B is for Back to Basics

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Sometimes in business, life happens. You get busy, you run out of steam, you get overwhelmed, you get tired. That flooded, drowning feeling can be very hard to cope with. I had it a lot when my children were little. I’d get so very envious of my sister in law, who had my inlaws running hook line and sinker around her kids and my hubby and I were just about the only support we had for our own two. It’s a bit better now that they’re older, but there are still days when there is just no room to move, or breathe.

It’s on those days that you need to remember to just do the basics. It always helps to make a list of what you have to do. It’s very satisfying to cross completed tasks off the list. I often relate the comparison of the things you have to do being similar to trees in a forest. You’re sitting there feeling overwhelmed. Picture yourself as a bird, sitting in a forest of trees. Feeling completely swamped, lost, and not knowing where to go or what to do next. Then you fly.. fly above those trees. Soar high above them. And look down. Now you can see each individual tree. You can see it for what it is, an individual tree that, with all its counterparts, helps make up the forest. Pretend all those trees are the different things you have to do. And now, look for the tallest tree. This is probably the most important, most pressing thing you have to do. And ‘cut it down’. This means, do it. Clear the task. And then look for the next tallest tree. And clear that one. And so on and so on, until you’ve cleared the forest.

That’s what I mean by basics. Remember the methodical way of getting things done. Anyway, if you forget the basics and take short cuts, things are going to go wrong. You won’t provide your customer with the good work they deserve, and you’ll let yourself down too and get your business and yourself into a tizz. It’s a good idea to have a daily list of things to do, and a weekly and monthly schedule. It can be difficult working for yourself and not having someone to breathe down your neck to make sure you get things done on time. That person is you – you have to motivate yourself to do it. If you don’t, nobody’s going to, and things won’t get done.

Another good idea is if you have a colleague in the field, ask them to have you be responsible to them, and they can be responsible to you. This takes a bit of time and effort, but it works like this. Every day you draw up a to do list. And you email it to your colleague. They email you theirs. And they check with you at the end of the day whether you’ve done what’s on your list, and you check whether they’ve done theirs. This way there is accountability. And it’s a way of making sure you get the basics done every day.