Planning and a vegetable garden: Plan-tation

By Ellen Massaro, Professional Organizer

Planning is an art, as often what is imagined is not realised in practice. In many cases this is due to unrealistic timing or to the method of planning. Not getting round to something or not knowing what should get done first does not feel good.

I am convinced that you get more pleasure from working if you have a good overview of what you have to do. Then you are able to make choices and fix priorities. It feels better if you are less dependent on the quirks of the day.

How do you get and maintain a good overview? In my work, I always look for the method that best suits the person and the type of work. What I often come across is that a job or a project is not sufficiently tackled as a collection of small parts. And a good way to get your work done is to divide it into manageable chunks which are then put into a plan.

On one occasion abroad I came across an old drawing in a museum where a landowner had divided his land into clear parcels. Each parcel of land was labelled with the jobs to be done and the time that these would take. The workers could mark the parcels where they wanted to work, and tick them off when the work was completed. The landowner’s philosophy was that work could be more pleasurable if you had a choice and an insight into the time required. This inspired me to make 'Plan-tation' - a simple and inviting way to get your work done.

Imagine your work or project as an allotment or a vegetable garden. The piece of land needs continuous attention, but the work does not all need to be done at the same time. If you know what needs to be done, how long each task should take, and when it should be done, you can fill out a 'Plan-tation' – a simple schematic plan for a week (or a day), and undertake what is necessary and feasible. Each day you see how much time you have available, and choose which parcel of work you will undertake.

The three most important factors are always:

  • What has to be done?
  • How much time will it take?
  • How much time can you, or do you want to spend?

This is the principle of 'Plan-tation' - a booklet with a fresh view of planning. Is this something for you, or are you curious? I will happily give you access to a pdf file with a plan for a project or for a week/day. Print them and fill them in with the elements of the work or job. By hand, with pencil and paper – that’s always pleasing to do. In the booklet, there is an already filled‑in household 'Plan-tation' (week); everybody is surely familiar with thát vegetable garden ...

P.S. If you find it difficult to estimate the time required for different tasks, keep a diary for a week and write down how long each task takes you. You will be surprised! In general, tasks take a half or a third as much time again as you think.

P.P.S. I would love to hear your opinion, and the purpose for which you have used, or intend to use, 'Plan-tation'!


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