September 27, 2013

on the monotony of maintenance


I am learning that when it comes to managing a small business, the little things can have the greatest impact. 

Simple, day-to-day things like organization, routines, schedules, communication, consistency, and manageable task lists can mean the difference between success and chaos (though its hard to gage one without the other).  When I started my job, and down the path of my decade-long dream, I didn't exactly have the "small things" at the forefront of my mind.  I was picturing a sparkling store layout, top-to-bottom shelves of curated displays, exciting events, skyrocketing sales, and employees to come to work whistling.  I was focusing on the future, and the results...not the reality. 

I believed I would fly into the store with my Mary Poppins bag of tricks (and forms, and clipboards, and binders, and spreadsheets, and processes) and have the place tidy, and self-sufficient in no time flat.        I was not prepared for the reality that maintaining and organizing each of these systems would require the bulk of my attention and energy each day, outside of helping customers and delegating projects to employees.   My goal is to tweak each of these systems to the point that I will be able to create an outline for each day and week so I know what needs to get done when, and what doesn't.  Unfortunately, retail (like any service industry) doesn't naturally lend itself to the notion of prioritizing and everything is its own little emergency that requires your full attention that. very. second. 

Though it is tempting for me to want to rush through the monotonous tasks and skip to the "fun stuff", I have realized that at the moment, the tedious to-do's are simply my reality at work, and should receive the same level of care and attention as any of the big, shiny, impressive projects will. One day. 

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