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Category: Work

Self-Employment. Why Having a Boss Just isn’t for Me

Self-Employment. Why Having a Boss Just isn’t for Me

*This post was written in collaboration with Rainbow International Franchise. 

 

When I was at school, I didn’t really have much of an idea about what I wanted to be. All I knew was that whatever I became, I wanted to do it for myself. My ultimate goal was to become self-employed. I used to think a lot about what jobs there were out there. I’d go back and forth weighing up the pros and cons of being both employed and self-employed. I do believe that there are two sides to the story and that being self-employed isn’t for everyone. For me though, it was definitely the way to go.

By the time I turned twenty, I’d managed to go it alone. I was my own boss and the freedom it gave me was just incredible. I would make my own decisions, without having to please others first. The 9-5 disappeared and I found flexible working much more beneficial, for myself and for my family. Being self-employed has also given me the freedom to pivot when new business ventures have come my way. It gives me the ability to widen my skill set and knowledge base whenever I see fit and not according to the needs of an organisation.

If you’re interested in being your own boss, then you could take a look at Rainbow Franchise. There are so many business opportunities available, you never know, your calling may just be around the corner! 

Learning important life skills –

Prior to becoming self-employed, I had worked for numerous different people. I’d had a boss on numerous occasion and I learned a lot from each individual experience. Every different approach to business helped me shape who I wanted to be, it also helped me identify who I didn’t want to be. I firmly believe that it’s essential to work your way up from the bottom, often under someone else’s rule. Staring out this way helps me fully appreciate what I now have and what I’m capable of achieving.

No Limits –

For me, the best thing about being self-employed is that there are no limits to what I can do. This is ideal for me, as I’m a complete drifter and I do like to change the way that I make money from time to time. I’m a huge fan of multiple income streams and working for myself means I can have as many as I like, without stepping on another person’s toes. I find searching for fresh opportunities exciting, I love to put my knowledge and skills to the test. This means that when I do succeed I’m even more proud of myself, as my achievements are the product of my own hard work and determination. I proved to myself a long time ago that I’m capable of going it alone and making it work.

I’m lucky enough to be in a position whereby my drifting is supported. Being self-employed isn’t always easy and for some people the inevitable quiet periods can be crippling. Working alone means that you do have to put some cash aside for a rainy day, that way you cover yourself when work is scarce. Down time is few and far between for the self-employed though,  so if you do find yourself stuck for work I highly recommend you use this time to have a break. The likelihood is that there’s a tonne of work waiting just around the corner and for that you need to be rested!

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NCC Home Learning – Creative Writing Diploma Review

NCC Home Learning – Creative Writing Diploma Review

*I have been provided with access to the NCC Home Learning Creative Writing Diploma, for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

 

Taking home learning courses has long been one of my favourite things to do. Ever since I became self-employed back in 2012, I’ve taken a variety of distance learning courses in order to broaden my knowledge and skill set. Some I’ve really benefited from, as they’ve provided me with ways to grow my business. Others I’ve never revisited after completion. I’ve enjoyed every single one though and even if I haven’t always applied my new skills, the learning journey has been invaluable.

I’m a huge fan of home learning, mostly because you’re able to fit studies around daily life. Even before I had children, I would have found it difficult to commit to structured learning as I worked all hours. The only way for me to continue to learn was to invest in distance learning courses. Educating myself in this way has opened so many doors for me, whilst also allowing me to continue to build my business by day.

 

Why should you choose NCC Home Learning?

As much as I have always enjoyed learning from home, I have had both good and bad experiences with distance learning providers. Most I would use again in a heartbeat, others I would now avoid like the plague. The beauty of having so much experiences in this kind of education, is that I know a good company when I see one. I know what it takes for me to learn to the best of my ability and so I thought I’d pass on what I love about NCC Home Learning. They are a provider that I have been impressed with from the outset and I couldn’t be happier to recommend them to anyone who is in the market for a little home learning!

First of all, NCC have hundreds of courses available to choose from. Whether you want to top up your existing qualifications or learn something completely new, there’s a course for everyone. There are also a lot of courses to choose from if you’re considering a career change, that will provide you with a good grounding to finally take the jump. One of the best things about NCC is that they have a great tutor support system in place. So if you need a little help, or you want to discuss some aspect of your course there’s always someone at the end of the phone to help you.

