Welcome to the first topic in our Project Planning Essentials series! We’re going to start out by talking about the actual plan. In event management, you have a clear and distinct goal or direction that you are moving toward. It is a little more difficult to define those things in household management so we will spend some time talking about how to discover what your goal is and how to develop a plan to move that direction.
Event Management Goal: host a successful event.
Household Management Goal: What is your goal for implementing a household management system? Keep the kids alive until they move out? Feed everyone three times a day? Some days it might just be to stay sane! All joking aside, what is the reason you are looking for a new system? Do you need help setting and sticking to a consistent schedule? Do you want to have more time with your kids and less time spent on laundry and dishes? Are your kids older and your goal is to get them more involved in helping around the house? Maybe your goal is as simple as get every room in the house cleaned out and organized. Take a few minutes to brainstorm some of the things that you would like to see change around your house; prioritize those things so you know what to work toward first.
Now that we have a goal, we need to look at a timeline.
EM Timeline: between now and the event date.
HM Timeline: Look at your prioritized list and set a date for when you would like to see your first goal accomplished. If you are implementing chore charts for older kids, maybe your goal is three weeks. That’s enough time to introduce the concept, implement the system and get things running smoothly before you move on to the next goal. Trying to set a more consistent schedule might take a bit longer and you will want to spend some time evaluating what works as is and what needs adjusting before you start making some changes.
Next thing to look at are tasks lists or action steps.
EM Task Lists / Action Steps: I have found that I do better in setting action steps and assigning tasks to work backward from my deadline to my start date. A successful event looks like: everyone shows up, location is set up correctly, and the food is delicious. To make that happen I need to: send out invitations, have meetings with the location and choose a good caterer. Action steps for those items include: creating the invite, developing the mailing list, establish an RSVP deadline; select a location with well trained staff, go over any documents they require, visit the location to be able to see my options; determine what style of food we want, research catering companies who specialize in that style, set meetings to sample food before making decisions. You get the idea!
HM Task Lists / Action Steps: Let’s use the chore chart example again. The goal is to implement a chore chart system in three weeks that delegates age-appropriate responsibilities to each member of the family so that no one person has to shoulder all of the work. Working backward our action steps might look like: kids complete their chores on time with no reminder. In order for that to happen, they need to know where all of the supplies are and how to complete the tasks. For that to happen, we need to set up a location in the house where they can find (and reach) the needed supplies. We also need to do some training on what “completed” looks like. Before we start training, I need to delegate the jobs, make a chart and purchase the supplies. First, I need to make a list of what jobs will be delegated, what my standard of “complete” looks like and what we need to purchase.
It seems weird to end the list with “First, I need to…” but when you start with the end in mind and work your way backward, you are more likely to keep the big picture in mind and less likely to end up off track, over budget and overwhelmed!
This week, I encourage you to take some time to develop your goal, set your timeline and plan out some action steps or tasks lists to move you in that direction. Next week, we’ll take a look at your planning team and how they are critical to your success!