Personal Development

The Risk of Overplanning

Theresa Ho
Written by Theresa Ho

For most of my life I’ve been a planner.

I like to think about things before I do them.

It makes me feel prepared, in control and know what I’m doing.

The reality is things don’t always go as planned.

Extenuating circumstances that is beyond your control happens.

It takes you on a detour. Things can fall apart.

When this happened in the past I would often be upset at myself for not thinking ahead and being more prepared.

It created unnecessary anxiety and stress in my life.   It put me out of the moment.

I remember a time when I was in Italy and I insisted we should buy our train tickets in advance to save time and money.

overplanningSo we did.

My friend and I ended up loving the Amalfi coast and wished we hadn’t bought our tickets.

It would have given us the flexibility to stay an extra night or two.

What made it worse was we missed catching our train.

We underestimated how long it would take us to get to the train station.

So we had to buy new tickets.

I was so disappointed and frustrated at the time.

My friend on the other hand was totally chilled.   She was enjoying each moment.   And appreciating the time to grab another slice of Neapolitan pizza.

She was not distracted and upset that we missed the train but was appreciating the wonderful unplanned parts.

I thought to myself that’s how we should be living our life.

To try and live in the moment.   Find and appreciate the positive aspects of any given moment we are in.

Even if it is just recognizing something didn’t turn out the way we wanted to in life, and having the
opportunity to yell “Plot Twist!” and exercise our ability to cope with change and move on.

It all contributes to our growth.

So instead of putting so much emphasis on needing to plan ahead, stressing yourself out in planning for things beyond your control.

Why not give yourself a break and be more spontaneous when it comes to planning day-to-day matters?

Enjoy the randomness life brings.

Save your energy for planning the big rocks – the important decisions in your life such as a career change, taking your relationships to the next level, etc.

Not the trivial things in life that you can get by with minimal planning effort.

All you have to do is experiment and explore your uncertainty tolerance scale.

Start with simple things in your life.

Like doing a grocery run.   Something you can get over fairly quickly if things don’t work out as planned.

Instead of making a list of all the things you need to buy. And what’s the best and quickest way to get there.

Just go.

You’ll start to realize when you don’t make the effort to plan, you will still get find a way to get around it.

It’s not a big deal.

Unless you choose to make it a big deal.

And keep experimenting with your level of comfort zone, tolerance, and preferences.

Find what works for you.

In the end too much of anything in life is overkill.

When you embrace spontaneity and go with the flow, you’ll come to realize when it comes to planning, overdoing it

a. It kills the magic.

The best things in life happens when you least expected.

You know those times when random amazing things happen to you?   It’s the best feeling and high in the world.

Why?

Because you aren’t attached to a certain outcome.

You were not holding on to expectations.

And therefore you have not set yourself up for disappointment.


b. It can be counterproductive.

Planning too much takes up a lot of energy when you start to worry and try to control the future.

If you can get pass the idea of not having to be in control and go with the flow you’ll feel less anxious and stressed.   You’ll start to experience more fun and excitement in your life.

Why?

Because you can handle whatever comes your way.

After all if you are reading this, it means you have dealt with and handled everything life has thrown at you up to this point.

You might think, yea I survived but I could have done better.

The fact is:
You survived.   You did the best you knew how and got through it didn’t you?

So believe that you have the ability to find a way and that you’ll have the resources to help you along the way.
Trust your instincts and be more spontaneous.

How could you use your energy to be more productive instead of worrying about things from the past that you cannot change? Or things in the future that are beyond your control?

Wouldn’t it be more effective if you used your energy to learn from your mistake and apply the lessons you’ve learned now to find a solution to create a better future?

c. It stifles your imagination and creativity.

Why? Because good crazy ideas come to you when you are not thinking.

If you are constantly thinking and rehashing how to execute something. Chances are your mind and energy will be distracted and be taken over by worry and fear.

This stifled energy will take up space in your brain.   It keeps you stuck in your habits and way of thinking.

There will be no room for new ideas to pop into your mind and no chance of you breaking your pattern of thinking.

I’ve noticed whenever I’m stuck with coming up with creating content and writing, I need to take a break.   It helps me clear my mind to allow new inspiration to come into the forefront.

When you surrender your attachment to the outcome and focus instead on the process and what you can do as you work through each moment.   You will start to notice you have more fun and appreciate the task at hand.

And this is where you’ll start to see the magic happen.

Surprises will start coming into your life.   You’ll notice things happen and are stack in your favor.

So stop agonizing over every detail.

Plant the seed. Take inspired action.

Trust. And learn to dance with the flow.

About the author

Theresa Ho

Theresa Ho

Theresa Ho is an 80's music lovin' old fashioned drinkin', freedom-lovin' Wellness Travel expert sent to help people travel to recharge from their daily grind. Treat yourself now. Get ideas for your Next Getaway and Tips on How to Stay Well HERE. Follow her on Instagram (@happyfreelifestyle) and Facebook.