Archive for the ‘backplanning’ Category

Monday Marketing – First of the Year!

“Partly Sunny, Chance of Storms”

I have a list………….

Don’t we all? I start one every year – but this year seems to be somehow different. I have a small composition book (like we used to use in elementary school, back in the day, and I got myself organized very differently. I have a page for yearly goals, then a page for monthly goals. I have separate pages for each of the weeks of the month. Right now the notebook is set up though March.

I can at a glance see what I’ve accomplished, and I have a way of listing items ahead in the month they’re due, and I can backtrack to begin working on them. This helps me see the bigger picture much better…..and I love crossing things off my lists.

I think the thing that is also different is that I am feeling so much better than probably the last five years. The weight is slowly rearranging itself, clothes are fitting, the knee doesn’t hurt, I’m getting stuff accomplished (more than I thought), and I feel calm, centered, and productive. A great way to start the New Year!

We are concentrating on our Etsy shop,(small listing on the right side of the blog…) in preparation for moving to the market on Artizan Made.

Lots of new pictures, revising items, getting ready to do a “retirement sale” of older items that have been around the country one or two times. We’ve lived in places where we could have better photography set-ups, but we are making do. Lots of great suggestions and tips from Rachel Biel of The Fiber and Textile List – she is amazing when it comes to set-up, marketing, and all-round general encouragement.

I am looking for a royalty-free piece of music for our second marbling video, finishing up pieces that have languished for years, taking apart a major piece from 2003 and modernizing it with my new skills, keeping up with blogging (I WILL hit 1000 blog posts this year…….) and constantly looking for new venues and ideas.

Here’s to 2017! What are you doing to start your year out right?

Get Organized – Day 4

DSCN4603  So did you dream yesterday? Want to hear from you, so let me know in the comments. I chose today’s picture for a reason. In the midst of cluttered minds and prickly daily events, every now and then we get a bloom of an idea and begin to run with it. Organization can seem overwhelming at times – we can even become obsessed with getting organized – kind of like falling into a cactus bush and then having to pull out all of the thorns – you just can’t stop till it’s completely done. (Ask me how I know this….).

Here’s my dreaming from yesterday – goals for the New Year of 2014, with no monetary limits in my dreaming.

trips to Kauaii, San Diego, Northwest, Yosemite; marbling ebook published; seasons patterns completed; chakra commission completed; at least three more commissions obtained; licensing work through The Artrepreneur; better blogging this year (at least 100 posts); complete saving most of the money needed for our move east in 18 months; better correspondent with friends; complete at least three Coursera classes; finish all the Craftsy classes I have downloaded; weight loss yet again (maybe 25 pounds for the year); learn about my new part-time job; at least two silk classes with the textile artist in Jerome; get good at my dyeing fabrics; work on rayon scarves with dyeing/marbling; monthly lunches with my second mom; Friday dinners with my sister/friend; attend Road 2 California (missed it last year); finish novel DC12 and start next volume, and hopefully get the first one published; celebrate 38 years of marriage with my honey.

Now I will keep adding to this list for the next month or so, so I can let a lot of these ideas just simmer in my brain. Simmering is good; put something away and let it ferment – it leads to all kinds of interesting other paths.

Now for the next step: THE CONCEPT OF BACKPLANNING

You did your dreaming….within all those dreams are goals for this coming year. Now comes the time to put planning to work. I’ve used this system for decades – literally. I’m sure someone came up with the idea before, but to my knowledge no one else calls it “backplanning.” Because…..you plan backwards. It seems counterintuitive to how we usually plan, but this method pretty much guarantees you will finish on time, without that last-minute unpleasantness crammed in to a few days. In fact….you could be early.

What I also like about this system is that by the time you are done, you have a plan in front of you that looks extremely practical, manageable, and something that doesn’t scare you before you even start.

One thing to keep in mind – your goals can be any length, from a week to a year.  I’ve used this method to plan getting ready for a trip in two weeks to presenting a middle school musical in 9 weeks, to my yearly goals. For the school musicals, I started with a 9-week calendar that was determined by opening night. Then I started backing up important dates, until I had actually scheduled auditions.

