To me, planning is a fun part of life — what’s better than figuring out how we’d like to spend our time, and then turning those desires into reality? — but I know that, oddly enough, not everyone shares this love.
I was reminded of this recently when I listened to an episode of the Best Laid Plans podcast, a show all about planners and planning, in which the host, Sarah Hart-Unger, addressed a question from a listener named Erica: “How do you encourage others to plan, or is it futile? Asking for my husband.”
The short answer, Hart-Unger noted, is that for the most part, it’s futile. You can’t really make people do things they don’t want to do. With friends who seem allergic to committing things to a calendar, the most you can really do is can shrug and enjoy their company when you do run into them.
With a partner, though, it’s a different matter, especially if there are kids involved. Erica is not alone in having a spouse who refuses to plan. Fortunately, there are ways to plan with people who don’t like to do it — especially if you emphasize the benefits which we planners know that even a spontaneous sort will see.
A New Way to Think About Your Vacation Time
Plan it out ahead of time to make the most of it. Yes, even now.
First, acknowledge planning privilege
In the context of family harmony, the fact that someone doesn’t like to plan doesn’t matter much. As grown-ups, we do all sorts of things we’re not naturally inclined to do because they make our lives run smoothly. And non-planners with complex lives are almost always already benefiting from a planning process.
“If there’s somebody that says ‘Oh, I don’t have to plan, I’m doing bigger things than that,’ they’re probably having a ton of planning done for them by others,” Hart-Unger said in her podcast. She calls this an expression of “planning privilege” — the non-planner can believe that babysitters just show up when you need them, that family members and friends get seen regularly, that vacations just happen…