chop wood

Chop Wood, Carry Water.

This is my second summer as home owner and I've been having a tough time getting the hang of grass. Who knew that would be a problem? I thought you just mowed it. Turns out, if you mow it too short (ahem, because it looks neater and nicer) you are weakening the grass, which makes it easier for grub eaters of all sorts to come and tear up your lawn (you know, the front part, where all the neighbors can see)…and then, crab grass moves in.

crabgrass [After hours of hacking it out, I'm seeing crabgrass everywhere. When I close my eyes, when I'm walking around the neighborhood…I have to fight my instinct to just pull it out whenever I see it.]

I also learned (too late) that the Fall is the best time to seed new grass and repair a lawn that's been shredded by raccoons, skunks and others. That RoundUp is obviously the *worst* (and most dangerous) thing you can use to kill weeds, but that there are other, less harmful options.

And most importantly, that gentler mowing (letting the grass grow a bit longer, and to my eye, shaggier) as well as strategic watering (like when there's a heat wave) is important.

nice lawn Disclaimer: This is not my lawn.

Then just a touch of weekly weed pulling should keep things under control.

With a bit of research and a bit of regular effort you can get a lawn established and have less maintenance (certainly not the hot, days' long sessions I've had to put in lately to try and get it back).

It's the same with maintaining a business.

You have to, as the saying goes, chop wood—do the small, more mundane, tasks to maintain momentum—in your marketing, your ongoing research to keep up with technology, looking at product or service improvements, keeping in touch with staff and their projects, scheduling regular, ongoing meetings to talk over new opportunities to consider.

It's easy to get caught up in a big project, or the latest 'shiny new thing', and not regularly chip away at the more mundane tasks. But by not, for example, getting a regular day on everyone's calendar to review what's been working and what could be better, small 'crabgrass infestations' can grow and spread.

Regular maintenance, attention to the small efforts you can do each (or most) days, prevents the good that you've established in your business from being overrun by weeds.

From the movie, "Being There", starring Peter Sellers

Now when I look at my lawn (and watch eagerly for new growth), it will also be a mnemonic for me to 'chop wood, carry water' daily for my business, and my clients.