By Brett Cafferty

We have been reflecting on our first year of publishing Everything Knoxville and are thankful for the new relationships and what we have learned in this new venture. We have also come to recognize – perhaps as a result of our brief time of “returning toward normal” over the summer – the difference in the planning, experiences, and, in some ways, the measuring of our days, activities, and priorities. 

After spending 25+ years in the small business world, the effects of the past year and a half (the Ides of March 2020 to present) have resulted in significant differences in the norms of many businesses and simply how to go about it. As an example, we moved to Knoxville to take over a territory for a national manufacturer and I spent the next 10 years building the business; hiring, coaching, and managing day-to-day affairs. Looking back to that period, the daily or weekly priorities were relatively simple to plan and measure; the number of contacts, meetings, proposals, and transactions, which are common across many industries and markets. 

During this past 18 months, it has been radically different. Although technology provides some degree of personal interaction, most salespeople, entrepreneurs, and small business owners need to be out in the market – busy, challenged, and involved with others as it is what makes them “tick.” This is a vital part of maintaining a sense of normalcy, relationships, and the operation of the business. 

The often dreamed statement of “if only I had the time” became real for many. Although some folks did take advantage of the opportunity to pursue new projects or passions, the radical change in routines and lack of connection caused many to slip into fractured patterns of inactivity and losing motivation to do much – as good intention and plans often had to be postponed or canceled since we couldn’t plan anything for next week or even next month!

For those used to planning and doing, the shift of activities, lack of interaction, and making all plans “tentative” is a temporary situation. Let’s not to allow ourselves to accept these new habits as permanent. I recently realized my “intentional behaviors” have taken a back seat this past year and that it’s time to reset and clarify priorities and the specific actions needed. 

I would encourage everyone (myself included) to get out that pad of paper or iPhone note and start a list of activities – whether business or personal – to get in the habit of doing again. Intentions and ideas cannot be tracked, but specific actions leading to a goal can be.