You have the planner personality, don’t you? The drive, the motivation, the vision so crystal clear in your head! You know exactly what you need to do and how to get there.
And yet… it’s not that easy.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am a walking contradiction. I’m a planner at heart, but a spontaneous spirit through and through. How can you possibly combine the two?
Well, there is most certainly a way to do so. First, let’s actually define what a spontaneous planner personality consists of.
Signs of a Spontaneous Planner Personality
A spontaneous planner personality is someone I like to think of as “The Daydreaming Doer“. You have a mind set to save the entire world, and what’s more. You can dream up the ideal plan that will help get you there!
And to go along with it, you naturally have the drive to start these projects. It gives you an adrenaline rush! But over time, the adrenaline fades, you lose interest in that “dream” and it’s a struggle to stick with it.
Which causes you to break away from the routine you had gotten so great with keeping up with. Suddenly, you do well enough if you even LOOK at your planner.
And maybe you feel a little guilty when you do. All those dated pages… WASTED. All the trees that had to die for that one page that you can’t be bothered to use and be productive with.
Could it just be a burnout?
Yes, actually that is entirely possible. That’s 100% possible. But with a spontaneous planner personality, I’d like to think that there are some additional details that seperates a spontaneous spirit away from someone who just needs a break.
Big Picture over Small Details
THIS. This is possibly the main giveaway of a spontaneous spirit trying to merge into a detail-oriented planner’s body.
Because when you think “planner” you would probably think of the individual who has everything nailed down to a T!
It was actually pretty hard for me to realize that I am a big picture thinker over a detail-oriented person because I am always planning. Whether I actually write it down or it’s looming through my head, I’m always trying to figure something out.
I’m an abstract thinker, a theorist. I am always thinking of everything from all sides and perspectives. Looking to dig deep into a situation and figure out the root of the issue so I can completely solve it. I was sure that because I was THIS in tune with my logical side, that I HAD to be a planner at heart.
And I AM. But!
Because I am an abstract thinker also means that it’s hard for me to corner myself into one answer. Usually, I am always spinning “but what if” scenarios in my head. It makes me wonder, think, and want to test out different ways to do things.
Someone who is detail-oriented doesn’t care about ALL the possible outcomes as long as they have ONE good outcome. They are focused and driven to make that specific outcome come to fruition.
Going from point A to point B is simple for them. Whereas for me, going from point A to point B involves a lot of detours and sightseeing…possibly a nap and some breakfast from Dunkin Donuts. 😛
You flow with the plan more than you plan the flow
Haaa, how many of you have read ANY of my last few posts?
Well, if you haven’t, I have found myself consistently mentioning that I backplan more than I preplan. And you wanna know something?
I’M STILL DOING IT.
When I wrote this post about using a planner to stay organized, I was sure that I was on my way to getting back into my planning groove again. And for a while, I was. But then I lost interest again, just that fast. I knew something couldn’t be right.
I noticed that I actually do this a lot. And I have my moments when I’d rather be pre-planning, then I have my moments when I’d rather be back-planning. I just seem to shift every few months of what I choose to do, regardless of what type of planner I’m using.
If you are a spontaneous planner personality, then you understand this back and forth love-hate relationship with planning and not planning. Planning each day suddenly starts to become irritating and changing more planners doesn’t seem to help it all.
Sometimes you want to plan and be productive. And other times, you’d much rather keep the day open and wing it.
The Messy Organizer
I’m gonna tell on myself a bit here, but I’m messy in the most organized way.
You know how you have that one friend that keeps a pile of stuff in a corner somewhere, but they know exactly what’s in it and they KNOW when you’ve touched something because it just feels out of place?
Yup. That’s me! A messy organized individual. 😐
Now, what does that have to do with figuring out if you’re a spontaneous planner personality?
Well, just what it sounds like. You hold it together without actually holding it together.
Your wheels are constantly churning through idea after idea until you end up with a hundred hobbies and suddenly, it feels like there just isn’t enough hours in the day anymore. Simply because you want to commit to EVERYTHING but feel limited in where you feel you should orient your time.
For someone who is naturally detail oriented…
There is no such thing as “clutter“.
