I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying ‘make hay while the sun shines’, which means making the most of your opportunities while you have the chance to do so or take advantage of favourable circumstances when the time is right. This phrase originated with English farmers in the 1500’s and a hundred or so years later extended into general life and quickly became a cliché.
I often remember my parents saying this to me on a regular basis as a kid, and I do recall using it myself when I’ve been talking with my children, but why am I bring it up today?
I’ve had a few situations over the past couple months that reminded me of the importance of this saying in our day-to-day lives, regardless of what you do.
Situation #1: I was at a networking event, which was quite loud, meaning I was almost yelling for most of the night. This took its toll on my voice and the next day I was scheduled to do a podcast recording, and I couldn’t talk, so I had to reschedule the podcast for a few days later.
Situation #2: I went to Podcast Movement in Philadelphia in July, and even though I was not talking loud, I was meeting a lot of people and talked a lot over the three day period and pretty much wore my voice out. While I was there, I was being interviewed and fortunately, I managed to get through it.
Situation #3: I got the dreaded ‘Man flu’ last week, so as I record this I’m probably still not 100%, but I’ve recovered enough to do this podcast, plus I can edit out an odd cough if it occurs.
How Does This Relate?
So what does this have to do with making hay while the sun shines?
Let me explain. I produce a weekly podcast show where I interview a guest and also a short Five Minute Friday (FMF) episode each week just like this one.
So far I’ve never missed uploading an episode on time, but that’s only because I’ve made hay while the sun shined. I have guest interviews recorded at least four weeks in advance and a few FMF episodes on standby in case they are needed.
Podcasting has taught me that my voice is critical and without it, I’m buggered.
Be Aware Of Problems
But it’s not just my voice that can prevent my podcasts being uploaded on time. It’s not uncommon to have Internet problems, computer hardware and software glitches, power outages, and last minute guest cancellations.
All these events are why I must plan ahead. In addition to this, I have to prepare for holidays and other work, social and family commitments.
In an earlier Five Minute Friday I talked about Creating A Disaster Folder, which is extremely important, but making hay while the sun shines is just as important, if not more so. If you make hay while the sun shines it can give you breathing space when the sun is not shining and covered by thick grey clouds.
My Past Podiatry Business
When I owned my podiatry businesses, we made a lot of orthotics, and we had computerised milling machines in place that could make them quickly, which is why we offered a 24-hour fitting service.
Most patients loved our fast service, but some were in no hurry and didn’t mind waiting for two or three days for their fitting visit. And this is when problems occurred, not with the patients, but with the podiatrists.
Because the orthotics were not due the next day, the podiatrists wouldn’t do the design straight away, instead, they would put it off to tomorrow, the day after that or the day they were due.
BUT, this is why you need to make hay while the sun shines.
What Could Go Wrong?
Instead of doing the orthotic design and having it milled out straight away, ready to be fitted (while the sun is shining and the time is perfect), they would wait. And what could go wrong?
- Computers can crash
- Software can fail
- The milling machine can break a drill bit
- LAB TECHNICIAN CAN CALL IN SICK
- A simple power outage.
So did this happen often? No, it didn’t, but it should never have happened.
Just Do It
If you have time to do a task right now…then do it, because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. And making hay while the sun shines doesn’t just apply to work; it applies at home as well.
Start timing yourself how long it takes to do specific tasks at work and home. You may be surprised it doesn’t take you as long as you think and you can fit far more in during that 40-minute time window than you thought possible.
If you have any questions, please send me an email at
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