As you’re probably already aware, distance learning can often cost a tidy bit of cash. The journey is always worth spending the money, but not everyone can afford to enrol. That’s why NCC price match their courses and they offer an interest free payment plan, to help make reaching your learning goals even easier. By enrolling with NCC you also get access to a free NUS extra card, which is always a bonus when you’re trying to look after the pennies.

 

Another string to my bow –

As I’ve been blogging and freelance writing for over two years now, I decided that the ideal course for me would be the Creative Writing Diploma from NCC. I felt that this course would expand my knowledge and give my writing more depth. There are also other writing genres that I would love to explore, including novels and poetry, this course will give me the head start I need to take things to the next level.

I’m part way through my diploma and I’ve found the course so interesting and easy to follow. It’s been a few years since I was last enrolled on a course and honestly, I’d forgotten how much I love them! It’s so easy to get lost in the learning process and before I know it hours have passed by. What I adore about this course is that it has provided me with a new challenge. I find that it pushes my boundaries and really makes me think, I’m learning so much along the way.

Thus far, I’m incredibly impressed with the Creative Writing Diploma from NCC. I’m very excited to complete my course and I’ll see you back here in a couple of months time with an update and another string firmly added to my bow!

 

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Knowing my Limits – Wife. Motherhood. Life.

Knowing my Limits – Wife. Motherhood. Life.

I’m often the person handing out tips on how to squeeze some sort of work into every waking minute. I’ve never been shy about telling others how it’s possible to work and look after kids at the same time. A lot of my posts have been written to help mothers in my situation, to make scheduling their days easier and to allow for maximum productivity. This post is going to be a little different though. It’s not going to encourage you to fill every second, of everyday with work. It’s also not going to encourage no work at all. The aim of this post is to highlight that the key to success is to know your limits.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t think working hard is unnecessary. Some days it’s essential that we cram the hours in, in order to progress. It’s that slowly but surely, I’m beginning to realise that burning the candle at both ends will only lead to a decline in achievement. My husband is always telling me that I’m working full-time hours on my blog, as well as looking after our children full-time. Both of these positions are what I chose and are still what I want to do. There comes a time though when something has to give. As my children are always my first priority, it would seem that I need to manage my workload to fit around me. I need to be mindful of how much I’m fitting family life around my work.

Recognising I need to adjust the balance –

As with most things, recognising that things aren’t as they should be is the first step to making a positive change. It doesn’t always mean that we act on it immediately, but it plants the seed. I’ve known for a while that I don’t quite have the balance right. The trouble with me is I get a little addicted to progression and for that reason I find it hard to slow down. If I achieve something good, it just spurs me on further and in consequence down time becomes less and less.

Less down time means less time with the littles and less time with Hubs. Not that either of them mind particularly. The only person it really bothers is me, because I didn’t quit work in the first place, for nothing. I did it because I wanted to be there all of the time. The job that I do now means that I am always at home with them, but it’s amazing how much you miss when you’re sat behind a screen.

Getting it right –

I don’t suppose there’s an easy way to get the balance right. Whether I’m being wife, mother or trying to progress in my work life. One has to give, to make way for the other. The trouble is, all of these roles are so important to me, I want to be able to give each one my full attention at all times. I want the perfectly clean house, the thriving business, to be super mum and the doting wife. It’s time to accept that I can’t do everything. I need to get to know my limits and more importantly, to live by them.

When the girls go to school, I’m sure things will get easier. I’ll have the hours in the day to get on top of everything I have to do. Then once they come home, they’ll have my attention until bedtime. Until that time comes though, I need to make sure that my work is confined to their bedtime hours as much as possible. I’m only too aware that they won’t be this young forever and if I’m not careful, I’ll only remember their younger years as the snaps I caught through a lens.

 

 

 

 

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Let’s Talk about Money – Multiple Income Streams

Let’s Talk about Money – Multiple Income Streams

*This is a collaborative post.

 

As a full-time blogger, I firmly believe that making a living from blogging is possible.  It takes a lot of time and effort to build up an audience as well as numerous social media platforms, so it’s never going to happen overnight. It’s also not a job for those among us that aren’t able to burn the midnight oil regularly, or those that aren’t able to immerse themselves into social media. The positives far outweigh the negatives though! The best thing about being a full-time blogger and working from home, is that it opens up many doors that allow me to earn from multiple income streams.

