For a recent holiday, we decided to house swap. That meant that we went off to Edinburgh to live in a lovely city-centre flat owned by a woman called Verity, while she explored London from our house.
Part of the deal was that we agreed to feed the cat.
But I’ve never fed a cat before….
It’s true. I’ve never owned a cat. Nor has my husband. And while we have plenty in our garden, and our friends have them too, that’s very different from being responsible for one.
So I had to confess I’ve no idea how to look after one. One friend feeds her cat raw meat, another dry biscuits. Do I need to watch out for fleas, or deal with dead rodents?
And after all, I didn’t want to be responsible for an obese, starving or deceased cat. A matter of life and death, you might say.
So Verity left me very strict instructions. Exactly what and how much to feed the cat and when, what to do with her bed and when (and I decided not to worry about the lack of instructions for dealing with dead mice). It was, essentially, a really good delegation brief.
Why feeding the cat is about effectiveness
Maisie the cat survived, I’m pleased to say, and we had a great time.
But it made me think.
What in your business is like feeding your cat? Simple, but crucial? Easy when you know how, but not at all obvious if you’ve never done it?
And how can you create simple, easy-to-follow instructions so that someone else can do it?
Just as Verity was tied to her home if she couldn’t find someone to feed her cat, you’re tied to your business if you haven’t got anyone else to keep things ticking over when you’re not there. Do you have a system in place to keep things going if you were ill? Does taking on one big project mean that other things fall by the wayside, or you end up working crazy hours?
What about the things that drain you? Do you have a plan to get them off your desk, as soon as you can?
How could you tell me how best to feed your cat?