It’s my birthday today so I am not opening the laptop at all, because working on your birthday is illegal right? One year ago I was exploring the waterfalls and temples of Bali. Up next was Malaysia and the jungles of Borneo where I cried as I fulfilled a lifetime dream to see wild orangutans. 365 days later and I am under the rainy skies of West Yorkshire and self-employed as I try to attain my dream of creating a location independent lifestyle. The last 10 months since I’ve been back in the UK have been a rollercoaster of emotion and challenges. I’m still searching for my place back ‘home’ and wondering whether it’s ever really something we find. Perhaps it’s because I’m attempting to let my work define who I am, when I need to remember those independent, solo backpacking days and realise that we are far more than a job title. We are our adventurous, imperfect selves who yearn for more: whether that’s the next thing or the next best thing. I need to embrace all of my rough edges and not forget the incredible five year (yes, I was travelling for 5 years!) journey that led me to where I am today. Welcome, 33... You’re looking pretty promising. Now, I’m off to get breakfast pancakes. Lovely Spring photo by @thelittleran
Seeing as this post marks number 100 on the Smash Your To Do List account, I figured it was a good opportunity to make it a personal one. ⠀
I don't usually enjoy being centre of attention or putting myself out there, preferring to fly under the radar. However, I recently enlisted the help of @brandingphotographeruk to take some photos that I could use for my website and general promo. My confidence level soared as soon as I saw the results and I realised how important a professional photo was for not only promoting myself, but raising my self-esteem as a business owner.⠀
Becoming self-employed and starting your own business is never going to be easy. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it will be one of the most challenging periods in your life as you work to not only get your dream idea off the ground but also scale the mountain of anxiety. self-doubt and pressure that comes with it. ⠀
There will be times when you stop and think, "what on earth am I doing this for?" And that's ok. I've realised now that it is perfectly acceptable to have these moments of wobble, as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other and do not allow the challenging periods to get the better of you. ⠀
All it takes is looking at these photos of myself to remind me of how far I've come and that I am bloody proud of what I've achieved in such a short space of time.
I’m enjoying spending a week near Burton on Trent in the Midlands with a friend. Unfortunately, it’s not a holiday as both she and I still have work, but it feels great to be able to pick up my laptop and work from anywhere I want. All I need is a laptop and a WiFi connection (and a big cup of coffee ) and I’m good to go. When I made the decision to go self-employed, the ability to work flexibly was one of my deciding factors. I love being in control of my work and therefore able to mould it to compliment my life rather than the other way around. What are you most grateful for in business? What did you choose to set up on your own? Beautiful flowers by @styledbymarit for this Spring morning.
This fabulous print is by the incredibly talented Amy from @ishouldb. She has taken over @girltribegang’s Insta feed today to celebrate #IWD by encouraging women to realise that they are more valuable, more worthy, more talented and all-round more awesome than they give themselves credit for! At Girl Tribe Gang we champion, support, inspire and connect women from all over the UK who are working for themselves or aspire to quit the 9-5. This process can be a challenging, isolating one and working for oneself isn’t always a bed of location independent roses. Building and maintaining a business takes courage, strength, vision and creativity in quantities I could never have imaged before I started out. On IWD 2018, I am standing with my fellow women in business to remind them that they are smarter, braver and more of an epic plate spinner than they give themselves credit for. Let’s all #pressforprogress and ensure that women are represented in all the key places they need to be in society, doing #workthatworks for them and to be equally rewarded for it.
Who else is glad the snow is receding and life is returning to normal in the UK? For me this means I can reschedule some missed appointments from last week and sneak in a trip to the cinema to watch Oscar winning The Shape Of Water... I hope your Monday has got off to a productive start. I would happily sit at this workspace from @chicdomain - true desk envy!
It’s the weekend and it’s still super cold and snowy out there after #thebeastfromtheeast threw all it had at the UK over the last week. With my weekend plans cancelled, it’s the perfect excuse to stay inside and be warm and cosy whilst I do a little work. Having said that, I really do need some fresh air, so plucking up the courage later to leave the house to go and get the all essential milk... wish me luck! Gorgeous, cosy scene from @josefindahlberg.se
But first, coffee. I had to cut down the amount of caffeine I consumed as I realise it was having a negative effect on my body. Any time I would go without a cup of tea or coffee I would suffer from crashing headaches. I used this as a sign to significantly cut back on the amount that I drank and now only have one (ok, perhaps two ) cups of caffeine a day before switching to herbal tea...⠀
What's the drink that gets you going in the morning? Can you function without your caffeine or have you replaced it with something else? I'm all ears...
Hello Monday! What's on your to-do list today? I'm conscious that we're almost at the end of February so I'm working hard to finish up a client deadline before the start of March. ⠀
Although it is a short month, February has been the busiest and most successful since I launched Smash Your To Do List last year. Although growing a business is sometimes not an easy thing to do, I have no regrets about following my heart and choosing to be my own boss. ⠀
No regrets is my focus for today as I'm beavering away doing something that brings me joy - writing... What is the one thing that you do not regret, no matter how challenging you may have found it at the time?
