As a kid growing up, we lived in the Midwest. I honestly don’t remember a lot of snow days but I know we had a few. I do, however, have vivid recollections of my Mom bundling us up in snowsuits, hats, and gloves and out the door we would go. There was always more than enough snow to build snow forts or dig out an area that had drifted up the house to create a little berth to be able to lie in. We built great snowmen. We even tried our hand at the occasional igloo. Although they never really looked like a real igloo, we were always able to make something we could crawl inside. It wasn’t until high school and when we moved up to New England that my version of a snow day changed. There were times when it snowed only a few inches and schools were closed. When those days happened, I was always shocked because South Bend Indiana would never have closed school for so little snow. This area was a completely different story.
I was in a senior in high school when the Blizzard of ’78 hit. Now that was a snowstorm. I’m not sure if it was because we had less access to information or if technology just wasn’t that good at the time, but that storm really caught us by surprise. There have been snowstorms since that have supposedly dumped more snow on the region, in a shorter period of time, but none has paralyzed the area the way that one did. Cars stuck on highways, hundreds of people trapped in the Boston Garden (the Beanpot Hockey Tournament was that night), roads closed for several days, stores unable to open because they didn’t have staff, and, of course, no school for a week. For me it was a great week, no school and I was the only one that could make it to work, so I made a great paycheck.
When I was younger, I loved snow days. As I’ve gotten older, I have fallen out of love with them. Not just because of the cold and the wet or the shoveling of large amounts of snow, but because they screw up my workday. It is rare that we close the office, but in the last few years we have done so more and more often. Clearly, with laptops and cell phones I can stay connected to other people, but working from home is not the same. I don’t have access to all the files and information as I do when I’m in the office. I end up camped out at the dining room table, which is not the same as my disaster of a desk in the office. Like I said, snow days are a disruption that, in the past, I have not really enjoyed.
In the last year, I have tried to look at these days a little differently. I have had to work remotely more often and instead of being bothered by it, I have chosen to work differently. Clearly it is not business as usual so I no longer work as if it is. I have found that being away from the office allows me some uninterrupted time. I can focus on neglected projects or a different set of priorities. For example, it allows me to do some much-needed prospecting, reach out to clients I haven’t spoken to in a while, clean out e-mails, write new promo, or write a blog. Things I wouldn’t necessarily have a lot of time to do while at the office and I feel more productive and accomplished when these projects are done.
So, next time you are snowed in or forced to work remotely, don’t get annoyed or upset, use the time to approach your work differently. Try to work ON your business and not IN your business. Use the day, as the saying goes, “to move the needle.” Look at new directions that you can take your business and your business can take you.
There is nothing prettier or more pristine than the landscape after a new snowfall; it is a fresh, blank canvas. Used properly, a snow day can be that blank canvas for your business. If you don’t feel like working on your business, at least go outside and make a great snow angel.