Use the Poppa D Strategy to Get Stuff Done!

I’m using the Poppa D strategy to get things done!

Growing up we lived next door to my grandparents who had a couple of acres of incredible gardens.  Imagine large sweeping concrete driveways surrounded by gardens, lawns, trees leaning over laden with fruit, grapevine tunnels, gooseberry bushes nestled in amongst the stone walls, fuchsia houses (excellent for playing hide and seek), meandering tracks following the contour of the hillside, passionfruit vines that you could crawl into and make huts in, trees for climbing … it goes on and on.  My brother and I rode our bikes for miles, played tennis against the garage doors and in fact, I learned to drive on those sweeping concrete driveways in Poppas wee van.  It was affectionately referred to as ‘peanut’ (‘cos it was brown like a peanut).  In this vast adventure playground filled with wonderful snacks there were three large glass houses in which Nana and Poppa used to grow tomatoes.  If I ever wanted to find Poppa D, I knew to ride my bike down the concrete driveway to the glass houses and I’d find him there, watering, picking off the shoots and the small cherry tomatoes to grow a good crop for the markets.  Poppa D smelled of tomato plants as he spent much of his time tending his valued crops and his calloused and hard hands from a lifetime of labouring, were always open with one of the tiniest, ripest tomatoes for me to snack on.

Hmmmm, what a trip down memory lane this is for me …. And what’s this got to do with how I do my work?  Well, Poppa D was an excellent grower of many things, especially his valued tomatoes.  He tended them daily, nurturing the plants to produce the finest fruit so that he could get the best price at the markets.

This year, I’ve been doing my work using the Poppa D tomato-growing strategy and I LOVE it, because it’s providing the outcomes that I want each day.  

The Poppa D strategy involves finishing what you start, be it a task or a thought.  If Poppa had a thought about something that needed doing, he’d do it.  Right then and there, regardless of what was going on.  Even if the entire family was there for a function, you’d find him wandering off down the driveway to check on a tree, or water a plant, or sweep up a few leaves, or pick those few apples he spied on the tree, to save the birds getting them.  He was good at getting things done, regardless of what was going on, much to the chagrin of the family on Christmas Day!  But … the plants keep growing no matter what day it is! 

Now, I’m not quite as regimented as Poppa, as part of my outcome is to ensure that I have the weekends to myself.  So how does it work?  Well, I know that in the past I used to look at my task list each day on MS Outlook and think, oh – I could do that tomorrow … that thing over there can wait … oh, that one, it will take a bit of time so I’ll leave it until my admin day.  And before I knew it, the pile of tasks had increased instead of decreased.  What’d different now?  Well, if I have the thought, I’ve done the task right there and then, to completion.  And, I’m finishing what I started regardless of what else is happening, just like Poppa D used to. 

When Poppa D planted out his tomato houses at the beginning of each season, he’d water them, manage the temperature by opening and closing doors and windows and then observe each row of plants, to check they were growing as they should.  He’d look carefully, inspecting each plant for bugs and pests, squashing any bug-like threats between his fingers.

You know that when you grow tomatoes, or any plants for that matter, you need to water and nurture them.  Yes – nature takes care of many plants (which has often been my philosophy as I’m not as green-fingered as my grandfather), however I do know that if there’s no water, there’s usually no growth.  Once the plants are in, they need your attention.  Pretty much like a business - once you’ve set your outcome and got things started, tasks need to be taken care of regularly, just like a tomato plant.  Putting a system in place, and following it, daily, weekly or monthly is necessary to generate the income you want.  It’s pretty unrealistic to sit back and expect things to happen if you’ve started the process and then stopped watering.  The tomato plants will die.   

You’ve probably heard the saying that procrastination is the thief of time?  For me it’s so very true.  By the time I’ve finished thinking about all the reasons not to do a certain task, or recycled them in my head when I least want to, it’s most likely that I could have started the task and been one step closer to completion.  When we stop ourselves from acting, it’s really easy for our inner critic to grab hold of the behaviour and remind us, sometimes over and over, what a naughty, lazy, useless (insert your own words here), person we’ve been for the very thing we promised we’d do and more time (and brain space) is consumed.  I know that when I’ve done this for three or four tasks each day, at some point it can become overwhelming, creating stress.  Instead of requiring regular watering, I have in the past ended up starting the task over and over, because of my delay.  Re-work.  Dead tomatoes.  Plant a new crop.  And then what happens?  We end up concocting excuses for being slack, the most common being, “I’ve been busy” and the whole cycle starts over again.  Sigh!

If you start it finish it.

If you think about it – do it.  Now.  Or schedule it and do it when you’ve scheduled it.

Water your tomatoes little and often and you will reap the reward of the fruit.    

If you’re committed to business, commit to growing your tomatoes using the Poppa D strategy.  I can’t believe how much time I’m finding in my day and how my daily task list is beginning to decrease.  And, … it feels so good!   (This link has nothing to do with tomatoes, but there's a great saying embedded in the performance ... feels so goooooood)!  Enjoy.