What It’s Like Being the Girl Who Has a Plan for Everything

Planning is in my bones. I’d say blood, but neither of my parents are that great at it. I live and breathe plans. My custom Erin Condren Life Planner is filled with color coded stickers, perfectly penned appointments, and daily to-do lists split into morning, afternoon, and evening sections. And while it is nice to be organized most of the time, sometimes my plans can get in the way of my happiness.

The best part about having great planning skills is how organized I am, and it bleeds into other areas of my life. I’m generally clean (although I’m sure my roommate would sometimes say otherwise. Love you, Anna!) and with my extensive to-do lists, I plan out my schoolwork so I’m done with assignments early. Last semester, I had one final exam and four final projects. I was done with all my projects a week in advance, so I was able to focus all of my time finals week on studying for that one class, and maybe just a little bit of Netflix.

I’m also early for everything, at least if it’s something I’m going to on my own. When my family is going somewhere, we’re usually off schedule by at least half an hour, and gathering my friends for something as simple as heading over to commons for dinner involves delays to fix makeup, locate bluecards, and go to the bathroom. In contrast, I’m early to class by at least 5 minutes 90% of the time and have, on more than one occasion, beaten my boss to work.

However, with great planning comes great responsibility. When plans change, it feels like my world is turning upside down. It could be as simple as my mom deciding to make lasagna when she said she was going to make tacos, but because I was planning on having lasagna, my brain can’t cope and I shut down. This also makes it really hard to be flexible and spontaneous, I even plan “unplanned” time into my daily schedule; time for me to catch up on Netflix, read a few chapters of the book I’m reading, or write in my journal.

You may think that better planning skills will improve your life, but in order to be happy and healthy, you need to find your balance between plans and spontaneity. I’m still working on finding mine, but I know I need to embrace life’s unpredictability and let myself enjoy things, even when they don’t go according to plan.