The Importance of Mental Health for Freelancers

The Importance of Mental Health for Freelancers

Freelancers: How to avoid reaching burn-out before we start looking after our mental health

A recent report from Epsom UK showed that almost half of UK based freelancers admitted to finding it ‘lonely’ and found it ‘isolating’. The absence of an office social life was important, a third of respondents said they missed office banter and missed being part of a team.  

There is a heightened awareness of the importance of good mental health at the moment.  Some people who go down the freelancing route do so in order to better manage a mental health condition.  

Although it’s true that freelancing and being self-employed can give you back control over your working day, it is also true that as we are running our own gig, many of us work harder and longer than ever before.  Switching off can be a real struggle! 

I’ve shared my own experiences with maintaining good mental health in the past through the Upfill.  In this post I talk through practical things that freelancers like us can try to help look after ourselves.

 

1. Create a clearly defined working area

As many of us work from home, try to create a workspace that is clearly just for that.  Even if you normally work at the kitchen table, set yourself up a “space” that is always the same.  You can associate that space with work.  

Stationery fan like me?  Decorate it with some motivational frames, some great notebooks and maybe a plant, for grounding.  Set it up the same way every time you want to work and to clear it away after so that the space goes back to being a “home” area.  

If you are lucky enough to have an office or desk, fab.  Again, get it set up in a way that is appealing and calm and take the time to clear the decks every time you are finished a work session.

I find that when I work at home for more than a few days at a time, I need to change scenery. I will de-camp to a local café or co-working space but even then I set myself up as “working” so that in my head that is my focus time. Sometimes a change of scene can help alleviate the feeling of isolation or loneliness which can encroach on our mental health – remember the local courier is not really your friend!

2. Working 9-5 isn’t so bad

On a similar vein, whilst being self-employed gives more work-life balance in theory, it can be so easy to fall into the trap of working for even longer hours with no breaks.  However passionate you are about your business, it is essential to take breaks, whether that is 5-minute breaks throughout the working day or ensuring that we switch off at the end of the day.  Our brains need time away from work to replenish and refresh so try some of these strategies and see if it helps reduce anxiety and stress.

  • If you are a parent, then depending on your childcare arrangements, set work hours that you communicate to both yourself and your clients.  If your working hours are 9.30-2.30 then stick to those and refrain from answering emails or DMs outside of that time.  If you work in the evenings or are more creative at other times of the day, then by all means use those hours, but try to build in times that you are not working or available for clients so that you can be present in other areas of your life.
  • Put structures in place to commit to tasks that need to be completed on a daily basis. Once you have worked through that list, switch off for the day/evening.
  • Aim for at least an hour before you go to bed where you aren’t working so that your brain can wind down properly.
  • Turn off notifications when you are not working.  If you were employed you would resent being always available, what has changed now?  Try to limit availability and respond to queries during working hours, even if you draft replies at other times.

    3. Love what you do

    One of the best things to do when you feel like work is getting too much and your mental health is suffering, is to focus on your strengths, aka re-connect with your “why”.  What is the best bit about running your own business? What really lights your fire? Spend some time focusing on that. If finances allow, you could investigate the possibility of outsourcing some of the elements that could be affecting your mental health, such as social media or finance.

    Perhaps you wanted to work for yourself to be there for your partner / family / friends / kids.  Take some time to volunteer, eat out with loved ones, catch a film or pop in at the school to support your little one.  You would be surprised how refreshing it can be and the business will not collapse if you take a moment to yourself or to show those nearest to you how much you love them.

    4. Reach out for a chat

    Networking make you feel a bit icky?  Me too. But, talking always helps, whether it be to your partner, your cat or even other freelancers.

    Have a scout around for groups that might suit your personality and find your flock.  There are so many different groups now, from traditional networking through to informal coffee mornings.  If there is nothing that you fancy, then you could event set up your own co-working coffee morning with other freelancers that you might have met over the course of running your business.

