How much do you utilise apps/systems to assist with planning?

Abraham Lincoln quoted;

“Give me six hours to cut down a tree and I will spend the first four, sharpening the axe.”

However good a person’s intentions, if something is not planned for, it is rarely carried out. Though technology is supposedly making our lives easier, it also means we are spending ample time planning as much as we do on tackling the actual task. 

I use a number of apps, software and spreadsheets in order to keep track of my projects at home and at work. It is work in itself monitoring the process of each project or even keeping your calendar (mobile and hand held diary) up to date. On reflection I feel that the average person is far busier today than say 20 years ago.  Technology has developed so much that we can reach people via countless social media platforms at any time of the day. This of course, has it’s advantages and disadvantages. 

I would struggle to keep on top of my projects, meetings, social events if I was without my mobile and hand held diary. I rely on my mobile to prompt me for the most basic of actions. As in “call Denise” or “make an appointment at the doctor’s surgery”. I am confident I would remember high priority tasks but there is no need to when I have systems in place to assist me.

Everything is becoming more fast paced and we are able to attain what we need in seconds. At times the influx of information fed to us can be overwhelming but there is room to switch off from “the world”. That is, if we really have the desire to. 

Do you heavily rely on technology to keep you on track? Which apps or software do you use?


Does a tidy house really equal a tidy mind?

I have read this quote on a number of occasions and wonder if it rings true for the majority of people.  Personally my tolerance for clutter/mess is rather low. I find it chaotic and cannot concentrate on other tasks let alone relax.  It has been said that I am bordering on OCD – in my opinion this is a slight exaggeration!  When my children drop crumbs on the living room carpet, I cannot sit down to watch a film or relax unless I hoover.  I guess it is for this reason that “mummy’s time” is after their bedtime when the living room carpet is free from toys, arts and crafts and other odds and ends. I learnt the painful way that it is pointless trying to tidy when your children are playing  – in fact no different to shovelling snow when it is snowing!

I truly believe it is more challenging to achieve in mess and almost impossible to think clearly. My issue is my inability to close my eyes when things are not as they should be. Something in me is begging to “fix it”. My husband watches me and laughs when I sweep up at midnight.  Might I add whilst he is chilling on the sofa or head engrossed in his work laptop!

If one works from home it must be quite a struggle creating a boundary for work and play. Having an office would help as you can shut yourselves in without dealing with distractions from family members.  I run my small make up business from home and deal with the administration late at night. Everything is where it should be and I can work in peace – bliss!

The easiest ways to eliminate clutter:
1. Tidy and clean as you go along (little and often)
2. Have a “home” for absolutely everything – I mean everything
3. Throw away items that no longer serve their purpose/look worse for wear
4. Resist the urge to hang onto an item “just in case”

What are your thoughts on tidiness in relation to productivity?
How do you like to work, whether in your home or office?

Anxiety – do you suffer with it?

Anxiety according to Oxford Dictionary is;

“A feeling of worry, nervousness or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”

I believe we have all felt anxious at one point or another in our lives; whether it be waiting for our exam results, preparing for an interview, or stepping out into the unknown. However, if anxiety becomes a part of our everyday life, we will be on a downward slope to worrying about everything and nothing.  

Often,the very things we worry about do not actually pan out in the way we had expected. Which brings the question of why we waste energy thinking about what might be? Why do we miss special moments because our minds are occupied about issues we have very little control of?

Control plays a huge part in anxiety; the uncertainty can affect those who like to live to absolute order. I suffer with anxiety on occasion and am learning to be flexible, remembering that no matter how much I plan; delays and disappointments will crop up.  When it does, it has no bearing on me or my abilities. It is simply life!

Worry which is a “close cousin” of anxiety brings no benefit to us. It does not change our circumstances at all, well except our mood and lack of joy.

Of course, there will be days when our emotions will get the better of us and we will succumb to anxiety due to our circumstances. There is absolutely no reason why we have to stay in this mindset and allow anxiety to consume us. So much so that we lose the ability to notice the rays of sunshine that pop up in our lives. We all have them!

What are your thoughts on anxiety? 

What are your coping strategies for dealing with anxiety?

How much do you value your time?

How often have you heard someone make the following statement;

“Well, that was two hours of my life I will not get back”.

Frustration comes into play as they realise they could have spent this time doing something far more worthwhile. Something that actually warranted two hours of their time. 

The saying “time is precious” holds true. Time is valuable as you cannot claim it back. People, especially children demand your time and it is your decision as to how you spend it and who you spend it with. My children like to have my undivided attention and this is regardless of what plans I may have! My daughter knows when I am not completely focusing on her – I think she has a hidden radar! 

In order to spend time with my family whether going on day trips, cooking, watching DVD’S; I cram household tasks in the morning. This means I wake early whilst they are still asleep. It is surprising how much you can do in an hour once you have no distractions. My husband does his share of housework at times which suit him.

