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Let’s Hear it for: Planning Ahead

May 1, 2021

Another Way for week of April 23, 2021

Let’s Hear it for: Planning Ahead

Sixth in an eight-week series on “Let’s Hear It.”

Faithful followers of this column know I’m nearly through doing a series on a related theme. This has been a tool to keep me focused on what I’m going to write about next week and the next, etc. There is nothing worse than waking up two days before a column is due and panicking, what on earth am I going to write about this week?

Sometime around the end of January, I was drooping in the idea department and took a few minutes to probe my brain for things I wanted or felt compelled to write about. I knew readers (me too) were certainly getting tired of reading about pandemic this and vaccinate that, and wanted to provide a lift. So I went through my basket of ideas—literally random thoughts jotted down from time to time about possible column topics. I organized the ideas into a series that I thought would work—for me if for no one else. I don’t know if papers are using the little “editor’s note” at the top describing the current columns as a series, but whatever. That’s not the important thing. The important take away for readers is—as in this column, the beauty and blessing of planning ahead.

Planning ahead regarding which lane of a toll plaza you need to go through is definitely a good idea.

Planning ahead helps you can keep up with the chores you’d like to get done, menus that will keep you from the 4 o’clock panic of oh my what on earth are we going to have for dinner, people you need or want to call or drop a get well card to, people you need to contact about a church function or assignment. Or hobbies or projects or exercises you’d like to begin!

My daughter will forgive me I hope for using my favorite story here of her habit of procrastinating in middle and high school. By high school I didn’t always know what her assignments were, or looming special projects. The kind where you have to run to town to get special markers or paper or posterboard. Actually, if she needed Dad’s help—such as her idea to build a French guillotine (I kid you not)—she normally got him involved early enough in the assignment that she could work with him to build the horrible thing (which stayed in the darkest corner of my cellar for a number of years).

Getting off the bus: the science fair project was probably the furthest thing from her mind.

But one school morning she got up around 6:30 and said, “Oh yea, Mom, could you help me pull together a project for the science fair?” Eyes pleading.

“What!” I exclaimed. Then sighing, I probably said, “Maybe. When it is due?” and lowered my eyebrows into a motherly scowl.


I don’t have any photos of Michelle working on a science fair project but she certainly enjoyed digging her hands into quite involved projects, as seen here with her Grandpa Miller.

I looked her in the eye, swallowed hard, and said, something like, well, get to work. I forget what she came up with and what I had to gather for her to complete it (I tried to keep posterboard on hand for such last minute calamities) and low and behold, she got it together with minimal help but lots of me cheering her on. And of course offering her a ride to school in our van rather than dragging it on the school bus which gave her a little extra time to finish. I think she got at least a C for her efforts.

So. Don’t procrastinate. Plan ahead. Get that list going. You know these things. As the Good Book says, “Happy are they who do these things.” (John 13:17, paraphrased).

And you know what? From my end, columns like this almost write themselves, at least for me. I start with a word or phrase and let my brain go and I truly hope it inspires you to get a task on your calendar or your refrigerator, marker board, bulletin board—or create a list somewhere. Have a wonderful week!


Any last-minute homework finished or forgotten—or other—stories to share?

Does planning ahead make you feel organized–or guilty and stressed?

Comment here or send to or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

  1. Great one, Melodie. I always told my students to pack their backpacks the night before so they wouldn’t forget something, especially textbooks. It’s a practice I’ve followed for most of my life, and I suspect you have too.

    Yes, I agree: blog themes prevent having to cast about for what-comes-next-on-my-blog feeling.It was easier to do prior to book launch because the story of progress toward publishing unfolded naturally.

    How wonderful you have photos to go with the story of your daughter’s experiences. 🙂

  2. Well, these photos don’t match exactly, but one gets the idea! Thanks for your comments, uplifting as usual. I’ll send you a private email shortly. Blessings for a lovely weekend.

  3. I love planning, Melodie. We have been in a three-month long planning process ever since we signed a contract on our new home in PA. Now we are down to the last 18 days, and that planning is paying off. We are planning both for the movers and for the many farewells we need to make in order to feel good about leaving this beautiful place and the beautiful people we have come to know here. That includes you. Many blessings on your writing and family and church adventures!

    • Oh thanks for dropping in! I truly had hoped to stop by your yard sale/lemonade stand (was that last Sat. or Friday morning?) but I was running late and behind on errands (not planning well enough??) and decided to scoot on home, and by that time, Lydia would have surely been out of lemonade. At any rate, I will watch your further adventures back in PA and will plan to keep in touch. I have certainly experienced you as an organized planner–all good.

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