Recently, I’ve heard from a lot of my coaching clients that planning for the future feels hard.
With the pandemic still in full swing, it’s difficult to know when we’ll be back on our campuses, when we’ll travel again, when we’ll see our families and friends that live far away, and when we’ll feel back to pre-pandemic levels of productivity.
So, I’ve been collecting ideas for how to think about the future in the middle of a pandemic.
Hint: the ideas often involve a lot of visioning and dreaming.
In other words, I like to find low-stakes ways of thinking about the future, creating possibilities for myself, and thinking through what life could look like. When I do this kind of planning, it’s important that I keep the plans indeterminate since I don’t know when the pandemic will be over.
Here are some of the ideas that I’ve come up with (and I’d love to hear what you would add to this list):
Explore Zillow. Zillow.com is one of my favorite ways to explore possible future locations to live. I like to see what housing markets look like in some of my favorite cities, look inside houses to see what styles I prefer, and dream about all the places I might want to live some day. It’s great for when I’m feeling stuck in my current physical location.
Research vacations. Planning a vacation is the first step on the path to booking one. I look at local restaurants, hotels, sights to see, and consider any friends I have in the area that I might want to visit. I like this activity since creating a vacation itinerary, budget, and planning out possible dates and time windows can be done well in advance of actually booking a trip. These tasks also help you to have a great time once you are actually on vacation.
Draft a future CV/resume. Sometimes, I spend some time thinking about the future jobs I might want, and draft a CV as if I already had them. I consider myself five to ten years from now and where I want to be professionally. Then, I look at some jobs ads that are similar and think about what might get me to that future state. This kind of activity can help to plan publications, conference presentations, skill sets to develop, projects to take on, or other areas where I can build toward a future professional vision that might take a while to accomplish.
Preview coming attractions. My local library has a “coming soon” section for ebooks and audio books where I can see what’s being ordered and put myself on the waiting list for books that look interesting. In addition to keeping me current on my favorite authors, it’s always a nice surprise when I get the email that the book I had on hold is now available for check out. I also like to watch movie trailers for upcoming releases.
Now that I’ve found these strategies, indeterminate planning has become one of my favorite things to do!
What would you add to this list of activities?