To Plan or Not to Plan: That Is the Question

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Hands of a woman writing notes in her personal planner.

Myriad studies, articles, books and essays abound regarding the countless benefits associated with structure and routine in life. Most particularly, this is thought to be true in the lives of young children.


In an effort to organize and plan ahead, it is not uncommon for people to use a handy little tool known as, “a planner.” Technology has brought this little tool into digital form, as well; so, those who shy away from hard-copy items can simply download whatever-app best suits their individual needs and tastes for gadgety-planning fun.

While I’ve never been a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl (I like to think I am more of a let-the-Spirit-guide-me type) I also cringe at the thought of having to open a notebook, binder or computer app just to see what I’m “supposed” to be doing at any given hour of day. I understand the value of making organized lists when needed, but“planning” should never become more important than “living.”

Have you taken a look inside a planner lately? Many of them look like a combination of scrapbook/ legal tablet/ photo album/ Bible/work schedule/quote of the day/joke book/something-or-others. My head spins just looking! There’s also a trendy new type of “planning” that involves “coloring” (because that has been found to be a good stress reliever for adults)…so now, we not only have to fill in the squares of our planner “to-do” lists, we have to create and color elaborate graffiti art and illustrations to go with it!

When giving online seminars to homeschooling parents, I often encourage moms to use planners if it helps them add the structure/routine they are seeking, so long as they do not become slaves to said-planners. You’d be surprised how many suffer full-out anxiety attacks if they miss a square or don’t quite get to everything on the list for a certain day. Rather than merely shrugging it off, thinking, “Oh, well, we’ll get to that another day,” planner-slaves begin doubt themselves and suffer inferiority complexes, thinking the only reason their planners aren’t working is because “they” are personal failures in life.

At that point, it’s time to take few steps back and ask ourselves if we really need to write down the time we plan to brush our teeth the following day. Is it truly¬†necessary to our productivity, profitability or overall well-being to write down when we will eat lunch, what we will have for lunch, with whom we will eat our lunch, and what color plate we will use to serve our lunch? Okay, that’s a bit sardonic, I admit; however, the point remains that if our “planning” begins to take over our ability to function without stress, then, it might not be the best choice for us in terms of becoming more organized and structured.


Whether to plan or not to plan depends on whether it adds or detracts from our daily sense of accomplishment and peace of mind. I personally can’t see spending several hours of my time doodling, listing, and arranging how I will spend every waking moment of my week. Instead, I’ll probably just keep slapping old-fashioned, obsolete, traditional, boring sticky notes (or torn pieces of notebook paper) to my laptop, bathroom mirror or steering wheel to remind myself of the important “don’t-want-to-forget-these” things I need to do, and spend the time I would spend planning my life, actually living my life, instead!

 

Writer Bio

Judy DudichJudy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.

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