It’s time for my monthly kick up the bum post – I have come to the conclusion that after something wonderful happens I get a bit of an anti-climax moment where I feel a bit lost. The last 3 weeks have been amazing. First winning an award was just brilliant. Then Mothercare made me their VIP blogger and I got to meet Myleene Klass and Jools Oliver, and generally made to feel special (thank you Noella!). Then it was homeward bound to look after 2 kids on my own and I can’t help but feel a little bit frazzled and a bit…what next?! It’s time to get focused.
I don’t want to miss this opportunity to grow! I want to take these fabulous experiences, feel energised by them and build on them for new successes. And, this is how I believe I can get focused…
Ten Tips to get Focused
1. Be inspired
It’s easy for me to see fabulous people and think I will never achieve their level of success, forgetting that I don’t necessarily want that level of success. Sure, I’d like my own range of products some day (ala Myleene, Jools and Oh Joy!) but not necessarily all the crazy trappings that come with fame. So, I need to focus on what it is that I want in my life and be inspired by these fabulous people I have met to achieve it!
2. Be open to opportunities
…but also be willing to take some time about them. I’m terrible for getting overwhelmed quickly because I try to do it all at once. Not everything has to happen yesterday or even today! Keep your options open, keep in touch and trust your instincts. If it doesn’t happen soon, it’s probably because you don’t really want to do it!
3. Do your own PR
PR is so important, especially in this line of work as a blogger working on my own. And, this is something I’m not good at – I won an award but did I send the story to a single newspaper? No siree! Katie from Pouting in Heels is fabulous at all sorts of things, including PR, and I love her Top Ten PR Tips. It’s this kind of post that makes the huge task of “doing your own PR” feel much more manageable!
4. Look after yourself
When all is exciting and/or overwhelming, the first thing out the window is exercise. “The gym is too far away” “I don’t want to get cold or wet” “I’ve got too much to do”… etc. I find it relatively easy to eat healthily most of the time (although I drink waaaaaaay too much coffee/wine) but exercise? Not so much. The silly thing is that when I do exercise, I find it much easier to focus on what I need to do. It clears my head and I’m ready to get on with my work.
5. Get organised
My husband, Mike, is uber efficient and able to work methodically through his thoughts, so he often tells me I’m procrastinating when I write a list. I want to assure you that it’s not procrastination, it’s ESSENTIAL to my well-being. My brain has a scatter gun approach to life and at the end of a day without a list I can easily feel like I’ve not achieved anything! So I actually map out my day like a school timetable (this is embarrassing but I’m sharing below! – take the ‘run’ at 6am with a pinch of salt!) and each morning I write my to do list but prioritise 3 main ones. That way by the end of the day I know I have achieved the important stuff. Anything else is a bonus!
6. Be focused in your down time too
If you want to avoid burnout, you gots to have some down time! In my ‘timetable’ I’ve actually written in when I spend time with Mike and my Me-time! Sounds incredibly regimented but if I don’t there is a chance I won’t actually spend time with Mike as my evenings tend to get eaten up with work! Having my time mapped out like this gives me a focus – I must finish this now… Rather than what tends to happen which is I think I’ll do it tonight. No you wont, you’ve got a date with your hubby followed by a bath and a book! Waaaaaaay better for inspiration.
7. Don’t forget your friends
My mates are such a lovely source of inspiration and support but it’s so easy when you get busy to not make the time! From a well-being point of view, this is so important. How good does it feel to send a card and nice present on a birthday or drop a text to see how your mate is doing with their new baby? It keeps you grounded and gives a little kick of endorphins just when you need them.
8. Shut off from the world
I’m going to let you in on a secret. It’s kind of a biggy because it is so against the grain when it comes to blogging. When I started blogging I didn’t read any other blogs in my niche. I couldn’t because if I did, I would have been so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of blogs out there that I would never have got started. So for 2 years I focused on what I was interested in, blogged from the heart, and grew my facebook community. This is not a recipe for quick success but it allowed me to develop my writing style and be happy within my own blogging skin. The same goes for me now when I know I need to get work done (like writing this post for example!) or need to think for a bit (even up to a few days!), I turn everything off and I get to it.
9. Reach out to the world
In the complete opposite to the point above, now I am confident in who I am and what I bring to the blogging world, I am trying to absorb as much as I can and meet as many bloggers as I can both in person and online. I am collaborating, hosting linkies, commenting, organising meet ups, and generally trying to reach out! It’s a lonely old business is blogging and although I like to be project driven and work independently, I also love working with others as a team! I just wish I had been ready to do it sooner…
10. Just get started…
You might not actually know where you want to go and what you want to be. I certainly didn’t when I started out! I decided I would just write what I was interested in and see what happened. If I had waited for that light bulb moment or my ‘niche’, I never would have got started! And, even now I’m not totally sure where I want to end up but if I don’t go with it, I might never find out – it’s the journey after all not the destination.
What do you think?
I hope you can take some inspiration from some of these points, I know we’re not all the same so what works for me may well not work for you! For example, I know I am competitive, impatient and a bit of a scatter brain (I’m not selling myself well here!), so these 10 tips are aimed to help me tame these weaknesses (which are actually also strengths if used right!) – maybe look at each point and re-jig it with your own strengths in mind?
I’d love to hear what you think helps you get focused!
Please do leave your ‘get focused’ tips in the comments or come and join the conversation on the Mums’ Days Facebook Page.