What I want you to do next is skim through this calendar, top to bottom, and bottom to top. There’s room built in for snow days and other things that might come up, plus keeping in mind the attention span of middle schoolers. And, I feel it’s do-able for me, the director.

Friday, May 2 – afternoon and evening shows, strike set, cast party

Thursday, May 1 – afternoon opening, evening show

Wednesday, April 30 – dress rehearsal

Tuesday, April 29 – tech rehearsal everything

Monday, April 28 – tech rehearsal, lights and set changes

Friday, April 25 – run through all acts, costumes and props

Thursday, April 24 – run through all acts, props

Wednesday, April 23, run through all acts

Tuesday, April 22 – Act 3

Monday, April 21 – Act 2

Friday, April 18 – Act 1

Thursday, April 17 – all musical numbers from all acts, concentrated

Wednesday, April 16 – Act 3

Tuesday, April 15 – Act 2

Monday, April 14 – Act 1

Friday, April 11 – Act 3

Thursday, April 10 – Acts 2 and 3

Wednesday, April 9 – Acts 1 and 2

Tuesday, April 8 – Act 3 finish blocking

Monday, April 7 – Act 3 blocking

Friday, April 6 – Act 3 blocking

Thursday, April 5 – Act 2

Wednesday, April 6 – Act 2 blocking

Tuesday, April 5 – Act 2 blocking

Monday, April 4 – Act 2 blocking

Friday, April 1 – Act 2 blocking

Thursday, March 31 – Act 2 blocking

Wednesday, March 30 – Act 1

Tuesday, March 29 – Act 1 blocking

Monday, March 28 – Act 1 blocking

Friday, March 25 – Act 1 blocking

Thursday, March 24 – Act 1 blocking

Wednesday, March 23 – Act 1 blocking

Tuesday, March 22 – Act 3 blocking musical numbers everyone

Monday, March 21 – Act 3 blocking musical numbers everyone

Friday, March 18 – Act 2 blocking musical numbers everyone

Thursday, March 18 – Act 2 blocking musical numbers everyone

Wednesday, March 17 – Act 1 blocking musical numbers everyone

Tuesday, March 16 – Act 1 blocking musical numbers everyone

Monday, March 15 – Act 3 music main roles

Friday, March 12  – Act 3 music main roles

Thursday, March 11 – Act 2 music main roles

Wednesday, March 10 – Act 2 music main roles

Tuesday, March 9 – Act 1 music main roles

Monday, March 8 – Act 1 music main roles

Friday, March 5 – read-through

Thursday, March 4 – read-through

Wednesday, March 3 – cast announced

Tuesday, March 2 – auditions singing

Monday, March 1 – auditions acting

Mid-February – order scripts, pay royalties

Yes, there’s more behind the scenes going on before we even begin, but those pieces don’t involve a cast of 80 children. I need a schedule I can work with, students can take home for parents, and teachers will know when classes are disrupted.

* * * * * * * * * *

Here I just want to introduce this idea of backplanning. I’m going to take one of my goals – the marbling e-book – and do the backplanning right here (it will motivate me, as well as make it seem like we can do this……) Note that I start with the day I want to actually publish, and then I work from there.

June 1: submit final copy for publishing

Last week in May: complete review, checking spelling, layouts, sizes of pictures, videos

3rd week in May: make any final changes to layout of the book

2nd week in May: resources section completed

1st week in May: any appendices added

Last week in April: stories from other marblers chapter completed

3rd week in April: write chapter 11, pics and video on the weekend, marbling

2nd week in April:write chapter 10, pics and video on the weekend, marbling

1st week in April: write chapter 9, pics and video on the weekend, marbling

Last week in March: write chapter 8, pics and video on the weekend, marbling

3rd week in March: write chapter 7, pics and video on the weekend, marbling

2nd week in March: edit second three chapters

1st week in March: write chapter 6, pics and video on the weekend, marbling; send requests to other marblers for stories/techniques to include in the book

Last week in February: write chapter 5, pics and video on the weekend, marbling

3rd week in February: write chapter 4, pics and video on the weekend, marbling

2nd week in February: (silk classes in Jerome); review/edit first three chapters

1st week in February: write chapter 3, pics and video on the weekend, marbling

Last week in January: write chapter 2, pics and video on the weekend, marbling

3rd week in January: write chapter 1 and introduction, pics and videos on the weekend, marbling

