Planning for the future can be fun and exciting. In high school, we plan for college and then spend those years preparing for a career. We then try to start a family or work toward career success.
But what happens when our checklist is complete?
Growing up, I remember going to the guidance counselor's office time and time again. (Fortunately, not for behavioral issues, but for planning purposes). My future mattered, but I didn't know how to consider a concept so unpredictable and uncertain without guidance. Unfortunately, there isn't a guidance counselor to help us plan our 30s and 40s. We are on our own, and us “nonplanners” have a much more difficult time setting ourselves up for success.
We are surrounded by others who understand how their every decision will influence their future. They have three, five, and ten-year plans, but us nonplanners are over here not even sure what we're having for dinner.
Can you relate?
I'm a type-A in the moment, but a type-B when it comes to my future. I pay attention to the details of the present, and I struggle looking too far ahead. When I am playing with my kids, working at my job or starting a new project, I am unaware of the outside world. Yes, I do have my schedule and planner right next to me, but it's only ever complete for a week at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed. When someone asks me what I'm doing a month from now, I cringe and feel ashamed that I honestly don't know.
But I have realized I'm tired of us nonplanners getting a bad reputation. We need to understand that living in the moment doesn't mean we're thoughtless or irresponsible; it just means that the moment we are in is more important than the moments yet to come. There isn't a wrong way to view life, but we do need to make sure we don't neglect our futures and prevent our dreams from becoming a reality.
So in case you need some extra help like me, here is the nonplanners guide to planning:
1. Meditate over the big picture.
Some of us may be dreamers but cannot tangibly see the steps we need to take for future planning. Intentionally meditating over the big picture and how our present moments are fitting into that picture is important. We want to make sure what we do now sets us up for success later. Think through every aspect of your life: work, friends, hobbies, routine, etc. Is what you are doing in the present positively impacting your “big picture?”
2. Don't hold on too tightly to dates and times.
The last thing we should do as nonplanners is to lock ourselves into a set schedule. But what we can do is make sure we are reaching goals and meeting our personal expectations. Think through the following:
“If I knew I could not fail I would…”
“What habits can I incorporate now that will get me to where I want to be later?”
“Fast-forward to a completed goal. How did I make it happen?”
3. Accept who you are.
We shouldn't view our type-B tendencies negatively. Who we are must be honored. Repeat these phrases to yourself:
“My lack of planning will not ruin my future.”
“I don't need a plan with scheduled dates/times for my dreams to come true.”
“Developing a plan doesn't mean I am locked in for life, it is simply a stepping stone.”
Together, let's strengthen our planning muscles to help create the future of our dreams.
The Non-Planner Datebook allows you to dream about the future without tying yourself down to dates and times.