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  • Year long calendar planning ideas?

    Looking for some suggestions on dealing with things that will need to be scheduled at some point, specific date uncertain while under going current planning process.

    I've toyed with putting items into a gantt chart, I've tride a 12 month excel based calendar and neither work well in my opinion.

    For example, I have quarterly staff meetings that need to be scheduled. They're dependant on my VP staff meetings of which not all are scheduled at this point in the year. I also have quarterly budget reviews, business reviews etc. All of which need to happen in a quarter, but are not scheduled right now as we go through planning.

    Wondering what ideas you all have to track these items, make sure they get scheduled and are in a format that is dynamic so as things are added the whole system doesn't need to be re-written. Was thinking of a simple outline format, but I do like the idea of a visual such as a gantt chart in order to view the "big picture" so that the heavy activity months or weeks are clear as travel and other meetings get booked.

    I hesitate to place ticklers on my calendar or in a tickler file because i don't want the clutter on the calendar and with both of those ideas a review of all pending future items might be a challenge.

    Thanks in advance,

    Jason

  • #2
    You can have your regular calendar for day-specific things, and also another "overview" calendar. Some people use a big calendar on the wall, maybe with just weeks and not days marked on it. You could even just have an area for each month, not even the weeks. My paper pocket calendar includes a "planner" which is a whole nother calendar but with the whole year in just 4 pages, as opposed to the one-page-per-week calendar which takes up most of the book. I don't use the "planner" but some people must or they wouldn't include it. (I use the "planner" for the next year as an ordinary calendar until I start carrying around the calendar for that year.)

    You could write the things that will be happening in that month on stick-notes and move them around.

    Actually, I just realized, I do have sort-of a "planner" calendar: a little calendar attached to the front of my tickle file, with only a few things marked, such as which weeks I'll be on-call, on vacation etc. It has a number for each day, but only enough room to put symbols and marks, not day-specific phrases.

    The purpose of the overview calendar can be to assign things to specific months so that not too many things happen in the same month.

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    • #3
      Do you really have to plan quarterly staff meetings a year in advance?

      Originally posted by jasont View Post
      For example, I have quarterly staff meetings that need to be scheduled. They're dependant on my VP staff meetings of which not all are scheduled at this point in the year. I also have quarterly budget reviews, business reviews etc. All of which need to happen in a quarter, but are not scheduled right now as we go through planning.
      Do you really have to plan quarterly staff meetings a year in advance?

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree with what others have said. These are good examples of recurring events which are really projects, because preparation is needed. All you need is a timely trigger to start each project. How you do it is up to you and your prevailing business culture. If you decide you need to schedule a meeting two quarters ahead, set a tickler to do so. If you're not the one setting the schedule, set a tickler to ask that person to set the date.

        However, you may have some higher-level thinking to do, because you know that scheduling meetings during certain periods causes unnecessary problems, so you need to find a mechanism to avoid those problems. This isn't a problem that a particular way of presenting calendar data will solve, it's a planning problem. Maybe what you need is project support notes to remind you of the issues that you've already identified to guide your thinking.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jasont View Post
          Looking for some suggestions on dealing with things that will need to be scheduled at some point, specific date uncertain while under going current planning process.
          I have a lot of those things in my farming work. I have a separate calendar set up in the Mac calendar app that is for those possible long term things. I block out as day long meetings the various possibilities and then I have in my Omnifocus system separate projects for each of those items. If the project support for those items I list the constraints and issues I've learned from previous years.

          So for example I am currently planning when to put rams in for breeding. I know the average gestation date for my flock so I calculate when lambs would start arriving from various ram in choices and look at other items that might conflict with that. We have a lot of things to get done before lambing starts, dentist apts, irrigation set-up, shearing, vaccinations etc. I need to be sure there is enough time between our last big snow storms and start of lambing to get all that done. So I have a project that starts now that has me looking at long term weather outlooks, climate models and our own schedule as I start figuring out possible choices for the various tasks. Then I'll set them to have a start date at least one weekly review before I think I might be able to do them.I try to do a few of these each weekly review starting in September to be ready for spring.

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          • #6
            Tickle me to death!

            Here are my two suggestions (Paper base)
            1. Use the tickler file for the two months before the meeting so you can plan. Personally, I would just use the template of the meeting inside the month folder as the OBVIOUS reminder.
            2. Plan the 4 dates for the year a year out, tell everyone (if you have the power and authority) that these dates are non negotiable, and they are to plan their schedule around these pivotal (if indeed these are mission critical) dates. At this point, half the battle is won in my opinion.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
              Do you really have to plan quarterly staff meetings a year in advance?
              TesTeq, do you really wait until you "need" to plan a meeting before you plan it?

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              • #8
                Menu for the 2015 Thanksgiving...

                Originally posted by cwoodgold View Post
                TesTeq, do you really wait until you "need" to plan a meeting before you plan it?
                Planning quarterly meetings year in advance is not for me. I plan just the next meeting.

                Have you already planned the menu for the 2015 Thanksgiving?

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                • #9
                  OOgiem - the general process you described is what I'm going to give a try. I set up a second calendar in Outlook that is strictly planning related. It's pretty much a tickler file that I can print to PDF and share with others on my team.

                  On the meeting planning, yep, have to get the hold dates out at the start of the year because I work in sales ops and planning. Working with sales leaders and sales managers is like herding cats (I can say that, I was once one of those people) and in order to avoid customer conflicts they like to have the meeting hold dates out as far as possible.

                  As an FYI to TesTeq: Big turkey with our family recipe rub, whipped sweet potatoes, garlic mashed potatoes, pumpkin cheesecake, some form of salad (brought by relatives), my grandmothers cranberries, stuffing, gravy and hot dinner rolls. If you find yourself in WI during Thanksgiving shoot me a message. The more the merrier!

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