When plans and lists aren’t everything or are they?

December 28 2019
Andrew and Fiona Turnbull, Fruix Storage

It’s Fiona here, just taking a moment to reflect on 2019. To put this blog in context, it may help to know, I’m a huge planner, I make a list for each day, sometimes it’s on a scrap of paper stuck to the Landover steering wheel, maybe a text to myself or if it’s a quieter time of year it will just be a list in my head. They all work to keep me on track. In terms of weekly plans I use an A3 artists sketchbook, I divide the page into sections for each of my roles with the days written down the side. On a Sunday I fill in what I hope to achieve each day.  For the yearly strategy, I use excel for everything with spreadsheets for breeding objectives, grassland policies and health planning for my flock of sheep.

In terms of running the storage it’s Andrew who manages the units on a day-to-day basis and he uses his mobile for nearly all of it. It’s a useful way to work, as we don’t have an office or reception area. The booking system is an App on the phone so he can reserve a unit with a customer out in the storage yard. The booking sends out terms and conditions and confirms the dates and price of the storage. It’s also possible for a customer to book a unit themselves on the Fruix Storage booking page. I follow up by sending an invoice ahead of the start date.

However much thought I put into our business and life, it couldn’t have prepared me for being diagnosed with Pseudomyxoma Peritonei at the end of 2018. Despite not being that unwell the disease was spreading slowly and the diagnosis turned our life upside down. Thankfully the specialist surgeons at Ninewells carried out massive abdominal surgery to stop it in its tracks. The journey since then is a whole different blog for another day but it’s certainly made 2019 a very different year for all of us. Suddenly my daily targets were just to shower, eat, walk a little and rest. It’s maybe not surprising but I made myself a table to guide me through each day and track my progress. My MacMillan nurse said it was the first time she had seen someone make a recovery plan so business like, but to me it just seemed like the natural thing to do. I’m pleased to say that the surgery was successful and the support from Andrew, our family and friends has been amazing so my strength has returned and I am back to a little work with my sheep and I also help with the storage too, but I’ve not got the energy of the pre-op Fiona yet.

So my reflections on the year past are that I have survived and our businesses have too. I think that’s mainly because my family has risen to the challenge of taking on my jobs and helping me recover at the same time and I hope because I was organised it made everything slightly easier. So I’ll not stop the lists, in fact I recommend them to anyone who is trying to run a farm, a home and help with diversification too. Going forward the lists and plans will probably need to be formulated SMARTer, as I’ll probably need help for a good while yet. I might add a section for fun though as I’d like to have a lot more of that in the future.