It’s a common question. Some people simply don’t understand the whole planning obsession and I get that. For a long time, I didn’t feel like I planned much. As my life and business has changed I find myself planning more and more, for a range of reasons, not least because I find if I don’t plan I worry more and don’t get as much done.
I was thinking about what metaphor would work best for this and my mind took me to this real-life example:
Around 4 years ago, I went to west Wales on a 7 day vision quest/retreat. I knew we would be camping in a Ger or roundhouse and I wanted to be sure I was warm and comfortable.
I also guessed that some of the others might have underestimated the whole camping experience and not brought some key items. Also, some were traveling by public transport and so wouldn’t have had space to bring everything they wanted.
So I FILLED my car with stuff.
Along with all my lovely vision questy stuff, I had about 6 sleeping bags, 2 camp beds, copious blankets, first aid stuff, torches, batteries, my sheepskin (nice to pop your feet on in the morning and sit on during the day), loo rolls, towels, pillows… even a clothes airer.
As you have probably guessed, everyone laughed when I arrived.
But nearly all of the stuff got used, including the clothes airer! In fact, when that got whipped out the words ‘genius idea’ were mentioned LOL.
Amazing how what originally seems like over the top organsing can soon become the best thing ever. It’s all a matter or perspective.
On reading this you’re likely in one of 3 camps:
1. OMG I’m totally a plan-aholic like that! We’re clearly planning sisters!
2. Seriously!? Surely you would’ve enjoyed it without all that stuff?
3. You really need to get a life! Living by the seat of your pants is where all the fun is!
For a while, I thought my planning habit was a bad thing. I felt that by planning stuff, like the time I printed out a list of all the toilet stops on our Lake District trip, was limiting my life and not helpful or perhaps even healthy for my mind.
I wanted to be more liberal, more free, more ready to throw caution to the wind and just see where the day takes me.
Don’t get me wrong, I can do a bit of that. I don’t have to follow everything to the letter. But I do feel more comfortable if I’ve at least considered the options.
Planning can seem dull or over the top or like extra work but in the long run it actually means you’re better prepared and have considered a variety of angles, so if something goes wrong or needs changing it’s pretty easy to do.
With our little camping adventure I had everything (and more) that I would need and so I was able to totally chill out and enjoy the experience to the full. I had no worries about ‘what would happen if…’ – I had everything there and even better, I was able to help others too. Win-win.
It’s the same with weight loss, fitness, business, financial planning etc.
We can simply go for it, or we can plan and then follow the plan.
If you go for it then the liklihood of you getting what you want as easily as you can is way less.
If you want to run a marathon, without following a training plan you’re not going to be able to track your progress or ability to do the run and you’re very likely to come across injuries and problems you’re not prepared for.
If you want to lose weight or eat healthier and you’ve not planned any meals or exercises into your week you’re going to make it the hardest job ever to stick to.
If you do not have a goal, if you do not have a plan, you are choosing to make the journey much harder than it needs to be.
When you’re working towards something and you have a plan, you have considered the good the bad and the ugly and you’re prepared for them. You can seek advice, you can get accountability, you can review and measure your progress, you can set it up in a way that is positive and sustainable.
If you hit a roadblock along the way you can navigate around it much more easily because you can see the bigger picture.
Planning is freedom.
- Freedom to enjoy the journey
- Freedom to get more done
- Freedom to make educated choices
Planning doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be fun as you’re essentially creating a roadmap for where you want to go. Sure, stuff can happen you weren’t expecting, that’s life! But when you have a map and a path is closed you can simply choose another route.
Don’t make life or work any harder than it needs to be.
Plan it. Do it. Enjoy the adventure along the way.