The people who work in historic sites and house museums are often among the most entrepreneurial I’ve encountered, mostly because circumstances force them to be risky, resourceful, creative, and innovative. Working with a tight budget and a reliance on volunteers to change the world (or at least their community), they are continually looking for new ways to succeed. The trick is how to do it without getting overextended, derailed by interruptions, and staying in a rut. In the Daily Muse, Adelaide Lancaster recently shared Three Bad Habits of Entrepreneurs and How to Break Them to attain these goals:
- To have a clearer head. At any given time, you should have only a few main areas of focus—no more than three a quarter. Other initiatives must be declared a secondary priority, and projects or “opportunities” unrelated to your business goals must be declined. [A focus on a few things done well rather than many things done poorly seems to appear everywhere: collections management, interpretive themes, public programs, strategic planning]
- To establish a realistic structure and routine—daily, weekly, monthly, and annually—that optimizes the quality of both your work and personal time. [Okay, there’s no typical or routine day when you’re working at a museum or historic site, but how about not answering the phone or checking email for a couple hours a day?]
- To have an increasing number of significant and meaningful relationships a year—people who are responsive, easy to connect with, and generous with their insight, feedback, and advice. [I’m currently reading Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson and he’s convinced me that one of the ways to stay innovative is to continually encounter and exchange ideas, particularly those unrelated to your work, to provoke creativity.]
I think these are great! I think having three areas of principal focus is a necessity if one wants to accomplish anything! It sharpens your focus and makes it easier to stay on task. I will say… that not answering the phone, or not dealing with the normal pop-up crises, is a luxury few of us have in the small museum world. The trick I use is to arrive early at work and get to work on projects that need a lot of concentration before the normal office hours pull me from one thing to another. This is good Max! Keep up the good work.