How to Plan With People Who Don’t Like to Plan

‘Planning privilege’ is real

Laura Vanderkam
Forge
Published in
4 min readFeb 12, 2021

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Illustration by Dora Godfrey for Forge

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.

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Laura Vanderkam
Forge
Writer for

Laura Vanderkam is the author of several time management books including Off the Clock and 168 Hours. She blogs at LauraVanderkam.com.