Friday is here and we find ourselves at the end of another week - unless you’re self employed and your weekends have a habit of looking the same as your weekends! But, I’m looking forward to stepping away from the laptop a little to get out for a walk or two (before the artic conditions descend on the UK!) and I hope your weekend revolves around all the things you enjoy. Fab desk plant inspiration by @workspacery
I’ve spent some time over the last week working on a travel related project for a client. It’s got me dreaming of my next trip. Being a serial nomad for almost six years, staying in one place for a length of time feels a bit surreal, but also comforting to be putting down some kind of roots. However, knowing me, one conversation, situation (or in this instance, client work) is usually all it takes for travel inspiration to spark and for me to begin yearning for my next trip. This year it’s looking like a road trip to Serbia. What are your travel plans this year? Fab globes by @dimensioneph
Happy Valentines Day, wonderful ones! I hope your day has been filled with giving and receiving love. I’m trying my hardest not to open the last chocolate left over from Christmas, but figured now was a good a time as any, right? Swoon-worthy image by @elathebookworm to channel some inner peace tonight...
When I launched my website in 2017, I knew that an important element to include was a photo of me. The first image I uploaded of myself made me feel so uncomfortable that even after I put a black and white filter on it, I still hated it. However, as the founder of my own business, I knew a photo was essential so I kept it up there for several months, cringing whenever I had to use it for business promo.⠀
Even though I was proud of my beautiful site, I couldn't bring myself to shout about it and what I was doing, because I felt my images let me down. Enter @artisanandwild. I finally bit the bullet and went to meet Maryanne for a coffee, not really sure what to expect from a professional photoshoot but desperate to come away with just one picture of myself that didn't have me reaching for the delete button. ⠀
The end result was more than I could have asked for. Not only do I have several photos that I can use on my website and social media, my confidence in putting myself forward as the 'face' of my business has soared. This was the unexpected bonus of having a professional branding photo shoot. Read all about why I think every small business owner should have a head shot - follow this link to read: https://buff.ly/2G5yomq⠀
Fab pic by @artisanandwild
Since going self employed I’ve achieved what many may consider to be the Holy Grail of lifestyles: working from home. But, there are pros and cons to everything - with no one breathing over your shoulder one of the trickiest things is to keep yourself motivated and stay on track. I’ve shared my thoughts on the @womanreadyblog about how to stay motivated when you work from home and the sofa/bed/dishes/kids/cat are vying for your attention... Check it out at: https://womanready.com/10-ways-to-stay-motivated-when-you-work-from-home/ Some dreamy office inspiration that would entice me to work everyday by @remotelikeme
Met the inspiring duo behind @nrthlass this morning - a magazine celebrating the best of female talent up north. So excited to give this a read and am predicting these ladies will be ones to watch in 2018!
Poster: Hilda Dallas, 1909. On this day #100years ago working class men over 21 and women over 30 who were either married to a member of the Local Government Register or on it themselves, a property owner, or a graduate voting in a University constituency gained the vote. It was a further 10 years before all women were awarded the vote. Today, I’m a self-employed woman who feels incredibly indebted to the women who fought to secure my right to be in control of my own life and career.
Weekend lie in #goals... Although, I’ll admit that I set my alarm today and have been writing allll day on work for clients and my own blog. Sometimes you’ve just got to take advantage of a quiet weekend and crack on with it!
Can't get enough of the cosy, chunky knit blankets from @ohhio. Think I'll have one in every colour.
Ever sat down at your desk and smashed through your entire to-do list in an afternoon? It feels pretty great right? Somehow, you were in the zone and just 'got things done.' ⠀
I love this quote from Tony Robbins about energy as it really sums up that feeling of liveliness that you bring to a task when you're totally committed to it.
I know it may be winter, but this little guy is making me feel all tropical. ⠀
I've just spent a week away in Gran Canaria getting a dose of much needed winter sun. I put into action my location independent dreams by taking my laptop with me and blending work and play.
It felt good to switch off for a couple of days and then get stuck back into work the next, all while interspersed with dips in the pool! Although it often feels difficult to step away from your business when you work for yourself, it's always so enjoyable when you do switch off!⠀
The cutest pic from @aubreelarsen.
Throw your mind back to the days when you were learning how to swim or ride a bike without stabilisers. Did you expect to jump in the water and just be able to swim? (Actually, my child brain probably did!) However, the more likely answer is probably not.⠀
We kept showing up at those swimming lessons week in and week out where we progressed from clutching the side of the pool, to swimming with a float and then going unaided. The more we practised the better we became and the more our confidence grew. ⠀
Think of your new business as learning to swim (or riding a bike) - once you've got it, you've got it.
Just spotted the phone on this desk (which is lush anyway) and fallen in love. Who wouldn’t want this fresh and revitalising desk space to work from? It beats the grey weather outside the window today... I’ve just been battling the weather for and in Leeds with @artisanandwild. I loved our meet up to chat all things books, publishing and photos - my ideal Tuesday morning! Great desk inspo from @aworldofbamboo