One thing I learned early on from my Dad and his best buddy Del: when you’re cutting firewood, don’t let the debris pile up around you. These are the ankle-biters: small branches and log-pieces lying in wait, threatening to trip you.
When I was a kid, that was my job.
We’d fall into a rhythm where one of them would cut a branch or piece of firewood and, as soon as it hit the ground, I’d yank it out of the way so they could shimmy down a foot or so and cut the next one.
Doing this reduces the odds of slipping or taking a tumble, which you do NOT want to do with a running chainsaw.
When you’re working alone, it can be a little tougher…which makes it even more important.
After all, if I cut my fingers off in the woods and nobody’s there to hear it…will I still be able to dial 9-1-1?
I’ve spent parts of the past 5 weekends alone at the far end of my Dad’s property, working alone, safely removing debris from uneven ground which already has its fair share of obstacles. It may slow me down a bit, but it increases the odds of finishing the job safely.
Very much in the same vein, I have spent most of the past 13 years as an entrepreneur, working alone in my office and recording studio, trying my best to not get tripped up by the clutter all around me.
If you are, over ever have been, king of a one-man mountain, you know how many distractions there are.
It can feel like slicing your chainsaw through a fallen tree as fast as it will cut and letting the pieces fall where they may, staggering through them all, trying to get everything cut as you chug your way through the last few minutes of daylight.
It can work, for a little while…but sooner or later you’re going to stumble.
You may double-book yourself because you failed to take a minute to update your schedule.
You might lose a client because you forgot to call back to answer their important question.
You could overlook a critical typo or graphic issue in an important marketing piece.
As we prepare to launch into a new year, can you take a moment to clear out the ankle-biters surrounding you?
What are the ‘little things’ you’ve allowed to build up, which you need to clear away so that 2016 doesn’t begin in a stumbling, staggering accident waiting to happen?
Who can you bring in to help clear away the debris, allowing you to keep cutting at maximum potential?
It’s a new year.
I hope you begin, and end, with the same number of fingers and toes.
Keep your mind, and your work-space, clear of clutter as best you can.
Ankle-biters, be gone!