Around a year ago, Walter and Kathy asked if I would be interested in attending a day-long workshop on management. Considering I was going to get what amounted in my mind to a paid day off to learn, the answer was of course, yes. I won’t bore you with the details, but I wound up learning quite a lot that day. In fact, I use a lot of the lessons learned there almost every day in my responsibilities as retail operations manager.
One thing I learned, in particular, was the concept of putting things in different buckets. You should always have three buckets. The first is where you put things that are both important and vital. These things need to happen, or whatever it is you’re trying to do won’t get done. For instance, paying the electricity bill for the LittleStore. The second is where you put things that are important, but not vital, such as plugging in the open sign every morning in the LittleStore. Finally, there are things which are neither important nor vital, the things that can be put off for another day.
Now, as he was introducing these concepts to us, the instructor would ask the class for examples. I wasn’t sure about an example for items that were both important and vital, but when he asked about an example for that second bucket, important but not vital I was quite sure. You see, I had been informed earlier in the month that I had a drop-dead date, every Christmas decoration we own had to be displayed in the LittleStore by the first Saturday in October. Tentatively, shyly, I raised my hand thinking that it sounded ridiculous, but that it also fit the bill. “Who cares about Christmas decorations in October,” I thought, even as my hand went into the air.
I hadn’t said anything all class, so the instructor called on me as soon as he saw my hand raised. I answered and the instructor slapped his hands together loudly. “That’s one of the better examples of the second bucket,” He said with a laugh. Something that needed to be done, but wasn’t the end of the world.
On Saturday, October 3rd, I put all the Christmas decorations up again. Christmas lights, our nativity scene, Christmas music playing, and boxes of Christmas items for the customers in the store to peruse. The idea doesn’t seem as ridiculous as it once did. Why shouldn’t I be thinking about Christmas in October? Hopefully, I never get as bad as Walter and Kathy, who seem to think of Christmas constantly.
I’ve even started thinking about putting those decorations in a different bucket, maybe they belong in bucket number one after all (except the Christmas music).