How to Plan for the Holidays Using LiquidPlanner
What does any good project manager do with chaos? Approach the season like any other project: get a plan, build out a schedule and create tasks. My tool of choice happens to be LiquidPlanner.
Here are 4 steps to survive the holiday chaos using LiquidPlanner’s task management features.
1. Create a project for your personal to-do list
In your LiquidPlanner workspace, add a personal to-do project. I created a separate project in my workspace so the tasks don’t mingle with my actual work tasks.
I’m only planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas so this project will end on 12/25/2013. (Someone else can plan the New Year’s Eve party)
2. Create sub-folders and tasks for each holiday event
Next, create sub-folders for the major holidays events you’re planning. These will live in your To-do list project folder.
In this example, I created a Thanksgiving Prep folder to capture all the tasks to prepare a family feast, including the frequently debated topic over who will host the dinner. In my extended family everyone brings a side dish, but we rotate houses to see who can cook the best turkey.
Once the folders are created, keep adding tasks to the sub-folders. I even included a task to set up the Christmas tree following Thanksgiving day since that is a family tradition.
I set the entire project to on-hold status (the black-and-white pause icons to the left of each task) since I’m sharing the workspace with my real work. I don’t want my holiday tasks to actually be scheduled across my work day.
Besides, I’d probably get kicked out of my own Thanksgiving dinner if I showed up with a Gantt Chart for the holidays.
3. Email the holiday gift ideas to your LiquidPlanner Inbox
Gift ideas rarely strike me when I’m sitting at a computer. Holiday inspiration hits when I’m out and about at stores in search of a meaningful gift. Using LiquidPlanner’s email integration feature, I can snap a photo of a few gift ideas, email them to my LiquidPlanner account and organize them by family member.
(OK, so in the example above, I may have found a holiday gift for me.)
Once the task reaches my LiquidPlanner Inbox, I can drag it under the proper family member’s folder. My kids have a never-ending wish list so for my immediate family members, I setup a folder to contain the multiple gift ideas. If I’m only going to buy one gift for a person, I’ll setup that person as a task rather than a folder. When the shopping is complete, I mark the task done and refresh my list.
4. Create checklists for holiday dinners
Another feature I like to use is LiquidPlanner’s checklist. If I need to plan an entire menu I can use the checklist feature to identify who is bringing a specific dish.
For a dinner menu, I create a checklist item and assign an owner. Technically, I could create virtual team members but for the sake of a one-time dinner, I just put their name in parenthesis next to the item.
Don’t forget to plan for a chaotic level of uncertainty. Between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, you’ll fight for parking spaces, visit the same grocery store three times in a single day and finish cleaning the kitchen just as the guests arrive. Don’t forget to take a moment between courses and amongst the pile of wrapping paper to look around and reflect on the family and friends that surround you.
These are your most important stakeholders . . .
. . . even if they show up on an occasional “issues list” during the year!
Hit us with your best holiday planning tip in Comments.