A 40 Day Fast From The Unplanned | Giftie Etcetera: A 40 Day Fast From The Unplanned

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A 40 Day Fast From The Unplanned

Happy Mardi Gras from south Louisiana!

Starting tomorrow, Catholics fast for 40 days during Lent. I'm planning a fast from the unplanned.

I've heard of spending fasts, where you don't spend anything (except by paying old bills as they come due) for 40 days. And clutter fasts, in which families don't create any addition clutter in their homes for 40 days, are great for people getting started or needing a restart to their organizing.

But for those starting to use planners or finding themselves neglecting their planning to the point that they are missing stuff, I recommend a 40 day fast from the unplanned.

For 40 days, don't do anything important without writing it in your planner first. I don't mean to document every second. Nor do I mean that you plan stuff that doesn't require planning.

So if you do the dishes every night, and don't write it down, go ahead and do the dishes. Don't write it down.

But if you write down and then pay bills, and suddenly find yourself just piling bills on the table and trying to remember the deadlines, stop and write them in your planner. Normally, I say that if you are actively doing something (like writing the check and putting the bill in the mail outside), just do it. For 40 days, though, stop and write it in your planner first. Take a fast from the unplanned.

If you find yourself not having quality time with your spouse, children, or friends, plan it! If an opportunity arises, of course, don't skip it. Just take a second to write it in your planner.

Skipping Mass on a regular basis? Write it down on Sundays for the month.

Missing family dinners? Plan a menu and schedule time to cook.

Not cleaning up after dinner? Note the plan to clean up in your planner.

Maybe you are wondering why you still get to partake in the event or action, even though you are fasting. It's because it's the ACT OF WRITING IT DOWN that you are practicing. The real fast is from being spontaneous to the point that your life is not in your control. The real sacrifice is forcing yourself to organize your plans so that your choices are thoughtful.

You don't need to be Catholic (or even Christian) for this to work. My atheist friends should pick things to plan that they value - family, passions, and kind deeds. My Wiccan friends might plan some time with nature. My Christian friends might plan some writing or Bible study. 

This practice is not about religion (though my personal plan will be focused there). It is about learning to prioritize what is important.

1. Make a list of things that must be planned for you to function well. Since this is a project, I am keeping this in my projects section of my binder.

2. Leave room on the list. As you think of things that are missing from your plan (usually, right after you remember that you forgot to do them), add them to the list.

3. Schedule a time, daily for 40 days, to review the list and make a plan. If you are the praying type, this is perfect for right after prayer time.

4. If something isn't on the plan and should be, stop and plan it. This is the MOST important part of the fast. This is where you train your hands to write, your brain to think, and your body to head to the planner to see what needs to be done. This is where decision-making about your priorities is practiced.

5. If you mess up, forgive yourself and move forward. That's right. Just forgive yourself and start again when you realize. While not the most important part, this is probably the HARDEST part for most of us. But it is critical. A fast means that you keep trying, not that you always succeed.

I know this isn't the traditional fast, but fasts are supposed to be challenging and to transform you. This fast has a lot of chance to do just that.


1 comment:

Mathochist said...

Wonderful idea! I could benefit from just about every item you listed!