Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Planning for Slackers Like Me

As I’ve mentioned before, earlier in the month, I started my second year on the PTA at my son’s school. In addition to the craft fair planning, I’m also the committee chair for communications. So far, I’ve gotten many condolences for dealing with the “crazy moms” of the PTA, which is by all accounts a fair assessment of both the moms and the dads of our PTA. You have never seen more drama outside of cable television. (OK, maybe Flavor of Love beats us…) Anyway, planning is in full gear for lots of things. Key word: planning.

And did I mention my lack of skills surrounding planning?

I’m one of these types that comes up with an idea, goes full steam ahead, usually on my own without any clear step by step directions. When I assemble a toy I disregard the directions. Gantt chart? Not in my lifetime. It is very hard for me to visualize and map out the steps involved in getting from point A to point B, while planning for step C and so on. I would prefer to just move and get it done rather than thinking and mapping out HOW I’m going to get it done. Big pros and cons. I know you are imagining how successful I must be in my career as a teamplayer…

So, imagine my delight when coming upon a site called Jooners. Alex Elliot of Formula Fed and Flexible Parenting requested some assistance on reviewing this site and I have to say, my experience with it so far has been delightful.

For instance, for the PTA craft fair that is coming up, I have some willing volunteers (a.k.a. “crazy moms”) to help me do anything from posting flyers to recruiting vendors. All I do is create an event on Jooners by clicking on a list of online planners. In my case, I clicked on “organize volunteers.” (see image above) I then fill in all the relevant information about my event and all of the necessary tasks. I then complete the initial planning process by importing all of my volunteers’ emails addresses, which can come directly from my web mail address book. And then Voila! I click on “send” so that an email alert is sent to my volunteers to pick a task they can help with. No unnecessary emails back and forth. It’s all in one place. And that way, everyone else sees what others are doing. So none of this whining like, “I wasn’t copied on the last email… I didn’t know Barb was managing the bake sale…. Whaa waa…”

And what’s even better is that my recipients do not have to create an account to respond. What could be better than not having to remember yet another username and password? For working moms like me, I have a gazillion passwords at work to remember for all sorts of programs, so all I need is another password (sidetrack: there's an hysterical "Dilbert" that says "...starting today, all passwords are to contain letters, numbers, doodles, sign language and squirrel noises." Those working in corporate America will appreciate that). Of course, as the organizer I do have a user name and password, but I think it’s great for the recipients to not have to be hassled about passwords and such.

For me and my PTA work, this site is extremely useful. It was very user friendly for entering all the necessary information for people and tasks. There are many great planners on the site for even more things such as home improvement, car pools, classroom parties, and event planning. They all work just about the same way. I might have wanted the event planning section to be a little more detailed to help people like me get into the nitty gritty of planning, but it’s not enough of a deal breaker. I don’t need to complicate the events of the PTA anymore than they are, so really, the simplicity of these planners works great for busy moms.

So I encourage everyone to check out Jooners! For your next Christmas party, for your next PTA event, or for your next block party, give it a try. It’s easy, and best information of all: it’s
F-R-E-E. (Good news considering the stock market tanked 777 points yesterday).


Blogger Heather said...

I'm trying to avoid planning things for a while, but if I was going to plan something it sounds helpful.

2:09 PM

Blogger Mayberry said...

That sounds great. I agree, not having to know ANOTHER password is very nice.

Nice new sidebar badge! :)

2:17 PM

Blogger Alex Elliot said...

Great review! I'm glad that you liked it. I just organized snacks for my moms group meeting and I loved that I only had to send out the one initial email. Jooners automatically sent out reminders to everyone.

8:24 PM


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