The word neglect carries a negative connotation to many of us, as it signifies abandoning someone or something as a result of not valuing them. People cry foul when they don’t receive the attention they believe they deserve from loved ones and feel neglected.
They feel they aren’t loved or aren’t important enough.
Many damaged adults trace the root of their problematic characteristics to parents and guardians who neglected them when they needed their undivided attention the most.
Why, then, would anyone teach neglect as a good strategy effective for goal-oriented action?
Well, the answer lies in it being combined with an important notion: planning. It goes without saying that planning is a good habit for almost every activity, no matter how big the task is.
Do you have a mammoth task ahead of you? Break it down into smaller, manageable pieces and set aside time to do them systematically. Before long, you have managed to attain what seemed virtually impossible before. The same applies to money; when you plan how to save and spend it then you get this satisfactory feeling of being in control of your finances.
But what does this have to do with the neglect?
The planned neglect philosophy works this way: every day, every week or every month you realize that you have an overwhelming number of tasks to get done. To keep your sanity intact, you then decide to do just one thing at a time while deliberately ignoring or neglecting the rest.
You do not stop until you accomplish the predetermined result of that one activity before moving onto the next one. You teach yourself to focus and be single-minded in whatever you do at each moment until you are finished.
Using this strategy, you might think something like: “When I wake up at six in the morning, I am going to quietly sit down and say my prayers or meditate for an hour. My mind may keep reminding me that I need to work out while it is still early in the morning, but I am planning to focus only on meditation until seven o’clock. The rest I’m not going to focus on.”
This pattern continues throughout the day as you focus on each task, despite the other things going on in your life.
In addition to helping you become orderly, this way of doing things allows you to live and enjoy every moment. It means that you are present in the present. You don’t embody the worries of tomorrow because you have already decided what you will get done, so while you get today’s agenda done, you are at ease.
It is a way of giving yourself permission to make the best of every moment and be happier.
We’ve talked more about this before in our article about attitude. Click here if you want to learn more about that and read the sections on flow: a state of being in the moment and the benefits that can have, of which directly relates to this theory of planned neglect philosophy.
Another advantage to this system is this: never will you find yourself panicking at how fast time moves because you already knew what you would be doing at what time. Somehow your unconscious time-tracker is awakened and you begin to appreciate the real value of time.
This is another example of time being like money; as the saying often goes. ‘Budgeting’ your time makes you aware of its real value. Suddenly you know the real meaning of an hour because you have seen how much work you can get done in it.
A benefit of this is that when it’s time to enjoy yourself, you go all out to make sure you truly enjoy it because you have cultivated a culture of getting maximum value out of your time.
Just like work horses, who are given blinkers to encourage only forward vision and stop them from looking backward and sideways at distractions, it is important to focus deeper rather than give in to distractions. If you can make this a habit, the momentum will carry you forward into greater fruits of life.
If you implement a time table that allows you time to think, relax, but also plenty of time for productive work, then do your best to keep following it until it’s wired into being a habit.
Do keep in mind that you are only human, though; this will take time to develop. Go easy on yourself and keep going despite setbacks. A day of little productivity doesn’t have to turn into a week. That’s entirely up to you.
Be kind to yourself, understand your limits, and make your plans with them in mind.
Whatever your character, strengths, or weaknesses, you can practice the planned neglect strategy in a way that best suits your preferred lifestyle. By focusing forward and deeper into your tasks, you will find yourself operating on a whole new level than you thought possible on your path to the achieving your dreams.