Posts Tagged ‘Motivation’

I do love the support and compliments I get from my fellow mums. I am regularly asked: “How do you fit it all in – not just one child, but a baby and then your business?”.

There is no real secret to it. But this is how I manage:

1) Firstly motivation – without motivation, there is no way you will fit it all in. If you are motivated, then things do become much easier. This is what motivates me:

  • For starters, I only do what I love – I frequently refer to my business as a “hobby business” – it is a hobby for me and I enjoy what I do. If I didn’t enjoy it, then there would be little motivation.
  • Personally, I need something other than just the kids. I love my kids to bits, but come on – playing puzzles all day or dealing with another tantrum only gets you so far. Baking cakes is fun, but someone has to eat them all and I really do not want to go up two dress sizes.
  • At work you regularly get feedback – being at home with the kids, you don’t really – you don’t get a project review or an annual review, you don’t get a buzz from a presentation that you’ve done well. Nobody says: “Wow, you did ALL that washing this week!” or “well done for cooking all those meals” or “ten tantrums today? Good on you”. Every time I sell something, it is like getting a little pat on the back – well done me!

2) There is, of course, time management:

  • There is a lot to be said for “do it now” – today I had a choice: nap or write this post. I chose to write the post.
  • Write lists/ diary notes of what needs to get done – always look at the whole list and prioritise – that way you a) don’t forget anything and b) you soon discover what is important. Some things have been on my list for months – I see them and I don’t do them as I have other things to do first.
  • Cause and effect/ timelines. Think ahead. For example, I want my alphabet book done by Christmas so that Red Ted can start reading it before he is three (Feb 2011). Working back it means I need to do xx now and then yy.
  • Routine – this is a very important factor for us. My children know that I need half an hour or so at the computer in the morning, they also both (still) nap at lunchtime – giving me one-two hours of me time. Red Ted is also in nursery one day a week and I dedicate this to Red Ted Art and Pip Squeak (who still naps three times a day), I avoid doing “mummy” things like playdates, as it is work time.
  • Neglect the housework (much to my husbands dismay – tough luck I say!).

3) Set realistic expectations/adapt to the time you have:

  • Now that Pip Squeak is here (she is 3.5 mths old) I have lowered my expectations as to what I can achieve as she needs more cuddles and holding than Red Ted needs at two years old.
    • I have shifted my focus from going out and visiting shops to sell my cards/ paintings for me, to networking online, which you can do when you have five minutes here or there. When Pip Squeak is older, I will shift my focus again to something else.
    • Painting is limited to a little in the evenings (I can’t paint when it is too dark) and the weekends – so I currently sell less.

I was recently asked if I ever sleep – you know what – I do! I sleep more than my peers, almost eight to nine hours a night (with interruptions from the baby, of course) and I do read too – probably one book a week. So the tips above do work. Honest.

The key is probably to find something you love and the rest will follow naturally.

Margarita Woodley, Red Ted Art


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The two most common complaints in business are that no one asked me and no one told me. While, in my experience, it’s impossible to ever fully eliminate these complaints, making a concerted effort at addressing them can lead to a big boost in team morale.

As a manager, I feel that if I don’t tell people what’s going on, I can’t complain if they fill in the gaps with negatives. And if they don’t feel that their input is taken seriously, they will become de-motivated and probably work less hard, as well as putting up with things that frankly, they should be screaming about.

In fact, listening is the key to continuous improvement. I do try to practice what I preach and I interview all staff, including those in junior roles, on a regular basis. It doesn’t take all that long, it’s amazing what you find out, and the very act of listening leads to a big improvement in morale.

Another angle that we have tried is to hold a series of workshop sessions with all staff whenever we review our strategy. These enable us to get useful input on the broad thrust of the strategy, and identify many of the potential pitfalls. It also means that we communicate and get buy in as we go along. By the time the strategy is completed, everybody is on board and starting to act on it. This is hugely better than a brilliant strategy done by outside consultants but that sits beautifully documented but largely untouched on the shelf. With that sort of strategy, you wonder a year later why the business isn’t really following it, and why it faces resistance at every turn. The lesson is that it’s important to explain where you are going to everybody even when you are a small company.

In most businesses, money is not a great motivator, but can certainly be a great de-motivator. So it’s important to try to be consistent in how you reward people, and also to explain pay policies so that there is a degree of buy in. Sometimes, it may be better to reward with bonuses rather than pay rises, as rises institutionalize pay differentials in ways that may become unfair over time, They can’t easily be unpicked and when discovered will destroy morale.

Motivation is a funny thing, and is pretty hard to achieve. I hope that some of the ideas here will stimulate your further thoughts.


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