Information Hub‎ > ‎TIPS‎ > ‎Good Habits‎ > ‎


OK - Planning is initially a giant pain.  Then you get better at it and really like it.  Planning is important, as in most things, you want to do will involve others and having those others aware of your plan up front saves a lot of time and is a simple step to underwrite having a successful outcome to small or large activities.  Most important it defines the SIX W's shown in the illustration that you must know for a good plan.

We actually do more planning than we realize.

Planning can be as simple as this plan for getting groceries to building an 87 story
building that meets Federal Security Standards, Building Codes, changing needs for
some of the tenants, building permits, labor disputes, FAA approval for not being
an impediment to safe air travel, sufficient water, electric and sewer provisions,
required plants in and around the building, surface and sub street level drainage,
etc., etc., etc.

Eventually most of us have to go to a grocery store to buy food as we can't keep
eating out every day for every meal for a number of reasons.  So what are the
steps you need to plan for a trip?   Let's walk through this process.

TIMELINE ITEMS        How much time is going to be consumed to do this?
                                  1.  Trying to find the Grocery List - find better spot for it
                                  2.  Grocery list contingency plan: milk, eggs, poultry, meat
                                  2.  Checking for missed items on Grocery List
                                  4.  Will the store(s) be open when I get there?
                                  5.  Bring the Grocery list (or contingency list) on trip
                                  6.  Determine if this is a one stop or multiple stops trip
                                  7.  Projected total time required for all grocery activities
                                  8.  Contingency plan for car not starting during journey
                                  9.  Verify acceptable means to pay for groceries
                                10.  Start the journey
                                11.  Park car in safe location near store
                                12.  Bring items required into the store
                                13.  Get a grocery cart or carry basket if needed
                                14.  Begin process of locating needed items for this location
                                15.  Verify each item acquired at lowest cost provider*
                                16.  Verify all items made it into the grocery bag(s)
                                17.  Obtain register receipt and payment receipt just in case
                                18.  Load bags into grocery cart for transfer to car
                                19.  Transport items from store to car with care
                                20.  Safely transfer bags from cart to car to avoid damage
                                21.  Place cart out of the way of MY car when backing up
                                22.  Begin travel as required to next itinerary location
                                23.  Repeat current steps 9 through 19 until all items acquired
                                24.  Arrive at final destination (home)
                                25.  Remove all grocery bags to needed location in home
                                26.  Unpack bag contents into appropriate storage locations
                                27.  Place grocery bags for future alternate use or recycling
                                26.  Place receipt for entry into expenses journal
                                27.  End of Project / Project Closeout
                                28.  Start of Celebration

 Why all this?            The purpose is to provide at a reasonable level all of the steps
                                or tasks required to just go get groceries and the places where
                                something could go wrong and what you can do about it if it
                                were to happen ... a contingency plan.  Yet this planning gives
                                us smaller tasks to deal with which often allows for smarter
                                time planning, less risk of forgetting something, and less of a
                                delay should a contingency be required (like car runs out of

 When to use?           Hopefully you do not require this level of planning for weekly
                                groceries but it is something we can all relate to and visualize
                                thus a good learning exercise.  But if this were a new trip in a
                                new city you will face unfamiliar challenges like:  what is there
                                a grocery store, how do I get there, how far away is it, will I
                                be safe there, are the prices at least competitive, will they have
                                the items and/or brands I can trust, etc., etc.

What if it's bigger?   Post-it Notes are great for real world projects by organizing                                    the tasks or steps required to achieve the desired outcome.
                               Write a simple task on one Post-It Note and place it on a large
                               flat surface like a wall.  Add more notes to provide greater
                               detail horizontally for the major areas (selecting groceries, 
                               assessing value vs. price, checking out, making payment, etc.)
                               and use vertically oriented Post-It Notes to reflect activities                                      required for the larger activity or task.  Always think about how
                               you move from one Post-It Note to the next vertical note to 
                               identify plan gaps and fill them by reordering the notes.

                               You can quickly identify any gaps and resolve them thus you
                               have a better knowledge foundation for the work ahead of you
                               and your team.

                               This approach can be applied to nearly any situation due to 
                               the flexibility of the process and simple way to create the
                               visual plan for steps.
ASSIGNMENT:          Take an activity you are familiar with and see if you can list
                               the different activities or tasks required plus provisions for
                               things that may not go or be as hoped.  Learning is about
                               doing and this is a safe comfortable means to achieve that