The Power of Small


Early on in the pandemic, I listened to a podcast that asked, When this is all over, what do you want to have accomplished?

I’m always up for a good self-development challenge, so I made a list of what I wanted to achieve in the pandemic:

  • Keep my business afloat
  • Eat more fruits and veggies
  • Get a good start on the book I want to write about starting and running a business

In making my little list, I broke every rule out there about goal setting.

The main thing is that my goals, now that I look at them, were quite vague.

I didn’t have a clear end date and  none of them were objectively stated.

I think I assumed this would all be over within a month or two , so whatever progress I made would be “good enough”.

But of course, now it’s late August, and the pandemic has morphed into a long, languishing affair that threatens to drag on for, oh, forever.

This means I need to take charge and arbitrarily call half time to my pandemic goal setting. Here’s where I’m at:

  • Business

My business is, loosely, afloat. As readers of this blog know, we have one store instead of five and a fraction of the team, but the store and team we have is busy and there is room for optimism.  Assessment: it remains an ugh, but I feel that I’ve done my best given the situation.

  • More fruits and veggies

Poor Andrew!! We have eaten so much produce, he had to declare a moratorium on spaghetti squash. (“I’m not eating any more spaghetti squash, it’s irrelevant!”). But including a couple of vegetables in lunch and dinner has become a habit.  Of course, we still eat cake, I mean, it’s cake! A couple of weeks ago I took home a 4 inch Salted Caramel Mocha Cake- it was sooo good. I digress. Assessment: I will give myself a star on the fruits and veg.

  • Good start on writing a book

Ok, this is where the big buzzer goes off and the contestant is booed off the stage. If thinking time counted, I have done so much work on my book but let’s be honest, thinking time doesn’t really count. I have approximately 3000 words written and if I had written only 500 words Monday to Friday for the last 5 months, I’d be at 50,000! So I need to rally on this one because writing a book about starting PGB remains something I want to do, especially now.

What I take away from my goal setting for the last 5 months is that small works best.

In the areas that I did okay in, I set micro goals for the day or week, tried not to think too far ahead, and allowed myself many hours in the first few months when my main activity was lying on the sofa watching the cats sleep.

Our time in pandemic mode has dragged on so long that even the smallest positive change most days added up to quite a bit.

For the goal that I didn’t get as much done as I wanted, the book, I am going to take what I’ve learned and in the 18 weeks until Christmas (it’s true, 18 weeks), I will write a mere 500 words every week day which will be a total of 45,000 words.

Surely after 45,000 – plus the 3000 I have done – I’ll have achieved my initial goal is,  “a good start on the book”.

I will let you know.



About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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