I have ironically sat in front of a blank document on my computer screen trying to plan out this article for weeks. Yup, that’s me, the overplanner. And it’s about time I address my addiction, because I know I’m not alone.
So my first step into acknowledging participating in possesive planning became to start with a definition. Oh yeah. I went real old school and cracked open a dictionary. I fiddled through the pages until I came to the REAL definition of an over-planner. And while I didn’t find my picture there next to the word overplanner, I did find the definition: “the excessive arrangement or scheming of plans beforehand”. Ouch.
Is that really me, I mean, us? Excessive?
Here’s my perspective. My logic behind planning, or in my case, overplanning, is establishing something to look forward to. This is the long run seems to give me some encouragement, such as “I need to study real hard for this exam to attend X Law school someday”. That’s a Class A overplanned situation. Harmless though. I think.
Whether it’s making dinner plans with a girlfriend or what classes I want to enroll in by the next semester, I always seem to be on top of when I am doing what. And this has proved beneficial to me amidst high school, applying to colleges, or planning a vacation.
But this isn’t always the case. Us overplanners go HARD. Not just “I need to study for next weeks test now because I have an event this Saturday I need to go to”. Oh no.
I’m talking we know what age we want to get married, where we want to be in five years, the reason we can’t make that party three weekends from now because of the conversation that’s gonna happen with that guy we’ve been eyeing on Thursday’s party. Oh, and did I mention we have all the kids' names pre-planned. Some of it is spawned by creativity, maybe the mindset of being a big dreamer, or maybe deep down we’re wired to be crazy. Probably a combination of them all.
Overplanning goes far beyond creating impossible scenarios in your mind and how you want or where you want them to occur.
That’s just tedious.
Now is it wrong to have these dreams? To have these ideas of when we perhaps would like to achieve certain accomplishments by a certain time in our life? Certainly not.
The biggest flaw in overplanners is that we often forget to keep in mind for the things we DON’T plan for. I mean, the things that no matter how much we have arranged our lives, the universe throws a big “NOT TODAY” in your way. A change in weather, a broken bone, a broken heart. And when we unfortunately come into contact with these curveballs, we are lost. Why? Because it wasn’t in the plan.
And it’s moments like these that leave us in the dumps. Because as much as we’d like to, we can’t schedule in coping with a loss or mending a broken heart. There’s no calendar set date to complete these organic life reactions. And until we can realize that, we’ll never be able to truly move on and face our addiction to knowing whats gonna come next.
And that got me thinking. While many of my greatest adventures and moments in life came from a planned vacation, date, or even phone call, I can’t forget the moments that came in between each crossed off event on my calendar.
That’s because LIFE happens when we stop making plans.
So should we stop?
Absolutely not. Planning out your day or goals that you want to pursue is extremely beneficial to conquering all that you want to in life. It’s the “excessive arrangement” part of the definition that complicates us. Because while we may have been able to plan the event, we don’t always get to plan the reaction.
And we shouldn’t. Overplanners like myself constantly forget the pleasures of simple organic reactions to events and going with the flow. I’m not saying we all need to be completely spontaneous, but fantasizing about scenarios and events and when you need to complete them becomes dizzying. And in all the time you spend planning, you often forget to live yourself, not by a plan, but just for the sheer joy of doing what you desire.
So amidst your plans, fellow overplanners, remember that being spontaneous isn’t a nightmare! You can do it!
Take it in small doses, slowly avoid that “excessive arranging” and live each day for the glorious reason of wanting to enjoy.