Planning Versus Doing: The Planning Quandary

Along with a new year comes a fresh start, a clean slate, and a new chapter to write.

With a new page to write on, you would think that finding a topic to blog about should not be that difficult. I mean, there are so many topics that consume my everyday thoughts: making plans to be a better teacher (part of being a better PERSON), planning my professional development for this year, planning my 12 races for this year, writing effective lesson plans,  planning out the long-term process of earning my PhD, and the list goes on. So why am I having so much trouble thinking about what to post?

Maybe I am having difficulty because instead of spending my time DOING, I am spending my time PLANNING.

PlannerI am a very organized person and planning out events – from tonight’s dinner to my life-long career – is in my DNA. (In fact, my husband makes fun of me because of my inability to eat lunch without planning what I’ll be eating five to six hours later.) But, in all seriousness, I have discovered that in my world, planning often takes the front seat and the doing becomes secondary.

I have always been the girl with the detailed agenda book, multiple calendars around the house, and a desk covered in sticky notes galore (organized in rows and columns, of course). I can’t help it. I’m a planner. I like to know what I am going to be doing each day on my vacation  – hour by hour – and exactly what I will need to pack for the trip…even months out from our departure date. I had the first semester of math units planned out for this school year…last May. Yes, instead of using my full steam to teach at the end of last year, I was planning for the following year.

I don’t think I will ever be able to diagnose the reason behind this neurotic behavior or discover a cure; but I optimistically believe admittance is the first step. Does that mean that I’m on my way to being a Type B, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda gal? Nope. Not in this lifetime, anyway. But I think in this new year I need to start focusing on the present. I need to focus more on what I am DOING, and less on what I plan to do in the future. Because, truth be told, most of my plans change, anyway. We don’t have control of our futures. So, while planning takes a lot of the surprise and suspense out of future endeavors, it doesn’t lock everything in.

My “word” for 2015 is BETTER. My goal is to practice being a better person: wife, teacher, learner, runner, etc. But I think I need to add a word in front of that word…now, my “words” are DO, BETTER. I don’t mean act better, but act in the moment better. I must focus on the present better, and not let planning for the future get in my way of doing.

Are you a planner? Does your presence in the moment suffer from your over-planning? Share your story here or with me on Twitter, @thatmathlady. We will DO, BETTER together in 2015!

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