- Tech & Gadgets
- BRW. lounge
Published 28 September 2011 15:08, Updated 29 September 2011 07:52
Every year, I always make a few small, manageable New Year’s resolutions. I reflect on the year just past and what small things I could do to improve myself, feel a little less guilty for what I should or could have done but haven’t, or what I know I should be doing but haven’t started.
This year one of them was to make my mother-in-law dinner once a week. Not to cook something particularly special but to invite her to have dinner with us, or to make a little extra of our family meal and put it in a container for her.
She is always so incredibly grateful and it’s really no hassle for me at all. I’m certainly not perfect every week but it is becoming a habit I don’t have to think about any more and I’m proud to add this change to my life.
Sometimes we focus so much on the big things we should be doing in life, yet often it’s the little things that are actually more manageable and over the years become habits that add up to a more enriching life.
When I hear a business leader I admire speak, I try to take away small changes I can implement. This week I was fortunate enough to hear John McGrath from real estate company McGrath.
I have always been a big admirer of his. I even have his top 10 time-management tips next to my desk at work and I refer to them often. They include simple things like saying “no” more often, using email instead of attending meetings, and developing a morning ritual (which I hadn’t perfected until I heard him in person).
Every morning when John goes for his hour-long walk he listens to a downloaded book on his iPod. Of all the amazing business tips he imparted that day, this small one is the one I am going to use in my life.
I already walk but listening to a business book at the same time means I can probably listen to a book a week. Perhaps I will hear an extra 40 books a year. That is a “pearl of wisdom” for me that I can easily implement.
I love learning by hearing interesting people speak or by reading books about businesses or their leaders that I admire.
This year I went back to school for the first time in 20 years to do an Australian Institute of Company Directors course.
It had a huge amount of pre-reading, a week attending the course with 25 amazing business people from all walks of life, and I had an exam and a written assignment to complete as well.
I knew it was going to be really hard for me as I have never been particularly gifted academically.
On the other hand, what I am pretty good at is time management and putting in the hard yards. I also have an amount of self-confidence precariously balanced against a complete fear of failure.
I knew I had to break down the tasks into manageable pieces and put time frames around them. I had to force myself to complete what I had set out to achieve for that week.
With four kids under eight, a full-time job and two rather demanding board positions added to the mix, I was thrilled to pass.
At my graduation ceremony I was shocked to learn that there were only five of us from my class of 25 who actually graduated on time.
Perhaps some have extensions and will graduate at a later date but I do know some failed. It amazes me so much that it isn’t how smart you are but it’s often how well you prioritise and manage your time that makes all the difference in life.
We all learn from a variety of sources in a variety of ways but I think the most important thing is to never stop thinking you need to improve.
It’s like the old saying, “Don’t worry about the dollars, worry about the cents and the dollars will take care of themselves”. I think that’s true in life, too.
Don’t spend too much time worrying about the huge things; worry about the small manageable changes you can make day to day and the big things will happen a whole lot more easily.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that my business, Carman’s, would be as successful as it is today – but every year for the past 19 I’ve tried to tweak things a little, improve what we do and make small changes for the better.
I feel as if we are the same company underneath but have grown and matured like a child I am really proud of.
I love this quote: “It’s not the big that eat the small, it’s the fast that eat the slow.” The bad news is that time does fly. The good news is: we are the pilots.