The holidays are a distant memory now.
I came to that conclusion at about 4:30 this morning as I started to plow through all the work that has backed up since the first of the year.
But before those memories fade completely, let me share with you the three things I learned about my business as I traveled 4,000 miles away to a place where I didn't know the language.
I know you are supposed to get away from business when you go on vacation, but I have never been able to do that. Perhaps that's why it wasn't surprising that I kept filtering everything I saw, heard and experienced through the prism of how it could help me run my small business.
Here is what I learned:
1. Keep it extremely simple, clear and short. Between universal symbols--a knife and fork for restaurants, for example--and the country putting signs in English in pivotal places (such as the airport) we got along quite well as we traveled. And it made me understand (even more) the need for communicating only what is necessary to get the job done. Everything else is just clutter. I will be writing even shorter memos, emails--and blogs--from now on.
2. Do it now. I don't procrastinate. But because I have the attention span of a gnat who has had too much coffee, I tend to work on multiple things simultaneously. That's fine when you have an infrastructure--like phone, electricity and Internet--that is always available. It wasn't where we were. The infrastructure sort of worked some of the time out in the countryside. My takeaway from this: From now on, I will always have one task--and the most important one wherever possible--completely finished before I take a break.
3. Extended time to think is a good thing. I needed to make a major decision about the future of my business and I had been putting it off because change is not only scary, it's hard. The nice thing about the time away--as well as the nine-hour flights each way and the times we were without power and phone service--was I realized I had no choice when it came to changing the direction of my company. There was no decision to make. The industry is evolving and either I get aboard the train, or I can start the count down on when I become irrelevant. I would have probably come to this conclusion anyway, but the extended period when I had time to think forced me to come to the decision faster. That is never a bad thing.
All in all, I think it was a productive trip.