I’m happy to admit that I struggle with organization, it’s not one of my top strengths. I have come to recognize that it’s a necessary part of entrepreneurship. When someone said “I don’t have all my ducks in a row, but they’re all in the same pond, so at least I have that going for me,” I realized there’s something pretty deep we can draw up from the murky waters here. It has to do with focus. That’s something I’m also improving. Saying no to projects really helps, especially if they are outside my strength.
Part of becoming better organized over the last five years is a regular desk cleaning, but what’s really helped me is not having eight entrepreneurial ventures going on at the same time. Focusing on one venture that requires me to be responsible for staying organized has really helped. I don’t have six products I’m representing anymore, and it really makes a huge difference in how I focus. That’s like having all my ducks in one pond. Once I did that, it took a while but I developed something of a filing system, and a system for taking things to my bookkeeper and accountant, etc., but eventually it began to smooth out my processes.
So, if you’re struggling to get all your ducks in a row, take a look first. Are they all on the same pond? What can you weed out? Maybe it’s a project that isn’t very profitable. Maybe it’s a project you aren’t very passionate about. If it’s not one of these two, you might not need that duck.
One way to get ducks in a row is to eliminate ducks! A farmer who wanted to get rid of literal ducks might butcher and roast them. You may have side projects you should sell, a small book of business on a pond that isn’t your main pond. Make sure your ducks are on one or two ponds… then you can start getting them lined up in a tidy row.
By the way, ducks really can get in a row. They aren’t cats! Ducks get in a row because it allows them to draft, making it easier for the smaller ones to move forward in the wake of the larger duck. In the spring, on our local millrace, we often see parents leading ducklings. If you’ve ever drafted behind someone on a bicycle, you know the value of having someone cut through the wind ahead of you. This can work for your work as well. Figure out how your leading project or primary package that you sell, can help bring along your smaller ones in the same category! Leverage the power of your mature work to help your other work develop behind it.