2nd week in January: hubby starts photographs; videos on the weekend, marbling

1st week in January: (right now) – plan photographs and video needed for each of the 11 chapters; determine publishing platform (I’ve already eliminated one because I don’t want to spend the time coding each page)

* * * * * * * * *

So – now I’ve done that,and I am basically at today. I’m not comfortable with the schedule, since I am starting a new part-time job. I don’t know which weeks I will be working full time, so I know now that more time needs to be built in to this backplanning. I am going to delay publishing until the end of June, and that gives me four weeks as a cushion for the writing, especially within the first month as I am learning the publishing program.

Now – REMEMBER – this isn’t set in stone! You’re in charge – if you need to adapt, feel free. I will  keep you posted as to how each month works in this schedule.

Your task – take one item from your list of dreams, and try this. If you want to travel, start with when you want to go and work backwards – scheduling the trip, packing, saving the money – you get the idea.

Please leave comments for us on your thoughts, if you have done something like this, other variations you use. Let’s build from each other!

The Concept of Backplanning

Next in my series of organizing for the New Year. This pic is of my wonderful students (who now are grown and many have children of their own….) for the musical “Peter Pan,” which I use here as an example of the concept.

Get Organized!

Part 3: The Concept of Backplanning

You did your dreaming….within all those dreams are some goals for this coming year. Now comes the time to put planning to work. I’ve used this system for decades – literally. I’m sure someone came up with the idea before, but to my knowledge no one else calls it “backplanning.” Because…..you plan backwards. It seems counter-intuitive to how we usually plan, but this method pretty much guarantees you will finish on time, without that last-minute unpleasantness crammed in to a few days. In fact….you could be early.

What I also like about this system is that by the time you are done, you have a plan in front of you that looks extremely practical, manageable, and something that doesn’t scare you before you even start.

One thing to keep in mind – your goals can be any length, from a week to a year.  I’ve used this method to plan getting ready for a trip in two weeks to presenting a middle school musical in 9 weeks, to my yearly goals. For the school musicals, I started with a 9-week calendar that was determined by opening night. Then I started backing up important dates, until I had actually scheduled auditions.

What I want you to do next is skim through this calendar, top to bottom, and bottom to top. There’s room built in for snow days and other things that might come up, plus keeping in mind the attention span of middle schoolers. And, I feel it’s do-able for me, the director.

  • Friday, May 2 – afternoon and evening shows, strike set, cast party
  • Thursday, May 1 – afternoon opening, evening show
  • Wednesday, April 30 – dress rehearsal
  • Tuesday, April 29 – tech rehearsal everything
  • Monday, April 28 – tech rehearsal, lights and set changes
  • Friday, April 25 – run through all acts, costumes and props
  • Thursday, April 24 – run through all acts, props
  • Wednesday, April 23, run through all acts
  • Tuesday, April 22 – Act 3
  • Monday, April 21 – Act 2
  • Friday, April 18 – Act 1
  • Thursday, April 17 – all musical numbers from all acts, concentrated
  • Wednesday, April 16 – Act 3
  • Tuesday, April 15 – Act 2
  • Monday, April 14 – Act 1
  • Friday, April 11 – Act 3
  • Thursday, April 10 – Acts 2 and 3
  • Wednesday, April 9 – Acts 1 and 2
  • Tuesday, April 8 – Act 3 finish blocking
  • Monday, April 7 – Act 3 blocking
  • Friday, April 6 – Act 3 blocking
  • Thursday, April 5 – Act 2
  • Wednesday, April 6 – Act 2 blocking
  • Tuesday, April 5 – Act 2 blocking
  • Monday, April 4 – Act 2 blocking
  • Friday, April 1 – Act 2 blocking
  • Thursday, March 31 – Act 2 blocking
  • Wednesday, March 30 – Act 1
  • Tuesday, March 29 – Act 1 blocking
  • Monday, March 28 – Act 1 blocking
  • Friday, March 25 – Act 1 blocking
  • Thursday, March 24 – Act 1 blocking
  • Wednesday, March 23 – Act 1 blocking
  • Tuesday, March 22 – Act 3 blocking musical numbers everyone
  • Monday, March 21 – Act 3 blocking musical numbers everyone
  • Friday, March 18 – Act 2 blocking musical numbers everyone
  • Thursday, March 18 – Act 2 blocking musical numbers everyone
  • Wednesday, March 17 – Act 1 blocking musical numbers everyone
  • Tuesday, March 16 – Act 1 blocking musical numbers everyone
  • Monday, March 15 – Act 3 music main roles
  • Friday, March 12  – Act 3 music main roles
  • Thursday, March 11 – Act 2 music main roles
  • Wednesday, March 10 – Act 2 music main roles
  • Tuesday, March 9 – Act 1 music main roles
  • Monday, March 8 – Act 1 music main roles
  • Friday, March 5 – read-through
  • Thursday, March 4 – read-through
  • Wednesday, March 3 – cast announced
  • Tuesday, March 2 – auditions singing
  • Monday, March 1 – auditions acting

