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Planning Thanksgiving Dinner with a Gantt Chart

The holidays are ahead of us, which means you are going to have a long weekend with your family at home. Since that can be a little bit too much as it always is, we are going to get you through it using a language you can understand. We are going to teach you how to plan the perfect (or at least a bearable) Thanksgiving dinner using a Gantt chart and resource planning software.

That way you know when to keep away from the kitchen, and at what time your aunt and your dad will argue about the latest elections.

Adding the Project and the Resources

Let’s start off by creating a project called “Thanksgiving Dinner,” and adding all the resources to your Gantt chart. You can add additional information about every person so you wouldn’t forget the things to worry about. Plus, when you’re doling out the chores you’ll be able to match the right person to the task.

Here are a couple of examples:

Custom data fields allow you to add data about resources. Then you pick the best resource for your thanksgiving dinner.
Custom data fields allow you to add data about resources. Then you pick the best resource for your thanksgiving dinner.
Every resource can have different skills with resource data fields.

Plan Ahead

Now, it’s time to decide who’s doing the shopping.

Just start by creating a task called “Grocery Shopping” and assign it to whoever’s lucky enough to brave the turkey nabbing crowds.

But here’s the part where you can make yourself look extra tech savvy. You can add all the links to the recipes to the tasks so the shoppers can just check them using their app. Leaving you with a clean and simple Gantt chart chock full of your Thanksgiving data.

That’s definitely going to earn you some extra credit and take the attention away from the fact that you are once again coming to the Thanksgiving dinner alone.

Add custom data fields to your resource planning software so you'll know who needs to do what at Thanksgiving.
Add URL links to your tasks for quick reference.

Even Breakfast is a Task

Unfortunately, planning the grocery shopping is just the start. It’s on actual Turkey Day is when it get’s tricky.

The secret is starting the planning from early in the morning. You might think that you can sleep in and enjoy your day off, but no. That’s not what’s going to happen and you know it. At least you know there’s a nice breakfast waiting for you. And luckily it’s already scheduled into your Gantt chart. Just concentrate on that.

Prepping the Turkey Means Overlapping Tasks

Probably there will be a small time window between breakfast and starting the turkey preparations. Don’t think you’ll actually have any free time.

Remember that depending on the size of the turkey, it might take up to 7 hours to cook it and there are many steps to it. But that’s OK, because there’s plenty of other things that can be done in the meantime. And since you scheduled them concurrently, assigning just the right amount of time to each, you shouldn’t run into any real issues.

So take a deep breath. Sneak some of the cheese ball and blast that Thanksgiving Day parade to ease the stress.

Resource Availability is Everything

Although the dinner starts at 7pm your grandparents will be there at about 5pm. Since you grandma insisted she should bring the cranberry sauce, pray to all your resource planning gods that she did.

If she didn’t, thank yourself for going to the store earlier and buying some just in case. Take a bit of time to chat with your grandparents in the living room as they arrive. This just means your grandma won’t be able to look over your mother while she cooks. Your uncle Phil’s family will get there about half an hour earlier with the pie.

Now you can get excited about the presence of the pie.

Planning = Piece of Cake (err…pumpkin pie)

The dinner will definitely start with the good old argument about who is actually the best turkey carver in your family. Whatever you do, don’t intervene. Make a note of it in your planner for next year.

You are going to have to be ready for someone (probably your uncle) making a comment about the newly elected president. If you want to the night to be peaceful, change the subject or just go to the kitchen to stuff your face with the turkey stuffing.

As a rule, your great Aunt will tell you that she doesn’t still actually understand what being a project manager means and your grandma will ask if you have a special someone and your mom will say that you work too much and your grandma will agree.

Luckily, you have planned for this and you can already rehearse your answers. However, if your uncle starts getting tipsy, just get out from the room and go play football with your brother a bit. Your uncle is a wild-card and you can never really know what he will say or do.

At this point, resource planning has gotten you to the pie eating part of the evening.

A Thanksgiving Gantt Chart

Make a Thanksgiving Gantt chart with Ganttic's resource planner for a well planned holidays!
Make a Thanksgiving Gantt chart with Ganttic’s resource planner for a well planned holidays!

We could go over the guest leaving and you rolling to the bed, too. But we won’t. You did enough by surviving dinner already. Let us know whether your Thanksgiving dinner went according to your plans on your online Gantt chart. Or whether you had to reallocate some resources and tasks!

Oh, and have a Happy Turkey Day!

Sign up for a free trial of Ganttic and let go of the holiday stress.