What I learned from Dr. Seuss about planning
“Oh, the places you’ll go,” wrote Dr. Seuss.
Now let’s rearrange this sentence with a small change:
The places you’ll go?
People ask me, How do I know such beautiful places, cool attractions, and how do I get there?
My short answer is that I work really hard on it.
My long answer is: planning.
Today is your day
I know that I have limited free time. That’s why, in everything I do, I want to make the most out of it. It’s true for my career, family, partner, friends, hobbies.
Speaking of hobbies, when I travel it’s really important to me to discover new places, or revisit favorites that I haven’t seen for a long time. I’m a fan of flowers and wildlife, and as any millennial, my thrill threshold is high, so it’s important for me to experience unique things.
In fact, I have set myself specific goals.
I don’t choose to go there
Following the goals, I define requirements, sometimes to the very small details. For example:
♦ The trip should be in the north because it was just raining there and it’s green.
♦ Total time of the hike should last 3 hours, because we need to take into account to-and-from driving, picking up friends, and coming back before it gets dark.
♦ We should be four people at most. Otherwise, it will be too crowded.
♦ We should bring snacks.
And so on.
Most of the time, it works like magic!
With your head full of brains
I have goals, I know the requirements and the limits, and then I move forward to use tools to plan for the trip:
♦ Check out the weather in the app.
♦ Look for suggested hikes in websites and Facebook groups.
♦ Follow flower blooming reports.
♦ Save all the ideas.
You’ll be on your way up
Finally, I get to the action items:
♦ Set timetables.
♦ Open a WhatsApp group to the participants and send instructions.
♦ Make sure who’s taking a car.
♦ Prepare an equipment list.
♦ And double-check we’ve got everything we need.
There is fun to be done
And then it’s time for the trip!.
We hike, enjoy ourselves, laugh, take photos, eat, and come back home safely.
Ready for anything under the sky
I’m not a travel guide but if we take this to other places in life, such as financial management, projects that we work on, initiatives that we want to develop, and of course, our daily job, planning is the key.
That’s what I say to friends and to my customers, with whom I work on creating work plans for their community, initiative, or content strategy.
It’s not always possible to plan ahead (hello, COVID), but even in uncertain situations we can plan by month, week, and day.
By the way, there are some components that I didn’t include above:
In the case of a trip, it’s pretty obvious but in our daily life there are so many tasks that if we don’t set a deadline or dedicate time to work on them, we just won’t get to them.
On a trip, it seems a bit creepy to ask my friends to rank their pleasure from 1 to 10. Or start looking at each part of the trip and see what worked and what didn’t. It’s enough to ask everyone if they had a good time and accept yes/no as an answer to know the trip was awesome. A nice picture in an Instagram story will work, too.
Setting reliable objectives:
I would love to spot a deer but it’s not up to me. On the other hand, arriving at home at X hour is definitely practical.
When planning a trip, these components of time, measurement, and evaluation are less relevant but they are crucial to me in tasks that are related to career or projects.
Your mountain is waiting
Planning doesn’t have to be a grandiose, five-years plan.
We can start with small tasks.
I start my day by writing five things that are most important to get done on this day. They are usually based on 3 things I wrote the night before, in order to get the worries out of my head and sleep with peace of mind.
It’s a small example of daily actions that I do in order to complete my own goals.
Click the photo to download my planning’s template: