Specialty Food Magazine

JUL-AUG 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 88 of 207

THE EDUCATED RETAILERS' GUIDE "If you lead a life that's any more complicated than, say, a sheepherder's, be sure to write things down." find out an amazing thing: You can let it all go. You can forget about missing appoint- ments, not getting stuff done, and have your brain back to think about creative, interest- ing stuff." I agree. I'll take every little bit of brainpower I can free for fun and creative activities. In one of my favorite books, The Corporate Mystic, Gay Hendricks and Kate Ludeman wrote: "If you lead a life that's any more complicated than, say, a sheepherder's, be sure to write [things] down." Agreed, again. You're not doomed to immediate fail- ure if you don't, but how can you keep track of it all otherwise? If you're feeling rebel- lious and don't want to put pen to paper— or fingertip to touchscreen—to keep track of what you say you're going to be doing, then plow ahead as is. But, as Munroe says, getting commitments and plans out of your head and into a form that's easier not to risk forgetting truly does free your mind to wander wonderfully. 2. Budget Your Time Nearly every healthy business does some sort of financial budgeting; the alternative is to hope that spending freely and then scram- bling to recover every time you're short of funds will work. For some reason, many people fail to apply the basics of financial budgeting—forecasting the resources avail- able and contrasting that with expenditures to see if there's anything left over (i.e., profit and/or cash)—to time management. Doing a time budget isn't all that hard, nor is it particularly time-consuming. But without one, you're leaving your time adrift at sea, where it's at the mercy of the world's turbulence and other people's choppy behaviors. A budget chooses struc- ture over last-minute scrambling. It's not rocket science, nor is it a perfect solution to all your problems; it just pushes us to give some forethought to what's coming and to make mindful decisions about where we'd ideally like to invest our time. For example, I could easily spend the next two years finessing this essay, and likely the rest of my life working on one book. And while there's nothing wrong with either, the problem is that neither will work out with the other time commitments I've got in mind. One more tip about budgeting your time: Make sure you don't schedule every last hour of your day. You have to leave room for things to crop up. If you don't, you will be buried under an avalanche of unmet expecta- tions. To avoid getting smothered, I work hard to schedule only about three-quarters of my week. Most days I leave a few free slots to deal with the unexpected things that come up. Add in an hour for getting grounded in the morning, some time to work out and all these other tips, and I can usually get through most unexpected events. 3. Don't Procrastinate If you begin a task immediately, the actual time the task takes will be shorter than if you delay it awhile. This statement may sound strange, but I'm adamant that it's true. The longer I wait to tackle a task, the more time I spend doing the task. While I'm not advocating racing mindlessly into action without thinking things through, my expe- rience is that the more I move away from acting on a decision, the longer everything seems to take. And as a perfectionist, I can find excuses to delay because I want to make sure everything is just right. But of course, not everyone is like me. Diversity dictates that some people are wired the other way: They tend to be so impulsive that they'll act on just about any- thing almost instantaneously, which often gets them into trouble. If you're one of those impulsive types or someone who's afflicted with Shiny Object Syndrome, my sugges- tion is simple: Check your vision and your values, and in this case, your time budget before you begin. If your plan of action isn't going to help you get closer to where you decided you want to go, or if it's out of line with your values, that's a pretty sure sign that it probably isn't a great move. As a general rule, if your inclination or pattern is to take a long time to act or com- plete a task, you'd do well to speed up. On the other hand, if you feel internal pressure to act impulsively and in the moment, you're generally going to do better to back off. In either case, I suppose, the safe way to deal with this is to just sit down and start quickly on whatever it is that you're working on. My emphasis is on getting going—there's very little you can't draft into an outline or first-round write-up in under half an hour. And the risk of drafting—not acting, mind you, but drafting—is next to nil. The longer you put off that first round of action, the further you get from your true feelings, your creativity and your insight. You can have the best of both worlds. Clear your mind by getting moving quickly, but integrate safety into the system by wait- ing a bit to gather input before you pull the trigger on anything too controversial. If in doubt, wait a day, talk to two friends, and then go with your gut. Make sure that you don't schedule every last hour of your day. You have to leave room for things to crop up. If you don't, you will be buried under an avalanche of unmet expectations. 66 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE ❘ specialtyfood.com

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