How often do you plan? Are you making to-do lists every day?

We’re led to believe that in order to succeed and achieve more, we need to indulge in careful planning. With no intention of denying this, I aim to question it.

Are those who aren’t keen on planning never succeeding in life?

While planning can by all means lead to smart strategizing, it doesn’t involve actual doing on its own. In other words, even if you have a brilliant plan, it doesn’t mean it will necessarily turn into a brilliant work. Just like numerous business plans never seeing the light of day or New Year’s resolutions surviving only on paper.

Furthermore, failing to achieve your plans can lead to great disappointment which can discourage you to continue with your original pursuit. Persisting with planning or making plans also creates pressure and as we are all very well aware, pressure translates into stress and frustration.

Remind yourself of how bad you felt for not cleaning the bathroom the other day only because you were planning or meant to. But was it really necessary? Did putting it off change your life? Then why do we continue composing these lists and keep feeling bad when we don’t check off items on it? Because we’re told to do it. That’s right. All those books about successful people and their habits, recipes for success and time management, say the same things: plan your goals and keep track of their status or progress as often as possible.

Having goals and detailed planning are two different things though. Just as planning what to have for dinner and actually enjoying dinner are different.

And what about spontaneity? Aren’t we also told that we should be more spontaneous? Or is it only when someone turns into a master planner that people suddenly say that you should loosen up, let go, go with the wind once in a while?

Spontaneity is important because what your intuitive judgment says is pretty much what you need and feel like at the moment. So why not give yourself the pleasure of doing what you want when you can? Eating that ice-cream can sometimes be much more gratifying than the realization of having beaten the urge.

Where do I stand you may ask. I used to be the non-planner and mostly relying on going further, without even realizing what I have achieved throughout. Also, my curious nature led me to many spontaneous actions and paths, which I’m forever grateful for. Later on, I started to do some goal-setting, but achieving them in intuitive and spontaneous ways.

There’s no key to this. However, don’t follow general advice of planning your life, how it’s a must for achieving your dreams or for that matter those who suggest throwing everything away and starting something crazy before regretting never having done it. It’s their own way. Find your own. Nothing is a ‘must’. 


4 thoughts on “Planning: A ‘Must’?

  1. I sometimes have a hard time planning. I’m getting MUCH, MUCH better as now I use my calendar quite a bit more and it helps me plan out things in advance.

    • I think we sometimes confuse general organization with actual planning. I’m well organized in my own chaotic way, but as for planning it’s a completely different thing. Keep up using the calendar though; it helps with visualizing. Thanks for sharing Jim!

  2. Great post, Sophie! Like you said, there’s really no set path that we all have to follow. Advice is just that: advice. It’s not a rule that has to be followed. Personally, I try to dance on the line between planning and spontaneity. I’ve found that when I plan too much, stress and anxiety end up getting to me and I suffer for it. On the other hand, if I don’t plan at all, I slack too much and get nothing accomplished. I think it’s important for us all to find our own goal and way to get there, not follow the path of someone else.

    • Thanks Kevin! Exactly how I mean it. Some people really need to plan constantly, because it makes them feel in control, but why should those that aren’t suit for it do the same? Balancing between the two can be quite hard though, but leaning towards one or the other is just common. Thanks for stopping by; it means a lot!

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