Thoughts on starting and running a small business

Valentine’s 2017

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and for the  first time in 3 years it lands on a week day. With so much of our business coming from people who commute into the heart of Toronto Monday to Friday, the last two Valentine weeks (with the 14th landing on Saturday and then Sunday) have been slower than in 2012 through 2014.

We are all excited to see what tomorrow brings! But we are ready for a very busy day i.e. we have lots of boxes made and all preparation in the kitchen that Anne’s team can do ahead has been  underway for a week.

The concept of work expanding to fill the time available is an old idea: give ourself a day to get your Christmas shopping done and you will likely spend the whole day in the malls. But if you only had a morning, chances are good that you’d just move faster and have ‘er done by noon, with time to spare for a Thai Express lunch.

On the weekend I subscribed to the  Mark Manson blog. He is the author of the new book, The Subtle Art of  Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. (I would underline the title because book titles are supposed to be underlined but I can’t find that function in my blog, duh!). This book takes aim at some common truisms that Manson doesn’t actually believe, such as the pursuit of happiness being a worthwhile goal, in and of itself.

The blog post I read yesterday argued that it is really effective to combine the benefits of being organized (eg. an orderly, predictable schedule) and procrastinating (eg. uber adrenalin rush, excitement, maybe more creativity).

My friend Marilyn is  a big procrastinator and I am a big pre-planner. With a monstrous deadline looming the  next day (better yet, same day) Marilyn pulls out all the stops, doesn’t eat, drink or sleep and gets it done – and done well. Not me. If I have a big project I will do a monthly/weekly/daily plan so that it can all get done in a peaceful way.

Manson says that I could free up mental space by arbitrarily moving up my deadline so the time period is shorter to get it done. If I decided that every Monday morning I only have 30 minutes to do a blog post, I know that I could do that. But my current approach is to wait for a great idea and then to spend quite a bit of time finessing it. It’s just a blog post – regular posts may be more important than carefully planned out ones.

Anyway what things do you allocate a lot of time to that could use a nice short time allocation and a close deadline?

Let me know!

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  1. Megan
    Megan03-28-2017

    One thing I do sometimes (when I remember) is think: “given how important I think this is, how long would I like this to take me?” And then whatever happens in that space of time, I generally deem to be Good Enough! When it comes to some things like marketing materials, you can go on doing a million iterations, that at the end of the day, are so minute that no one would be able to tell the difference. Thanks for the post Jean!

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