The whole world is glued to the news and (hopefully) to their couch right now as we watch the COVID-19 pandemic continue its global stranglehold. Business are closing temporarily, or permanently, right and left. They’re also trying to prepare for the unknown; what the next few weeks, months, or more, might look like.
We’ve been hunkering down this weekend as our minds are spinning and preparing to switch to an entirely at-home work situation. We want to make the most of this time, for our business and our personal lives and figured we would share the first handful of things we feel are worth tackling. Some of these items are mindless activities that help clear the cobwebs and freshen up our spaces so that we can move forward more easily and encounter less mental hangups. We hope this is helpful!
ORGANIZE YOUR INBOX
This is a big one, but is often times the most weighty thing on a business owner’s mind. Your inbox is probably on the extra active side right now as we all pivot and make new plans daily while the world shifts. Active steps for us look like creating new folders and new pipelines and boxes that are a part of the CRM plugin system we use in gmail called Streak. This helps ensure every email has a home in our inbox. So we’ll be chipping away at all new emails, and spending a bit of time cleaning up old folders, and making more space for new ones.
This is also the perfect time to clean up our personal email inboxes that are sorely neglected.
CLEAN OUT A CLOSET
Taking a break from the computer but still being super productive helps the days go by quickly. Picking a trouble spot in the house –- a messy linen closet, the kitchen pantry, the garage, the back shed, your dresser drawers, the filing cabinet –– and slowly chipping away at some clogged areas of your home can free up mental space and alleviate subconscious stress.
CONSIDER ONLINE EDUCATION
If you have the extra funds to support it, invest in education that will further your business. For us, flower education and small business education is where we want to focus. Both for our team, and us as owners! We had already invested in some online education like Passion Flower Sue‘s Virtual Studio –– so scheduling some time each week for us and our team to login and watch a lesson or two is on our new work from home to do list.
TAKE DAILY WALKS
Being outside in fresh air is good for your health, for your soul, and for your mental state. If you don’t have a convenient area to take a walk, make a small amount of daily exercise a new or continued habit! Even if you just spend a small amount of time sitting on your front stoop, or back porch –– get yourself a moment in fresh air! Let your bare feet touch the earth. Ground yourself. Spend a moment in prayer or meditation. Whatever it is that centers you. Do it.
READ BUSINESS BOOKS
This is absolutely THE TIME to read! We’ve been slowly tackling a list of business books that are inspiring us and we will be continuing to read as a group here! Starting perhaps a business book club with our team or with friends to keep our minds in the game and better ourselves while we wait to move forward. Here are a few books that we’ve either already read or are on our upcoming list:
You might be able to find some of these books available for free borrowing via download from the New York Public Library or your own local library!
FIGURE OUT NEW WAYS TO CONNECT WITH FRIENDS
The importance of our friendships is even more punctuated right now, and most of us will actually have a bit more time than usual to nurture them. We just need to figure out new ways to have face-to-face bonding time that stays physically distant. Maybe you can plan work sessions from home, but video conference in a friend and make plans to do that together several times a week? Setup coffee dates over video chat? If you utilize social media extensively, go LIVE on Instagram more and interact with people. We already see so much more activity online now that everyone is indoors, so find ways to get in touch with people to feed that empty hole that will be face-to-face interaction. Small business, especially in creative fields, is often a very lonely experience, so this is our chance to start building new habits and think outside the box while everyone else in the world is ALSO doing this. We can learn to connect with people on a new level!
CREATE OPERATION MANUALS
The most well run and long-standing businesses out there have very clear orders of operation. They have manuals and guides for everything they do. The services and products they provide are the same every time. Your experience with them is the same every time. This familiarity builds confidence in them; that you’ll always get the exact same thing you’ve asked for when you invest in them. –– Read The E-Myth Revisted to learn more on the ins and outs of this. This downtime could not be more perfect for bettering your business when it comes to Order of Operation!
We will be chipping away at making detailed manuals for each of our normal and individual tasks for our business: What are the exact steps we take in on-boarding a new client? What about how we go about paying an independent contractor? What exact steps need to be taken to pull and compile supplies/tools for an event? What flowers need flower food? There are so many things we can fine tune and put in writing that will serve our business for years and years to come.
LEARN A NEW SKILL
We all have things laying around our house that we’ve always meant to try. Projects we planned to figure out or skills we wanted to learn that always get put off.
We each hope to learn at least one new skill while we have this down time! Learn to watercolor, get better at meal planning and cooking, learn to knit, build something, become a yogi, get really good at painting your nails, learn a language –– it could be literally anything. Just think of all the things you’ll be able to say you accomplished with the time handed to you!!
TRIM YOUR BUDGET
This counts for both business and personal budgets! There are tons of things we are paying for monthly and yearly that we often forget about. Perhaps some of those things aren’t as essential as we initially thought? Do I need like 7 streaming services? Are there photo storage companies I haven’t been utilizing? Can you find small ways to trim the fat and help those pennies add up to many dollars of savings? They may carry you further than you think! We will surely be working on this.
We are also keeping in mind that every decision we make can impact someone else and their livelihood, so some monthly purchases will likely be kept even if we don’t plan to use them for the next couple of months –– because it’s important to us to support the small business or company we are purchasing from –– and we want them to be there when we get back from this quarantine.
ORGANIZE YOUR PHOTOS
Both on your computer and your phone. Go back through the years, delete things that aren’t important and back up the things that are! Clear out space, revisit memories, and consider ordering prints and albums of important times that you want to remember. We love ordering small albums from Chatbooks and prints from Social Print Studio. Some of these companies may be on pause due to the pandemic, but preparing your images and having a plan to support them afterwards works just as well!
That’s all for now, folks! We hope this gives you a new idea of something to start sooner than later to help take your mind off where we are right now. And we’ll check in again later as our to-do list grows. We’re interested in hearing what you are up to as you work on your business in a season where it is changing rapidly! Stay safe and stay healthy.