I recently found myself watching an episode of room 101 on YouTube.
It was because I was watching highlights of England’s magnificent victory over Sweden to reach the Semi-Finals of The World Cup. I suspect YouTube may have recommended the episode as it’s hosted by Frank Skinner. Frank who with David Baddiel and the Lightning Seeds made The Greatest Football song of all time – Three Lions.
Back to room 101.
If you’ve not seen it, the concept is simple. Three celebrity guests, in turn, explain why five items should go into “Room 101”.
The host decided whether the item is consigned to the room or not.
Sometimes this is after soliciting the opinion of the audience. The items can be concepts, people, or objects. The inspiration comes from George Orwell’s 1984 where it was a torture room. He said it came from a room at the BBC where he used to sit through tedious meetings.
It got me thinking. What concepts, objects or people would I banish to a business version or Room 101?
Sitting down to write this turned out to be harder than I thought.
There are a multitude of business based “things” that over the years, I’ve often thought “I wish that would disappear”.
I’ve distilled it down to five “things” that I would argue should be banished from business into Room 101. There are many that didn’t make the cut, including GDPR – let’s not go there.
Entrepreneurs who think it’s cool to work all the time.
This drives me nuts. It’s not that hard work is a bad thing. In fact, I applaud it. It’s the people who think that they must work constantly, that having any kind of time off is not allowed.
They’re the ones who get up at 5 am and are still going until midnight. It’s the ones that are posting on social media that they woke up at 3 am so got 4 hours of work done before anyone else. #workaholichero.
Those who never have holidays, or when they do are working when they are away.
It’s as if doing an eighteen-hour day and a seven-day week, week after week is something to strive for. That if you put all those hours in, you’ll get there faster. Wherever “there” is. They have “I can rest when I’m dead” tattooed on their laptops. It’s counterproductive.
We need time off to recharge, to rest and to recover. When you train physically the growth comes in the rest phase, not in the training phase. Training or ‘doing the work’ breaks your body down. You need the rest to recover and grow. It’s when the magic happens. Your brain is another muscle. So, entrepreneurs working all the time is my first entry for Room 101.
This leads me to my second entry for dismissal to Room 101. And that’s:
I don’t know if busyness is a real world. Word hasn’t autocorrected it into something else, so I guess it’s real. It’s one of those words that looks wrong when you see it, that I’m sure should be spelt a different way.
You know those people, the people who when you ask how things are or how’s work, answer with “busy”. “Doing what?” I’ll say. “you know, busy. There’s so much on I can’t even remember.”
You’re so busy, you can’t remember what you’re doing? In other words, you’re running around in circles with your head on backwards. You’re filling your time up with so much ‘stuff’ that you can’t distinguish what’s important from what’s trivial.
There’s a feeling that if the day is filled with doing things, I’ll get there quicker, wherever where is.
If you can’t tell me what you’re working on and what your last couple of days have looked like, you’re in trouble. If you can’t tell me what tomorrow look like, today, you’re in trouble.
Being busy isn’t a thing to be proud of. It smacks of a lack of intention, planning and prioritisation. Most of all it sounds like someone who’s not in charge of themselves or in control of their diary. It’s ineffective and all you’re doing is going around in circles faster and faster. I’d like to consign “busy” to Room 101 for that reason.
Now, this entry is part of the problem that leads to items one and two that we’ve already discussed. Some people can’t let go, of anything. They’re like a child with a toy or a seagull in Finding Nemo saying “mine” all the time.
“No one can do what I do as well as me.” Or, “it’s quicker if I do it myself”.
Maybe people can’t do what you do as well as you – yet. And maybe they won’t be as fast as you – yet. But, it’s holding you back, creating busyness and making you work all the time.
Here’s the thing. To build a business, (not busyness) you need a build a team. It doesn’t have to be full time, it doesn’t have to be huge. There are things that you do that are not worthy of your time.
Kay and I have a cleaner, a gardener, and someone who does the ironing. I’ve also found someone who’ll come to the house and clean my car for me. We can do all those things and yes, probably better but I want to do other things more.
In my business, I have a bookkeeper, an accountant, a part-time admin, sales team, a call answering service, videographer, IT support, designer, and web developer.
I’ve built a team of people around me who do things in my personal life and business that either does things better than me or quicker than me. I can focus on the things I’m good at and work on finding someone(s) to replace me as well. My old (Tennis Provision and Education) business exploded when I locked away my rackets and stopped coaching.
So, doing it all, not letting go, feeling a need to control everything is consigned to Room 101.
My fourth entry in this is a simple one and doesn’t need much explanation.
Why? I mean, I know why they are needed but why do they happen at the most inconvenient times. You sit down to write a quote and before you know it you’re doing the blue wheel of death dance – no? Just me then. Drives me insane.
It drives me insane because it interrupts me and my flow. It’s as if Bill is watching me and waiting for me to be in the zone before starting an update cycle. How does it know? One for Room 101. If I never have to see an update again, I’ll be happy.
My final submission is Perfection.
Or, rather business owners who seek it. It’s another cause of busyness and working all the time and being a control freak. It manifests itself in all sorts of ways. Delayed launches (not lunches but that too), late pieces of work for clients, sales calls, marketing pieces and hiring staff.
The trouble is that things are not perfect. Could you write a better letter? Yes. Could you produce a better piece of work for a client? Always. But, the trouble is that we allow perfection to get in the way of delivery.
None of us is perfect, yet we’re all delivered. The midwife isn’t by the bedside saying “nope, not quite right, let’s wait a bit longer.”
That’s what business is, you’re delivering stuff, giving birth to ideas and products. Get over the need for perfection and deliver. It’s holding you back, filling your day with ‘busy’ and deserves to be in Room 101.
I’m sure you can think of alternative suggestions. The TV programme often asks for audience affirmation. Feel free to be my audience and let me know if you agree with my choices and whether you have your own submissions.