Yes, there’s more behind the scenes going on before we even begin, but those pieces don’t involve a cast of 80 children. I need a schedule I can work with, students can take home for parents, and teachers will know when classes are disrupted.

Next: Using Backplanning for your Goals

 

Part 2: Getting Organized – Start Dreaming!

Here comes Part 2 in my Getting Organized Series. You can follow along on the blog and get a head start before the posts appear on the Handmadeology blog. Share comments about your dreaming at the bottom of this post.

 Part 2: Dreaming the New Year

Now it’s time to think about this coming new year, regardless of when you consider your year to begin. When I was teaching, September was always the beginning of the year, not January. With retirement, my new year is the end of May. So you can do this at any time of the year, for however long a time period you want. Start with a month or two, or go for the whole year. If the process works for you, then consider doing a five-year plan. I promise you that this whole process really works!

First, though, you need to DREAM. If you need help in dreaming your goals, check out Dale Anne Potter’s website. She offers a lot of positive ideas for getting goals accomplished, and she has great resources. So does Alyson Stanfield, author of “I’d Rather Be in the Studio!”

I’m asking you to do away with limits on your thinking. No worrying about how much money you need, whether you think it’s actually possible to accomplish, or any other roadblocks you might place in your path. This is dream time. A year from now, what would you like to have accomplished? Just DREAM. Don’t limit yourself! And…don’t make it just about your business.

Here’s what I’ve come up with in my brainstorming, in no particular order.

  • a second online gallery carrying my artwork;
  • publication of the book by Linda Seward with my art quilts in it;
  • a line of stencils for mixed media;
  • two ebooks on marketing;
  • an ebook on quilting marbled fabrics;
  • finish the ebook for a friend;
  • licensing some of my digital designs;
  • at least four new patterns developed and available;
  • at least three teaching gigs around the country;
  • visiting Paducah to tour Quilt City;
  • a trip to Kauai in the fall;
  • visiting the Maritimes this summer;
  • entry into at least two fiber/art shows;
  • increase by 25% each the income from Ebay, the website, Etsy, and Cafe Press;
  • another connection to the Martha Stewart folks for another article;
  • additional writing and work done on my website;
  • a visit with my foster son;
  • visiting the old homestead in New Jersey;
  • seeing my college buddy again;
  • staying healthy;
  • blog posts at least four times a week;
  • articles in two art/quilt-related magazines;
  • monthly lunches with my second mom;
  • weekly Friday night dinners with my sister-friend;
  • at least once a month something art/music-related to see;
  • outdoor cactus garden established;
  • and….a trip to Vienna to visit a friend.

Your list can be as long or as short as you wish. Please do not try and limit yourself, even subconsciously. I have found the key in planning is to shoot for the moon. You’ll get a lot farther into the atmosphere than if you try to keep yourself grounded on earth.

Also, DO NOT FEEL OVERWHELMED with this list! In the next installment, I’ll be sharing the idea of backplanning – something that I have used throughout teaching, especially when I was doing theater. Backplanning makes everything seem absolutely do-able – I promise.

Feel free to share your dreaming with us. Some of us might get inspired by something you mention and decide to include it on our list. You’ll head in to the New Year feeling very positive about what you’d like to accomplish!

Next: The Concept of Backplanning

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