Meta Planning - How is Everyone Planning When the Goal Posts Change Every Week?

Originally asked by @grooms during the Musical Chairs Community Conversation:

How other professionals are managing and prioritizing our work? How do you decide what to spend energy on?

We’d love to hear from anyone on this one. Please leave your feedback, advice, ideas, questions, methods, books to read, blog posts to ponder, videos that have helped, etc.


Priorities at Key City Theatre have been:

  • Reopening Plan. It is truly a living document and will be updated regularly - So much being published every week
    -Live-streaming equipment and logistics research
  • Grant writing for live-stream equipment and upgrades to facility for COVID: hands free fixtures in washrooms, plexi barriers, sanitizing stands etc, etc
  • Patron Engagement: Surveys, Social Media
  • Other capital upgrades

We’re simultaneously doing well with this and struggling with it (the latter is just part of all of our lives). We’ve put a good amount of energy into checking in with patrons and volunteers, and have had a pretty successful fundraising campaign to stock the war chest as well as we can.

In the middle are the things we can actually do, like securing and tracking a forgivable loan from the U.S’s Paycheck Protection Program. And we’ve made a plan for offering our annual Playwrights Festival in September, using a format that can be streamed or live-and-socially distanced depending on our situation then. But even with many of our middle steps, the rules and circumstances change regularly and widely, which is disorienting.

Then on the other side of that is the undiscovered country of some sort of real re-opening. While some efforts to plan have been worthwhile, many just…aren’t. We’ve drafted some safety plans for Phase 3 of our state’s reopening process, but we don’t expect to be able to mount productions in our space and open to patrons in a consistent way for some time.

With this latter bucket o’ stuff, much of the real effort is not planning, but in having the discipline to say “not yet” to the temptation to plan, except when the work will be helpful regardless of when and how it’s implemented. With so much of everything that was on our calendars wiped away, it just looks like flat landscape between where we are and where we want to be. So we want to jump on the next “visible” possibility, when doing so would likely be futile—lots of the practices we’ll need to adopt have yet to be finalized, and running with today’s assumptions would probably be a waste.

Not a ray of sunshine, but a lot of where we are is seed-in-the-ground time. Digging that up in hopes of making something happen that…can’t happen now…is a natural impulse, but one that ultimately won’t bear fruit.