If you feel that the years are flying by it’s probably because you are fundamentally bored. One of my favorite podcasts had a great post about this – A Counterintuitive Cure for Burnout. Check it out. It got me thinking about what I see inside businesses.
We can only hold a few things in our conscious mind but we can remember a do a lot of things if they are part of a routine. Our brains love routines – but our brains also forget individual things that we do day-in-day-out. That’s why the years fly by if we get stuck in a rut. We need to mix things up a bit, go try new things.
I think getting stuck in a rut is a thing founders and accounts staff have in common and I know what works for accounts staff, and it works for founders too.
What you need to do to get out of a rut is both simple and easy to do, it just takes a little time – but probably much less time than you think. Maybe 3 months, and you will be 3 months older then regardless. Worth a shot I say.
Step 1 – LIVE IN THE PRESENT – Try not to think about past mistakes or future plans while you are working. Do that on the beach.
Step 2 – WRITE IT DOWN – Get what you do every day out of your head. Not Pink Floyd’s famous “half a page of scribbled lines” but document what you do, and how you do it, so that someone else can do it, not just you. We use Jira for this in our business and help our clients implement it. We think it is the best business software since Xero.
Step 3 – CROSS-TRAIN – Good accounting departments do this, they spend some time swapping roles so that when someone resigns or goes on holiday things don’t grind to a halt. There is an old saying that the best way to learn is to teach. When you show someone how to do something it really shakes down the process. If you observe one, or two people, undertaking a task whilst just using your notes you nail it.
Step 4 – BREAK THINGS UP – One of the things that documentation makes clear is that people’s roles are usually made up of a bunch of independent tasks. This is where you start to get a powerful handle to drive change. When you need to add extra staff, or replace a role, you aren’t restricted to an inflexible job description. You can divide up the tasks amongst your team, and/or outsourced suppliers, to best balance efficiency and redundancy (redundancy as in what happens if something breaks). You can also use it as a tool for professional growth for your people. A sort of gradual promotion process.
Step 5 – MAKE SPACE FOR YOU – How many of the things you do could be done by someone else? Do you hold onto knowledge and tasks because of uncertainty? Make some space for good things to happen. Just documenting things will allow you to see things more clearly.
Step 6 – GO FOR LOTS OF WALKS ON THE BEACH – With your dog. Oh, and read and read, listen to cool podcasts, and talk to lots of different people outside of your normal work. Your dog will make that happen.
Give me a shout if you want to talk about how Jira might help you.