The 9 Ps – Part 4: Planning

Last year, I came across this article about “passion” and its connotations in the worlds of careers and hobbies. It got me thinking about the Farm and how it has changed from a “passionate dream” to a solid plan, on its way to reality. In this 9-part series, I’ll take the key paragraph from each of the seven P’s in the article and expound on it as it relates to the Farm.

Planning

Where passion disconnects us from reality, planning — especially planning of the SMART goal and number-crunching variety — drives home the true state of affairs.

I’d love to think that all of my planning is done; after all, I’ve been developing the plan for four years! But I usually find myself refining the plans monthly, at least, if not weekly or daily. A technique I’ve developed for troubleshooting is also my “how to fall asleep at night” technique: I invent a location for the Farm, based on places and properties I’m familiar with, and start mentally walking through the development of the Farm. Maybe it’s a north-facing, fairly steep slope, on a property with no existing trees; maybe it’s on the south-facing side of a broad river valley with frontage along the river. Do I get ducks or chickens first? Are cows or pigs more important? How much of each crop field do I plant the first few years, or do I bypass the fields and use only the kitchen garden until I get the systems established?

Depending on how tired I am, it can take a few days, a few weeks, or even two or three months to run a scenario. I’ve always told myself long-running bedtime stories, ever since I was a kid; I can’t remember a time when I didn’t. So I’ve perfected the ability to remember exactly where I was in the story when I fell asleep the previous night, and can flawlessly resume the private narrative each night.

This isn’t goal planning, and I try strenuously to avoid any serious number-crunching during these sessions (since getting wrapped up in math tends to keep me awake): those activities are reserved for waking hours when I can readily look up information that I’m lacking. But the nighttime scenarios often reveal to me where I need to perform additional goal review or number-crunching, which I can do later.

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