Avoiding the stigma of being a poor planner

Say you are part of a group that is working towards a goal. For e.g., you want to have an event – say a fund raiser or a party going. First thing that needs to be done is to set a date. To set a date, you need consensus from majority of the people. So you need to poll the people. There are lots of ways of doing it. In the old days, you would call people up. Then there were online groups. Now there is WhatsApp or Meetup or any such means. To help get to a decision, you set a reply by date and the possible dates (the event date).

Here are some tips to help decide. Remember, Without proper commitment you cannot really plan.  So, assuming that one is committed to making it happen :

  1. Develop a clear picture of what your schedule is till the date(s) in question. All this requires is putting down on your calendar – digital or otherwise – what is due on each day. Without putting it down there this no way you can clearly see the gaps.
  2. If some dates are questionable, put down possibility of these activities happening with a probability of 10%, 20%, etc.
  3. Also put down against these undecided events, if you want to attend or not – Y/N.
  4. Remove events that you don’t want to attend i.e., a value of N in step #3. This opens up 2/4 and 3/4.
  5. Remove events with a probability of happening that is less than 50%.
  6. Now you have to decide between the event and those possible events that have a probability of happening that is greater than 50%.
  7. Now it is a sit and watch game. As the RSVP date approaches, see if the probability of the remaining events change. If they go beyond 70%, block your dates. If any of these dates fall on the date(s) requested, RSVP No to the invite. You have to call up the event owners and check for the probability. If the probability falls below 50%, remove the event from your calendar.
  8. So here is what a sample table looks like at this point one week before the RSVP-by date. The first column are the dates proposed by the event host.
Date (All possible target dates) Probability of happening % I like to attend Can Commit?
2/3 alt event 20% Y Yes
2/4 alt event 70% N Yes
3/3 alt event 60% Y No
3/4 alt event 1 40% Y Not yet
3/4 alt event 2 10% N Yes


  1. You now have tw0 dates (2/3, 2/4) that you can commit.  3/4 – you still can’t commit because the likelihood for alt event #1 can go beyond 50% and you would like to attend that event.
  2. On the RSVP-by date, if you still don’t know about alt event #1 for 3/4, since the probability is still below <50%, you should rule it out for consideration. This opens up 3/4. There you have it – three dates you can commit – 2/3, 2/4, 3/4!!!!
  3. If undecided due to probabilities not known yet, decline the invitation so the invite owners can plan the event without you. This keeps the others from constantly guessing.

Now that you have done your job, you have helped yourself and others tackle a task. Move onto  other things. 🙂

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