I’ve just spent the week-end cutting grass, but not really grass – more like hay and saplings and thorny vines. Although I live on an acre of land, I have a chain link fence that runs around 3 sides of the property. My neighbors refuse to cut the grass on their side of the fence and so every year, grass, vines and small tree branches poke through the holes and attempt to break my fence.
It becomes my job to jump the fence and cut back on all this greenery. Every year I hope that the greenery will not grow too much, but especially this year, every green thing in sight has tripled in size due to the rainy weather.
I spent last Saturday and Sunday wearing the oldest working clothes I own, my work boots, sunscreen and mosquito repellent and jumped in to attempt to control the growth. My neighbors don’t even take notice that I’m on “their side” of the fence. They’re too busy with their swimming pool, patio, massive BBQ grill, outside music system and all the other toys they own.
It’s a long walk around the fence to get to the back of the house, so I just put one ladder on my side of the fence, then lift the second ladder over to the other side of the fence. Then I open the second ladder and then climb over the fence to get on the other side. It saves time and energy, only I have to be careful, when crossing over. One slip and I could really hurt myself.
As I climb over the fence, I see a tangled mass of hay, grass, vines, saplings all twisted around each other. My tools are a pair of small clippers, branch cutters, a rake, weedwacker and sometimes a chain saw. It is a daunting task to say the least, but a necessary one.
I start in one area and work my way down the fence. I work one link section at a time, so it doesn’t overwhelm me. I just keep my head down and work on what’s in front of me. I never look down the fence. I just stay focused on what I am doing. There are no shortcuts and it is hot and humid.
I keep going, but take frequent breaks and drink lots of water. Eventually I start to see progress and I realize that what I am doing looks well and worth my effort. The area near the fence looks better and I don’t have to worry about little critters coming to visit me on my doorstep.
I didn’t complete the whole task, but I’m about two-thirds of the way and it really looks good, not to see grass and other greenery poking through the fence. I hope to get it finished in the next few days, but I’m also trying to enjoy the work as I do it. I love the outdoors and like to spend as much time as I can being in the fresh air and in the woods.
As I was working last week-end, I realized that my approach to clearing the greenery is the same approach I take as a virtual assistant. I am just starting out as a virtual assistant, so I’m doing a lot of marketing and learning about the business. I have some proposals out there, but it’s a slow start to my business.
Right now, I have my head down reading or should I say devouring any information I can from all the LinkedIn and Google+ groups I belong to. I’d like to predict my income for the year and how many clients I will have, but like clearing the greenery, every task is different and in order to get the job done correctly, you have to put in the time and energy and work at those areas that are the most difficult. You have to have the right tools to get the job done correctly.
Cutting a small tree is no different from clearing out your email Inbox. Raking is just like making piles of similar documents to file away. Weedwacking is like dusting your desk off, after all your paperwork is filed away.
The vines, well, the vines are those things that you think you know well enough or that you think you can breeze through and then you find out, they’re still sticking around. They catch you, when you least expect it or they just cling to you and you can’t take another step, until you free yourself from their clutches.
You’re frustrated and almost lose patience, but in the end, you stop and take care of that one problem and it gives you the freedom to move forward. I have some scrapes and scratches from my week-end project, but I also have a great deal of satisfaction for all the work that I’ve accomplished.
It was good to get away from my computer and my worries and just focus on the physical side of life for a change. I love being a virtual assistant, but I realized this week-end that I also need a better balance in my life. Working towards a successful business takes time and patience and hard work, but I also need to stop working and enjoy life, too.
This past week-end, I saw two bird nests that were only ten feet from my kitchen window. I’ve been so busy “working” that I never took time to notice them. It was a good wake-up call for me to realize I have to balance work and relaxation. I actually feel better now. I’m more energized (and sore), because I got some sun and fresh air over the week-end.
Life = Work + Play + Relaxation