Day 61 (to 82): Here’s proof that being busy does not mean being productive

“An important tool in our arsenal for being happy is to stay busy.” – Raj Raghunathan Ph.D.

After piloting my business idea for two months with friends and family, I spent January 2017 in Thailand, unwinding from nearly 5 years in the corporate world.

Before I knew it, March was approaching. I’d spent February, well… I’d been super busy, but like any good wantrepreneur, I’m not sure how productive any of it really was. Here’s what I got up to, to help you decide:

1) Created a business model canvas, which is effectively a business plan on a page. Really simple and easy to update. I used the template available at strategyzer.com.

2) Mapped a load of potential customer journeys, something I’d spent a lot of time doing back in my consultancy days. A simple Google of “customer journey mapping” will return lots of free resources and templates.

3) Brainstormed a list of stuff to do, set up a personal kanban board. Based on a scheduling system originally used for lean manufacturing, a Kanban board aims to improve the work efficiency by helping to make sure the most important stuff is visible, is worked on and is actually finished. Read more about Kanban here. I used Dmitry Ivanovi’s free portable kanban software, available here.

4) Created a basic landing page, aimed at helping explain what Tinkerdash is about. Hubspot provides a useful guide on how to create an effective landing page including examples, available here. To create the actual landing page I used Wix, which seemed to be the best all round drag and drop website builder for a non-techy like myself.

5) Created an introductory video, which could be featured on the landing page to provide a 60 sec summary of Tinkerdash. The script took a few iterations and it was only after I rewatched Simon Sinek’s TED talk titled “How great leaders inspire action”, which resulted in me flipping the ordering of the scenes to start with the benefit (the “why”), followed by how it works, that I was happy with it. I then had the video animated by bnn_marketing, who I found through Fiverr.com, here is a link to their page.

6) Started to reach out to influencers, for example, Age UK, Saga, Netmums, BritMums, Tots100 and other organisations that connected with potential users of Tinkerdash. It was easy enough to find out who to contact via each of their websites. Tots100 were particularly helpful by providing a number of campaign ideas however I soon realised that I’d need to stump up a bit of cash to move forward with any of these companies, which I did not want to do at that time.

On reflection, the video and landing page were useful to help explain the concept to people. I’ve also found the campaign ideas provided by Tots100 valuable. Most of the tasks that kept me busy throughout February, however, have been of little-to-no use since doing them.

Perhaps it was because of all of the books I’d read telling me that every startup needs a business model canvas or whatever, or because I’d fallen back on what I know from my consultancy days. Deep down I feel that I was simply driven by a need to be busy, without having a clear direction of what to do next. I’ll never be 100% not sure.

What I do know is that at times like this we need to resist the urge to beat ourselves up, because we’re not perfect, and instead treat it as a learning experience. So next time I’m struggling to decide what to do next, I’ll be sure to take the time to reflect and focus on what will help to achieve my most important goal at that point in time.

And if I’m still not sure what to do next then perhaps that’s a sign I need to take a break and talk to someone, or just go for walk in the park and stop trying to be busy!