If you don't read She Doesn't Get It, you should. Two sisters take turns answering the same questions submitted by readers, and their answers are always fascinating.
Last week I asked them, "How much of your life do you try to plan versus just riding things out and seeing what happens?"
Now here's my take on my own question:
It's no secret that I stay very, very busy. I consider an empty calendar space to be a sign that I need to find something interesting to do that day, pronto! Some days, I end up with so many activities that I have to print out my calendar to make sure I don't forget something. Even so, I occasionally get so busy and sidetracked that I simply fail to show up for something. It makes me feel like a horrible flaker, but it's almost unavoidable under the circumstances.
You'd think with a framework like that, I'd be equally regimented about what I expect to happen when I arrive at each activity. In reality, that's where all planning goes out the window.
For example, I'm leaving for BlogHer on Thursday. My flight gets in around 2 p.m. and I'm leaving around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. In between those times, I have absolutely no idea what's going to happen. Of course there's the conference on Friday and Saturday. I'll attend both days and maybe I'll even decide in advance which sessions I'm going to attend. I don't know exactly when I'll track down my roommate, SueBob, after I get into town, nor do I have any idea where or with whom I'll be having dinner on Thursday. At some point, I'm planning on meeting up with Bruno for coffee - maybe Sunday morning, but we haven't set a time.
That's how I always travel and I love it that way. Detailed itineraries are just not for me. Sure, I have a couple of ideas about other things I might like to do while I'm in Chicago, but it won't be the end of the world if I can't work them in.
I feel the same way about life planning. I've never been the sort of person to try to plan my life as a whole. Even growing up I didn't have anything set in my mind about whether or not I'd get married (I did), have children (I didn't), or work in a particular industry or job.
When I was a kid and one of our cats had kittens, my mom would always tell us, "Don't pick up the kittens, just put them on the floor and watch what they do."
I've managed to apply that advice to my entire life: I don't try to force the action, I just sit back and watch what happens. I actively pursue the things I really want to do and then let the pieces fall into place from there. It may not be the most efficient way to make things happen, but it certainly keeps the stress down.
So what's YOUR planning style?