Do You Have This Phobia?
By Vicki Voisin, ACP

2013 will be here before you know it. Are you already making plans for next year or are you a victim of Planaphobia?

What is Planaphobia? It’s is the fear of planning and It strikes large numbers of our population, even paralegals.

Planaphobia prevents you from enjoying many of the things you’d really like to do but are afraid to plan for. So you make excuses: Perhaps you’ll be too busy at work. Perhaps something better will come up. Perhaps you won’t feel well that day. Perhaps a volcano will erupt and you won’t be able to fly. The excuses are endless.

Do you envy the people who always know in July what they’re doing over Christmas vacation? Who purchase concert tickets months in advance? Who make flight arrangements early enough to use their frequent flier miles? Who have standing appointments for ‘high maintenance’ activities like manicures and pedicures and getting their hair done?

They’re never scrambling at the last minute hoping they can be ‘worked in’. They never miss the opening of the new play. They never have to take the ‘left over’ seats on the airplane and end up monitoring the toilets. They’re simply not afraid to make those plans in advance…and usually their plans work out just as (ahem!) PLANNED.

Time marches on. The months and years go by in spite of your hesitation and fears.

If you suffer from Planaphobia, there are steps you can take that will help you make plans and enjoy life to the fullest:

Always have a bucket list. Almost everyone has seen the movie ‘Bucket List’ starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. They play two men who are facing death so they go about fulfilling the items on their list of things they want to accomplish before they ‘kick the bucket’.

You should have an ongoing ‘bucket list’ of things you want to accomplish or do during both in the near future and as your life goes on.

Regularly update your bucket list. A bucket list is a work in progress that will change as you cross things off or think of new things to add. The lesson to be learned is don’t wait, or waste, another minute. Make your list, clarify what is important to you, and start living a more fulfilling life TODAY.

Remember, the creation of a list of life goals allows you to imagine a life that is rich in possibilities. You always have something to look forward to. When you declare your goals, you declare your intent and raise your level of awareness of opportunities that are there for you.

Use your calendar to make your plans. A calendar offers you a year of endless possibilities. Days and months with nothing on them give you permission to make commitments. For instance, the Charlevoix Waterfront Art Fair has taken place on the second Saturday in August every year for 54 years. It’s a given that in January I’ll enter that date on my calendar so I can attend.

If this is still difficult for you, one thing that might help is to put optional meetings or anything else that comes up on your calendar. They’ll go on with or without you, but if your event or travel is canceled, you’ll be able to pick up where you left off and attend the event you originally thought you had to miss.

Don’t hesitate to accept invitations. If you have nothing else on your calendar, go ahead and RSVP immediately. If you hesitate, you’ll wait until it’s too late and you’ll have another missed opportunity.

Retain your spontaneity. Life is all about seizing the moment. Everything doesn’t have to be planned down to the minute. If something you’d like to do comes up on the spur of the moment, don’t hesitate to say ‘YES!’ and enjoy.

When you get past your Planaphobia, be ready to be amazed at the joy you’ll feel. You’ll be doing more of the things you really want to do. You’ll be calmer, happier and you’ll always feel ‘ahead of the game’.

Remember this quote from Peter F. Drucker: “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” Promises and hopes aren’t the same as actually doing…and life is about doing.”