    If leaving the house is not something you are ready to contemplate, get onto social media and put the scrolling to good use.  Spend ten minutes looking for businesses that look inspiring or are on -your wave-length and start connecting and engaging. Facebook groups are another great resource for support and cheerleading.  My own Facebook group the Brand Un-Muddlers is a friendly community of over 150 people who are ready to support and welcome you. Come and say ‘hey’.

     

    Join my Brand Un-Muddlers Facebook Group

    I hope that you have found some of these tips useful and think that they might support you to maintain good mental health as a freelancer.  I’d love to welcome you to the Brand Un-Muddlers closed Facebook group and help grow your support network.

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    Simplify your working day in 3 quick steps

    Simplify your working day in 3 quick steps

    Simplify your working day

    How did the summer holidays treat you?  Did your kids act like angels? Did you have loads of client work and tried not to worry about it on hols? If like me, you walked a fine tight-rope of playdate swaps and late nights, this blog post is going to come in useful for you, kids or no kids, to help simplify your day going forward, especially for those holidays days or when you don’t have a lot of hours in the day due whether it’s due to lack of childcare or other commitments.

    First things first, if you are feeling over-whelmed and too busy, you are not alone.  It’s completely normal to feel worn out, especially when you are adding childcare into the mix of running a small business. Watching Instagram feeds of “successful” families enjoying a summer break and wholesome kids being outdoors having fun is not always helpful and adds comparison-itis into the mix. So that might have left you feeling a bit ‘hmph.’

    In this article, I will give you 3 tips to simplify your working day.  I want to ease the pressure so that you don’t feel stressed about taking some time off to enjoy your family or have some self-care time whilst still growing and moving forward in your business.

    Clear your mind AND your desk to lighten your load

    Before getting started with an un-muddled day, spend 5 minutes sorting out your workspace. Remove as much clutter as you can and make it a nice space to spend time.  When you sit down to do your work, you don’t need your mind wandering off to think about tidying up.  Clear space physically and mentally so that you can spread out and use the resources you have available to you.

    Do you have a starting work ritual? It’s a great way to signal to your brain that you want to get productive and get going promptly.  You decide what it should be, even something as simple as getting a drink to have beside you or lighting a candle.

    I am a big advocate for the Pomodoro method so work out how much time you realistically have to work that day and break it down into 25-minute chunks.

    Ready?  Let’s get started.

    3 Tips to Simplify Your Working Day

    1.      Planning

    “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” — William James

    To really simplify your day, you need to know what you are actually hoping to achieve and make the tasks as realistic as possible.  Firstly, take a look at your to-do list and see if there are any items on there that can be struck off – have you been meaning to do something for three months but never got around to it?  Strike it off.  It can’t be that important.

    Next, look at the list to find out if there is anything you can delegate.  This could be both for work or personal life, perhaps its sorting out play dates for the kids for a few days – get your partner involved with some of the mental load.  Finding that social media is simply taking too much of your time?  There are a host of fantastic VAs who may be able to help and also be a sounding board for new ideas, even on an ad-hoc basis.

    The last two categories are the juicy ones, write out your “Grow your Business” and “Maintain your Business” tasks and pick 2 from Maintain and 1 from Grow and make that your list.  That’s it, no more than 3 tasks to start with.  In order to be more productive, the best way is to simplify and do less not more, but do it really well.

    Another note on planning – at the end of your day, re-visit the list and check off the items you did and make the next list for the following day, meaning you can start the day right away.

    Get started on your 1st task and make sure that is the one which is going to benefit your business most.  If you have a limited time, be objective and focus on the areas that will keep the business moving forward.

    2.      Take a break!

    I talked about this at a recent networking event, but breaks save lives!  It’s essential to take regular breaks so that your brain can refresh, you can move your body and generally stay focused on the task in hand.

    When we try to work straight through, often even through lunch, that’s when procrastination station kicks in and we can fall into a social media scroll hole.  It’s absolutely fine to spend some time scrolling through Insta, but set a timer so that you can re-focus when the time comes.

