Is it just me: planning insanity or norm?

It usually starts around 10am at work. I start running through the things I need to accomplish that day. Buy stamps, shop for dinner, work out etc. Once I get my mental list, I start to schedule. I have to get stamps first because the post office closes early(I could even get them during my lunch break), after work go shopping for dinner (something different than lunch), then X, then Y, and finally Z. I was explaining this to my brother and he asked me what would happen if I wound up not getting stamps that day. I told him “It would be a catastrophe.” And I wasn’t kidding!! Seriously, if I’m unable to accomplish all my tasks I get extremely irritated. I shared this uber-planning compulsion with a friend and she told me that she is exactly the same way. Now, I’m wondering if most people are like this or most women? Are we hyper-organizing our lives because we’re so busy? Or is it a compulsive reaction to imaginary stressors? A need for control?

I think it’s personality, as vague as that term is. And it may also be a bit of the control need, like you said. I am not the way you are at all. But then I also procrastinate at times, and have had to catch the next flight. I pay the price at times to be this way, but I like feeling relaxed and laid back.

I think hyper-organization is a direct result of how hectic, stressful, and difficult life has become. I do the same thing, and I’m sure men do it as well. I get only slightly annoyed with myself or other extenuating circumstances if I don’t accomplish everything on my list.


Yes, and other reasons for other people. My first guess is that something about planning is soothing to you.

Busy? nah, I mean, you probably are, but I’d guess you’d probably organize in this way no matter how busy you were.

Imaginary stressors? some of them, probably. OK, most likely you’re giving more power to your stressors than they merit.

Need for control? Yes, but if you’re as busy as you say you feel, you do need to control things.

The question is, do you get so preocupied with the details of planning that you don’t do the things on the list or other things you need to do in life?

It sounds like you are more a slave to the list than you would like to be. Hmmm. That bit about not picking up the stamps being a catastrophe, well, that could easily become a real problem.

This doesn’t really sound like “hyperorganizing” exactly, though close.

I agree that you have opted to schedule down to every detail, and spend a lot of time worrying about it.

But I imagine that someone who is “hyper organized” (rather than a “hyper organizer” if you catch the distinction) would have gone shopping for the entire week, complete with shopping list and meal plan for the week.

So I’d guess that you probably wouldn’t have such stress over all the stuff that needs to be done if you could sit down and calmly assess how to most efficiently do everything. [for example, my grocery store sells stamps - bonus!]

Please note - I am not calling you disorganized or trying to tell you how to run your life. I just am very attune to the “running to the store to pick up dinner” because I see that as a waste of my time - why go every day when you can spend an hour on a Saturday/Sunday and be set for the whole week? YMMV, of course.

Some of the things ARE imaginary stressors. Just take the stamps. Around here I can buy them a)at my offce from the vending machine b) at the post office after hours at the vending machine c)from my bank’s ATM d)at the 24 hour grocery store… there are probably more places I haven’t even thought of.

Sure, you have to pay a little extra from some of these outlets, but to me a .60 surcharge is worth not sterssing out.

Likewise, shopping for dinner. Does it have to happen every night? Especially if it is a source of stress? I shop once a week on Saturdays. Are you filling your time up more than it really needs to be filled up?

Take a step back and see what you can simplify/eliminate.

Nail on the head. I grew up in a very unpredictable/dangerous household and was recently involved in a huge medical crisis so this planning compulsion probably has nothing to do with how busy I am. Soothing is the perfect word to describe this hyper planning. It’s my blankie. When I get home with everything done, I’m happy and satisfied.
To explain the stamps catastrophe, if I don’t stamps on the certain day, I might forget to get stamps, bills could get paid late, or I have to rush to the post office some day delaying accomplishing some other errand which then could be forgotten. It’s this wacko chain reaction feeling I have.
This hyper-planning extends to my social life and career goals and so far, I’ve accomplished/surpassed each goal. The only thing I might be missing out on is just relaxing, taking a breath, and enjoying. That’s what vacations are for, right? :wink:

Do you keep a physical task list? It seems like it is the “remembering” part of the organizing that is stressing you, vs. the “planning” part (if that makes any sense.)

Perhaps if you kept a physical task list you could stay comfortably organized without stressing over forgetting something. My theory is that if you let go of your “remembering” task then you will be able to be more flexible about some things. (maybe?). Like buying your stamps when you’re shopping for dinner without worrying you will forget to do it.

In my stress-case days I kept a Filofax dayplanner religiously updated (this was before PDAs, those are good too) with every possible thing I was supposed to remember. It was very helpful.