I found this five-step plan for hosting massive holiday gatherings online. Could a Gantt chart really solve all my problems next Thanksgiving?
by Bill Mehlman
If you're going to utilize the Internet effectively, you need to be able to sort through a lot of info quickly and do heartless triage. We'll get into that in more depth soon, but in the meanwhile (I'm trying to get this done quickly so that it doesn't morph into an excuse for not heading out into the rain and going to tai chi) let's look at one of the wackiest websites around, Instructables.com.
Honestly, the things people put their minds to. Making a custom platinum engagement ring, how to rescue a hummingbird, making a pneumatic golfball cannon ("Shoots 450+ yards!"), making your own roll-up keyboard, and how to crack a Master padlock. Some folks must have just tons of leisure time, and don't want to waste it reading the Iliad or Swann's Way.
So why bother to have my inbox cluttered up with this chazzerei? Because every now and then I come across a gem, like this: How to organize a big Thanksgiving dinner (24 guests, in this case). The author has developed a method, using a Gantt chart, to keep track of guests, menu, shopping, prep, service and tabletop ware, chairs, final assembly and service schedule. Most important, by saving these spreadsheets each year, you won't go nuts trying to remember if anyone ate the rutabaga puree, or how much gravy you were short by, or that Uncle Chester hates tarragon. Start with the next party you have, even if it's only a half-dozen friends for chips and dip to watch the finals of some reality show, and get in the habit of doing it for any event.
As you get into doing this, you'll figure out that Gantt charts can be applied to anything. Packing for a vacation (let's not forget the extra inhaler this year, okay?), sending Tommy off to college, closing up the summer house (no more frost-broken pipes?) and so on. Rather than have your brains spinning like a dreydl that's had four double espressos, you'll have reference material to consult. And not reference material from a book. Relevant material from your own life.
Confidence breeds calm. Calm begets concentration. Go for it.