Plans. You’ve heard of them, right? They’re those things that you spend a lot of time and brainpower on, and they never seem to work out the way they’re supposed to.
This week’s guest post is from Deanna, a blogger-friend I’ve never actually met in real life (I’m sure we will, one of these days). Deanna, a former radio-announcer and current mom of three, wrote a spectacular piece of guest-post-gold for the blog, leaving me without much need for an intro.

Let’s just jump right in, shall we?

If everything would have worked out, I’d be living in New York City, married to Chris Cornell from Soundgarden and showing up every day to host my video show on MTV. But we all know how that worked out. MTV doesn’t even show videos anymore.

But that was the plan for my life. I was in college working at the college radio station and I had big dreams. Plans for my future. I was going to get a radio job at a rock station right out of school in a mid-sized market. Work there for a year or so and then market-jump my way up to the big time. I knew I’d want to get married and have kids, but I thought I’d wait for that until after I had made it big.

Well the first offer came to work in Fargo, ND at an Adult Contemporary station (think Michael Bolton and Whitney Houston, a big jump from Pearl Jam and Nirvana). Not exactly mid-sized, but not Podunk either. I packed up my Jeep Comanche pick-up and headed off to do the 6-midnight shift. Then, they decided to switch formats. I got bumped to do overnights (and $12,000 a year. Yes, that was chicken scratch even in 1994.) But I was happy I still had a job and a lot to learn.

I fell in love, moved around, got married, quit a few jobs and got fired from one too. I had one baby and then another and then another. (Because it doesn’t seem so crazy to get pregnant again and again until they start walking.Then it’s nuts.) I’ve since gotten out of radio, because the gypsy life of a radio announcer does not jibe well with the lives of three growing children. And I’m also now looking at life as a single mom, because plans for the marriage didn’t work out the way they were supposed to either.

With every change, I’d develop a new plan only to have each plan blow up in my face. Well, not so much as blow up in my face, as slowly dissipate like a puff of effervescent pixie dust. Aromatic (like baby powder and lilacs), but nothing you could ever hold on to. I guess maybe it’s my fault because I kept putting my Life-Plan on the back burner in order to work on the Day-Plan. Or the Morning-Plan. Or the next 10-Minute-Plan. Poof.

Raising three kids, working a full-time job, running a part-time business out of my home, and volunteering cannot happen without successful time management. I’ve got a calendar planner that I carry around with me everywhere. I’ve got the dry erase wall calendar hung up on the corkboard in the kitchen with color-coded markers. I have my electronic calendar at work to keep track of all of my important happenings there. I am a master list-maker; “To Dos” “Happenings” “Grocery” “Errands”. I lay out the exact happenings for each day, down to the quarter hour. Who’s got to be where and when. What we need to bring. Locations and telephone numbers and drive times and the best order in which to do everything to maximize efficacy, reduce commute time and save gas.

But it never fails; something always throws a wrench into my plans. We run low on gas on the way to an appointment. We go to the wrong field for baseball practice. We get to the grocery store and my daughter forgets her shoes. (That one has happened more times than I can count.) The color-coded markers have all been used to tattoo stuffed animals.

I have decided that we do indeed need to make plans. It is impossible to function in life without them. To see the future, where you would like to be and to lay out the steps you need to take in order to get there. Plans are good. Plans are important. Plans are essential. Just remember when you make your plans, to use a pencil. With a big eraser. Or buy extra dry erase markers, just in case.