The Planning Pantser: Or How to Plan for Improvisation
In the world there are planners and there are pantsers. Planners plan and make their decisions according to formulas and goals. Pantsers are fly by the seat of your pants people (hence the name). They like to live in the moment, and let the winds of life take them where they will, deciding in the moment what to do and where to go. That's an oversimplification of course, and doesn't mean that you're always one or the other. You might be a work out pantser, taking whatever class is on Tuesdays because you're up for a workout, but a cooking planner, making detailed grocery lists based on weekly recipe lists. In general though, I feel like most of us fall more into one category or the other.
If you've been reading here for a while, or if you know me, then you'd probably, squarely, put me in the pantser category. It's where I would put myself too, or at least, up until this week.
I've been marinating on my past decisions this year, meditating on intentions and goals. And I always thought I was an intentions person. You know, put out the good energy and see what happens. I general, it's how I live my life. I love being open to new adventures and it helps me stay calm when something (okay nothing!) goes according to plan.
The problem is, it's very hard for me to actually set out to achieve something when all you've got are good intentions, at least for me. This spring has been a low productivity time, and I've been analyzing my own habits, successes and many failures to see what I can do better and how I can fail more spectacularly (because it doesn't matter the outcome, it matters that you did the damn thing).
Turns out, I'm a planning pantser. After years of preaching to myself that goals only hampered my potential and caused pressure and defeat, I've come to realize that I love being an A+ student.
This month I started on an experiment. Set some fitness goals, short-term, to see where they would get me. Things I've wanted to make a daily practice, had even written on my calendar and set alarms for, that I shrugged off, thought, I'll do it tomorrow, since there was no end in sight. But having an attainable goal, 60 minutes of plank this month (two minutes a day), and 150 sun salutations this month (five per day), have helped me stay accountable. There's an end in sight. Of course that means as soon as I fail or attain that goal by June 31, I'll start over, make a new goal, but the drive, and looking through the short-term have informed my habits more than anything I've tried.
Really, this is unsurprising. I'm a go-getter type person, but I need a clear thing to "go-get." And surprisingly, I feel more free to do what I want and how I want to do it with a plan in mind, instead of just a "free flow." If I miss a day, that's fine, I know I can make up for it the next one, or I can work ahead to plan for upcoming days and give myself a buffer.
Are you a planner? Pantser? Pantser Planner or somewhere in between? How do you keep yourself fulfilled and happy?