How Creating A Business Plan For Love Led Me To Romantic Bliss

by Iulia Calota

How come more and more professional women living in big cities have such a hard time finding true love?

According to Jon Birger, author of "Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game," we are facing a man deficit.

The shortage of college-educated men is not just a phenomenon in big cities.

According to Birger, among young college grads in the US, there are four women for every three men, except in places where the economy is driven by a primarily male job market.

This unequal ratio explains the college and post-college hook-up culture, the decline in marriage rates and the difficulty in finding a committed partner.

Or, if we are to extrapolate psychologist's Barry Schwartz "Paradox Of Choice" theory into dating, it looks like Tinder-swiping Millennials may be experiencing choice paralysis when faced with too many options.

So what's a girl (or guy) to do?

Three years ago, I was 33, single and miserable.

I was a successful advertising project manager and an accomplished professional woman, but inside, I was a well of sadness.

Having been single for over six years, I felt like I was a complete failure.

Somehow, I managed to scare every man I met with my kamikaze approach to love, throwing myself at guys and ending up getting hurt in the process.

How come I seemed to have control of every other area of my life except this one?

For years, I had tried my best to find "the one" by dating frequently and ferociously.

But one day, after another embarrassing failure to find love, I decided it was time to make a significant change.

I asked myself, why was it that love was so hard to find in the big city?

Was I part of a wider phenomenon that I had no control over, or was finding love something I could actually influence?

Looking for practical solutions, I buried myself in researching the popular dating literature, but I soon became dissatisfied with the prescriptive advice found in self-help books.

I suddenly recalled a conversation with a work colleague from a few years before, joking about evaluating guys using spreadsheets, key performance indicators and pie charts.

It seemed like a silly conversation at the time, but then I saw it in a completely different light.

What if, as an experienced project manager, I could use the methods I was familiar with at work to find the right man for me?

That was when I came up with "The Love Project."

It's a project management-led quest to find love.

I gave myself one year to bring order into the chaos of my love life and get in a committed relationship.

I set my objective and my time plan, and I defined the project scope, deliverables and my milestones.

I literally put together an entire project plan using an Agile methodology.

I was ready to go.

What followed was a hell of a year, during which I learned a lot about love and dating and how having a project plan helped me in making better, more informed decisions.

During my regular project reviews, I realized that — because of the project management element of my dating life — I had become a more confident dater, and I had learned a lot about myself in the process.

For the first time in my life, I took charge and full responsibility, and it certainly paid off.

I was suddenly attracting more quality men, my dates were better and better and I was actually having fun.

There is a Buddhist saying that the story is in the hurdles.

At the end of my upstream dating and self-discovering journey, I eventually found love.

But not at all in the way that I expected.

There may have been a lot of victories that were the direct result of my own labors, but I can't hide the fact that I also owed many breakthroughs to serendipity, good luck or even to a higher force pushing me forward.

Now, three years later, I am engaged to be married to a wonderful man, and I am convinced that it was all thanks to "The Love Project."

It's true that the dating paradigm may have changed and true love is arguably harder to find, but a focused and consistent effort always brings results.

Why not use the skills you master in business to project manage your way into romantic bliss?