An Open Letter to All the Non-Planners in the World (From We the Planners):

We know you like to make fun of us. All those lists, the way we want to look ahead 3 to 6 months, the nagging questions we ask about whether you have remembered to call this person, book that space, write that report. We see you chuckle, we see you roll your eyes, make comments under your breath. We can live with that, we are used to it. It goes with being a planner in a “live in the moment” world.

But there is one thing we cannot tolerate, and that is being asked to rescue you time and time again at the last minute because you have not planned, not thought ahead, waited to the last minute, and now we who were mocked and laughed at are expected to be the ones to make it all right. That is what we cannot accept. And it happens all the time, more than you can realize, and it drives us up the wall.

And have you noticed that when things do go off the rails who do these last minute folks point their finger at as the cause of the chaos? Not likely themselves. Self-awareness is a rare commodity.

Let me say we are not including here all those non-planners who know themselves and understand the consequences of how they do what they do. We like helping them. In a moment of honesty we planners actually envy them, we wish we too could live more in the moment, not be so worked up about having everything planned out. Spontaneity is a gift and events and experiences can be over-planned leaving little room for necessary last minute adjustments. We get that.

Truth be told we like working with people that can pivot at the last second, who come up with brilliant ideas after everything is settled, who can see that what has just happened needs to be absorbed into the DNA of the event. We like being stretched, at least some of us, so that we too can be open to the now and not entrenched by the plan. We can and should learn from each other, that is what differences can be, mutual learning opportunities.

But I am afraid to say there are also those who like the thrill of the moment, dislike the slow and steady art of planning but don’t want to deal with the consequences of their preferred mode of readiness. They think planning is silly and planners are uptight and annoying. Still, when the chips are down and the deadline approaches planners do have our use.

All we ask is that if you want to use our gift, lean on our skills, ask us to rescue you at the last minute that you remember this the next time you are chuckling over our lists, rolling your eyes over our nagging about tasks that need to be done. We can laugh at ourselves, we know we are odd. But we also want some respect, that there be some appreciation for what we bring to an organization.

Now, back to my list. Blog done, dog walked, sermon written, emails responded to, breakfast eaten… What’s next on my day off?