Cary Farrell

Are you a planner or a reactor?

September 26, 2018

In my experience, there are two types of people: reactors and planners. Reactors are those people that live in the moment. They stop whatever they are doing and are fully present in the moment. However, reactors can also be what I call “fire fighters” because they are always having to react to what is happening because they didn’t plan ahead. Planners on the other hand have to put out less “fires” (emergencies) because they take the time to plan ahead. However, planners can sometimes struggle to enjoy the moment because they are always planning the next moment.

I think this is why we tend to marry our opposites! We need a balance in life. Planners need to relax and live more in the moment and reactors need to plan a little more to reduce the amount of “fires.”

Unexpected things happen to all of us but sometimes we have to fight “fires” (emergencies) because we choose not to prevent a fire. There are some aspects of life that are very routine and with just a little planning on our part we can prevent a meltdown or catastrophe!

2 ways we can all plan more are:

  1. Look at the activities that happen every day and create a system to automate them:
    • Meals
      • Plan a weekly menu and shopping list. Nothing spells melt down faster than hunger!
      • Schedule a time to shop and be consistent
      • Each night at dinner think through the next day’s meals and prep what you can
    • Laundry
      • Set up dirty clothes hampers where you undress.
      • When the hamper is full, throw a load in the washer at night and then throw it in the dryer as soon as you wake up. While you are getting ready for the day the clothes will be drying. Hang them up or fold them before you head off for the day.
      • Or, throw a load in the wash before you leave for work and then throw it in the dryer as soon as you come home. While you get dinner on the table the clothes are drying and you can hang or fold right after dinner.
    • Mail/bill paying
      • Set up a mail/bill station right inside your entry door
        • Recycle bin
        • Shredder
        • Bill basket
        • Reading basket
      • Set two dates on the calendar to pay bills like the 1st and 15th or 15th and 30th depending on how you get paid.
  2. Plan During the Fires: When you find yourself putting out a “fire” ask yourself if it could have been prevented with a little bit of planning. If the answer is yes, make a plan to keep this “fire“ from catching you off guard next time. Here are just a few potential “fires” that might be happening at your house:
    • Lost keys/wallet – create a spot near the door for them to live
    • Missing shoes/papers/book – give these items a home to go back to
    • Car problems from lack of maintenance – schedule car maintenance appointments in the same month every year.

If you are the planner in the home remember to enjoy the moment and be flexible with the plan sometimes to have a little emergency “fun!” And if you are the reactor in the family, let the planner help you create some simple plans to minimize the “fires” you have to fight. If both of you happen to be reactors, call in some professional help! And if both of you are planners, make some friends with reactors to keep the balance of fun and spontaneity in your life.