Wages UP, rates UP, utilities UP, red tape UP and our stress and staff stress are UP … 

It can be SO depressing and never-ending feeling of being on the battlefield.  The worry of it all and, as I read on the postings of Champagne Nurseries with Lemonade Funding (CNLF), this weekend, another highly respected nursery has closed its doors and gone into liquidation.


I totally understand why someone might prefer to stay in bed or do the ostrich behaviour of burying one’s head in the sand.

Personally, I want to shout and scream from the rooftops but then another part of me feels are the right people listening, do I have the energy and a little defeatist I get back into my reasonably safe bubble, trying to cushion myself from the reality and also back on my hamster wheel – trying to work harder and harder to overcome.

Ring any bells?

If EVERYBODY in each nursery (not counting pre-schools), just took the time to share two Linked In messages, or two re-tweets or comment on two Facebook Posts (as Facebook needs comments now not likes) from the main lobbying bodies NDNA, PSLA or CNLF about the adverse political landscape every week – then that would be 376,000 more attempts to get the current issues sorted*.  History bears out, things changed in the end (Emily Pankhurst, Florence Nightingale, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandella, Marie Stopes …). Meanwhile, we need to get on with managing the present with the future in mind.

Actually, what got me here, isn’t going to get me where I need to be in the future. 

Nothing in life stays the same, what got you here was great, but keeping at that, by working harder and harder are potential ‘burn out’ and stress-inducing processes.  It is about working smarter to get further.  It is also about accepting this is the situation and working with it; making decisions on the knowledge gained from outside your bubble (the NDNA and social media are both informative) to take your business forward. Your heart may be with the children but unless your business is strong, then you will fail in the service you intend to give the children and parents, as there will be no business.  So clutching and sorting the stuff you would prefer not to do, those things, you never have time for, as they all fall to the bottom of the list, maybe are vital right now.


So, to re-phrase …

Some of what you are doing now will keep you here.  Will it get you to where you want or need to be?

Here are some ideas …

1 – Schedule some time out of the day to day scenario.  Use a ‘default diary’ and set time aside on a regular basis within ‘working time’.  It is so easy to stay in the moment (or get caught in the ‘firefighting’) when things are not going well; absorbed in staff issues, parent issues, recruitment, marketing or making ends meet… this list is endless, so you will never get away, if you don’t schedule the time!

2 – Start with the bigger picture, Have a plan.  Keep your dreams but make short-term targets for those decisions you make on the current scenarios for the nearer future.  Make them manageable and achievable.  Ensure you and those who will help make them happen, know what they look like once they are achieved.  Set a target date, so they are not forgotten.  An action plan for each and who is to be responsible for each part, will spread the load and leave you, to get on with other things.  Where staff may need help set review dates in your diary, ensure you communicate that help is on hand and they can ask for it, to help keep each ‘project’ on track.

3 – Look to become more efficient.  Both in monetary terms and also in the systems and routines you have in place.  Check out what you do now, what works well and what doesn’t. Putting off changing something as you don’t ‘have time’ may cost you more in the longer term, both in preserving quality, gaining benefits and financially.  Change is good!  Sticking to what isn’t working anymore is not.

4 – Work towards, a ‘consistency of delivery’, so you are able to measure your successes and aim for synergy (where everything flows, takes less time and stress).  If you can measure impact, then you can alter the direction – change something and make the difference you have planned.  In turn, this will give you an ongoing ‘Improvement Plan’.  Also, very importantly, you will have quantifiable reasons to appreciate and praise your valuable team members.  Finding positives underpins well-being and propels one on, including you.

Our passion at spark is ‘to get it right for every child’ and to do that we need to help ‘get it right’ for you, the senior team, your staff and parents, through our range of software options built from within early years.

*Based on figures in May 2016.