This is one of my favorite planning tools. And by favorite, I mean that I actually use it, and it works! If you’re a bit like me when someone says – “Now just write down everything you have to do and then schedule it!” – you want to never ever do anything ever again because if it has to start that way you’d just rather not, thank you. Well, this practice might be useful for you too.
I call this the Placemat Process with God.
It’s a combination of a tool shared by Abraham Hicks, and the idea of using a God Box from Tosha Silver’s book Outrageous Openness. It’s simple and allows you the focus and clarity to get the things you really want to do…done. And here’s how it works:
Step 1: (the set up)
Get a piece of paper and a pen or pencil, and sit in a fairly quiet spot. Write the date at the top of the page and then draw a vertical line to divide the page in half. Above the left column write ME, and on the top of the right column write GOD (or Source, Spirit, Universe, etc). (By the way, it’s called the Placemat Process by Esther Hicks because the first time she and Jerry did this was in a restaurant and they used their placemat to write their list out. Cool, yes?)
Step 2: (make a very small list)
Now, on the left side of your paper (under ME) write down the things you definitely need and/or want to do today. Not everything, everything, because a lot of daily “musts” you already have down pat – eating, sleeping, going to work, caring for your children, etc. But perhaps you have to write a blog post for your 30 Days of Blogging Love Challenge (you know, just for example), or you may need to pay bills, help a friend, find your tax information, make an art journal page, run a mile, etc. (And keep in mind that it doesn’t work to list a big project like “Write my novel” as one of your tasks for the day.) List no more than three of these tasks for today.
I know, only three! But trust me this is best. You can add more later if you really want to, but three is generally do-able. Even if the water pipes freeze and you have to spend a good part of the day dealing with that (ummmm, true story…), you can still get your three or less things done. And getting things done is the point, after all, not having a gigantic, important busy-ness list. You feel good when you get things done, you have a sense of completion, and you learn that you can trust yourself to accomplish the tasks that are important to you. And, oh yeah, the rest of the stuff is being taken care of anyway.
Step 3: (make a larger list)
So, on the right side of the page (under GOD) write everything else. I know – we don’t want to write everything we need to do, Ack! But this is different because this is God’s list. Everything else you have on your mind that you need, want, should, would like to do. Write it here. Do not be logical – just write. Some days this list is quite long, especially at first. You may need more paper. Other days it’s shorter – or you might just refer to yesterday’s list. My lists change daily because I’m just getting it all out and not trying to be organized or strategic in any way. It’s a form of mental dump.
Step 4: (hand it over)
The final step is to offer this longer list to God. I ask God to handle these things for me. I say something like, “God, if these things should be done, or You want them to be done, please help me. You know I can’t do it all alone, and I don’t want to. I sincerely value Your help and guidance. Thank You very much!” Next I quickly look over the list again and imagine everything being done with ease, support, and love and I say, “This can all be accomplished with God”. Then, cut I the paper in half and place the right side in my God Box and turn it all over to Him. Whew!
Sometimes I make a copy before I put God’s list in the box so I have it to refer to. I might use it for longer term planning, or to choose something in case I have extra time after I get my list done. Later, you may want to look back at what gets done – it can be truly amazing! Many things just resolve themselves, like, I didn’t need to do them at all. Other things have attracted interesting and surprising assistance or brilliant solutions. And in case you’re wondering what a God Box is – it’s a place (a lovely box, bowl, or jar work nicely) to put your concerns, worries, and anything else you want God’s help with. You also might place affirmations, and prayers, and dreams in there. By putting your massive to-do list in the Box you’re turning the process over to Divine Order and Assistance.
I also ask for help with my smaller personal list and know that it will happen with God. And if it doesn’t (and there are occasionally days when it does not happen!) I know that it’s still all OK. What did happen was just fine. Sometimes the timing just wasn’t right, or I was pushing something that really didn’t need to be pushed. The magic of this practice is in having space to focus. It is in being clear about what to do today. It is in releasing your overwhelm and accepting Divine Assistance. It is in allowing things to happen in the best way – not necessarily in the way you think it should. This is good stuff!
Now you can begin your work with clarity and peace, and the knowledge that you’ll get some important things accomplished. And the rest is being worked on by Someone with mad skills!
Wishing you a delicious day with plenty of serendipity and assistance.
Lots of Love,