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The idea of multiple income streams –

 

Multiple income streams do what they say on the tin. It’s the concept of making money in numerous different ways, so that you aren’t relying on one wage packet alone. That way if one income stream happens to dry up, you will have others to fall back on. Creating multiple income streams is an excellent way to secure financial freedom, thus reducing the stress that comes with worrying about money.

Multiple income streams are important for bloggers, as work is never guaranteed. As with many self-employed roles, you have to take the rough with the smooth and sometimes that means not getting a wage at all. Having other ways of making money can bridge the gap, to keep you ticking over. If you’re interested in learning more about making money from home, I’ve written all about it HERE! 

I’m always looking into adding to our current income streams, as I believe it’s important to have a broad skill set and to keep my options well and truly open.

Money you didn’t know you had –

 

As well as creating multiple income streams, it’s a good idea to do a little research into cash that you may be entitled to receive, but aren’t yet benefiting from.  First of all, you should look into making a PPI claim. There could be a pot of money with your name on it. This can also be classed as another income stream, as it’s money you can fall back on, should your other means of making money fail. The time to look into your PPI claim is now, as the deadline to do so is only a year and a half away. It can take up to six months to complete a claim too, so it’s best to act now so you don’t miss out.

It’s also a good idea to look into marriage tax allowance, to check if you are eligible to receive it. It’s possible to claim hundreds of pounds back if your situation hasn’t been accounted for accurately in the past. Again if you’re able to claim, this is another pot of cash to fall back on if your circumstances happen to change.

If you have a legitimate claim, both of these options give you the chance to get your hands on money that’s yours, so don’t miss out!  

 

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Working from Home: How to Meet Deadlines When your Children Refuse to Nap

Working from Home: How to Meet Deadlines When your Children Refuse to Nap

Thus far in my blogging career, I’ve been able to complete a sizeable chunk of the hefty workload whilst my children slumbered. I would put them down for their afternoon nap and sit down to a couple of hours work in the afternoon. Then when they went to bed in the evening, I’d grab a few more hours for good measure. It was a good balance and one that will be sorely missed.

The last few months have seen my eldest daughter drop her naps altogether. My youngest does still nap, but not for long during daytime hours. This has thrown a huge spanner in the works where my business is concerned, as I’ve lost a whopping 14 hours of dedicated blogging time each week. At first I found myself in a spin of overwhelm and disorganisation. With even less time in the day to get on top of things, I felt like I was drowning in my work load.

Something had to change. Firstly I had to accept that nap time is no more. I’ve had a good run of 2.5 years of mid-afternoon bliss, but it was time to re-asses our daily routine to keep each of us as happy as can be. After much trial and error, we now have a good little routine going!

 

So, here’s how to meet deadlines when your children refuse to nap:

 

Split your days into activity blocks –

The key to keeping everyone in your house happy, is to allocate of time to meet everyone’s needs. In our house, the littlest still needs a short nap around lunchtime, so our day is divided into three blocks; ‘morning’, ‘downtime’ and ‘the rest of the day’. Our morning and the rest of the day is dedicated to our girls, we take them out, educate them and do everything else that comes with being a parent. Downtime however, is time for me to settle the girls down for an hour in order to get through some of my workload. I often enlist the help of Peppa Pig here, but it’s a good rest for the girls and time for them to recharge for the rest of the day.

Create a dedicated work space –

Having an area that’s just for you is a great way to make sure you meet your deadlines. My husband recently built me a desk area and it means that I can leave unfinished work to come back to later. I’m able to jump back into my chair and continue my project without having to wast time reorganising myself. It also means there are no little people using my documents as scrap paper!

Work into the night, but know when to stop –

I’ve accepted that If I’m to continue working at the level I’ve gotten used to, then burning the midnight oil is a given. As it’s the only real quiet time I have, I leave all of the more complicated projects until after the children have settled for the night. Working too late, too often can quickly lead to burn out though. So it’s important to recognise your limits and to hit the hay early once in a while. Burning the candle at both ends won’t be a benefit to anyone.

