"Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now."
I was working with a client recently with a great idea but which wasn't moving forward because of one major issue - lack of planning. A fear that planning a creative project would take away all the joyous 'fireworks' ideas and invention of the artistic process was shackling them.
As an addictive planner myself, I was reminded of a conversation I had sometime ago. A colleague, looking at all my notes and detailed to do lists, said, "Are you any good at being spontaneous?". "Yes," I said, "as long as I have planned for it."
I wasn't trying to be clever. If, for example, I am writing a talk or putting together a workshop, I plan every moment. With a talk, I write out every word. With a workshop, even for the sections where I ask people to work in pairs or groups, I make sure I have some backup material just in case people don't join in and look blankly at me. (It has happened!) Once I have a clearly worked out plan, rather than shackling me, it completely opens things up for me.
Depending on which analogy you prefer, it can be like a foundation or a parachute. If you have the sound foundation of your plan, it gives you something solid on which you can (metaphorically) dance, jump, run and play, knowing you can always come back to standing. With a parachute, you can jump into the unknown, knowing that you have something you can hold on to so that you don't fall on your face with a sickening thud.
Good planning can also help you to work out all the things which could go wrong and help you work out possible solutions in advance. It can help you find better, more efficient, and/or inventive ways to approach things. It can even help you to decide if a project is actually worth doing.
The wise quote that often comes up is, "Fail to plan, plan to fail". I prefer to think fail to plan and be prepared to miss a lot of fascinating and creatives opportunities.
If this has struck a chord with you and you want to find out if coaching will support you, check out how we could work together and get in touch.