Tuesday , 4 August 2020
You did your dreaming....within all those dreams are some goals for this coming year. Now comes the time to put planning to work.

Get Organized Series! Part 3: The Concept of Backplanning

Get Organized!

Part 3: The Concept of Backplanning

Part 1

Part 2

You did your dreaming….within all those dreams are some goals for this coming year. Now comes the time to put planning to work. I’ve used this system for decades – literally. I’m sure someone came up with the idea before, but to my knowledge no one else calls it “backplanning.” Because…..you plan backwards. It seems counter intuitive to how we usually plan, but this method pretty much guarantees you will finish on time, without that last-minute unpleasantness crammed in to a few days. In fact….you could be early.

What I also like about this system is that by the time you are done, you have a plan in front of you that looks extremely practical, manageable, and something that doesn’t scare you before you even start.

One thing to keep in mind – your goals can be any length, from a week to a year.  I’ve used this method to plan getting ready for a trip in two weeks to presenting a middle school musical in 9 weeks, to my yearly goals. For the school musicals, I started with a 9-week calendar that was determined by opening night. Then I started backing up important dates, until I had actually scheduled auditions.

What I want you to do next is skim through this calendar, top to bottom, and bottom to top. There’s room built in for snow days and other things that might come up, plus keeping in mind the attention span of middle schoolers. And, I feel it’s do-able for me, the director.

Friday, May 2 – afternoon and evening shows, strike set, cast party

Thursday, May 1 – afternoon opening, evening show

Wednesday, April 30 – dress rehearsal

Tuesday, April 29 – tech rehearsal everything

Monday, April 28 – tech rehearsal, lights and set changes

Friday, April 25 – run through all acts, costumes and props

Thursday, April 24 – run through all acts, props

Wednesday, April 23, run through all acts

Tuesday, April 22 – Act 3

Monday, April 21 – Act 2

Friday, April 18 – Act 1

Thursday, April 17 – all musical numbers from all acts, concentrated

Wednesday, April 16 – Act 3

Tuesday, April 15 – Act 2

Monday, April 14 – Act 1

Friday, April 11 – Act 3

Thursday, April 10 – Acts 2 and 3

Wednesday, April 9 – Acts 1 and 2

Tuesday, April 8 – Act 3 finish blocking

Monday, April 7 – Act 3 blocking

Friday, April 6 – Act 3 blocking

Thursday, April 5 – Act 2

Wednesday, April 6 – Act 2 blocking

Tuesday, April 5 – Act 2 blocking

Monday, April 4 – Act 2 blocking

Friday, April 1 – Act 2 blocking

Thursday, March 31 – Act 2 blocking

Wednesday, March 30 – Act 1

Tuesday, March 29 – Act 1 blocking

Monday, March 28 – Act 1 blocking

Friday, March 25 – Act 1 blocking

Thursday, March 24 – Act 1 blocking

Wednesday, March 23 – Act 1 blocking

Tuesday, March 22 – Act 3 blocking musical numbers everyone

Monday, March 21 – Act 3 blocking musical numbers everyone

Friday, March 18 – Act 2 blocking musical numbers everyone

Thursday, March 18 – Act 2 blocking musical numbers everyone

Wednesday, March 17 – Act 1 blocking musical numbers everyone

Tuesday, March 16 – Act 1 blocking musical numbers everyone

Monday, March 15 – Act 3 music main roles

Friday, March 12  – Act 3 music main roles

Thursday, March 11 – Act 2 music main roles

Wednesday, March 10 – Act 2 music main roles

Tuesday, March 9 – Act 1 music main roles

Monday, March 8 – Act 1 music main roles

Friday, March 5 – read-through

Thursday, March 4 – read-through

Wednesday, March 3 – cast announced

Tuesday, March 2 – auditions singing

Monday, March 1 – auditions acting

Mid-February – order scripts, pay royalties

Yes, there’s more behind the scenes going on before we even begin, but those pieces don’t involve a cast of 80 children. I need a schedule I can work with, students can take home for parents, and teachers will know when classes are disrupted.

Please leave comments for us on your thoughts, if you have done something like this, other variations you use. Let’s build from each other!

Next: Doing Backplanning for your Goals

Dean and Linda Moran are the owners of Marble-T Design, LLC and have been marbling for 20 years. You can see their work at “The Art of Marbling,” follow their adventures on their blog, see examples of their marbling in their Etsy shop, and watch their updates on Facebook.



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  1. Great idea! Start with what you know (the show, the product, the ad campaign, etc.), then the rest falls into place.

  2. Executive Functioning. I teach it to all my fifth grade students with a large culminating project.

  3. Excellent, Linda! That’s kind of how I operate, too, though not in as much detail. I do the same thing with financial goals, too. Figure out how much you need to earn for the year and then break it down into months and weeks and envision how to make it happen.

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