Understanding Germans – No. 3 Planning, Preparation, Process

Manage your day, next week, and book your summer holidays right after you came home from your last

Pc by Rainer Sturm / PIXELIO

This is an extraxt from a most awesome article published by Adam Fletcher:

"So far, so good. Look at you, you’re up early, you’ve got your radio on, no doubt some Depeche Mode is blasting out, you’re eating a slow and ponderous German breakfast, you’re acclimatising very well, young Ausländer.

Now you need to enter the headspace of the Germans. If you want to be one, you need to think like one, which is a big task and we’ll cover it in more detail in later steps. But for now, start accepting the three central tenets of Germanism. The three P’s. Planning, Preparation, Process.

Being a good German is about understanding the risks, insuring for what can be insured, preparing for what cannot. You are your own life’s project manager. Plan and prepare. Make spreadsheets, charts and lists. Think about what you’re doing each day and how you can make it more efficient.

Is it possible you arrange your shoe storage so that the most used items are nearer the top, reducing bending time? I don’t care if you’re 17, it’s taking you nearly a full minute to get your shoes on, buy a shoe horn! Optimise your processes!

Just because they call it spontaneity, doesn’t mean it can’t be scheduled. There’s a time and place for fun, and it’s to be pre-decided and marked in the calendar. All else is frivolous chaos. So sit down now and make a plan for the day, then the week, then the month. Then book your holidays until 2017. To make it easier, just go to the same place. How about Mallorca? All the other Germans go there, there must be something to it."

I must admit that I am probably even more German than others. It is so often I "break together" (Germans tend to translate a collapse like this, because the German "zusammenbrechen" sounds just so alike) when seeing how deadly unprepared my former colleagues went into business meetings. I kept on looking at them with great consternation how they could possibly dare coming unprepared - ie. have not read my minutes of last meeting. I mean, I expext that, right? Why else should I write meeting minutes?! I want to continue the discussion right where it ended last time and don't start all over again.

We really do plan a lot. We make checklists for shopping (whilst not necessary sticking to it), we considerate risks, ie of not acting early, ie. we DO book our holidays months in advance to secure the best room, some of us wake up early and put our towels onto the sunlounger to secure the best spot at the pool (and I know we are loved for that behavior). We take an umbrella when the probability of rain exceeds 25%, we enter into insurance cover to not having to pay for the Ming vase we might eventually in very unlikely scenarios may break (it is actually more to cover the more probable event that our children scratch an expensive unfriendly neighbors Mercedes with their bike when falling of to the side). These things are ingrained in our personality, even with the most chaotic person you will recognize some of them.

There is a very positive side to it, though. One that you are benefitting from: the German's products' quality is one of the highest and so is the quality of service as ours (which does not mean we render it with a smile on our faces - but hey, not the Red Relocators! We have adopted some of other nations' advantagous habits ;) you will see us smiling!). We don't like surprises, so you can be relatively sure you won't see any surprises, especially bad ones, when buying a German product. Unless...but well, that is another story.

Posted in Understanding Germans.