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!