    As I mentioned previously, I love the Pomodoro method, so each time you finish a focused block of work, set a timer and have a proper break.  I created a list of 31 ideas for what to do in those 5 minute breaks.  Will you challenge yourself to try them all over the holiday period?

    Limit your hours.   You don’t need to be working all the hours of the day.  I find that with a focused list and set hours I am forced to be more productive.  I also then get a proper break when I switch off without feeling that I always need to be available for my clients.

    Keep an eye on your energy “flow” If you are more productive in the morning, make that the time to power through your list and then build in time for a nap or a snuggle on the sofa with the kids when you are feeling more depleted.  One of the benefits of running our own business is that we have the flexibility to do this.

    3.      Automation tools to un-muddle your day

    When thinking about productivity, automation and tools really are your friends.  I talk a lot about Trello and Asana and these are fab tools. There are also some other free tools you can use to help simplify your day.

    Turn all your notifications off so that you can focus on completing your to-do list and quietening some of the din that comes with being always connected.  There are quite a few apps that you can use for this which are either desk-top or phone-based.

    Use scheduling tools to plan out your social media content so that you can free up more time to be working on your business. I have some planning resources on my website that help you plan ahead for the most return.

    Email can be a real drain on productivity and drafting replies to clients and prospects is time consuming.   An alternative approach is to send a voice message. It takes a couple of minutes to record and means you can build a more personal rapport with your contacts.

    Sign up to my E-course to put a plan into action – Organise your life and business in 30 days

    To-do lists all over the place? Overwhelmed? If some of these ideas have resonated with you, you may find my e-course the perfect resource for you.  I will be re-launching it soon!

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    How to Get Un-Stuck After the Summer Break

    How to Get Un-Stuck After the Summer Break

     “Summer days, drifting away”

    Got to love a Grease quote.  Those summer days are well and truly drifting away now.  It’s been 6 crazy weeks since we were in a normal routine and we’ve been busy juggling; spending time with the children, growing our business and hopefully kicking back in the sun a bit. Children or no children, the summer always brings that interesting period where lots of us are away on hols, and so are our customers and clients!

    Now that autumn is here and the children are back at school or in childcare, do you feel raring to go or slightly manic about the prospect of the whole day stretching out in front of you?  If you remember one thing about this blog post, my advice is not to rush straight in to try and do all the things.

    A time of reflection

    Stop.  Have a little mini-holiday and think about some of the good things that have happened over the summer.  Make a drink and spend 5-10 minutes enjoying the quiet.

    A little distance may have given you a new perspective on your business.  Is there something you would like to change?  Perhaps a new product or service inspiration has struck.  Write down your thoughts while your mind is clear and fresh and then return to them in a few days to think about what needs to happen next.

    After a hectic few months in a different routine, you might feel like your brain is in a bit of a funk.  Don’t panic, be kind to yourself and ease yourself back into the flow.

    Take your time

    I did a bit of a Google on how to get going after a holiday.  The advice was to get up early so that you can get back on top quickly – I think I have to disagree on this one though.  Yes a bit of preparation and planning will help, but why burn-out all the good relaxed vibes you might have built up after the holidays?  Take your time and start gently.

    Hop onto your Trello boards and have a review of where you are at and what needs to be done.  If you are really stuck, go back to your brand values to help you re-connect with your brand purpose and re-energise you for the next few months.

    Get your thoughts out

    It’s hard to get going when you have a million things racing round your head, so start by getting everything out, ideas, fears, tickable to-do list items. Write them all down on a long list or record them on your phone (my favourite method) then type or write them out as you listen to them. Make sure you don’t just leave them on one long list though, and organise them into categories instead. A ‘do now’ list, a ‘future’ list and an ‘ideas’ list is a good place to start.

    Re-connect with your brand values

    Having a wobble about what your brand values are?  I would invite you to complete my challenge “Nail your brand values in 5 days”. You can access the resources here or join my Facebook group to be notified the next time I am running the challenge “live”.

