Planning Your Activities – Strategies For Integrating Beyond Our Main People
Caring For How We Interact – Part 2
Each year is full of learning from past experiences. Your life is your business and it’s good to operate like one. You have to agree that your life is more valuable to you than the companies you work for. If that’s the case, think of the best company you’ve worked for, actually think of all the companies you’ve worked for, what do they do well? It’s from these experiences in working that you should learn from, draw ideas, and implement policies and procedures for your life, your home, and your family.
When thinking of how we interact with others, there are some (what I call) low hanging fruit that we can use to help put our plans together on how we can better interact. Here are a few questions to consider. We will focus solely on vacations in this lesson, but you can apply these to any major family events.
How many trips do you want to have? What type of vacationing would you like to do? Where on earth will you travel? What does it take to travel like you want to travel? All these questions can be answered by thinking back to the previous year or years. Unless, this is your first time which shouldn’t be the case, but it happens, simply start where you are.
The Thought or Concept:
For us, we’ve learned that we must be intentional with our interactions. What that means is we have a plan. That plan includes what trips we take. What vacation times will we be available for others? Etc. Because we’re intentional, we’re not just going to have a go at life, because when you do that, life will have a go at you. We plan to give our best to our families no differently than we give our best to our work. [To the left] Why in the world would we give our families less than we give some company that doesn’t know our name? How you interact with your people says a lot about how much you value them. Unthoughtful interactions mean little value, thoughtful interactions mean much value.
“Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run.” – bible.com/97/pro.21.5.msg
Keep in mind that interacting with others outside of our four walls is optional. No one has to spend time with others if they don’t want to and maybe some have had such bad experiences that they no longer want to. I understand; that’s what happens when there is no planning as you will see when we answer three of the most important questions when it comes to interacting with others.
- What do we have to do?
You must always give thought to what you must do. If you don’t ask this question, when those outside the family (friends, extended relatives, neighbors, and even coworkers) invite you to a function, you might accept an invite that you can’t make because you’re overbooked. The answer to this is to live by a calendar. My first priority is to make sure we have the events for the nuclear-family all settled. For us, we have a few stable vacations to make sure we’ve accounted for when budgeting our time for a year:
- Marriage Retreat.
We’ve promised each other one getaway that’s just for the two of us and it’s crucial that we have one.
- Tamia’s reward.
We’ve promised Tamia a trip of her choosing if she does what we need her to do in school. We can’t allow anything to interfere with incentive; it took her a school-year to earn it.
- Alabama Football.
This one probably shouldn’t count, but it does. Football season is at a specific time and once the tickets are purchased, those days don’t really change. See we need to make sure we don’t waste our money and plan over these dates.
I’m sure you have a few staple dates that are non-negotiable. At any rate, you must know what it is you have to do.
- Marriage Retreat.
- What are the trips we don’t have as much control over?
Because we are employed and have successful careers with companies, there are times when business travel is necessary. There are conferences and projects that may require us to be available. The good thing about business travel is that it’s usually planned many months in advances. This way we can go ahead and get this down on our calendar. You want to make sure you get as much down on your calendar as you possibly can. I call this budgeting your time.
There can also be an advantage to business travel that might allow you to do what I call a “trade off with combining experiences.”
One year Pamela had a conference at Disney World, now you know Tamia and I could not pass that up. So when something like this occurs, one of the staple trips is traded for this one. It works out because we already have a room paid for at least during the time of the conference and we add on days at the end so that whoever is working can enjoy a vacation too. When you’re a planner you can take advantage of everything life throws your way.
On another occasion, Pamela had to travel to Boston and we made an annual retreat out of it, but our most memorable was our honeymoon. We had set the date of our wedding months in advance with invitations printed. One day at the office, I was called into a meeting and awarded an award of excellence which included a week’s vacation on the company with my spouse. As favor would have it, the vacation fell the week before our wedding date. So we decided to move the wedding up one week and we had a honeymoon with all expenses paid for by the company I worked for. This is what happens when a trade is necessary and you’re good at planning.
For the last several years and this year’s no different, we have weddings to participate in. These dates are set by others and we have very little control over them. The point is stuff comes up and you have to be ready to deal with it and handle it and living by a calendar helps to control what seems uncontrollable.
- What do we desire to do?
Now we’re ready to begin thinking about doing something with the folks we love that are outside our four walls and to be honest we have a lot of events during a one year period.
Because we’ve entered our staple items and events we have less control over into our calendar, we can now see when the best times are for other desired events. We can see what’s available for the other people we do life with. It’s time to begin querying our world to see what’s on their minds or have been thinking about. Such events may include, but are in no way limited to, these: family reunions, major anniversary trips, significant birthdays for a group of friends, community days, serve days, bucket list items as a family, annual family vacations, etc.
Once you have settled on what events, it’s time to match calendars and availability as a family. While this is usually the difficult part, it’s easier when you have a plan or accomplish the front-end work, after you know what it is you wish to do. It’s like our last Thanksgiving family dinner. Our plan included a time that wouldn’t interfere with what others had going on. We put the plan into action and the result was fabulous.
Consider the size of the group and its dynamics. Not all family members mix, neither do all friends mix. When matching dates, there’s some things that must be considered on the front-end. Like the number of days. When during a given week. Distance to be traveled, etc. One important consideration that most families have is accommodating for health related restrictions and financial related constraints. Have this figured out before ever presenting options and your plans will start out golden.
The more detail you can provide in putting a plan together, the better your interactions with others can be. Before I get off this subject, make a habit of improving your plan year over year. Remember it’s your life, It’s your family, and it’s your business.
Today is Friday!
Before we close out this episode let’s review. There are three important questions you must ask before you can make the best of interacting with those you’d love to interact with along with and/or without those that are outside your four walls. Those questions are simple, 1) what must you do that isn’t optional 2) what are the events that must make your calendar that are out of your control, and 3) what are the events you desire or wish to have with others? No one said the business of running a family is easy, neither does it always have to be hard. Regardless, everything in life where you plan to succeed will require a plan.
Until next week, which I believe will be Good Friday, share this episode with a friend. I’ll try my best to have a special Easter message just for you.