Thursday, 26 January 2012

Confessions of a Procrastinator

I'm nearly afraid to say it out loud but the tax return is done AT LAST!! It only took me several weeks of searching handbags for scraps of paper, hunting through bank accounts, bank statements, invoices and finding envelopes of receipts in different places. Any accountant reading this will be disgusted at my lack of organisational skills, financial know how and lack of planning!

This is typical behaviour for 'Deirdre Procrastinator Extraordinaire'! I was always the one sitting up to 2 and 3am the night before exams cramming or writing the assignment the night before it was due at school and university.

People often do not realise the amount of preparation and planning that goes into every Sign2Music class, especially in the first term. Knowing this never encouraged me to have the bag packed a week before like other sensible people would do! No no, I always 'faff about' and leave most things to do the night before once the children are in bed, often staying up 'til 2am or later!

The tax return has been hanging over my head for months. I knew how much preparation was going to be involved in getting everything ready to submit it. It is such a small thing in my busy life, not something I want to prioritise or focus too much attention on. However, it really has become a huge mountain that I have had to climb to allow me to focus on the 'big things' I have planned for Sign2Music.

Running a small business is a very fulfilling role and has been one of the most amazing learning experiences for me. It is also a time and life consuming role, especially, like me if you have a job and a family too! A small business owner has to be an expert on so many things, not only the field in which they are operating: computer skills, social media, book keeping, PR, marketing, organising, planning, networking, communicating, to name only a few! We do not have a personnel department, communications department, finance department and a collection of policies and procedures to refer to!

I have never employed an accountant or any other business or personal support services as I always say I can't afford to and can easily do everything myself. I have now realised I can't afford not to! The amount of time, effort and stress preparing for today would not have been necessary had I approached it like an organised business woman would! Had I completed this months ago there are so many things I could have been doing instead!

Promise to myself! This me! I have already started recording as I go along, clearing out my purse and filing and recording receipts regularly. I have accepted the support offered by my husband and 15 year old IT whizz son! My books will be sent to my accountant in April /May and I can say goodbye to another small thing and put it into the hands of an expert!

I would say I am now going to sit back and relax, but there is the small matter of my house! Anyone fancy cleaning it for me!? ;-)

Deirdre :)

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

One for the Dads

We are very lucky to have lots of dads attend our Sign2Music classes. Too often preschool classes are predominated by mums. Not ours! It helps that many of our classes are at weekends so are accessible to more family members - mums, dads, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and siblings!

Modern research emphasises the importance of the mother - child bond in building the foundations for sound relationships in adult life. However, this does not take away from the important roles fathers can play in the lives of their children.

Unfortunately dads are often overlooked in parenting discussions. One of my colleagues told me that when his son was a baby a health professional visited the house on a regular basis in the early days. While he was present every time, all the discussion and advice was addressed to his partner. He described how disempowering this felt.

With this in mind I was delighted when I came across this wonderful video by the American Actor and rapper Tray Chaney, focusing on fatherhood:

I am not a rap fan but this is a beautiful song with meaningful lyrics and a great video.

I heard about Tray from my friend and author of ' the Blossom Method', Vivien Sabel. I was very touched and moved to receive a tweet on Twitter from 'the man' himself!

I wish Tray every success with this song. I really hope the popularity of this song increases even further and continues to promote the roles of fathers everywhere!

Deirdre :)

Monday, 16 January 2012

My Promise to You

As you all know Sign2Music is not a job to me, it is my passion, my chance to live my dream by helping everyone share the huge benefits and massive joy that can be gained by the use of signing.

As a business Sign2Music has a Vision Statement. My vision for the future is this:
1. For signing with babies and children to be mainstream in families, nurseries and school and to be accessible to everyone.
2. For Sign2Music to be a popular and respected name, providing high quality programmes and products throughout Northern Ireland and beyond.

Our Mission Statement, ie, how we achieve these aims is:
1. We provide high quality programmes throughout Northern Ireland.
2. We work to raise awareness of the benefits of signing with all babies and children and to produce useful, affordable and accessible products.

Sounds a bit lovely dovey, but that's me, heart rules my head! I have been on a 3 day training event recently which has made me realise a lot of things about how I run Sign2Music. Because it is my passion, I have not treated it enough as a business and sometimes find the 'money part' uncomfortable, which I realise is a disservice to Sign2Music and to you! I have often felt like using the word business somehow diminishes the values and beliefs that drive what I do. I have put my everything into trying to reach as many people as possible, spreading myself too thinly. As a result I have not done everything I should have.

Well, here and now I am going to commit to actions in 2012! Here goes....gulp!

1. I will produce the long awaited Sign2Music Vol. 2 CD.
2. I will produce record a Sign2Music DVD
3. I will facilitate an open training event for nursery / childcare professionals
4. I will ensure Sign2Music covers as large an area as possible by recruiting more Sign2Music Licensed Teachers.
5. I will produce materials so that those unable to attend Sign2Music classes can still access our services.

There I've written it down, not just on my computer but for you all to keep as evidence to hold me to account! Hope I don't live to regret this, lol!

I am really really excited about what lies ahead for Sign2Music for 2012. I promise to work hard to for you all and hope that the amazing support for Sign2Music from you all that drives me onwards continues this year. Thank you all!

Deirdre x