You organize everything from the file cabinets right down to the color scheme. For a personality type a bit more spontaneous than that, clutter is still taboo, just not as taboo.
And for a spontaneous person with a deeply engraved organizational trait, this a pretty painful thing to live with. You may find yourself obsessively cleaning and organizing only to find that such a clean and minimal environment sparks a lot of creativity in you.
And the more creative ideas that come coursing through your veins, the more you spend time hopping from one idea to the next until your space is an absolute mess again! WHICH drives you crazy and sends you into yet another vicious cleaning phase only to repeat this torturing cycle over and over again.
If you’ve ever had to deal with this endless “Mess’n Clean” cycle, you just might have a spontaneous planner personality.
You’re actually non-commital
A planner is someone who is committing to something specific so they can see it through to completion, right?
And that WOULD be the case… unless you’re spontaneous.
I find that in many things, I am more non-committal than I’d like to be. Something as simple as maintaining a simple schedule for my blog is still something I view to be complicated.
I don’t really like the idea of committing to something that I’m not sure I’m going to stick with, because if I don’t see it through… I’ll feel like a failure.
And this happens a lot more than it should and it really prevents me from even trying new things to begin with! Being a person that has lived life, for the most part “on a whim”, going from free-spirit to calculated planner person is all but realistic.
Part of being a spontaneous planner personality is that you actually can be an organized person. You just won’t keep up with it.
You will constantly go in and out of being organized and calculated to being free-spirited and YOLO-ing for a few months. Only to return back to your comfortable planning grounds and then a few months later launch into another adventurous phase.
Not sticking with anything for longer than a few months is a definite sign that you’re a spontaneous planner personality.
Structure stresses you out…frequently
I’ve noticed that the more rigid my plans are, the less likely I am to stick with it for longer than a week.
Detailed plans can absolutely be beneficial since you know where you’re starting, where you’re headed, and you have all the information you need to get there. There is very little room to mess up or to confuse you. All you need is to put in the hard work and you’re guaranteed to get results!
But enter that spontaneity that always, and I mean ALWAYS decides to break the things that aren’t broken.
For something where all you literally have to do is just look at it and perhaps spend five minutes on, you can’t keep up with. Anything that falls into a consistent routine will eventually start to stress you out.
It’s not easy for you to do the same thing day in and day out, even if you’re getting great results from it. Your mind will one day just get fed up with the monotony, and spiral you off into your adventurous side because you need a “break”.
But alas, this can also be just “burn out” and wanting to try new things every now and again.
But for a spontaneous planner personality,
you’re not committed from the start.
Everything you do is haphazard or because you were in the moment. But as soon as that luxury adrenaline rush fades off and you’re left to do the grunt work of it all, you either power through it unhappily or you give up on it altogether.
You’re not necessarily an advocate for breaking rules, but you kinda do it anyway. Sometimes you enjoy following the way others do things, and then other times you’re much happier creating your own trail. And you switch between these different emotions pretty frequently.
The thing about creating structure with a planner is that it automatically infringes on your freedom.
You know how you might be thinking about doing something for somebody, only to hear them tell you to do it and suddenly you don’t want to do it anymore?
Well, sometimes the planner can be that nagging person telling you to do the thing you were already going to do.
Perhaps, slowing down the use of your planner is a way of “rebelling” against being told what to do? I don’t know. It sounds crazy, but it makes sense to… somebody out there.
There you have it! Those are some of the signs I feel that may qualify you to join the Spontaneous Planner Personality Club! (we should have badges… :|)
Now, you might be thinking, how do you work with that?
It’s obvious that being half organized and half spontaneous is very contradicting. And if there are goals you are really trying to accomplish, having a planner personality like this can be pretty discouraging. So with that being said, here are a few things I’ve figured out (through personal experience) that helps me maintain enough consistency to make an impact on my goals!
Tips For The
Spontaneous Planner Personality
Sticky Notes are your FRIEND!
So you don’t like anything permanent, but you also don’t want to use a pencil and have eraser marks everywhere?
Get yourself some STICKY NOTES!
