Planning for the non-planner

January 13, 2013

Ad Libbers, also known as people who prefer not to plan, are a lovably determined lot. And fearless, in a way, for looking a project in the eye and believing that they’ll succeed by figuring out it as they go.

But it’s easy to change your non-planner ways and remain the creative big thinker you’ve always been.

First, recognize that planning doesn’t have to be hard or complicated or overly fussy.

Second, know that plans can change. If you need to alter a task or timeline down the road, you can.

Third, it shouldn’t cost money. You won’t need all sorts of tools; paper and pencil will do just fine.

Once you’re comfortably settled into these three principles, you will need to find a system that works for you. And by system it could be as simple as Post-It notes that you gleefully rip off the wall each time something is completed. Or a paper list with boxes that you can check off with satisfaction. Calendars with space to write in work well, too.

With a system decided upon, it’s time to think of what needs to be done. The trick is to not list the tasks in chronological order. Just brainstorm and write down everything that comes to mind. A few ways to frame your thinking are:

• What does everyone else have to do?

• What does the outcome look like and what are the different pieces of that picture?

• What, if nothing else, has to happen?

It may take more than one session to complete your list. Once you’re happy with it, start reordering your tasks based on when you want them completed. Apply dates, or not, it’s up to you.

With plan in hand, you’re good to go. We just ask that you refer back to it once in a while.

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