My Love For Planning

I love planning. I can’t always make up plans on the spot because I’d rather take the time to think things through. And because of that I usually can’t adapt too quickly if I’ve already planned something one way and then have to do the complete opposite. I try to make back-up plans but those usually only account for slight variances such as a single student not being able to finish the season so we need to consider giving their part to someone else.

Planning This Blog

Planning my blog was a big part of why I actually started it when I did. I spent well over a year planning everything before I started it and I’m sure I never would have done it if I had just decided to go at it one day without anything done yet.

It started when I was interested in raising chickens for eggs and wanted to know what it would take to do so. I found books and websites about raising them and took pages of notes. I looked into local ordinances to see what was and was not allowed. I drew diagrams of how I would build things for different amounts of chickens and possible layouts for each amount.

That led me to look into rain water collection so it wouldn’t cost as much to get them clean water. It also led to me looking into growing a garden to help with feeding them. It also got me looking into raising rabbits for meat. I did just as much reading, note-taking, and drawing for each of those. Looking into naturally filtering water, what plants did well next to other plants, and how to check if a rabbit is healthy.

I eventually fell down a rabbit hole –pun definitely intended– of homesteading possibilities. Bees, goats, fruit trees, smoking meat, canning and other food preservation methods, woodworking, blacksmithing, whitesmithing, soap making, candle making, HAM radio, solar arrays. The list goes on.

On paper I was ready to buy a plot of land and disappear. Of course I know it isn’t that easy and I would need to practice these things in order for them to be able to sustain me. But the excitement of learning about all these things was almost tangible. And that’s just the list of things related to homesteading. There were just as many other things I had looked into for hobbies and other skills.

When I started my blog I said I had over six years of content for my What I Want To Do This Month segments. Since then I’m sure I’ve doubled the amount of things I’ve looked into for it.

Social Media

This is related to my blogging. I wanted to have a Twitter account to tweet each of my blog posts when I publish them to try to reach more people. Once I got a few posts published I started tweeting each day so the posts would stay out there a little bit longer. Then when I hit a year I started tweeting a second time each day to bring back the posts from last year.

The only reason I’m able to stay on top of it all (mostly — I still miss a few days every once in a while) is because I have a huge spreadsheet for my tweets.

I have a list of all my posts and the date they will be published. Then I have each category next to the post as a hashtag. Next to that is either a blank spot if I haven’t published the post or the link to the post if I have.

In another sheet I have a list of every date with a posting time. Then I have a link from the other sheet that puts the post, hashtag, and link into a single line so I can just copy and paste when I want to tweet it. There’s no way I would be able to keep up with my tweets if I didn’t have this spreadsheet.

Rehearsal Scheduling

The most recent school that I worked with for a winter drumline program wasn’t the first one I had been with for its first year. But it was the first one that I was the head director for during its first year.

Being the head director was nothing new to me. But this time I had something I’d never had in the past; a second staff member working with me. In the past I was either working under someone or by myself completely. He wasn’t really working under me, more next to me, but since I had actually run programs before I got the title of head director.

Once I got the final numbers I started making plans for the season. We wouldn’t be competitive because the students weren’t at that level of performing yet. This was just to get them built up to the point where they could compete. We were just going to perform at a couple of school hosted events for fun.

So we made our list of who would play which instrument and decided we would split up the group for weeknight rehearsals and then get together on the weekends to put things together. I took the keyboards and other pitched instruments. The other instructor took the marching percussion.

I made myself a schedule of what sections of each piece I would be working on at each rehearsal to be able to learn and clean everything by the first performance. It’s something I usually do. It has a to-the-minute break-down of what I’m going to do. I can spend less time on something if I need to so I’ll have more time later to go back but I can’t go over a time limits I set. It’s better for me to get a general idea of the parts into the students’ heads than to nit-pick early on and risk not having a complete show. I gave a less detailed copy of the schedule to the other instructor and told him he didn’t need to follow it completely, I just wanted him to know what I’d be doing so he could keep his section caught up.

I took into account the possibility of a student or two not showing up every once in a while. It was something I was used to from the other groups I had worked with. I even had the times I’d be taking breaks so he could plan his at the same time and the two sections could hang out during them.

What I didn’t take into account was the possibility of the other instructor not showing up. At all.

He was at the first rehearsal when we met with the kids and explained how everything would work. Then something would come up a half hour before rehearsal, every rehearsal.

At first it really messed with things because we didn’t have time to do only full ensemble rehearsal and be ready for the first performance. There were only a couple of students who actually had any clue how to play their instrument, and only one had ever gotten any correct instruction on it.

If I had known sooner the other instructor wasn’t going to be there I would have taking one of the pieces out of the show so we could focus of having something for the first performance. Unfortunately I didn’t really make the decision that we would just go on without him until we were only two weeks away. At that point my section had learned most of their parts because it fit with my original plan. But since I had to change my plans during each rehearsal they hadn’t learned all of it, and the other section was just getting to the point where they understood how to play with correct technique.

Emergency Escape Plans

I’ve been through a few floods and a couple of tornadoes in my life. Most of them were when I was younger and still living with my family. I never liked how unprepared we always were whenever something like them would happen.

Now that I’ve got my own house I feel more prepared for things. I’ve got multiple plans for how I would get to or from my house in the event of an emergency. I have a few ways to get home from work, including stopping at my wife’s work if she needs me to get her. From my house I can get to either of my sisters’ houses to help them or stay with them.  My dad’s house is a little more difficult because there are fewer roads that lead to him but I still have three directions I can come from to get to him.

I also make sure I keep a kit in my car to perform basic emergency maintenance if we are trying to evacuate and something happens to the car. The kit includes some extra clothing in case we are stuck on a road at night.

I don’t have a bag at home that I always keep packed but there is one that is easily accessible if I need to pack quickly. And there is a plan in place of what would be grabbed if we needed to get out of the house quickly.

But I think the most important thing with my emergency escape plans isn’t just having them and using them when I need to but regularly updating them and getting into a ready mode if it seems like one might be needed. I don’t live in a flood zone anymore but any time it rains too much my flood mode gets triggered and I start checking to make sure drains are clear outside and my car seats are cleared.

I don’t start packing up my car when there is a possible emergency or natural disaster coming but I will make sure things inside are packed and I know where they are so if we do need to leave we can do so quickly. And if we don’t need to leave we don’t need to move things very far to put them back away. I also make sure I am

If it’s something where we may be stuck at home I’ll go around the house and inspect it to make sure nothing will need to be addressed for the amount of time we may be stuck. I’ll also do a load of laundry and make sure the animals have water in their bowl. Then if something happens and we are told we won’t have water for a week, we’ll have already done those things and will have less to worry about.

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