I get asked a lot, in fact every week “How do you juggle everything?”. I do manage to cram a lot into my life (running two and a half ltd companies as well as freelance writing and some telly work, being a mummy and enjoying some me time in between) so I thought I’d share some of my Top Business Tips today with you all. The interesting point is this year, I’m actually working less in terms of hours but achieving more.
Fuel yourself with clean food.
I gave up alcohol and dairy at the start of the year, having enjoyed a vegetarian diet for 30 years. A year and a half ago I started eating fish to help my joints which have been pretty rubbish since my 2 pregnancies. I eat very clean: very little wheat, very little sugar and tonnes of juices, smoothies, oats, berries and seeds! To quote Nelly Furtado: I’m like a bird. This means that my energy is constant without any spikes or lulls. I am a firm believer that what you put in reflects your output. I start every day with hot lemon and only drink water which I add fruit to. This may seem pretty hard core but I assure you it works. I feel good and the creative side of my brain is always hard at work without fuzziness.
Write your ideas down as soon as you have them
As I’ve just said, my creative brain is on the go 24/7. So much influences me which means my head can be quite full so it’s vital for me to write it all down. Keep a note book nearby at all times to scribble your thoughts into. However, I am prepared that many of these ideas are non starters as let’s face it, I cannot do everything. So once the idea is fully formed it’s important to prioritise: will this make me happy, will this make me money, will this help me to achieve x, y or z? If the answer is no then park the idea….you never know, you may come back to it in years to come
Collaborate where you can
You can’t do everything yourself so open yourself to the idea of collaborating. This can be hard as you must join forces with people that you trust and who are on a similar wave length as you, but the benefits can be huge. In 2013 I joined forces with Keeley Harris to form Vintage Academy having run some workshops on my own beforehand. By collaborating we had more ideas, broader experience and a bigger reach which resulted in a much better business than I could have achieved on my own. And after all that work, we are now firm friends which is a double win.
Talk through your ideas
I have a business coach whom I chat with every month and share my ideas, my worries and ask for advice which she gives me. This keeps me firmly grounded, and focused on my overall vision. I realise that not everyone can afford this, so find an impartial friend whose ear you can bend regularly. Make sure they understand what you do but aren’t in the industry as you want an unbiased opinion. I also have these confidantes, whmo I couldn’t be without.
Create a realistic work schedule
I work 9-3 every day as I collect my children from school then become a taxi as we have after school clubs every day. Sometimes you will find me up early to write before they get up, but sometimes I stay in bed! I rarely work in the evenings and at weekends but I will answer important emails at any time. I used to work all my waking hours but to be honest, this year this has stopped. It is not healthy for yourself let alone for your family. So basically I work 6 hours a day (not including on my phone). My tops tips to achieve this are:
- Set up a To Action file in your inbox and shove anything that can wait until tomorrow into it. Just make sure you action them when you are next at your desk! Answer the important messages straight away then delete anything else you don’t need.
- Create an office space away from your kitchen table so that you can separate work from home. Even if this is just a desk in the lounge, it will help you to focus.
- Write a To Do list every day and try to stick to it. Don’t make it massive as you will never achieve it – keep it to 5-10 must do things.
- Get off your social media (now this is something I struggle with!). Put your phone in your pocket while you work!
- Do your book keeping regularly. I pay the bills/do the accounts on the 15th of every month and I create invoices and pay people every Friday. This helps keep the boring stuff away from my creative days!
- Have a lunch break every day. I come into the house (I work in the summer house) every lunch time, read a magazine, check my social media and sit in the sunny corner on my Ercol chair to grab some rays!
- Create template replies to send to people. As I run The National Vintage Wedding Fair I often have very similar emails such as “Can you tell me about your fairs?”, “Is there any space at your fairs?” etc so having a template response saves huge amount of time.
Don’t beat yourself up
Our mantra in our house is “It is what it is”. What we mean by this is, there are somethings that you cannot change so why try. Know which battles to fight, and don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t achieved everything that you wanted to when you got up this morning. Yes, you could work all night to do it, but if you have a family then this is a no go for many of us. Honestly, I went to a parents evening two years ago and my son’s picture of us as a family had me working on a laptop. Now is this how you want to remembered? (I cried) Every single one of us is amazing but most of us tell ourselves we need to do more/achieve more/be a super mum/be thinner/ be richer/ me more successful. Let’s stop and start to enjoy who we are and what we are doing…..I’m going off point now. Basically, give yourself a pat on the back.
There are loads more that I can share, and I realise everyone works very differently. How do you manage to achieve everything that you want? Do share your ideas!