Friday, January 15, 2021

VAP Angst

The days of the Very Ambitious Plan (VAP) seemed like they were past.  Then, I got to January and realized I might need some sort of a VAP in my day to day efforts.

What is a VAP?  

The Very Ambitious Plan (VAP) had its origins at the Genuine Faux Farm as our daily 'to do' lists that were necessary if we wanted to manage our farm and all of the moving parts.  We made our first blog reference to them in 2016, when we discussed VAPs and even suggested some VAP statistics that we could use (but didn't - look... it was all in fun, ok?!).  We had a bit more fun with another blog post titled VAP Revisited that just took us even further down the 'silly road.'  

Regardless of how much fun we had with those posts, the VAP was actually an extremely important tool for us over the years as we farmed.  It was a good way for me, in particular, to organize my thoughts as to how I would utilize precious resources - the most precious of which was time.

I still recall conversations with Denis (who worked on the farm several summers) about how he was always aware that there was a plan behind the decisions and reactions to unplanned events that happened every day on the farm.  Well, Denis, I owe a great deal of that to the creation of a daily VAP.  The time I took to put it down on paper helped me get things straight in my head so I had a prayer of getting through the day.

But What If We're Unambitious?

I have certainly considered making a VUP (Very Unambitious Plan), but when I want to make a VUP, I usually don't have the motivation to do it (get it?  Huh huh?!?).  

Anyway, the very nature of list making tends to lead some people to be more ambitious and others towards less ambition as they get overwhelmed.  Why?  Well, the Law of Expanding Lists takes over and the VAP just keeps getting bigger and bigger.  This can either fire you up to get as much as you can done or it buries you with expectations.  

Tammy and I both know where each of us lands on lists - like the farm VAPs.  Tammy dislikes creating lists - finding them stressful.  This is especially true if we make a list with a longer view.  To her, it only feels like a list of things to be disappointed about because we won't get to them.  On the other hand, I find creating these lists useful as they help my brain focus on a subset of tasks.  I know its time to make a list when I feel the paralysis creeping in that comes with being overwhelmed trying to figure out what's next.

On the other hand, give Tammy a nice 'check-off' list of things to do today or this week - and she's happy.  In fact, I've found many who have worked on the farm loved having a list of things to check off when it was done. 

But, What If It Doesn't Work?

I realize that January is not my best month - as far as being motivated and keeping myself on task.  In high school, college and prior to working at the farm, I was pretty faithful with my ability to catch some sort of cold or flu that made matters worse.  It's just a cycle I go through and I have my strategies for dealing with it.  The question is - will the return of the VAP become one of those strategies as I go through a January with very different purposes than the past twelve (or so) January months? 

So far, I've met with very mixed success.  Not surprisingly (to me) the days it worked the best were those where the list was more farm oriented AND where there was more active 'doing.'  Thus far, I have had much less success getting my own person to accept that VAPs are also good for office work.

We'll give it the ol' college try and see what happens.  Worst case scenario - I'll give up making the VAP ahead of time and write things down as I accomplish them so I can then check them off.  Or, better yet, I'll start making lists that break each task down into smaller actions so I get to check MORE things off.

  1. Climb stairs of the house
  2. Walk down the hall
  3. Enter the office
  4. Sit in desk chair
  5. Turn on computer
  6. Wait for computer to start
  7. Hum a tune while waiting
  8. Pet a cat while waiting
  9. Connect to internet
  10. Load up blog web page
  11. Scratch head and wonder what to write
  12. Start writing
  13. No, never mind, try another topic
  14. Another false start
  15. Write blog
  16. Upload pictures to blog
  17. Proofread
  18. Schedule blog to publish next morning
  19. Stretch a little
  20. Look at list for next thing...

Ups!  Nothing more there.  I must be done for the day.

Good work me!

Have a great day everyone!


  1. Hmmm, and then there are those of us that sometimes work well with lists, and sometimes get overwhelmed with them. Which will it be today?!?!

    1. Ah yes.... which indeed. You only know that at the end of the day. If you can figure out how to tell which day it will be BEFORE writing the lists, let me know. :)


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