    It covers everything from un-muddling the heart of your brand through to customer profiling and how your product or service resolves their problems.  The last time we ran the challenge in the Facebook group we had a great week and I loved this feedback from Gemma.

    “This process has really helped me focus on what I need to do for my business and my productivity, sometimes it’s easy to get stagnant.”

    Whoop whoop!

    Fill out the Marketing Channel Planner

     When you’ve not had time to download your thoughts, but have been spending time looking at what everyone else is doing, it’s easy to get your thoughts muddled on which marketing channels you should focus on. Head over to the resources, section or click this download link to get your hands on the FREE (yes baby) Marketing Channel Planner to help you get clarity on what to focus on, what you should start doing, what you stop and what processes you’re going to put in place to make sure you meet your objectives. 

    You can’t squeeze six weeks of work into one day

    Keep your to-do list manageable and try not to squeeze a week’s worth of work into one short day.  Prioritise what actually needs to be done by categorising your list by “grow” and “maintain” your business.  Check out my recent blog posts with all sorts of productivity tips for you, and come to the Fb group for lots of videos coming soon!

    Celebrate successes and prioritise “me time”

    Still have that post-holiday “glow”?  Hold tight to it!  By sticking close to your brand values, you can get out of the back to work blues, grow your business and avoid running out of steam before we even hit October.

    When you get to the end of your first week back, have another moment of reflection and celebrate your successes, they can be big or small – made a new sale? Got to the end of the week without forgetting anything for the kids, it’s all good!  We don’t need to wait for someone else to recognise successes.  Enjoy the little moments and even if the celebration is just a 5 minute nap (I love naps), it’s still looking after yourself and will help you find and keep your groove.

    Use your network

    Feeling a bit lost and alone?  I’ve said this before, but there are so many supportive groups both online and in person.  If you do feel stuck or blocked, then use your network, I can guarantee someone else will be feeling the same as you and that is a very comforting thought. Got big plans for the business but not sure how to knuckle down and focus. Definitely check out the Fb group for tips, but you could also try finding an accountability buddy to help you out!

    Sign up to be the first to know when my courses to help you go live

    If any of this has made you think oh yes, this is the approach for me, then I’d love for you to join me in the Facebook group where I help you connect with your brand values and share helpful productivity tips.  Alternatively, sign up to be alerted the next time I am running my brand challenge.

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    5 Things I Learnt in 2018

    5 Things I Learnt in 2018

    As I’m sure most years are for most people, there have been some real highs and lows this year. For me though, it was a year of two halves, so stark in contrast that the first seems a lifetime ago.

    You’ll find a bit of backstory in my blog post from a few months ago, talking about what went on in the first half of the year.

    Essentially, I spent the first 6 months of 2018 really struggling with depression, honestly spending most of my time curled up in bed, and the rest of the year absolutely smashing it (not without my doubts of course) so I wanted to share what the most important things I learnt were or at least what was solidified after thinking that it might be the case!

    1. Making a decision is powerful.

    The better half of my year started on the 19th June.

    I woke up and said goodbye to the husband and told him I was done. I don’t think he knew what I was talking about but he nodded along. I’d made a decision to start really living my life how I wanted to. A decision which turned the year around for me.

    I was done.
    I was done not living the life I wanted to.
    I was done not helping myself.

    I knew things would change that day. It really was as simple as making a decision.
    That day I bought myself a mug. A £1 mug from Wilkos. It’s not a fancy mug, it’s not a handmade or expensive mug.

    But I called it my mug of change.

    It reminded me of the promise I made to myself.

    Next came the action bit, because a decision without action is pointless. I bought myself Jen Sincero’s book ‘You Are a Badass at Making Money’ and ‘Playing Big’ by Tara Mohr. They both totally changed the way I was looking at myself and helped me to actually work through what was holding me back.

    I’d started offering branding and design work, as well as some one-to-one work with clients from March, but my mindset and also the struggles through depression were making it feel like walking through thick mud. Make no mistake, if you’re in that place, it’s very hard to get out of. It took several trips to the doctors to get me back to a place where I could then put in the steps to start feeling better.

