Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Think Ahead!

Yesterday, as I was driving back to school for Parent Teacher Conferences, after making last minute arrangements for people to take care of Katie and Jimmy, because I completely forgot about Conferences, I remembered years of my Dad admonishing me to “Think AHEAD!” and I realized all of a sudden that this was not a new problem.  

I hate thinking ahead.  I really hate it.  I don’t like to make plans and arrangements and it is always getting me into trouble.  It’s why I have so much trouble with regular meals, and why I have trouble finding time to work on my classes, and why I am missing Abby so much these days.  I could call on her at the last minute and she could often help me out.  

I’m wondering if this is one of those things you really have to figure out how to do in order to be a grown up.  It makes me feel very grouchy inside, like it’s the last straw of responsibility.  

I don’t quite understand it, because I like making lists and goals and even elaborate schedules.  But thinking ahead to plan how some day is going to go, that is the part I don’t like.  

There are some advantages to my natural nonchalance.   It goes very well with the farming life.  Making plans is just plain foolishness with farming, because you never know what the weather or the machinery is going to do, or when the farmer is going to need to do something right this minute, or when something that should take a minute will take five hours, or vice versa.  So in that sense, it’s a very good thing, but I also suspect that it’s something I ought to work on.  

So, responsible friends, any tips?    (And do you all hate it too, you're just better at being a grown up than me?)


Darin Seidel said...

Thanks for being honest Betsy. Not many people would be willing to admit that it is the "lack" of planning.

I would suggest since you like making lists that you make a rough list....a make shift time line if you will. I always have a 6 list to do every day. It is a list of 6 thing you need to get done that day. Now, do I do it every I do the things I know that HAVE to get done that day and if the others get done, great. If not, it gets moved to the next day. I have next to said item when it HAS to be done by.

I think everyone should have a "timeline" of when they would like things to get done. Know which items you can control (getting up, phone calls, laundry etc) and which ones you can't (weather, illness etc). Your plans can be laid in sand, it is ever changing but there is some base for it/them. Take Saturday-Abby and I are going to help Sarah and Daniel on their house/lab. My plan is to leave the house at 8. If that happens great, the more time we can have down there. If not, that is all right.

If you think of your Plan ahead as making lists to get to your end goal.

I can help you more, I just can't quite place what I want to say into words now. Sometimes it is just thinking of it in a different way (making list instead of planning).

In the Mix said...

I don't think it's necessarily something you have to be able to do in order to call yourself a grown up. I make lists and plan my day out but have done that for as long as I can remember.
I have has to learn how to be flexible and spontaneous which has been a hard lesson fraught with disappointment.
Phinn and Gigi are like me. They want to know what our day looks like. I have to sometimes purposely not give them a whole rundown so they can learn to roll with the day. There are a lot of times when I know it is comforting to all the kids to know there is a plan.
I've decided growing up and having to make grown up decisions and do grown up things and have grown up situations are just barely out weighed by the good things about being an adult. As long as the good stays on the heavier side, we're golden. :)

Susan said...

Hmm. Do you think you could handle it if someone made your plans for you? Maybe that's the first step to embracing it. Steven is not a planner and I am a super planner, so he's very content to just let me take over and plan our lives. Maybe if you had someone make your plans for you for a month or so, then you could get in the groove of it and learn to like it enough to make your own? You love organizing, so you're almost there. I think you just have to find your own Betsy brand of planning so that it seems like fun instead of work.

Personally, I'm in awe of people who can just fly by the seat of their pants. I overplan to the point of inflexibility and it really stresses me out when things pop up. There's a happy medium there somewhere. When you discover it, please share it with us. :)

Melanie said...

Totally agree with the farmer thing--Can't tell you how many times I have heard "Can we just be flexible?" about mealtime, social plans, etc.

Meals: it's working for me to make a rough list of several meals for a week or two, things easy to make and make sure I have ingredients on hand for. That way, if it's a day I don't feel like complex cooking, I can pick an easy meal from my list instead of a hard one. :)

kids: this is where I really non-plan, when I need someone to watch my kids. I don't like to burden people so I put it off. I think I am secretly waiting and hoping that someone will see I need help and offer to watch them for "x" This often leads to me just taking them along! (conferences, dr. visits, the birth of a child...)

Lists: I am a superb list-maker. The problem is actually DOING the things on the list!

Fun to think about this more deeply and to read the other comments!

betsyann said...

Brandy-I do the 6 thing too at school, maybe you linked to that? Thanks!

ITM-It will be interesting to see if one of my kidlings will be a planner-farm life would be very hard!

Susan-the thought of having someone else make my plans actually makes me panic a little. I think you just need to move home to watch my kids for me.

Melanie-"complex cooking" ha! Everything I make has to be on the easy side. I started adding "dinner" to my to do list every day, and that has helped! Maybe I should try planning 2 weeks at a time instead of weekly.

Child care! That's it! It's the stuff that involves some other person, or that I can't do with all the kids, or that will be hard to do with all the kids, that really gets me. You're a genius. I put it off for exactly the same reason.

Kelsey Gray said...

I suffer from lack of planning ahead on meals too. It's 5:00 and I'm looking in the fridge to see what I can make 5 people for dinner!