Thursday, December 2, 2010

Strategic Planning, 101

As a self-proclaimed procrastinator, I know all about putting things off until the last minute. Though it isn't exactly an enviable trait, I am proud to say that in doing so, I also developed the ability to write three 10 page essays in one day while studying at university. Recently, I have also been told at work that (perhaps) I need to be more proactive and less reactive. The truth of the matter is, I am actually very proactive, but it seems this only shines through when I actually care about the task at hand - or at the very least, am being treated with respect instead of being thrown under a metaphorical bus on a daily basis. But that's neither here nor there. I actually doubted my proactiveness until a friend told me he would be in my neck of the woods visiting for a few days...As you have probably already guessed, yes, this definitely has to do with sex...But it also served as an exercise in strategic planning - execution and observation of.

About a month ago, right after the disaster I like to refer to as Halloween 2010, Mr. T.O announced to me that he would be in town at the end of November. He informed me that he had picked up a contract here in Ottawa, and would be visiting/ working for about five days. Now, not to toot my own horn, but I knew when I visited the states in October that he found me to be a pretty awesome chick (I am quoting). I also knew from my visit that he is pretty bomb in das sack. So, when he mentioned his impending business trip, I knew two things were certain:
  1. I was going to get to hang out with him and finally get him to relax and get reacquainted with the meaning of the word
  2. I would have a few late nights due to midnight athletics
*Guys, you probably won't care, or appreciate, but ladies, this guy is 10 different shades of tanned yumminess. He is not only very tall, well-cut and armed with a million-dollar smile and baby-blue eyes, but he is also super smart. Smarter than me, that's for sure. He is also very social, outgoing and makes me laugh - all around, a keeper (if only he lived here...sigh). And, he's a successful entrepreneur - my heart/ brain is melting as I type.

Being the proactive person I can apprently be, the first thing I did was run to the bathroom to grab my trusty Tri-cyclen, and then I ran to a calendar. After some quick math, and a quadruple-check (there was NO room for error here), I quickly realized that the weekend he would be in town was the dreaded "week" every woman gets to experience once monthly. This was simply unacceptable. I ran to the pharmacy and re-stocked knowing full well that if I didn't eat the sugar pills and started right away on the new pack, I would skip the week, and be free to frolic as late and as often as I pleased. In retrospect, this was an awesome move on my behalf. Awesome. When Mr. T.O finally arrived, I packed a bag and made my way to his hotel. It was funny because for once, I remembered to bring toothpaste, something I usually don't bring, only because I always anicipate the place where I am going will have some. Yet another awesome proactive move by yours truly, because Mr. T.O had none...When I left the next morning, I left it for him thinking this would save some time in his schedule - less running around meant more time to work, and the faster the work got done, the faster we could get back playtime.

The next time I was over, I found myself with gremlin breath...I had just devoured 3 pieces of pizza, and paired that with a large coffe, followed by a cigarette. Not very appetizing - it was my mouth and I couldn't stand the taste that was lingering around. In desperate need of some teeth brushing, and general oral cleansing, I made my way to the bathroom. Upon my arrival, I was quickly confused - I had  left more than enough toothpaste for his stay (and for me to borrow if need be), yet the tube was nowhere to be found. I looked under towels, in a toiletries bag, on the shelves - nada. As embarassed as I was about my inability to locate something so simple, I asked "My mouth tastes like ass - where on earth did you put the toothpaste?". His answer, "In the shower, it's way more efficient if I can wash and brush my teeth at the same time!". Ahhh...So he was apparently all about strategic thinking as well - and I found this whole scenario amusing because I used to do the same thing. I crawled into bed shortly thereafter, in desperate need of sleep. It was time to wander off to dreamland...

Well...It seems as though Mr. T.O was even more of a strategic planner than I thought. He quickly joined in bed, and would have bet my left arm that he too was off to dreamland given the late night and long day he had just worked. I was wrong. He had gone so far as to work midnight athletics into his (our?) schedule. As we, ahem, got down to business, I was amazed yet again - normally, I keep latex products in all purses or bags or whatever. He had planned well enough in advance to actually relocate these from his backpack to the nightstand, to make them not only easily accessible, but also to save the time one (a.k.a. me) would spend looking and fumbling around for them. I won't go into any details regarding the 45 minutes that followed, but I will say that post-playtime, Mr. T.O was showered and back in bed in about 10 minutes flat. And as he crawled back in bed, and I began to doze off, I heard the unmistakeable clicking of a keyboard. That's right, he's also a machine - or workaholic, whichever you prefer. He was now planning his presentation for Monday morning.

I think we can all learn something from Mr. T.O - strategic planning plays a key role in being successful. Whether it is life, play or work, making a plan is not always such a bad idea (which reassures me, because I am such a planner!). These plans allow you to map out strategic ways of going about your business in an efficient manner so as to get more done in a short period of time, or to maximize the time you spend doing something - be it sex, work, vacation, etc. However, I think that the amount of planning we put into something is also indicative of its importance to us. I recently planned a dessert swap with some girlfriends of mine - I planned it because I know the holidays are stressful, and there is never enough time to bake, cook and get "life" done, and by doing this swap, I knew it would alleviate some pressure,and free up some time for my girlfriends to actually enjoy the holidays instead of spending them slaving in a kitchen. This way, they get a bunch of desserts, ready to serve, and only had to bake once (unless they choose to bake some more, but the point remains the same). I would never put this much effort into oh, I don't know, a potluck for work. Why? Because other than providing me with a decent salary, my work is simply not that important to me - it is not my passion, and as such, by no means deserves the love and attention that something I am passionate about deserves.

And remember, this is applicable to everything - strategic planning, I have found, is quite the tool when it comes to navigating busy shopping malls during the holidays!

-Milie B.

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