BUSINESS SKILLS, productivity

Slow and Steady: How to Inch Your Way Closer to Goals.

“Everyday do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.” – Doug Firebaugh

I love the use of the word inch in that quote. That’s what I have been doing dutifully ever since I started this business.
Inching.
Like a tortoise, or a slowly seeping ink spill trying to get to the edge of a table. This post is all about the benefits of inching.

May is a particularly busy month for me.

Every year, I feel as if I have things well under control, then May hits and… well take a look at this May’s To Do list:

  • Shirt production is full steam ahead, and I’m printing, ironing and sewing every day with five more days of shows coming up. I have my products in two shops as well now, so I’m constantly working on my inventory, while thinking about my Autumn/Winter line.
  • Summer camps start in June, and I’m working out the kinks in my curriculum, keeping an eye on enrollment, and the materials that I will need to order soon. I also still need to find a couple of interns sooner rather than later.
  • Also, both my kids’ birthdays are coming up in the next two weeks, so I have my party planner hat on. Oh, and there is always the end of the school year, with all of it’s celebrations, performances and ceremonies. Add to that, a studio building project in its early stages, and a trip to England beckoning, and we are talking about a recipe for mayhem (Like what I did there? MAYhem!).

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So… how am I handling things?

Well just peachy actually.
I’ve realised that I’m just fine as long as I don’t examine my situation too hard. Work myopia is the perfect solution for me: the owner of various planners, productivity journals and to-do lists. I survive by focusing hard on the short term, day to day stuff. Sure, I have a planner with future tasks, events, and deadlines pencilled in for the rest of the year, but I try not to focus too much on it. I look at it once a week, at the end of each week and change things around when I need to.

I write a schedule every day, and don’t think much about the next day until the evening, or the next morning.
Tiny steps, small tasks all add up, and I get things done day by day. Inching. If I focused too much on the bigger picture right now, I’d panic and fall apart.
Here’s an example: I know that I need to take another look at my camp curriculum, but I have decided not to think about it at all until next week. This week is dedicated solely towards getting products ready for the Spring/Summer fairs.
See – the big picture is still here, at the back of my brain, but I’m picking my priorities right now. And if all else fails, just keep going. Batch sewing labels onto shirts for an hour in a trance, beats spending an hour frozen in procrastination. At the end of the hour you’ll feel ready to do something more complex, and you can check those shirts off your list. Bonus!

The bottom line is just keep going, don’t panic, and cut your tasks down into little inch sized chunks. According to my nearly-twelve year old, that works for stressed 6th graders and their homework too. It has just taken me a bit longer to recognize the slow and steady technique.

 

About Author

Artist, Educator, Parent, Small Business Owner, Big kid from a big city, in a small town.

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