Use downtime to catch up on easy tasks –

If the kids are up and you’re finding it difficult to concentrate, tackling tasks that are simple will make you feel like you’ve been productive. It’s still work that has to be done and once you have time to yourself you can concentrate on the more complex projects.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help –

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan and getting things done becomes impossible. That’s when you need to admit defeat and ask for a little help. Whether that’s getting someone to watch the kids whilst you spend some time catching up, or outsourcing work that you just isn’t at the top of your priority list. Don’t try to be superhuman!

 

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The Ways of a Woman with Ambition

The Ways of a Woman with Ambition

I’ve never described myself as a woman with ambition before. My usual take on life is more sit on the fence, rather than fight for what I believe in. I’ve always worked hard, but I’ve never had a passion for what I’ve done. I’ve always been happy enough to do an honest days work, without needing to push the boundaries or seek ways to continue to learn and grow.

I’m not exactly sure when things changed. I suppose it was sometime after having children, probably during the time I was pregnant with our second. I began writing and steadily things began to change. I found time to write and I found time to learn, I still do. After a while I began to realise that I didn’t have to let the world pass me by, I could join in the fun and make something of myself along the way.

My world is now full of opportunity, I learn something new each and every day. Educating myself doesn’t seem like the chore it used to. I have fire in my belly and I have a constant need to feed it, to keep it burning. Cheesy I know, but it’s hard to describe just how much passion I have for what I do and for all of the amazing things I’m yet to learn.

 

New plans for 2018 –

Over the past year especially, The Tale of Mummyhood has gone from strength to strength. I have so many ideas and plans in the pipeline for my little corner of the internet. 2018 will be a time of new beginnings for me too, with the launch of my second blog Salubrious Place! Earlier in 2017 I had the idea to start another blog with more of a focus on health, beauty and wellbeing. Areas that I have so much interest in, but don’t always fit well with my first blog.

I dabbled with Salubrious Place when I initially had the idea, but the time just didn’t seem right. I didn’t have it planned out well enough and found myself becoming overwhelmed, a little like spinning plates. I’ve had many months to plan now though, so I’m determined for 2018 to be the year I really get Salubrious Place off of the ground.

So now I have two blogs, that are in a lot of ways connected, but also very separate. I’m ready for the work load and even more than that, I’m ready for the learning curve! 

 

Finding time for the day job –

As well as all of this, late in 2017 I was offered an opportunity to go back to hairdressing one day a week. This isn’t something I’d been planning on doing, but it’s another string to my bow and something I just couldn’t say no to. It’s still a self-employed role and I choose the hours that I work, which means I can fit it around Hubs’ shifts to avoid any childcare issues.

I must admit, the first few weeks were hard. I’ve never left the girls to go out to work before and as much as I know people do it all of the time, it wasn’t the norm for our family. I very nearly quit before I’d even begun as I was so bothered by having to leave them. Within a year or so though, both girls will be at nursery and that’ll mean I have to leave them whether I like it or not.

This year I’m going to need to be on top of my game to achieve my goals and to grow every aspect of my business further. Determination, organisation and passion are the ways of a woman with ambition! 

 

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Four Easy ways to Make Money from Home

Four Easy ways to Make Money from Home

Ever since I gave up my first business back in 2015, I’ve made it my mission to find legitimate ways of making money from home. For a little while I was a stay at home mum, but like many others before me I needed something else in my life. I needed to feel the purpose that comes from having a business. I missed the excitement of building up my own empire and the rush from striking good deals and making money in my own right.

The good thing about working from home, is that you have the space to create multiple income streams. There’s the opportunity to seek out numerous ways to make cash, all from the comfort and warmth of your own four walls. I for one, have never looked back since I began freelancing. The fact that I make money from home means that I’m always here for my children, as well as constantly feeding my desire to be successful at work!

There are so many ways that you too can make money from home, all it take is effort and a lot of determination. Here are four easy ways you can make money from home;

 

Freelance writing –

Freelance writing is a great way to make money from home. If you love to write and have the skills to produce good quality copy, then this option could be for you. There are numerous online platforms that provide freelancers with work at their skill level, as well as giving them the opportunity to rise through the ranks as they gain experience. The beauty of this role is that you can take on as much or as little work as you wish and payment is usually made swiftly. If this is of interest to you, I’ve written about more about making money from freelance writing HERE! 