    If you’re struggling with your mental health, work on that first.

    Start with a decision to get help.

    Wherever you are if you’re feeling like you need to make a change.

    Start with a decision.

    Once I’d made that choice to commit to living my life how I wanted to, I started taking on work and growing my business quickly. I have a design background, had run a business for 6 years and knew exactly how I could help others, so let’s bust that myth of overnight success, but for me, it was a massive difference very quickly, because I already had the skills and knowledge I needed, I just needed the  confidence to actually put them into action.

    If that’s you, then start with a decision. A promise to yourself to make a change.

     

    2. You have to look after yourself.

    When I ran my first business, I absolutely ran myself into the ground.

    Up till 2am packing Christmas orders.

    Packing up 400 cards in one night over the sale when I was going through morning sickness with my first child.

    Pressuring myself to write blog posts or launch things at a certain time.

    I sold it last year (Aug 2017) and the weight lifted. I had loved providing gorgeous gifts and stationery for customers for a good few years, but I had fallen out of love with it, and I needed to either grow and outsource some of it, or let it go. I was ready to let someone else love it.

    It’s not cool to do that to yourself.

    You have to look after yourself. And that means different things for different people. For some people it means spa days and baths, and lots of relaxing. And while I love those things, for me there are a couple of other things that are also important.

    For me it means.

    1. Having my finances organised and my tax return done early so that I don’t stress out about it.
    2. Pushing stuff back if it needs to be pushed back. Typically I won’t take on something that has a really short deadline. Also, what is really going to happen if you push back your launch date by a week? 
    3. Eating foods I love that make me feel good but that don’t make me feel sick and bloated.
    4. Making time to write in my journal. This has been a really important one for me. It’s helped me really keep on top of the mindset stuff.5. Knowing that sometimes you need to rest and relax first, before tackling something, because actually, you’ll do it better or faster once you’re relaxed.6. Having a book and a long bath, even if the kitchen isn’t clean.How do you take care of yourself?

    3. From every hard thing, you can learn a lesson.

    Although I have run a business in some form over the last 6 years, this year was my first year properly offering a service (apart from custom wedding stationery, which is a whole other ball game!) instead of a product. That’s taken some getting used to. I’ve learnt a few things, rather quickly.

    There are some hard things in there, which felt like a mountain to climb at the time, which felt like massive failures. But from each one, there is something positive that has come from it.

    I have a long list in my journal now, which says: ‘Hard things I did anyway, and what I learnt from them’

    What is hard for one person won’t be hard to another, so there is no wrong thing here that can be your mountain. Once you get through it, instead of closing that door and being glad it’s gone, thank that moment, or that person or that thing, for teaching you an important lesson. 

    I’ll give you some examples.

    1. We moved in with my husband’s parents as we couldn’t find somewhere to live. It was meant to be a pitstop but we stayed for much longer than planned.

    To be honest, I thought it would be horrible living there, but now I realise that I am so incredibly lucky to have had my lovely Mother-in-law around when I was going through such a rough time. And now that we’ve moved, I really miss her!

    It also taught me, that sometimes the things you think will be terrible, may actually be rather wonderful.

    2. I underpriced a job, and it was a pain to get through. But I did, AND now I know what I’m worth!

    3. We had an up and down year as a family, what with me feeling so low and living with in-laws etc.

    It taught me that we are strong, man. As my wonderful husband says to the kids.

    “We. Appiagyei’s. Strong.”

    And he was right.

    4. If you’re working for yourself, it’s really best if you love what you do.

    I’m not saying that it’s easy to carry on working for someone else if you’re unhappy. BUT if you don’t love what you’re doing in your business, at least most of the time, then you might as well go and get a job working for someone else.

    Working for yourself can be really hard at times. I think no matter how far along you are in your self-employed career, no matter how much work you have on, no matter how many people have given you brilliant testimonials, there is still so much room for doubt, and it’s easy to feel like you don’t want to carry on.

