Many people struggle with planning, the “thinking-ahead” executive function skill. Caught up in the demands of their daily lives, they start to feel like life is just endless work.
It makes me both sad and concerned when I see parents and children stuck in that mindset. I had always thought this was a symptom of our 21st century lives until I looked up the proverb: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” According to Wikipedia, that saying has been around since at least 1659!
One of the primary goals of the Seeing My Time course is to help people develop strategies to plan for their future; to connect their present choices to future outcomes. Nothing raises my spirit like watching people begin to plan for FUN!
Contrary to what some believe, planning for fun does NOT have to be a chore! It allows you to experience the break that you actually want, crafted by you. Think of it as giving yourself (and your family) a beautiful gift.
Here are some important reasons why planning for fun is not only recommended – it is necessary!
Wondering what planning for fun looks like from the perspective of a time management expert? Here are some inspiring personal stories with my clients.
A family in my Seeing My Time private sessions course recently shared a huge victory with joy and excitement. They had been struggling for months with time management, too bogged down by life to plan ahead.
In early August, they reported that they had found incredible plane fares to Europe for next year’s spring break. Learning the skills to plan ahead allowed them to be financially able to afford the tickets, because they bought them so far in advance. They are going to have months of fun planning and anticipating that trip!
I recently gave a downcast mother and daughter an assignment to plan some fun for the coming weekend. Mom sighed and said that having fun together was a problem in her family.
The next time I saw that they were both smiling and mom was practically glowing. She had created a memorable family experience that took only about two hours. And her daughter was pleased because she had downloaded a game that she could play AFTER she got her homework completed. Everyone was happy.
I observed another gratifying change in an adult client who was very resistant to scheduling ANYTHING. She was the model of spontaneity, albeit often double booked or very late, and experiencing anxiety in her day-to-day life.
Little by little she began to use her Seeing My Time Adult Planner System. I knew progress was happening when she shared her anxiety after she left her planner at home on Monday. She reported being amazed at how lost she felt when she got to work and contemplated her coming week. She realized that, prior to using the planner, she must have felt that stress and anxiety all of the time!
But what really sent me over the moon was her sharing how she and her boyfriend started talking about going camping. “I jumped up and told him that I had to get my planner so we could pick a weekend before the rains come. Before this course I would never have made a plan like that!”
Here is an example of what that looks like! Tonight, I look forward to watching an episode of The Great British Baking Show.
This weekend could be the last sunny warm weekend for months, so I have already made plans to go hiking with my husband on Sunday.
Next month I have theater tickets for my husband’s birthday.
I just got home from a special trip to Portugal with my husband, son and daughter-in-law. The plans for that trip began over a year ago!
And as soon as I am done with this blog, I’m getting out my planner and blocking out all of my vacation days for 2019. Then I can start planning more serious fun!
What kinds of fun are you planning for yourself? Share them with us!
Marydee Sklar is the president of Executive Functioning Success and the creator of the Seeing My Time Program®. She is an educator and author of three books on executive functions, as well as a trainer and speaker. Marydee has more than twenty-five years of experience working with students and adults with executive function challenges.
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The Executive Function of Future Thinking: A Real Life Example
Ask Marydee: Should Executive Function Skills be Taught Explicitly?
Finding Happiness when you Struggle with Executive Functions