Planning like “Normal”

There are a lot of “normal life” things missing from our new, socially distant, reality. Like many introverts, I don’t miss everything about the pre-COVID era (like crowded grocery stores and social gatherings I felt obligated to go to), but I do miss things like visiting friends and family, traveling, and camping trips. I’m very fortunate to live in a place where the social distancing and quarantine measures have been working, and with restrictions starting to ease, some of the things that we’ve missed are back on the horizon. While this is great news, the hard part for me is not being able to make plans with some level of certainty. As much as I love going on a trip, I might enjoy planning the trip almost as much. The problem with a love of planning, is that it really stings when your plans don’t work out. With so much uncertainty of what we’ll be able to do and when, the fear of making plans and having them fall through is preventing me from making them at all, leaving me with no big plans I’m looking forward to.

So what is a pathological planner to do? Here are a few strategies I’m working with:

  1. Create a list of plans you’d like to make. I have a lists upon lists of camping trips, hikes, and road trips I’d like to go on, but as I’ve added to these lists over time, I’ve forgotten a lot of the details of each list entry. Now, I’ve been trying to go back to these lists and add details so that when the opportunity arrives, I’ve got my own notes to work off of.
  2. Channel the planning energy into other productive areas. Instead of planning trips, I’m planning projects and tasks I can tackle at home. Things like reorganizing rooms, DIY building projects, and landscaping. I have a ton of smaller projects I’ve been meaning to get to, but I find it’s easier to tackle something if I’ve thought it through and have everything I need to get it done.
  3. Remember what I would normally be doing. Times are strange, and it’s easy to forget what this time of year is normally like. While it seems like the current circumstances are holding back my plans, in reality, last year I was probably sweating over trying to fit all my plans into the summer too.

I’m hoping my new planning behaviours will be a positive thing I take with me once things are actually back to normal (whatever that looks like). Do you have any strategies for adjusting old habits to better fit current circumstances? I’d love to hear them!

– Perri Read, Junior Consultant