    You’re often the only one making decisions.
    You’re the face of your company, everything falls back on you.
    You probably have to learn to do more than you’d even considered.

    One slightly negative comment can derail your confidence.

    Resilience is absolutely paramount when you run your own business. Not letting those little things get to you and carrying on, working on your marketing strategy, getting clear on your vision and re-looking at things that are not quite working. If you don’t love who you are serving or what you do. If you can’t speak about it like you really care, then that’s going to be even harder.

    BUT, when you give yourself permission to do only the things you love you invite more of the things you love into your life.

    P.S That is, bar doing your taxes, packing, bookkeeping or anything else you don’t love but need to do for now until you can outsource. I get that. Keep going, one day, the dream is to do only the bits you love doing, right?

    5. Mastering your mindset is the basis for success.

    I’m not saying that it’s easy to carry on working for someone else if you’re unhappy. BUT if you don’t love what you’re doing in your business, at least most of the time, then you might as well go and get a job working for someone else.

    Working for yourself can be really hard at times. I think no matter how far along you are in your self-employed career, no matter how much work you have on, no matter how many people have given you brilliant testimonials, there is still so much room for doubt, and it’s easy to feel like you don’t want to carry on.

    You’re often the only one making decisions.
    You’re the face of your company, everything falls back on you.
    You probably have to learn to do more than you’d even considered.

    One slightly negative comment can derail your confidence.

    Resilience is absolutely paramount when you run your own business. Not letting those little things get to you and carrying on, working on your marketing strategy, getting clear on your vision and relooking at things that are not quite working. If you don’t love who you are serving or what you do. If you can’t speak about it like you really care, then that’s going to be even harder.

    BUT, when you give yourself permission to do only the things you love you invite more of the things you love into your life.

    P.S That is, bar doing your taxes, packing, bookkeeping or anything else you don’t love but need to do for now until you can outsource. I get that. Keep going, one day, the dream is to do only the bits you love doing, right?

     

     

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    5 Things You Should Schedule to Keep You Organised & Productive

    5 Things You Should Schedule to Keep You Organised & Productive

    I know how it is.

    You start with a great system. Perhaps you get set up on Trello. Maybe you start bullet journaling. Whatever it is, it’s going to take a little maintenance to make sure you have a working system that you can look at any time you need to know what you need to do next.

    I know, I know, organising your organising sounds silly, but whatever system you use, if you don’t routinely make sure it’s working for you, then a) you’re not being as efficient as you could be and b) it’s going to get in a mess.

    I don’t want to make organising your business and life more complicated than it has to be, so this should each only take a few minutes.

    A good time to do this one is when you are planning your week out. Which again, shouldn’t take you too long.

    You can do these weekly, or you could do some of these just once a month, but I schedule them all in for every week, and then if I don’t want to do them that week, or don’t need to, then I, shhh…. Don’t do it.

    1.Organise Your Lists or Boards

    Whether you use notebooks or Trello, keeping on top of the various lists you need for your business will help things stay in ship shape.

    These are the things that I cover when I organising my Trello lists, but yours will probably be different, and if you don’t use Trello you can still use a similar method by either going through your notebooks, or planners or other digital tools and applying a similar strategy.

    Dashboard – I check that anything that has been completed is move to the ‘done’ list and add any extra actionable points for business and personal life. This board also has emails that need a considered response and also events, so I check on those here too.

    – Calendar – check for any dates that are coming up, that all the right things are in. Did you have anything else you forgot to add?

    – Weekly plan board – checking that everything is falling on the right day for the week ahead,and that anything I have actually done is archived. Anything that doesn’t need to be done that week anymore, I move back to where it needs to go.

    – Ideas board. Do you have any other quick ideas to add. Are there any ideas there that really don’t make sense anymore and you’re going to scrap? Get rid of them. Anything you want to do that week, move it to your to-do list or your weekly plan board.

