short term.

Be prepared. All those years in Guides obviously taught be something useful after all!