1) I think Excel can solve just about any problem
2) I like to over plan everything
3) I am a complete nerd.
It should be no surprise to anyone that I absolutely love a site called Contextures. Debra comes up with all kinds of good stuff and this post is on par. The link above will take you to a holiday dinner planner that you can download and use in Excel for free.
What I like about it:
It is simple. Not simple meaning that anyone could create this. I say simple meaning easy to use. The instructions are included right there on the “DinnerPlan” tab. All you have to do is enter the steps it takes to complete one item, the time it takes to do that item, and the location needed to perform the action. For example, if Turkey were on the menu, you might enter the following
Item = Turkey
Activity# = 1
Activity = Prepare Stuffing
Location = Stove
Minutes = 30
Hours = “blank”
Continue this until all activities are entered. Enter the time you want to eat at the top and everything is lined out to make sure you stay on schedule.
Room for improvement:
Let me start this by saying that every application ever created could have one more feature. This one as it is will do a great job at exactly what it is intended to do.
One improvement would be to build in some type of capacity limitation. For example, how many ovens or stove burners are available? This would require the user to enter these values. Then some prioritization scheme would have to be implemented to figure out what goes first if three things need to be in the oven and you only have one oven. That would greatly affect the timing of when items need to start. This falls into the “easier said than done” file. So keep that in mind when reviewing your printed plan. Some adjustment may be needed if you have a small kitchen.
Again, this is not something wrong with the file, just something that could added to improve it. Maybe this would be a version someone would pay for. In other words, keep the free version, then add a resource constrained version for a fee. Who knows?
At any rate, check out Contextures for more items like this. I'll be using this to plan the holidays.