I find that mini ones work the best as I can fit them under one day and write out big goals and tasks that I’d like to do on said day. And as I complete them, I write them down in my planner and check it off.
Honestly, you can just use the sticky notes altogether and dump the planner, but I wouldn’t recommend that.
Another alternative to using sticky notes (and being environmentally helpful) is just going digital. Log all your thoughts and ideas into a simple word/note keeping app that you can easily delete when you’ve completed it.
Plan loosely and day-by-day
These days, I tend to start planning the day of and even then, that’s not always reliable. So I tend to start the day off with maybe 1-5 fairly small or medium sized tasks that I want to make SURE I complete. And the rest of the day is up in the air and I just continue to plan as I go.
It works out the most if I wind up working on a big project that requires me to remember to do a lot of extra details. As long as that current day’s slot is wide open, I have a lot more space to write down what really matters instead of squeezing it in underneath a whole bunch of things I’m clearly not going to do that day.
It’s better for me this way for when I go back to review my week and I can actually see what I DID as opposed to what I wanted to do. Being able to see all that I got done, first of all, allows me to know exactly what I need to get done the following week.
And it’s also a pretty nice ego boost if I had an incredibly productive week.
Change your planning style with your mood
Haaa, I’m gonna hate myself for saying this but… if you need to switch out of your planner, then do it.
ACK!!! Ugh, that was painful.
Because I don’t like wasting planners! But listen up you spontaneous planner personality, you. Sometimes, these are necessary evils.
You can give and give and give all you can to make something work, but if you’re not into it… you’re just not going to stick with it. Better to create a plan in a different planner as opposed to no plans at all.
I find that when I switch between planners, it’s normally from paper to digital and vice versa. I find that my biggest issue that begins to make me switch back and forth between the two is mobility and time.
Let’s face it, digital planners can be quick, responsive, and don’t really take up a ton of space. But every now and then I crave to write on paper, to decorate with stickers, and return back to my paper planners and I’m back in my Erin Condren or Happy Planners.
So just go with the flow and at least keep your plans consistent, even if you’re constantly switching up your planners.
Portion it out but don’t eliminate
By this I mean, percentages.
Whether it’s 50/50, 80/20, 90/10, 99/1, make sure to at least incorporate both aspects in your life.
You’re already a natural planner, and you’re also naturally curious and adventurous. So learn to make the two co-exist. If you spend 95% of your time living life on a whim, make sure to make plans 5% of the time. Small plans even, that you know you can stick with and can help you stay on track, by even just a little.
When your mind wants to go off on a tangent, it’s going to go off on a tangent. And I find it’s pretty ridiculous to restrain myself from that part of me. Simply because the more I restrain it, the worse my focus gets. And eventually I burn out and leave my planning nature aside completely.
By being more fluid with who I am naturally and not condemning myself for not being tunnel-minded 100% of the time, I find that it’s a lot easier to get back on track than it would be if I just burned myself out completely.
Ease Back Into Planning
So lets say you’ve already burned yourself out with planning. And now you’re looking for a way to get back interested in it because you know you need it. You know it’s something you want a part of your life and you know it’ll help you. But at the moment, it’s possibly thee last thing on your mind. So how do you get back into it? Well, here are some tips for you!
Start planning in a subject you like
I started planning in one of my favorite planner subjects. The subject that got me interested in planning initially! And that was BUDGETING.
I started back budgeting for a couple of months before I became interested in my daily/catch all planning again.
So if you’re having trouble coming back into planning, just start with a subject you like. I like money lol, and I like dealing with my finances. Plus, decorating my budget planner has always been a joy for me so choosing this subject is easy.
For you, it might be memory planning, recipe planning, or even daily planning. But just start with something that makes you anxious to do more of it. As a spontaneous planner personality, you’re not necessarily going to indulge in something you know doesn’t make you happy, are you?
Go from monthly, to weekly, to every other day, to daily
When you’re trying to ease back into planning, the less obligation the better.
Part of the reason why I feel budgeting is one of my favorite planners to work with is because it is also my only monthly planner. The only mandatory check in is the beginning and the end of the month, though I just choose to do weekly budget check ins.