 

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Sell unwanted jewellery –

Most of us have jewellery in the house that we no longer wear. Whether they’re pieces that are no longer in fashion or they’re just not your cup of tea anymore, often they sit collecting dust. The fact is though, that you could be sitting on a pile of cash without even realising it! You can sell jewellery for cash with little to no effort, all you have to concentrate on is the reward. With gold prices currently at a record high, now is the time to get searching through your jewellery box. The best bit about it is that you can be paid for your wares in as little as 24 hours.

 

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Complete online surveys –

As much as completing online surveys is never going to make you a millionaire, there’s still the possibility to make a little extra money for a rainy day. A quick Google search will present you with a whole host of survey sites, some pay in cash, others in points that can be exchanged for vouchers and some in gifts. The secret to making money from home with these surveys is volume. They take very little brain power to complete, you can do them whilst sitting in front of the TV of an evening. Do as many as you can in the time that you have and reap the rewards!

 

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Sell unwanted household items –

As with unwanted jewellery, many of us have a house full of things we no longer need nor use. An easy way to make money from home, is to list these items on online marketplaces and auction sites. Someone else is bound to want what you have and you can use the cash to get something that you really need instead. Not only are you set to make a tidy sum from selling your stuff, you’ll also de-clutter your home along the way!

 

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*This post was written in collaboration with Post My Gold. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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Are our Screens Doing us Harm? The Importance of Reducing Exposure.

Are our Screens Doing us Harm? The Importance of Reducing Exposure.

When I think about how long I spend sitting in front of my laptop, I appreciate that it’s probably more than what’s recommended. Especially on the days when I don’t have time to take a break in between tasks. My screen time doesn’t end when I’ve finished writing though. When I do finally shut my laptop, you can guarantee that I’ll just migrate over to my smart phone and continue working discreetly on there. Throw in a little more time on the iPad and I’ve spent the majority of my day looking at a screens.

I know I’m not alone in this, but it really is shocking to think that screens are such a dominant feature in our lives. It appears that we’re now unable to go for long periods of time, without referring back to our trusty technology! I must admit that this wasn’t something I’d given much thought too until recently. Working is something that I love to do, so I don’t see spending time on my laptop or my phone as a chore. Often I’ve no desire to down tools, so I don’t and the hours keep on racking up! However, when I was contacted by Ocushield this week, it really hit me that I spend so much time looking at a screen with no concern for my health what so ever.

 

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What are the dangers of too much screen time?

Our computers are capable of emitting low-frequency and radio frequency electromagnetic radiation. This kind of radiation has been linked to many medical conditions including, but not restricted to; depression, Alzheimer’s and cancer. It’s frightening to think that something we use so much and on a daily basis could be so dangerous.

The symptoms of overexposure include; tiredness, headaches and dizziness among others. I for one have suffered with headaches on many occasions, when I’ve had a full day at my desk working on my laptop.

 

What can you do to protect yourself?

If like me, you need to use your laptop to work and if your phone is never too far away, there are a few simple steps you can take to make your working environment safer. Think about the following:

  • Sit a safe distance away from your computer screen, ideally around 10 – 12 inches away.
  • Take regular breaks, even when you have deadlines to meet. Walk away from your screen and have a breather.
  • When using smartphones and tablets, don’t hold them too close.
  • When you’re working, divert your eyes away from the screen at regular intervals. Blinking more often can be beneficial too.
  • Minimise glare from your screen by using a computer screen cover for eyes, you can get these for smartphones and tablets too.

 

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Looking after our eyes is so important, but it’s not always easy to down tools altogether to get away from our screens. Therefore it’s necessary that to take the rights step to protect ourselves from the effects of overexposure. After all, if we don’t look after ourselves now then our work will only end up suffering in the long run!

 

*This is a collaborative post.

 

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What Kind of Work Space Works for You?

What Kind of Work Space Works for You?

When I began working from home, productivity wasn’t my strong point. Having never had a job that I didn’t have to leave the house for, I had no idea how distracting working in your own living space can be. There’s always something to be done at home; DIY, housework and the Sky planner to work through. It soon became apparent that my working environment wasn’t helping my progress.

