Day 367, Stress Reduction with Planning

Day 367, Stress Reduction with Planning

“Contrary to what I suspected, planning reduces stress rather than increasing it.”
~KaeLyn Morrill


I am looking at my “Achieve 50 kg” mind map.  I introduced it on my blog yesterday.  Yesterday, I consumed only 1427 calories.  My net carbs were only 69.3 grams, much less than the average of 106.2 grams of net carbs I have been eating lately.
I even have 20 calories remaining in my calorie budget!  On average, I have been going over-budget by 259 calories.  For CONSUMED, the green represents fat, the red, net carbs, and the blue, protein.
Can I get myself back to losing weight?  Losing 15 pounds was the original goal of my blog.  Do you find yourself wanting to re-commit to your eating plan, or are you planning to wait until after the Christmas holiday?  I suggest that you commit to your eating plan now.
To be successful, I must manage the stress in my life.  One of my best stress busters is meditation.  Just now, I meditated for 20 minutes with Stuart Kaplan on Insight Timer with “Finding Your Purpose.”
What are some other ways we can manage stress?  Is the key to do more or be easier on ourselves about not getting as much done as we planned?  Will it work not to plan so much or will more planning work better?
According to Time magazine, planning will reduce stress.
The stress management technique that worked best, according to the survey: planning. In other words, “fighting stress before it even starts, planning things rather than letting them happen,” says Epstein. “That means planning your day, your year and your life so that stress is minimized.”
Good.  I have been doing a mind map of my daily goals in my Aspirations “Little Black Book” for the past week or so.  This was during a time of stress, so I could not tell whether the maps reduced or increased stress.  However, I got a lot done and felt happy about my progress each day.  I think the practice may be worth continuing.
Here is a two-day map of Labor Day and the day after.
Does planning work?  It is kind of fun for one thing.  On my mind maps, I did not assign each task to a specific hour of the day.  I have done that kind of planning too.  I have not evaluated what works better, but mind maps are more fun.
So planning reduces stress?  I did not know that.  I always had the impression that it increases stress.  Planning is an activity facilitated by the prefrontal cortex in the brain. If you missed my blog yesterday about the prefrontal cortex, you are missing out.  The prefrontal cortex is the executive of our bodies and the key to our unique successes as humans.
How can we make planning work?  How can we plan so well, we virtually eliminate stress?  Are you interested in knowing these things?  Here is my P&L log.
TCC P&L for PC
Timely, Consistent, Clear Planning and Logging for Productive Creativity
Up to 8
My “Achieve 50 kg” mind map is also a plan.  My JV Life Tracker Master Activity List is too.  What is the best way to flow:
  • my ideas in my head into a map of my plans?
  • the map into action at the most effective date and time?  (Timeliness is one of my top values.)
  • my actions into a record of the action?
  • the record of action into various analyses?
  • analyses into ideas for plan improvements? (Circle back to the top.)
Or to map it out:
How can we achieve an overall stress reduction with this?  If I have projects to do, can I predict when I can get them done?  I tried doing that with Microsoft Project Manager, and it was not a simple task, if it was even possible with an irregular schedule.
Think about this.  Will you?  If you have any ideas and suggestions, please leave them in the comments.  If you are not a planner, I suggest you start.  If you are, I suggest you think about what enhancements you can make to your planning routines.  One method of doing things may not be sufficient for all purposes.
  • My Android app, JV Life Tracker, does a good job of checking off recurring activities for analysis.
  • Mind mapping out one day with pen and paper is probably more effective for activities enacted just that day–or perhaps two days as I did above.
  • My Aspirations “Little Black Book” notebook planner is just right for once-only activities that may take a while to complete or even start.
  • The planning and logging sheet (TCC P&L for PC) is ideal for mapping activities to a specific hour of the day.
  • Grouping a sequence of tasks into a ritual can sometimes increase productivity as described in my ebook, Joyful Vibrance:  Transform Your Body Image, Energy, and Mood!
  • Goalscape is great for outlining goals and breaking tasks into smaller ones, showing the relationships between them, and attaching links and files.  It can do some tracking as well.  However, it cannot replace JV Life Tracker as an analysis tool and does not work well for repetitive tasks.  It also does not replace the planning and logging sheet for assigning tasks to a time of day.
  • A calendar is indispensable for assigning an event to a date, such as an appointment.
  • MindMeister comes with TaskMeister, which handles task management.  I have not become proficient at TaskMeister and have not purchased the paid-for version.
  • Microsoft Project Manager may be your thing; just be prepared for a steep learning curve.
Tasks vary in size and complexity:
  • whether they can be broken down into smaller tasks
  • the time of time in which they are best done
  • when they will be started
  • how you determine whether they are completed
  • when they need to be completed
  • whether or not they are recurring
  • whether they can be completed in one sitting or within a day’s time
  • whether or not they can be done by one person, i.e. you
  • how urgent and/or important they are
Time management systems are best tailored to the type of tasks.


mORNING Prayer
I love to plan.  However, in times of stress, I have sometimes tossed my planning routines in favor of winging it.  After reading this article from Time, I think I have made a mistake.  It is during times of stress that planning is all the more important.  We can also plan for upcoming times of stress so they will go more smoothly.  My plans last November when my father died and we were closing on the condo really saved us.
Now, I want to plan my diet more carefully.  I mapped out my plans on a mind map.  Now I want to execute everything with exactness and do even more detailed planning.  Putting more activities into JV Life Tracker may be effective.  Then I can track how I am doing with those activities daily and analyze my performance over time.
Stress can lead to serious illness.  It can also make us unhappy and ruin our chances of vibrant joy.  Meditation is certainly part
of my stress management plans.  However, planning itself is something I also plan to pay attention to.
I am also planning for the future of my blog.  Here is my map so far.  At Day 367, this journey has passed its first anniversary.  I did not lose the 15 pounds I set out to lose, but I am recommitting myself to losing weight and most of all to being happy, joyful, vibrant, and successful overall.
I want my readers to know they are free to download my ebook, Joyful Vibrance:  Transform Your Body Image, Energy, and Mood! Enjoy!
I plan to write more ebooks when I can get my plans in place for them and of course, get them enacted.
Lord, bless my readers with the ability to reduce their stress through strategic planning.  Bless them with vibrancy.  Bless them with joy!
If you would like to join me on this journey from the beginning, please start with Day One.
KaeLyn Morrill

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