    I schedule each of mine into Trello as an individual card and then use the card repeater power-up to make sure it comes back the week after.

    2. Getting your notes in a form that makes sense

    You’re on a call and writing down notes.
    You have a random product idea and write it down on a scrap piece of paper while you’re out.
    You get an A3 sheet and plan out your quarter.

    Great, you’re doing this stuff.
    Now you want to make sure you get it into an actionable list.

    If you use a digital system, then start by getting it all into the right areas.

    Client notes from your call into an email, document or Trello card.
    Product ideas onto an idea board, or a product development list or board.
    And get your quarter plans into your planner or a project development board.

    When you’ve done that you can get rid of all those scrappy bits of paper.

    I don’t do this every week, as sometimes I don’t have any notes to transfer, so if you don’t this is one of those ones you just file, or only schedule in for once a month.

     

     

    3. Email and message purge

    Email personal
    Email business
    Facebook messenger
    Instagram messages
    Whatsapp
    Text messages

    An email over here, a text over there. With notifications and flagged and unread messages everywhere, it’s hard to concentrate. Attention residue is the name psychologists give to that problem we have of not being able to focus on something because our mind is still on something else. An overload of messages, in whatever form they come in, doesn’t help.

    Go through each of these and…

    Read,
    Delete,
    Delegate,
    Action,

    …or add them to your to-do list.

    A way to make this really easy to go is to use an application like Station to bring several of these together.
    www.getstation.com

    4. Organising Files & Folders

    OK this one really might just be me, but speaking for myself, my files and folders get in an absolute state. I save stuff to desktop, my downloads folder is out of control and I still have 4000+ files that need organising back from when I moved everything over to Dropbox.

    Don’t even get me started on screenshots.

    So every Monday I schedule in 10 minutes of organising.

    – Move everything from downloads to my Dropbox
    – Move anything from desktop to Dropbox
    – Move anything that is hanging around in the wrong place in

    NOW, you could just be super organised and do this right when you save stuff, by changing files to the right names, and saving them in the right places.

    But I guess what I’m showing you here is that I know we don’t always have time to do all of the ‘right’ things we should be doing, so instead, we sometimes have to patch.

    That’s cool.

    And it’s why you’ll never see me judging the way someone organises, you do you boo. But also I’ll help show you some awesome stuff along the way.

    Another great thing you can do is change where your screenshots go, and also rename them at the time of screenshotting, I’ve just recently started doing this and it’s a game changer! Here’s how you do it. 

    5. Weekly bookkeeping

    This one is self-explanatory.

    If you don’t have a bookkeeper, just this one little thing will help you out so much. Just five minutes a day, or half an hour a week, however long you need to keep on top of it.

    I’m all for batching (grouping tasks together to save time) but when it comes to things like bookkeeping, if you are more likely to put it off because you hate doing it, then you’re better off doing little and often.

    It will make everything a little less daunting when it comes to doing your tax return.

    So download those CSV’s, reconcile your statements and collect your receipts.

     

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    How to Keep Things Ticking Over When You’re in a Funk

    How to Keep Things Ticking Over When You’re in a Funk

    You’re not exactly productive when you’re in a funk are you? 

    Nothing seems to be able to snap you out of it. 

    Because well it doesn’t happen like that does it?

    Is there anything you can snap out of? Anyway, I digress. 

    Sometimes we have stuff going on in our lives. Unavoidable stuff, that just, well, sucks. Life is hard sometimes. Running your own business is hard, and your mental wellbeing should always come first. Ohh and psst, this list also works for times when you’ve got flu too.

    If you can take some time away from your business when you’re in that headspace, I would always advise that. BUT if you can’t right now, here’s how to keep your life & business ticking over until you’re back to the usual powerhouse you are. 

    If you’re looking for tips on how to get OUT of a funk, this isn’t it so much, this is more just how to not let your life and business fall apart in the meantime.

    1. Make a ‘list of enough’.

    Not a to-do list. 
    Not a not to-do list. 