Our work space can have a massive effect on our concentration and the quality of our work. If you get it right, the sky’s your limit. If you get it wrong, you may as well stop wasting your time. This week I’ve teamed up with Pall Mall Estates and a fabulous group of my fellow bloggers, to find out what working kind environment is perfect for them. There are so many variations of what makes up ideal working conditions, what works so well for one person could be a recipe for disaster for another!

 

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What works for me –

 

When blogging and writing became a serious profession for me, I had to develop a fool-proof plan to make sure I continue to make the best of my time. My work station changes depending on what task I have at hand. If it’s something that requires my full attention, I need complete silence and a clean area around me. No clutter and no mobile phone in sight. This is how I spend most of my time, occasionally I’ll listen to a little music but only in between tasks to give my brain a little respite! There are times when I work in front of the TV, but only for jobs that I do day in and day out. The ones that I could do with my eyes shut!

 

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What works for others –

Stacey from One Small Human – ‘I like a window and lots of natural light to concentrate. And I do tend to play music too. But the natural light is the biggest thing for me.’

Beth from Twinderelmo – ‘Smooth radio! It is the best soundtrack to work to. I hate working in silence – feels eerie!’

Victoria from Lylia Rose – ‘Natural light and a clean and tidy desk. If I need to concentrate then I like to sit upright at my desk with no noise or distractions around me.’

Victoria from Mummy to My Little Cheeky Monkey – ‘My desk is by the window and if the kids are away I have music on, but if kids are home I normally have the TV for background noise.’

Kirsty from Life with Boys – ‘I need silence and a clear space. I can’t work in mess and this means I find it very difficult to really get into my work quickly. With a one year old my house is rarely tidy.’

Clara from The Balance Collective – ‘Now I’m writing a lot more than I used to, I’ve realised I get too distracted by music with singer’s (as I end up joining in and get carried away with the song. So now it’s classical music! Enough to remove the “loudness” of silence, but doesn’t transport me away from the words I am trying to write.’

Tricia from The Birth and Baby Academy – ‘Either total silence or a busy coffee shop. Both work really well for me. Sometimes less distractions in a busy coffee shop weirdly!’

Katy from Katykicker – ‘I listen to the ‘music for concentration’ playlist from Spotify on my Sonos and it really helps me focus.’

Louise from Pink Pear Bear –  ‘By myself, in total silence with a limitless supply of tea!’

 

Thankyou to each of these amazing bloggers for giving an insight!

 

What’s the ideal working environment for you?

 

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*This is a collaborative post.

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The Day My World Stood Still. Well, Nearly.

The Day My World Stood Still. Well, Nearly.

Blogging, writing, social media and emails galore. Sound familiar? I’m not moaning, it’s the theme tune to my life and I love it. However, since I found myself on this path I don’t think I’ve downed tools for even a day. I’m always conscious of deadlines, I squeeze work into my day any which way I can and when it’s finally time to go to bed I work for a couple more hours. You know, for good measure.

Well this week something amazing happened. I scheduled all content, put down my phone, closed the laptop, packed the kids into the car and took the whole day off to enjoy being a family. OK I’ll admit that I did have a few sneaky checks of my phone, completely cold turkey was probably a bit of a big ask! For the most part though I just enjoyed some time out, knowing that work would still be waiting for me when I got back.

I’ve written so many times about how taking a break is one of the best things to make your business thrive. It seems I’m not very good at taking my own advice. I’m always banging on about how refreshed a bit of time out can make you feel and how it can give you the motivation to crack through a load of work when you get back to it, I fully believe it too. So I just can’t work out why it’s taken me this long to act on it!

So what has taking a break taught me?

 

  • That the world won’t implode if I don’t reply to an email in 30 seconds flat.
  • That the day goes by in less of a blur if you take some time to enjoy it.
  • That my concentration improves markedly after taking some time out.
  • That going to bed at a reasonable hour once in a while is necessary.
  • That the world looks much prettier when you aren’t looking at it through a camera lense.
  • That I love my job and a break is necessary if I want to succeed!

 

It turns out that taking a break isn’t a bad thing at all. In fact it’s completely necessary for each and everyone of us to stop what we’re doing once in a while and take stock of where we’re at. I’ll definitely be taking another break sooner rather than later, all work and no play makes Zoe a very dull girl!

 

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