I plan ahead.

April 14, 2016

I’m a planner. I’ve always been a planner. But I haven’t always planned as far ahead as I do now.  I’d like to be more spontaneous all the time, but it’s not possible. Not all the time.

Here’s why:

The Petsitter

Our petsitter books way in advance. If we’re going to take off for more than half a day, we need her to drop in or even spend the night. Michael even books his rare business travel around her schedule. That’s right. If we’re both going, which we are soon, we have to go on a date Miss Jen can sit with Riley. That’s just the way it is.

Early booking discounts

Although we use a good bit of our discretionary funds on vacations, we’ve found amazing discounts by booking early. It is entirely true that we booked a trip to France 19 months in advance. It’s also true that we saved a significant amount of money doing so.  It’s also true that when I tried to book flights to western NY for the week after Christmas all the cheap fares were gone. 10 months in advance. So we plan.  That’s just the way it is.

Life happens

Our days are full of things we must do that are just part of the life we have built. The gym. My trainer. Riley’s nose classes. Doctors and dentists and veterinarians. Web designers. Writing and reading.  My soon-to-start graduate classes, study sessions and the residential I have to do every semester on the East coast.  I go to conferences. Vacation with girlfriends. And have date nights with my husband. If I don’t slot you in there, those days fill up. That’s just the way it is

The frisson of anticipation

Anticipation is a big part of fun for me. If I know I’m going to see a friend I haven’t seen in a long while, the frisson of excitement and the buildup are part of the fun of it. That’s just the way it is.


If I’m inviting you for lunch, chances are I have something the day before and something the day after. I like to have my ducks in a row in my home and on my stove and that takes planning. That’s just the way it is.

But not everyone is understanding…or even polite about it.

The responses to my need to plan among friends and people I know have run the gamut. They fascinate me.

Some get it. Like BK, for example. She completely gets it. No argument.

Then there are the people who say “I can’t plan in advance.”  No meeting in the middle. Ok. Chances are, we’ll never get together because my life isn’t as spontaneous as yours.

My most favorite response was from one of the women I invited for a little lunch. There would be five of us and I started with April, because we are traveling in March and April. But there were timing problems. One of us lives in another state for huge chunks of time. I travel. One has a serious condition that limits her availability. Another one watches grandkids. The last one? She’s the one that had the biggest issue when we ended up with a May date–a few days after we spend more than two weeks in Portugal– and she was super passive-aggressive about it. As in she failed to respond at all by the time we got into May.  The two others set the date. She …well, where is she? Who knows.

It made me laugh. I’m looking forward to having these women over to talk and reminisce over lunch I plan to prepare.  I’ll ping everyone one time when I get back and those who show up, show up.

Maybe I’m supposed to feel guilty that I can’t be more spontaneous, even though in this case, coordinating five calendars is the kind of challenge that most would understand.  But, I don’t feel guilty at all.

That’s just the way it is.

25 comments on “I plan ahead.
  1. Suzie says:

    This is really useful – I have no planning or organisational capabilities, and it gets me into trouble sometimes!

  2. I,too, am a super planner.I actually marvel when my husband and i have a ‘free weekend’ and manage to get together with friends at the last minute. But I also have FOMO when planning far in advance. Friends asked us to plan a trip with them for the end of 2017 and I just couldn’t dive in THAT far in advance. But, I’m so with you. I LOVE when my friends plan out weeks and months in advance with me because then the chances are so much better that we will be together!

  3. Skipah says:

    Planning ahead is overated……..says the guy that forgot to pack his toothbrush on his last vacation!

  4. Anna palmer says:

    I keep reading about these nose classes. Can you explain? And graduate school?

  5. Lori says:

    How’s the nose class going? I’m going to have to plan ahead because I heard they might be offering that class near me soon.
    I like to plan ahead too, but I must admit I’m trying to be a little more spontaneous.

  6. Bernie says:

    Effective folks plan ahead. Just the simple truth. Planners also are more likely to be available for spontaneous opportunities. One important tenet is to schedule yourself wisely and not overload your schedule with superfluous activity just to stay busy. If you don’t schedule in those workouts you may not have the stamina to stay up to use those Rolling Stones tickets that came your way at the spur of the moment.We love that you and M are planners.

  7. My daughter is like this, she has a complete melt down if everything isn’t planned! Her husband calls her “Planny McPlannerson”.

  8. deanna says:

    I am a planner too. I like to have everything ready or I feel stressed and unprepared. I think planning is important for smooth operating.

  9. Jennifer says:

    For the most part I’m a planner until I over planned a vacation once and was so miserable trying to follow my own schedule.

  10. Robin herman says:

    I can hardly plan past tomorrow but for YOU I adjust my time horizon. I know good fun will result

  11. I’m with you, Carol! Planning helps me feel I’m in control (to whatever extent that’s possible in this life) and organized. I find it liberating, not constricting. And if people aren’t willing to commit to a time and place to get together, well, their loss.

  12. Andrea says:

    I need to develop more of a daily planning habit in my life – for me, spotaneity can get me in trouble

  13. I’m a planner, too, for many of the same reasons. I simply don’t get why being so is considered a negative trait, why we’re supposed to be more spontaneous. Well, I kinda get the need to be spontaneous now and then. I plan on trying to be so more often in the future.

  14. Donna Parker says:

    I love planning, Carol, and I really really like it when things go according to plan. Love the advantages. I do plan to be spontaneous today, at 7:15pm 😉
    Great post, thank you, enjoyed and shared. 🙂

  15. Tara berries says:

    I love to plan and I have hard time with being overbooked. I use my planner and no one has ever said anything bad about how I plan my life.

  16. Jacqui Odell says:

    It drives my husband nuts, but I am huge planner too! I can’t help it.

  17. Leanne says:

    I’m not a spontaneous person either (or maybe on a very rare occasion) I love to know what’s coming up on my calendar and that I have left enough time to fit it all in and still have a bit of space left for myself. And I totally agree that anticipation is sometimes the best part!

  18. I am a planner too and planning ahead helps me to have good control on all things!!

  19. Carolann says:

    You really are a super-planner! I think folks should do whatever works for them. I like to plan but don’t plan everything that’s for sure.

  20. Lisa Beach says:

    I’ve got 2 teens in the house so our color-coded calendar is jam-packed with commitments every month. My motto is, if it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t happen.

  21. Nicole Escat says:

    Planning is really important. I’m a planner too! Thanks for sharing!

  22. I always plan things way in advance, my family makes fun of me for it.

  23. I think I am a pretty good mix. I love to plan, but I use erasable pens. If something better comes along, I just erase and shift the plans around!

  24. I wish I could take advantage of booking travel way far in advance. I just never know if we’ll be able to stick with the plans, so I’m hesitant to do that. The most I’ve booked in advance was like 3 weeks. And, I would not feel bad at all if I couldn’t be as spontaneous as my other friends.

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