Saturday, November 27, 2010


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Anyone that has ever been me around very long knows I am a planner and a list maker. I’m big on planning things out. I’m not always great at following the plan, but generally I’m within the neighborhood of it by the time a project is finished.

For the last month or so I’ve been drifting. Simply mystery shopping and merchandising, letting others steer my path in this sea of life. As a result Thanksgiving was okay, but not the meal I wanted and my timing was way off on it. Let’s just say not everything finished at once like it normally does and cold mashed potatoes are not a big hit.

I could give the excuse I had a horrible head cold, but that would simply be an excuse. Granted I spent all of Friday in bed trying to kick the worst part of it and still managed to sleep almost until noon today. But it’s still just an excuse. It was lack of on organization on my part.

Well, I didn’t really sleep that late, the last hour or so I laid there thinking rather than getting up. What I was thinking was I needed a plan, a goal, something to get me back in gear on everything.

While I’ve been working hard at working I’ve let other areas slide. Areas we can’t afford to slide. I had fallen slack on cooking, keeping the budget up to date, cleaning the house and have not been carrying my share of opening the new business.

So as I laid there mulling it all over I decided it was time to get back to a plan, but what plan would spur me on the most. After all a plan has to be a goal you really want to achieve. Everyone plans on doing chores, but because they really don’t want to do them they often don’t get done if something better comes along.

I’ve got the Princess Plan and it’s good, but I needed more. I needed to have a carrot dangling in front of me, something I REALLY wanted. Then I realized that one year from today we want to be in Walt Disney World for a 2-3 week vacation. Only there were several barriers (mainly bills) in our way for this. So that is when my plan started forming. How to make that goal become a reality. So…

This next year you will be receiving reports on the goal and how we as a family are going to achieve it.

First I need a title, hmmm something catchy, but not to silly. Since the Princess Plan is included in this goal I think I will call it. “The Royal Getaway” or RG for short.

Now I need to decide what I want in the plan, what must be achieved to make this vacation not only possible, but relaxed and enjoyable. So sticking with the format of the Princess Plan I broke it down to 12 categories.

I. Finances, after all this is to be a cash basis only trip, that’s the number one rule.

II. Incorporate the Princess Plan

III. Actual Vacation Planning

IV. Menus, for the year and the trip (also part of the Princess Plan), but it needs its own category for this plan.

V. Sticking with the budget (I know this falls under finances too, but you’ll see why it gets its own Roman Numeral as time goes on.

VI. Mystery Shopping and Merchandising

VII. Getting our business up and running, as well as keeping it going while we are gone.

VIII. Gardening, a day to day plan. You’ll see why this is important for the coming year.

IX. Weight loss. If you have EVER been to Walt Disney World you will know why being in good physical shape is a major plus going there. That place is HUGE!

X. Wardrobe, ours is starting to look pretty ratty and a new one requires cash only. Plus if we lose weight…

XI. Animals, we have a lot of plans for them for the coming year. Plus there are two to go with us and the rest will remain home and all sorts of plans and actions have to be made for this.

XII. Miscellaneous needs prior to the trip. In other words, everything else I forgot to list.

This all sounds pretty general I know, but that is the way a good plan starts. You start with the general categories and then develop the sub-categories right down to the daily plan as you go.

Take #VI. Mystery shopping and merchandising. After doing it for around five years what planning should I need for that right? Actually a lot of planning needs done.

Sean and I have been taking it on a day to day basis and as a result we have ended up working weird hours, rushing to finish jobs, overbooking ourselves, wasting gas and then having days where we have no work. Trust me the reason Sean and I were both so sick for Thanksgiving was because we let ourselves get run down because we didn’t plan.

Plus now we have this business we are opening up and we need to allow time for it or it will never get off the ground. The problem is mystery shopping and merchandising are guaranteed money, the business is a maybe. So MS/M must be the priority of the two at this time. This could easily change in the near future, but for now we must get in as much of the first two as we can and squeeze opening the business in around the edges. That takes planning.

So on the overall plan it would look like this:

VI. Mystery shopping and merchandising.

A. Locate jobs to do

a. Check daily on the self assign websites for mystery shopping

b. Try to contract for as many weekly/monthly/quarterly merchandising jobs as possible.

c. Always take the higher dollar jobs first

B. Print the week’s paperwork as much as possible on Sunday

a. Print additional paperwork as soon as available

C. Try to stack jobs when scheduling as close as possible on locations, preferably in the same building.

a. Limit out of town trips

i. Only do out of town trips when there are numerous jobs for both parties to do and make a full day of it.

ii. Incorporate household and business errands into the daily ms/m schedule to save time and fuel.

D. Study all paperwork the night before so there are no surprises (this has been a big problem for us lately—too many surprises)

a. Gather any necessary tools or supplies the night before

i. Make a ditty bag of tools used often and leave it in the truck.

E. File paperwork immediately upon arriving home, no late nights allowed.

F. Store documentation immediately.

a. Assign a set place each set of paperwork must go as soon as it is filed.

G. Cull old documentation when the need to keep it has expired.

H. Keep a calendar up to date as to any long range jobs to avoid double booking.

I. Arrange for merchandising jobs to be done while we are gone on the trip ahead of time.

J. Set as many accounts up as possible for direct deposit or paypal.(This one is pretty much done)

K. Wash our work wardrobe as soon as we have worn it for the week in preparation for the next time it is needed. (Too many late nights of doing a hurry up load for the next day’s job).

So you can see that by the time I do this full list of 12 this is going to be a very long plan. Then I will take that list and turn it into a monthly, weekly and daily list like I did the Princess Plan.

Making a plan is pretty simple. AND once you have a plan it’s easy to follow.

So I challenge each and every one of you to make a plan and let’s work on our plans together. Why wait until New Year’s Day, why not start now? I’ve got my plan started, what’s yours?

Jan who says if we work together we can accomplish anything in OK

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