Because it’s not so much of an obligation to check in with it everyday, and throughout the day, it’s subtly conditioning me to get back into a routine without me feeling so confined. There’s enough time in between for me to be spontaneous and free, but it still requires me to come back to it at the end of the month.
From there, I move on to tighter schedules which would be a weekly check in. I rarely ever do detailed daily planners since it requires so much of my time (it feels like anyway). And just like that, getting back into planning is a simple process that doesn’t scare me away.
And let me also stress to only start with ONE planner! Don’t launch immediately into two planners, not even after a couple of weeks. Give yourself time to get back adjusted to having a routine before you add more planners to your circle.
Start writing it down beforehand
Pre-plan at least one thing… everyday.
You’ll probably be a little over-zealous and ambitious with your regained interest as most spontaneous people are, but please refrain from diving in too deep.
Remember, this is something you’re trying to make habitual, and NOT something you’re just curious about. Don’t rush in because with that attitude, you will most certainly burn yourself out again. And may not want to come back to it for a LONG time.
Best Layouts For The
Spontaneous Planner Personality
And last but not least… the type of planner best suited for a hard-to-captivate individual like yourself. What are the best layouts for someone who changes everything up so frequently and doesn’t like too many rules and boundaries? Well, of all the planners I’ve tested, these are some of the best fits!
When you’re on a balanced streak and not really too deep into planning, but not too deep into adventure, I find that a weekly planner is the best layout for me!
It allows me to view just enough information without having to take in too much of it at once. And as long as I don’t over plan everything in the beginning, it makes it easy to work on important tasks and big projects and segregate all the necessary things accordingly. Maybe some weeks are packed with a lot to do while others aren’t, but it’s a very easy and flexible layout to work with.
If you’re more on the verge of adventure than you are to sitting down and writing out a detailed overview of things, then perhaps a monthly planner is a better fit for you.
Monthly planners are great at keeping you organized without feeling like it’s nagging you. Monthly layouts are created for you to be more fluid with how and when you check in with your planner while still providing a bit of structure and routine to your life. I find monthly layouts to be the BEST planner to look for if you’ve burned yourself out with planning and want to ease back into it.
But then of course, you could just settle for an undated planner.
Start when you want, end when you want. Take a 3 month break if you want and come back and start on the very next page. Gotta love that about the undated system.
My only gripe with an undated planner is that technically, I’m just a bit OCD when it comes to starting a month and not completing it lol. So while I’m not tied to stick with it from January to December, I find myself having struggling with at least not finishing a month before quitting the planner. It’s a personal pet peeve, but it’s one that bothers me a bit because it, again, feels like it’s restricting me from something (even though it’s clearly not). But otherwise, an undated planner is a GREAT option for a spontaneous planner personality.
I love bullet journals and you can’t really get more flexible than this!
This journal is PERFECT for those who tend to hang into the more creative and imaginative side far longer than other planners who more prefer when things are premade (ahem like me…). The opportunities really are endless and you can customize your bullet journal specifically to your needs.
They don’t have to be incredibly artistic either; they can also be quite minimal. However you prefer, whenever you prefer, a bullet journal is always ready and can be made from virtually any notebook you can get your hands on.
For the techno types, just look into a good digital planning app or use a note keeping app to keep you on track. No papers, no mess and all your thoughts can be organized with the simple touch of a button.
I feel digital planning is definitely the better option for those constantly on the move and don’t like to carry too much of anything around with them. I also find digital planning is a lot better for REMINDERS. If you need a loud ding! to remind you to get up and get something done, you might want to consider some planner apps on your phone.
Well, in all likeness, planning really can be fun for all planner personality types. At the end of the day, it’s about finding the system that works for YOU. But unfortunately for spontaneous folk, that system could be all over the place.
But it’s okay. As long as you can reach your goals and stay consistent with whatever it is you’re aspiring to accomplish, switch away! Doing even a little bit of planning at least a few times a month is better than not doing any for a whole year.
You’ll find that there could’ve been so much more you would’ve accomplished had you just stayed on track, and I don’t want you to have to learn that the hard way.
But until next post, have a wonderful day!
Are you a spontaneous planner personality? How do you cope with irregular planning?