It’s a new year which means new goals. We are pretty sure Minna’s goals are to continue to throw her and Elmer parties while she is home alone (see below), but the rest of us have a bit more responsibility.
A lot of times when the new year comes, people make a bunch of New Year’s Resolutions that don’t really stick. I have been reading what others have been listing as their goals for the upcoming year, and most of them are long lists of: eat healthy, workout, sleep more, etc. While these are all good, I think we can all be honest and admit that you can’t just make a full life switch overnight. It is also really hard when we make more than a couple big, lofty, life changing goals, because we tend to realize that we are only human and can’t make that many changes all at once, so then we just totally give up on all of them, or maybe that’s just me. Kelly (my aunt) gave me some really great advice a few years ago when I set a whole list of goals for myself. She told me to take one thing at a time and really focus on it. She said to start by getting into a sleep regiment that I could stick to for at least 3 weeks. After 21 days, our bodies start to establish a routine. Once I was able to manage that, then set a new goal, and continue this pattern. This advice has done wonders for me. It helps me not to over exert myself and to rally focus on one good habit at a time.
This year, all of us at Minna and the Canine Club could set a list of great goals and resolutions, but in the spirit of following our own advice, we are going to target one thing at a time. For the majority of the beginning of the new year, we are focusing on getting organized. Running a small business on the side takes a lot of work, and can sometimes seem overwhelming. It’s really easy to go from one project to the next without organizing and keeping track of everything from the last project. It can sometimes feel like you are spinning your wheels. I am sure other small business owners feel the same way.
So, we started off 2021 with a giant calendar and notebooks, along with hard drives to organize and file all of our digital assets. This is NOT something that can all be done in a few hours. In fact, getting in the habit of organizing will take months, especially if we want to make it a lifelong business habit. Since many people are probably in our same boat, here is some great advice from successful people on how to be organized. We are definitely going to be putting them into practice this year:
- STAY FOCUSED
Todd Mitchem, a CEO, author and speaker, says to turn off all devices that could be distracting while you are working. I think as a business it’s easy to think that you need to have your phone on and right next to you, checking it constantly while you work. I know firsthand that this is an extremely distracting process. While working on a specific task, turn off all electronics that are unnecessary.
John Crestani, a business expert, says to not let the little things that come up throughout the day distract you from the major task you need to get done. For us, this means prioritizing our workload. Everyday things pop up, so it is important to not let those things stop us from the projects that, like Crestani said, “move the business forward.”
Bottom line, stay focused.
- TO DO LISTS
This is a big one for me personally, and something our business has discussed as well. I love making lists, but I tend to overly obsess over them. I feel the pressure to finish everything on my to do list before the day is done, which can tend to make me feel stressed and not very refreshed.
The key to using to do lists effectively is to prioritize the tasks by daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly lists so that you don’t overwhelm yourself. Secondly, do not over do the daily to do lists, because it just causes more stress. Finally, make the list in the morning each day and focus on ONE task at a time. Don’t jump around from task to task! As a teacher, I know we are really good at doing a thousand things at one time, but when moving a business forward, this is not overly helpful.
Since Minna and the Canine Club is a side business, we all have other very important jobs and tasks each day, so it is extremely important for us to have a scheduling plan for blogs, newsletters, social media, studio time, and meetings. This is a major organizational goal for us this year! As a business, we are working on 4 month plans at time, realizing that things can be added or popped up, but we at least have a plan and a structure to follow.
There are lots of fancy apps and programs you can use, and we have tried a few, but to be honest, for us right now the best way to schedule is an old fashioned planner and charts on google documents.
- DIGITAL ASSETS
We have TONS of digital assets, from illustrations, to book copies, to teaching guides, to blogs, to photos, and so much more. This year, we are putting all of our resources in their rightful place. This takes a lot of time and patience, but our plan is to create specific folders on a drive that we can all access. Let me tell you from experience, that it is a complete headache to have to go through files upon files on your computer looking for one thing you need for a project. This of course comes from being busy, but it is why we now need to gather all of our assets and organize them.
These are our goals and our tips that we are going to be working on for now! There are many other wonderful tips for getting organized that you can find out there, but these are the specific tasks that we need to maximize in the next few months.
Here is to 2021 and getting organized!