    Just the things that will be just enough to keep things going until you’re feeling better. 

    These are some ideas of what to include on your list: 
    – feed the kids 
    – get dressed & teeth brushed
    – eat nourishing food
    – one load of laundry 
    – activities/nursery for the kids
    – bath, teeth & bed for kids
    – quick tidy up 
    – shower for myself

    It just reminds me that actually even when everything seems to be falling apart, really I’m actually pretty good at holding things together. 

    If you can do just enough so that you don’t run out of clean pants, that’ll do you for now.

    2. Finish reactive work & don’t take more

    I know it’s hard to turn down work or change shipping dates to slow down orders when you’d really just love some monies, but completing outstanding work and giving yourself a break before taking on more is a great next step to not feel too overwhelmed. 

    If it’s feeling like an absolute nightmare to get anything finished, get in touch with some of your clients and politely explain that due to health reasons you are running a little bit behind and is there any wiggle room in deadlines. 

    Lots of people will be understanding and perfectly willing to move dates. 

    You don’t know until you ask. 

    This might just take the pressure off enough for you to catch your breath.  

    3. Identify your MIT’s (Most important tasks)

    Prioritise!

    If you’re still in the middle of having to get a ton of work done, then identify three Most Important Tasks to get done each day. This is good practice anyway, but especially important when we’re not feeling so hot on the productivity/motivation front. 

    I identify these in Trello with a different coloured label, and then anything else I don’t get done that day, it’s not the end of the world. 

    When running my e-course or workshops, I encourage people to use three different labels to differentiate different tasks, ‘personal,’ ‘work maintain’ and ‘work grow.’ Times like this call for just doing the maintenance tasks. Don’t fret about doing the things that grow your business when you’re in a funky place, your head won’t be in the right space and that will come across in your marketing anyway. 

    As you start to feel better, you can start to work on these things again, writing, plotting and planning.  

    4. Don’t panic about social media

    Instagram will still be there when you come out of your cocoon again. We kind of get ourselves worried about algorithms and what we might miss by taking time away, but not only can taking time away from social media make you feel better, it will also still be there! 

    Maybe your engagement will go down a bit, maybe not as many people will see your posts when you do post, but THAT’S OK. And maybe it won’t. And, and, maybe that would have happened anyway. 

    If you have the kind of business that you need to be available on social media, then do the bare minimum you can, then turn off notifications, scheduling in time to come back and check it. Schedule things up front with a tool like Later or Buffer.

    Just don’t scroll with no purpose. That endless scrolling does not help you feel better. 

    You can also let your audiences know that you won’t be there for a little while. People take holidays, and we tend to forget that sometimes! You don’t have to be contactable.  

    5. Do a post mortem

    As you come back to life, don’t worry about missed time. You’ll spend more time worrying that you could have done more. Be grateful that you’re feeling better, take it slowly and start working on your business again.

    Come out slowly. You don’t need to do all at once. You don’t want to get back into things and then find it too overwhelming again.

    Write down a few things, journaling is a great way to get out of a funk when you’re in one, but another good idea is to afterwards write down these three things.

    • What triggered you into that place in the beginning?

    If you can identify some of the trigger signs then you have a chance to catch them earlier next time, and do the things that make you feel better, before you feel too low to do them.

    • What things made you feel better?

    If you did certain things which seemed to help, such as reading, walking in nature, spending time with friends, or journaling, write those down to create a little ‘get yourself out of a funk’ checklist for next time. 

    • What are you proud of yourself for?

    Did you give yourself a break, what went well during that time, did you get clarity on where you’d like to take your business? Write down why you’re still frickin’ awesome. Cos you are, and we all have bad times. Some worse than others. But we all do. 

    And things will get better. 

    Much love to you all! 

    Please, if you feel like what you’re going through is more than just a ‘funk’ and your mental health or wellbeing is suffering, then please contact your GP, or your healthcare provider, or visit the Mind.com website for more information on where to get help. 

     

     

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