The Master Plan

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Last updated on February 20th, 2024 at 10:44 pm

Wow. Saturday’s been pretty chill so far—I’m glad that I’ve just been able to stay in for most of the day and hack away at some of the crap lying around. But I wish that I had ideas for blog posts ahead of time. I was talking to Kev, who’d been talking to Jasmine (who now, apparently, finally got her shoutout…), and the topic had arisen of a “content calendar”—i.e. having a calendar for the future of things you’d like to write about. It would be awesome; I mean I already have vague ideas of things to talk about:

  • finances
  • health
  • dreams and aspirations

to name a few, but it bothers me that this blog has been a bit more theoretical than practical so far; it’s similar to the difference between university and college (at least around these parts—Toronto). In university, I learned a lot from a lot of books and lesson plans, but in the end, all I feel I really learned is work ethic and maybe a few things about economics to better understand the financial world. (But then again, that could all be due to 6 ½ years of working in a bank.) College, on the other hand, you work directly with the subject matter you want to dedicate your time to. It’s like you go in the trenches, learn to use the tools you’ll need, and then they release you into the world. In some ways, I’d like to be more like a college teacher at times, but I think I’ve got my brain stuck in theory mode. If it works for you, then I guess it’s all good, right? And how do I find this out? POLL TIME, BABY!!!

And if you pick the practical-style blogs, you better be commenting with suggestions, because I need help!

So the master plan—you try to plan in life as much as possible, but it’s not an easy thing to do. Complications will pop up, you can’t possibly do everything in the world—but you’ve got to have some sort of plan about life and everything in it, or you’re just going to find that life might pass you by.

“But Casey,” you exclaim in an exasperated tone, “Yesterday you just told us about getting rest and that we should just take days to enjoy them for the sake of enjoyment!”

Oh, totally true—but wouldn’t it be even more awesome if you’d planned so well that it was a reward to yourself? I can’t say this definitively, but I’d like to think that nothing good was ever made without a solid plan. Look at the depiction of how Facebook came together in The Social Network. No? Not a good example? How about The Great Wall of China? Or the entire layout of Manhattan? There’s a lot of examples out there of the great stuff that’s come from good planning. So why not apply the same to your life?

Here’s a list of what I’m planning right now:

  • New websites
  • A startup business
  • A new tool at work to combine numerous separate pieces of data into a framework
  • My wedding

I’m sure there’s other stuff, but let’s start with that for now. Now, to give you an idea of how wonderfully organized I am, I took the liberty of dumping out the contents of the bags I normally carry with me to give you an idea of what I’m operating from:

As you can see, organising might not be my greatest asset. But the things I want to pursue require a crapload of discipline and dedication. So how the heck am I going to pull this off?


1. Tools

You’re not going to get anywhere without a good set of tools. In order to keep my thoughts organized, I use notebooks to jot down what I’m thinking at any given moment and mind maps to sort it out into categories. The ones I use specifically are MindNode if I’m on my Macbook Pro, or Freemind if I’m on a PC (sometimes I’ll use Freemind on a Mac, too—the free version of MindNode is pretty limited). This way I’m able to better categorize the ideas running through my head and put them into a format where I can figure out I know what category I want to tackle next, in what medium my ideas will work best, etc. Very handy.

2. Timelines

You might not be in a race against anyone, and you might want to take your time with things but have a timeline. If you don’t say it’ll take you this many days/weeks/months/years to get something done, you might get to the end of what could have been a reasonable timeline with nothing but regrets, and that’s likely not something you want. When Sarah and I hit up the Yonge/St. Clair area to have our anniversary dinner, I got there early (by total accident, in fact) and stopped into a Book City where I picked up a Moleskine planner at half the price. Having the book to plan out ideas and how long I want to do them for in conjunction with the planner on my BlackBerry has been AMAZING. There are so many tools out there for planning that the only thing stopping you from having one is you. Try planning out the smaller things first and going from there—I’m almost CERTAIN that you’ll see progress with your life the more you do it.

3. End Goal

HAVE a goal. Knowing what the light is at the end of whatever tunnel you’re in means that you’ll eventually see it—if you don’t know what’s coming and when you hope it will come, how do you know you’ll ever make it out of the tunnel? With the wedding, I know when it will happen, so I don’t have to think much about that goal—it’ll come. With the others, it takes some more work. Websites I want up before the wedding. The business, I want a business plan sorted out in six months. The tool for work? The sooner the better, but I’d like to have a mockup done in a few months since I’m doing it on top of my other work. These goals will help to define how you plan to use your free time and what you hope to get out of it all.

These are all just ideas of how you can get more out of your life—I’m sure there’s plenty of things I’ve missed, but unfortunately, I’ve started eyeballing the clock and think that I need to head out to Shoppers Drug Mart sooner than later. But let me know what you do to plan. What are you planning for? Is there something in 2011 that you’re hoping will come to fruition? Let’s get our chat on!

I have another good one lining up for tomorrow, so I’ll see you then!

Until then, I remain:

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad



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