To Plan or Not To Plan

This is a Blast from my Past. I still think it holds true even today. I hope you enjoy it. Previously posted on March 11, 2018.

A friend of mine made a comment the other day that I have been pondering ever since I heard it. He said that ‘a bad plan was better than no plan’.  Now he is a military man so perhaps in that context it might be true.   An intelligent person can always modify a plan on the fly. Thereby changing a bad plan into a good plan.  But using the same rationale: couldn’t one create a plan, on the move, to suit the circumstances of the moment?

My first reaction was that I don’t have a plan. Or rather I make things up as I go along. I like spontaneity and the titillation of not knowing what’s coming next. But then isn’t that idea just a very loose plan?  I’ve been talking myself in circles. On one hand having no plan can leave one floundering with no idea, no concept of how to move forward. On the other hand having no plan could mean that you’re open to create the circumstances you wish while not being constrained by any artificial restraints of your ‘plan’.  Are you confused yet? I am.

Some people enjoy the regimentation of everything being planned to the minutia. Others, myself included, love the instability and challenges that can creep up when you’re not too tightly organized. When I was traveling I made sure I had a plan for getting to my destination and I was aware of my options once I was there but I liked to make any decisions when I opened my eyes in the morning. I liked to be able to change my plans at a second’s notice. I liked the challenge of not knowing what’s around the corner and then reacting to it.

Now isn’t that what life is all about? I am sure my parents had plans for me as a child and worked towards my being a competent adult. I think they did their job well. I of course may be biased in that! But I am a thinking adult. I make my own decisions and I’m capable of reacting to the world around me. I enjoy that aspect. Someone once said that everyone should do one thing a day that terrifies them. I like that idea. I might not do it everyday but I do not shy away from that which frightens me. Except for snakes. Oh my good heavens I am so shying away!!!

Whatever kind of person you are, planner, non-planner or a combination of the two, I think we all have the same goal:  to enjoy life, you’ve only got one!

 

35 thoughts on “To Plan or Not To Plan

  1. Mark Lanesbury

    While ever we hold a fear, it keeps us on guard. While ever we are on guard we plan so it doesn’t confront us, and that is in all we do. Lose the fear (by understanding it), we lose the plan. Lose the plan and we begin to just ‘go with the flow’. All else is a plan 😂 🤣

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  2. Dan Antion

    When you originally published this, I was still working so it wouldn’t surprise me if I had a plan. Work goals, travel, home projects and chores and blogging, I mean who can forget blogging? All required enough of plan to keep things from colliding. Since I retired, I have a much looser plan, more like a long to do list. When things require purchasing materials or scheduling events with others, then I plan better. Otherwise, a loose plan is more than enough.

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  3. Murphy’s Law

    I would say I’m not too tightly organized and probably not too tightly wrapped! I’m be-twixt and between I guess. I don’t go boldly around the corner but I will go cautiously. For me, every morning I wake up is frightening because I don’t know what the day will bring. But I get up and face it. Fortunately, I’m usually pleasantly surprised!

    But I’m with you when it comes to snakes! I can’t like them!

    You wrote a great piece in 2018 Pam, that is still relevant today. Probably more so. Thanks for sharing it again.
    Ginger

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  4. pensitivity101

    We learned a long time ago that if we planned anything, it would always go belly up. This goes back as far as approaching the council to foster teenagers, with Hubby working at a school so holiday time was covered (they turned us down), to camping with my uncle and aunt, (we slept the only night in the car and moved back to our previous camp site the following day) planning to open a B&B (perfect location, useless house design and no way/ money to change it) and moving house (we bought a boat, but don’t regret those three years).
    Now we have a ‘rough idea’ and take it from there. No disasters so far……………….

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  5. joylennick

    Most interesting Pamela. Some of us are more alike than we realize…I have never been a serious plotter and planner. When a teenager, I thought of marriage and having children, but it was a very loose plan. Similarly, as to what I wanted to do/be in life…I was a fair dancer, and did indeed hanker after the stage for a while, but was too short for The Tiller Girls and my singing was like caterwauling….(amateur dramatics won!) My mother directed me to a secretarial career and I accepted and enjoyed it.Truth was, I was a happy, contented person who enjoyed most days and my life, so I let it carry me along. I was never that ambitious…I did marry and have three sons, and drifted into writing through my passion for reading (& possibly to emulate my father!) I was commissioned to write the first two books, which was, surely, a fluke?! I don`t like ‘organized poetry or too many rules’ and certainly don’t like snakes….Hi sister! xx..

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  6. Sorryless

    A combination of the two, yes. The funny thing about most things we fear? They’re illusions. Once we are inside that supposed fear, we oftentimes wonder why we were ever fearful of it in the first place.

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  7. John Hric

    Zen plan when you need to plan. And if a train wreck starts to form out of no where zen get the heck out of the way as quick as you can. Planning always make me think of Duck Soup. I sold a coat and to pair of plans.

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  8. rangewriter

    This is a great topic that I have pondered at length in my own life. As a young person, I had no concept of the future. Especially of myself in that future. Graduating from high school, I had a loose plan for college, but as I worked toward that plan, I saw looming holes so I switched tracks. I more or less grabbed opportunities as they arose, always with the idea that I could switch tracks again if need be. (Of course, that is not a wise attitude with which to enter a marriage🙄. My poor husbands.) I did settle down into a career that worked well for me and paid well. I was highly regimented during those 30+ years, and assumed that I needed a highly regimented life, since I seemed to thrive so well in that environment. However, I discovered upon retirement, that I don’t need one whit of regimentation. I am all over the place, have no set schedule, and refuse to associate myself with anything that requires a daily, weekly, or even monthly routine commitment. And I have never been happier. I’m loving the spontaneity of retirement.

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  9. iglengel

    Interesting post. I am, but seem to be shying away from it, a list person. I usually make a list first thing in the morning, usually while having my first and only cup of coffee for the day, of the tasks I hope to accomplish before day’s end.
    Some days I do 50% of them, other days 33%, and some days – well, you guess what those days are like.
    Being truthful, I am not one for surprises and well, to not have a list (or getting back to your post – a plan), that tells me that I may be in for a surprise sometime during the day and that is not my style. At my age, I like to know what it is I want to accomplish most days so that I am sure they will get done.
    For example, if I don’t plan on say watering the plants on a specific day of the week, well, they might just die. Or if I don’t set a particular date on my calendar to pay bills, I might not pay one. See where this is going?
    My motto is – make a plan and work your plan. Actually, in my case it is make a list and work your list. What doesn’t get done can be done tomorrow and if it is something that keeps getting carried over from one day to the next without getting done, well, at one point, I am likely to say – guess this item isn’t really necessary and it gets removed from the list never to be thought of again.

    What can I say, Pam, that’s my story and I am sticking to it. Have a great balance of your day (depending on the time you read this) and whatever you do, stay safe, stay well, and be happy.
    Irwin

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  10. Dale

    I am not a huge planner – there will be a baseline created but there is much left open to go with the flow. Balance is good. I know I can’t abide hanging with a total planner – down to the last detail… that drives me nuts. Not having any idea whatsoever and being completely in the moment also drives me nuts. I like to have a direction to start with 🙂

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