A 12-Step Plan to Stop Planning

I’m a prolific planner. I take great pride in my ability to peer into the future and build a bullet-proof plan that will survive any scenario.

Until the future happens. And I realize my plan never could’ve predicted any of that. And that I’m not a genius after all.

But for the addict, planning isn’t really about the outcome. People who think they can increase their chances of success by planning are no different than alcoholics who tell everyone they’re just social drinkers.

It’s not the company. It’s the booze.

Planners love planning. They don’t do it to improve their chances. They don’t do it to mitigate risks. They don’t do it because they’re supposed to.

They do it because they love planning. It’s a bona-fide addiction.

The problem is, unlike other addictions, planning is socially acceptable. It doesn’t come with any of the typical consequences: divorce, jail, intervention, etc.

In fact, planners are celebrated. We hail them as ‘responsible’ and ‘detail-oriented’. We even have expensive graduate degrees designed to teach our brightest minds how to become better planners (MBA’s).

The good news there is a way out.

Here’s a 12-step plan for planning addicts everywhere to kick that planning habit once and for all:

  1. Admit that you’re addicted to planning.
  2. Acknowledge that there are people out there, who are not addicted to planning, that seem perfectly normal.
  3. Make a decision to put planning behind you and not let it control your life.
  4. Take inventory of how and when you get the desire to plan.
  5. Admit to someone else the nature of your planning addiction.
  6. Prepare to remove planning from your life entirely.
  7. Meditate.
  8. Make a list of everyone your planning has harmed.
  9. Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continue to take personal inventory and when you fall into planning, admit it.
  11. Let go of outcomes.
  12. Carry this message to planning addicts everywhere.

This plan was adapted from another well known 12-step plan. I said I was a planner. I didn’t say anything about being original.