Video Blog: It’s the Little Things That Count

When running a business it is often the big things that are at the top of our priority list. This is understandable as these are often the sorts of things our business couldn’t run without. But in this video blog I talk about the importance of paying attention to the little details in your business. These smaller things require little extra effort, can work powerfully to set you apart from competitors and can go a long way in helping you succeed and achieve your business goals.

Thanks for watching!

sarah x

What’s on your ‘Get To Do’ List?

To Do ListI attended a networking event the other day which had an open Q&A session. Somebody asked whether there was any free software out there to help them organise their ‘To Do’ list. After a couple of people speaking up with suggestions of helpful apps for helping with time management, another person then suggested the idea of dividing your list into things you want to do and things you need to do.

This may well be a useful way of helping you prioritise your tasks, but I would like to make a simple yet bold suggestion for completely changing your attitude towards your To Do list altogether…

Got to do ‘or ‘Get to do’?

If you’re anything like me, you wake up in the morning and the moment you open your eyes your brain starts whirring with the mountain of jobs you need to get done in the day ahead. All the things you absolutely have to get done, or else…

This is of course very normal, but with this regular way of thinking it’s very easy for a normal person (let alone a busy business owner!) to end up getting stuck in a perpetual state of fear and joylessness. Our To Do list, for all its value in helping us be productive and prioritise well, can actually start to have a detrimental effect on our well-being and, ironically, our productivity. If we’re not careful, life simply becomes a daily slog of ticking things off, and our To Do list has enslaved us and become a heaven burden to bear. Sure we may be driven, but are we only driven by fear and anxiety?

So how do we stop this from happening? How do we avoid the daily grind and fear factor as we work through our daily, weekly, monthly business tasks?

It’s all about attitude!

I strongly believe that battles such as these are won or lost in the mind. Instead of considering all of the things you’ve got to do today, instead consider all the things you get to do today. Have you ever considered the tasks you’ve got to work on as being privileges? It is a privilege to work and earn a living and serve others with your products and skills, and it is certainly a privilege to run your own business. Yes, it is even a privilege to do you’re annual accounts.

choosejoy2This attitude can be difficult to adopt, and in all honesty at first I found it quite ludicrous! But this just shows far we have slipped into a negative pattern of thinking. If this is how you feel, then I recommend the ‘fake it ‘til you become it’ approach. Whenever you catch yourself woefully looking down your To Do list and risking being overcome by a low-level sense of fear or despair, re-frame your thinking. Remind yourself that these are all things you get to do.

These are all things you have the privilege of doing.

This change of attitude doesn’t promise to make your To Do list shrink or become any shorter, but it does promise to drastically affect the way you tackle your tasks. Firstly, you will feel the joy return that may have long been missing. You will approach jobs with a much more positive and freeing attitude. You will feel the fear and anxiety lift, and in a short time you will notice that your to-do list will have become your slave rather than your master. And interestingly, with an increased level of positivity you are much more likely to be more efficient, productive, persistent and alert as well.

So, what do you get to do this week?

Over to you
Feel free to share any thoughts and comments below.

Thanks for reading,

sarah x


Get a REAL break this summer with SAM’s holiday cover

Northumberland holiday photoI took a week’s holiday a fortnight or so ago. We didn’t go anywhere too exotic this year, we just booked a cottage near Bamburgh in Northumberland. Now don’t get me wrong – I had a lovely time; we got some good lie-ins, saw the sights and had some lovely meals out. We even managed to avoid the flooding that occurred in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne that same week. But in all honesty, I can’t say hand-on-heart that it felt like a complete break from work. My mind kept drifting back onto Back Room SAM matters, and as a result I didn’t come back as refreshed and raring to go as I could have been, and here is why.

If only I had had someone to keep an eye on things while I was away.

My experience this summer of taking an apparent ‘break’ from work was somewhat different from the holidays I have taken in previous years. When I was employed and working for various businesses, I found it very easy to step away, knowing that work would happily continue without me. I could go off and enjoy my break safe in the knowledge that others would be checking my email inbox, dealing with anything urgent that landed on my desk while I was away and I could generally have peace of mind that my week off wouldn’t have had any kind of devastating impact on the performance of the business.

My holiday in Northumberland taught me that now I am self-employed and running my own business, holidays need to be handled differently. There is only me in my business at the moment, which means that if I am not there, then nobody else taking care of things for me. Being a B2B business means that time off over Christmas isn’t so bad, as Christmas tends to be the one and only time in the year when most other businesses shut down for a week or so, (or even if they are at work, they at least don’t expect any other business services to be at their desks). But when taking a holiday at any other time of the year, I have found it very hard to mentally switch off from work.  I am sure I am not the only one who has this problem. I catch myself wondering if any clients have got in touch with me with problems while I’ve been away. What if new prospective clients have emailed me wanting a quote for a job and they go with someone else as a result of me not getting back to them? What if someone has hacked my Twitter account and is abusing all my contacts? Despite me being away from home and having a physical break from work, these kinds of questions prevented me from having as good a mental break as I would have wished.

Now looking back, I can see how helpful it would have been to have had someone back in Lancaster keeping an eye on things for me. How good it would have been to have been able to hire a safe pair of hands, even if only for a couple of hours or so in the week, to sift through my inbox, take care of my weekly admin and keep things ticking over for me, who would get in touch only in the case of any ‘extreme business emergencies’. This would have given me the real break I had earned and would have benefited so much more from.

The good news is that this is exactly the kind of holiday cover service Back Room SAM can offer you this summer. I am here all summer long to help give my lovely fellow business owners that kind of real, mental as well as physical break they deserve.

So, if you have plans to go away and really want to avoid that dread of coming home to your business not knowing what you’ll find, why not chat with me and let me know how I can keep your back room in good order while you’re off enjoying a wonderful and refreshing break. You will be sure to reap the benefits of SAM’s holiday cover service, while you’re away and also on your return, having had a real break.

Happy holidays, and I hope you have a wonderful summer whatever you’re doing and wherever you’re going.

sarah x

*If you fancy seeing more of our Northumberland holiday snaps, you can click here.