Letter No.31 - To plan or to be sponty?


I used to take time on Sunday evening to plan out the rest of my week. I've lost that practise over the years. Recently I met a friend who is just starting out his career and he was showing me his weekly calendar. I noticed a time block on Sunday mornings that said 'plan week'.

To be honest, the weekly usually usually goes 50 - 60% to the way one anticipates and plans. The rest is chaos, surprises, things that took longer that planned, and things that just didn't happen.

But taking that time to think through the week is still worth it.

Thinking is also a kind of creation (overthinking is not). Anticipating the weeks events, and prioritising what is important sets you subconscious mind into motion. Planning with intent is like giving your subconscious mind instructions. It starts working even when you are having a batch, reading a book, chilling with friends, watching a movie, and even when you are sleeping!

There is a famous quote that goes something like: 'You make plan A, B and C, but ultimately when you are on the battlefield, you have to come up with a new plan in the moment'.

You may ask - 'What is the point of making plans in that case?'

Well, the point is simple, because you made the efforts of making plan A, B and C, you understand the terrain well enough to make plan D on the spot!


I grew up hearing these three words often from my mother, who is an artist - 'order in chaos'. Later as I read more about science, quantum physics, and how the universe works, I began to understand the depth of this idea.

A hindustani or carnatic musician plays so spontaneously. Same for jazz music. You see the musician completely immersed in the moment, coming up with riffs and solos, and musical embellishments. They are so free and creative. It looks like absolute spontaneity.

Freedom and discipline are two sides of the same coin.

The jazz or classical musician puts in a lifetime of discipline practise of scales, ragas and sur, before the 'spontaneity' we see emerges.


So, in case you want to start taking some time to think about / anticipate / plan (choose the word that feels right for you) your week, here are a few ideas for you:

Block time in your calendar.

Use Stephen Covey's rule of first things first - first block time for health, then family and then work.

Don't block too much time.

Leave enough empty time for emergence to occur. Things will happen, plan will change. Besides, you need some spaciousness too. Ideally don't block more than 50% of your waking hours.

Think about the ONE most important thing you want to get done this week.

Most things in life follow the 'Pareto principle' - 80% of results, come from 20% of your actions. Make sure you are focused on the right 20%.

Sense how your energy is feeling this week.

Be aware of you ebb and flow and go with it. Every week and every day is not going to feel and work exactly the same. We are not machines.

Identify your peak working / thinking time zones.

These are times of the day when you are able to get things done in one third the time that you would otherwise take. These are times when you creative and problem solving abilities are at peak. Identify these zones and make sure you put in your most important activities that require quality thinking.

Also, identify your sluggish zones.

Put in either repetitive housekeeping types tasks that don't require much thought or plan to take some chill time here.


I think this would be my most important advice to you today. In our great enthusiasm and ambitiousness, we tend to over-plan every minute and every activity. I've done this way too many times. Then we end up struggling to stick to the plan. That makes us feel shitty. Then we give up planning all together! Rather, under-plan. Plan only a few important things. Make it happen. Get motivated. Get more shit done!


I used to use a single physical A4 sheet of paper to plan my week. I had a method of folding it, creating time blocks, and making my week's plan. Then I carried that paper in my pocket all week.

If you want to know my little technique, drop me a reply and I'll show you what worked for me. Maybe it will spark some ideas for you.

By the way, have you come across any interesting recipes? I'm in the mood of cooking this week and looking to explore something new :-)

In friendship and with gratitude,