I have considered hiring a cleaner as this will free up the hours we spend cleaning.  If I had my way, we would also pay someone to iron as I am not a huge fan.  I deliberately buy clothes that will need minimum or no ironing – for this reason I avoid shirts! 

I am a great believer in outsourcing where you can, in order to save your time.  If you own a business, why not hire an accountant? If you and your spouse work long hours, why not hire a nanny? If you are busy as a family, why not hire someone to clean and iron so you can spend the weekends doing activities you all enjoy? Of course, your household financial budget must be taken into consideration before you make any long term commitments. 

Do you outsource? What difference has this made to your life?

Do you prefer to carry out tasks yourself?  

Saint Valentine’s Day – Yay or Nay?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

At this time of year businesses such as restaurants, hotels, florists and jewellers benefit greatly from Saint Valentine’s Day. Men wander into stores to buy gifts for their spouses/partners in the hope that this will convey just how much they care for them. 

Restaurants create Valentine’s Day menus with a small token thrown in such as a glass of wine on entry or a flower for the lady. Florists dress their shop windows. My local florist has love hearts on the window, teddy bears in baskets at the front and beautiful flower displays that would lure even those of us who are not taken by flowers. I cannot be certain, but I am sure the number of proposals substantially increase in the month of January. With this year being a leap year, this number may well be on the up in 2016!

On years gone by I hand made Saint Valentine’s Day cards for my mother who was single at the time. I wanted her to feel special and acknowledged despite the fact that she was not in a relationship. I was only a young teenager at the time but she certainly appreciated the gesture.  

I have always been intrigued as to how Saint Valentine’s Day came about. I read on Wikipedia that Saint Valentine’s Day was a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christians. The day was fast associated with romantic love in the era of Geoffrey Chaucer in 18th century England. It evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting confectionery and sending greeting cards.

Do you see Saint Valentine’s Day as just another ordinary day and allow it to pass you by? 

Or do you fully participate in the day?

Humble pie – how often do you eat it?

Good old “humble pie”! 

How often have you heard others mention they had to eat humble pie? Whether we like it or not, we cannot always say and do exactly as we please. We cannot always have the last word or in fact be right in every situation.  Part of me would like to have the last word – to wrap up a discussion/disagreement in my way but there is a time to talk and a time to be silent. I struggle with not having the opportunity to explain myself which can be misinterpreted as trying to talk my way out of a situation. I need to learn to leave things as is. Over explaining is annoying to the recipient and frustrating for the person in question.’s definition;
Humility forced upon someone, often under embarrassing conditions, humiliation.

As a teen, I recall my mother regularly mentioning having to eat lots of humble pie as an employee. My initial thought was;
“What on earth are you talking about?” Boy, did I find out once I entered the world of work! 

The rebel in me, yes – she is there lurking in the background but I have learnt to suppress her over the years.  Some days it is far easier than others. 
When working with others, humility is required, we should maintain the mindset of being the “bigger person”! 

Without humility, relationships will suffer whether it be at home, work, church or place of study. The truth is, the person who believes they know everything, is good at everything, is unteachable will begin to grate on even the most patient. They will struggle as an employee whether in a junior or senior role. No matter how high you climb, you will be answerable to another. We are all held accountable – there is no moving away from this.

Do you think humble pie is good for the soul?
How do you work alongside the prideful? Perhaps you are that prideful person – if so, what is the true root to your pride? 

Is integrity becoming a thing of the past?

Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. It is generally a personal choice to uphold oneself to consistent moral and ethical standards. Source: Wikipedia

Integrity to me is doing the right thing whether anyone is watching or not. It is not waivering in your morals and values even if doing so would put you at an advantage. It is seeing through your commitments regardless of how tired, bored, busy you are.

In today’s society where most are fighting to make it to the top, whatever it takes, integrity can become lost along the way. Some may be willing to compromise in order to move further ahead in their careers and studies. Others may be “economical with the truth”.

Recently, I watched a UK programme, The Apprentice with entrepreneur Sir Alan Sugar. For those not in the UK, there are a group of candidates who compete against one another for a one year contract to work with Sir Alan Sugar. Each week they participate in challenging tasks to test their business knowledge, tenacity, judgement and team working skills. Each week one person is eliminated.  At least five candidates lacked complete integrity, they took no ownership for their behaviour and mistakes. They spoke badly of one another to one another. They lied when questioned about their actions. They were willing to do and say anything to be kept in the competition.

I find it rather concerning that some are willing to live with little or no integrity. I wonder if they had integrity to start with or perhaps they do not see the true value in being a person of their word. It does not go unnoticed; whether you are an employee, a business owner, a student – you (and me) are being constantly observed by others.

What does integrity mean to you?

When was the last time your integrity was challenged? What did you do?

Light hearted tips and advice from an organised lady!