The Atlas

Derailed Plans

Is it too late to wish everyone a good new year in April?


Oh well. That's what I get for somehow letting the last several months lapse without writing. So, time to get back to it. It's not as if life doesn't regularly give me things worth capturing.

Making the choice not to plan is HARD when you're a planner

Once a project manager, always a project manager... or at least a planner. I may not be much of a project manager anymore (that's an understatement!), but I still consider a plan to be an incredibly valuable security blanket for my psyche. Someone recently observed that I have 'Plan A through Z, with back-up plans for each version.'

And that's true. Almost always. But definitely for things that I consider important.

So when circumstances slap around your plans over and over again, what do you do?

Option A: Keep going back to the drawing board and re-planning.

Option B: Sit back and let things unfold without trying to map it all out.

Option A feels better for a typical Type-A personality, for sure. But after a few times, it gets very clear that you are just wasting your time. And if there is one thing I loathe more than not having a plan, it's wasting my time.

So I picked Option B.

Holy crap, is that hard. I find myself lying in bed at night, unable to sleep, casually dropping into mental planning. I walk the dog, I talk through a plan to the puppy as if he cares. When I meditate and realize my mind has wandered, it's to go back to planning.

Making the CHOICE not to plan has been kicking my butt. But I also realize that there are times when the false security of a plan that is destined to get changed again doesn't serve me, whereas learning to exercise some discipline for my compulsion really could.

So I try not to plan.

Interestingly, the thing I have most come to realize in this effort: my need to constantly be mentally planning and re-planning is at the heart of my tendency to live in my head so much that I miss what is going on around me. It's just a non-physical form of a distraction addiction, like playing video games or binging YouTube videos non-stop. And it's why so often realize that I didn't notice something or I didn't remember which route I took to get home.

Where is the line between helpful contingency planning and compulsive hiding-in-your-head?

I'm not sure I know. But I'm working on it.

In the meantime, Lawrence and I have been continuing with our podcast and it is now also available on iTunes. So check out what we've managed in Season 2 of Grow or Die so far, and let us know what you think.

I hope you all have a great week, and I look forward to getting back into my writing routine again. It's been far too long.

Happy dragon slaying!

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