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The Power of Planning

Are you a planner?  I am.  My boyfriend is not.  As you can imagine this can result in a bit of turmoil.  Not that I would EVER try to control anyone else and his carefree, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, go-with-the-flow, opportunity wasting, infuriating, idiotic……um…guess you see what I mean.

I firmly believe that planning is the way to go.  If I’m taking a trip, I like to go crazy and make hotel reservations in advance.  I even like to do some research and find cool, fabulous restaurants and (gasp!) make reservations.  If you’ve ever been on a trip and defaulted to fast food because you didn’t know there was a cool hole-in-the-wall cafe two exits down, you know what I’m talking about.  Planning is clearly the way to go.

And this is not just with travel – this is with your life!  Think retirement is just going to save for itself?  That things will just “work out?”  I don’t think so!  One must plan!   The days I plan my work out in advance are the days I get the most done.  Try it – I think you’ll be surprised. If you decide what you really need to get done and focus on that, chances are you’ll get it done.  If you just deal with whatever e-mail comes in or whoever calls or shows up, you’re letting them plan your day.  You’ll get much less of the really important stuff done.

But I can preach all I want.  The planners out there are saying, “Amen, sistah!”  The nonplanners are saying, “You are too uptight.  Let go.  Have an adventure!”

I believe us planners can have the BEST adventures.  Here’s the art of it – you have the plan, BUT you are open to a change IF it’s something better.  Let me give you an example, I recently had a speaking engagement in Lancaster, PA.  Afterward, I planned to cruise up to Wilbur Chocolate, then on to Hershey.  (One simply cannot be that close to Hershey and not go there).  I had everything planned out.  But as I was perusing some brochures in the hotel lobby, I found one for Longwood Gardens and their Light exhibit.  Holy smokes!  I had heard of it and never thought I’d get to see it!  I immediately made a new plan (still went to Hershey, mind you, just spent a little less time there.)  Planners can adjust!

Ever been on a trip with no plan?  I have.  Imagine this – you decide to take a weekend motorcycle ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  You will just go where the open road takes you.   Three hours into it, you are starving and need some gas.  If you’ve ever been on the Parkway, you know there are a lot of tress and gorgeous views, but not a lot of fine dining establishments and gas stations.  So you get hungrier and hungrier and more and more panicky about gas.  You don’t even notice the great views.  You finally take a chance and take a random exit where you find a creepy gas station and eat some candy for lunch.  Oooh – born to be wild.

What does a planner do the next time?  Takes over.  Yep, we’re heading out again this weekend and I have a plan.  I found a funky, cool cafe as well as a back up option an hour further out.  I have a hotel reservation and a place for dinner.  I have optional plans if we get tired or hungry along the way.  I am a rock star!  (At least in my own mind.)  And the non-planner is happy too!  He didn’t have to do any of the planning!  (And I have enough flexibility built in my plan so he doesn’t feel controlled.)  Ah – the freedom of the open road!

Bottom line – planners just give up on changing the non-planners into planners.  Just do all the planning – everyone will be happier.  Non -planners – either find salvation and become a planner or just follow our plans.


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4 years ago

Just found yr website today and read yr posts . Totally love it !!! Keep up the good work … <3

Mike Hahn
9 years ago

I think a more balanced approach is the key….I disagree that planning is the way to go all the time. I plan for the important items, such as retirement, my workday, special events (wedding, holiday parties, etc), which allows me the freedom to not plan for the less significant items such a short vacation and to just go where life’s journey takes me. If you try to plan every detail of your life, you sometimes forget to live. I know several people like this and they spend so much time planning and worrying about planning they sometimes miss the special… Read more »

Karen Valenzuela
9 years ago

And how many of us are planners and wish we weren’t? Sometimes I would love to go just take off to somewhere-anywhere, have everything planned out, covered, engineered, etc. and not have completd any of it myself (I always do the planning and hubby just accepts and follows along). It would be like one of those “Calgon, take me away” moments that we DREAM about. The place would be fabulous- the food would be the finest, the weather just amazing (like today), and great memories for a lifetime………….!@#$%^&*+!@#$%(ouch!!!!!)….ok I’m awake now!! Oh well, so much for that DREAM! Thanks Denise,… Read more »