Category Archives: – Managing Time

New Year Plans

January and the New Year, we had a great break at Christmas and with so much else happening my brain had a real break from work. Now feeling fresh and ready for the New Year ahead. I have had chance to look back, evaluate and move forward with knowledge and experience.

A few years ago I was unhappy trying to fit my job around my children, we decided that I needed a new approach to work. A slightly radical approach, but start again, working from home and using the internet to create work. With very little experience and less knowledge, but a firm belief in producing good quality and reliable work.

Luckily I was able to work with a friend with the same ideas, we have different strengths and weaknesses, but the same work idea. We have had to learn as we go, sometimes spent many a long hour working out how to make something work online. Now we can work with much more efficiency, though we are still learning.

Working from home has been quite a learning curve. A big advantage is that it is very easy to work at any time of day or night and a big disadvantage is that it is very easy to work at any time of day or night! I have to work hard to organise my time to maximise my work time, this is not something that comes naturally to me.

We are so lucky to have so much time and energy saving technology available to us. From a Smartphone it is possible to control nearly every aspect of your life, from your bank account, to shopping and now you can control your heating and hot water even if you are not at home. I find it really useful to be able to control so many aspects of home life anywhere at any time!


The main reason I work from home is to be there for our children and one of the biggest challenges I have is separating work from home. Work is there all the time. I have found for me it works so much better to divide my time into blocks, so when the children come home from school we have time to read and do homework without me checking emails!

This year I will be organising my time better and with the extra time I save I am aiming to enjoy quality time. This is really important for me to establish some time out from working, I think we all work better with some proper time off, but much more difficult to achieve working from home.

Image courtesy of free digital photos


Striving for Balance: quick tips for juggling Work and Family

If you work from home you’ll probably know how hard it can be to get the balance right between spending time with the kids and getting your work tasks done.


You’ll know too that it can be even harder to get the children to understand why you’re putting all this time and effort into something when, really, you all know you’d prefer to be spending time with them. These quick tips are here to help: Continue reading

Mummy Mentoring Month – Charity Auction – Lot 1

Today, as part of Mummy  Mentoring Month  I invite you to bid for a

30 Day Time Management, Planning and Decision Making Strategy Programme donated by Sheryl Andrews of Step by Step Listening

You can bid here:   Please publicise this to all your followers.

step by step listening

Sheryl Andrews

The programme provides you with 4 x private sessions with Sheryl Andrews and Ros Bristow either face to face (in Gosport in Hampshire) or by telephone or skype.

Ros and Sheryl are skilled facilitators that will enable you to:

  • Gain clarity, focus and Direction

  • Unravel what is holding you back

  • Develop the resources to manage yourself, time and others more effectively.

In 4 sessions you will:

  • Have a plan

  • Know how you personally make a good decision

  • How to manage your time more effectively

  • Know your next best and able to take it with confidence


Sheryl Andrews founder of Step by Step Listening has developed a unique group facilitation process that will enable you quality thinking time to develop your ideas and clarify your plans without interruption, interpretation or judgement from others. You will have your own space and time to evaluate what works for you, how you make good decisions and what needs to happen for you to plan at your best.

Sheryl is known for making things happen and has a knack of turning problems into solutions.

Ros Bristow started as a client in 2009 and has been co-facilitating with Sheryl now for 2 years. Ros brings to the table the ability to hone in on an individual’s existing strengths and resources  and then develop and enhance them. Together they are a winning team.

Ros Bristow

Ros Bristow

These bespoke and personal sessions are  worth £1000 but the value is not in the cost but the long term difference it will make to your ability to plan, manage time and make decisions.

You can find out more about Sheryl, Ros and Step by Step Listening here

Group “Setting you up for Success”

Free Ebook: Success without Stress In 8 Simple Steps

How to Fit Feeding your Family Around your New Career

If you’ve recently gone back to work after having children or you’re starting your very own business from home, finding the time to cook for your family everyday can be almost impossible.


But if your brood have been used to having you at home to provide for their every need, adjusting to standing on their own two feet can be equally challenging.

So if you want to ease your family into new routines whilst ensuring that their bellies are full, here are some ideas that you can try to get you started. Continue reading

Business podcasts

10 Essential Business Podcasts for Busy Working Women

There are only so many hours in the day, so with emails needing attention, kids throwing a tantrum, deadlines looming and a gym session to be squeezed in, how on earth do you keep up with what’s happening in the business world and stay on top of the news?

There’s a very simple solution: business podcasts. The beauty of a podcast is that you can dip in and out of them whenever you like. Swot up on social media or find out how the FTSE’s doing while waiting for a train, pounding the treadmill or rustling up supper. Now that’s multitasking.

It’s every working woman’s best kept secret, so here are some of the best podcasts you need to subscribe to… Continue reading

What to Consider before Turning your Hobby into a Business

There is a big difference between a hobby and a business. A hobby is something you love and spend your leisure time doing. The purpose of a business is to make a profit. In the process of transitioning a hobby into a business, many people make the mistake of thinking it will mean doing more of what you love and making a profit. Continue reading

The Happiness Garden – you have nothing to lose but insanity…

Have you ever wanted to take some “Me time“,  a retreat away from your business,  a couple of days away to sit back, take stock and plan?

We would all like to, wouldn’t we, and wouldn’t life be so much better if we were able to go on retreat now and again,  to relax a bit, pamper ourselves and make some plans away from the stresses of daily life?  And yet how many of us do it?  Somehow there is always something else to do and we just don’t find the time… Continue reading

What Causes Stress at Work?

Two pieces of research combined have helped to give an idea of stress levels – and their causes – among UK office workers.

The first piece of research was a survey of 2,000 office workers across the UK asking how stressed they were and what were the causes.

The second piece of research involved a 200-strong secret army of stress volunteers who took part in a ‘stress thermometer’ test. It measured their body temperature – which is a tried and tested way of gauging a level of stress within people – and were asked about their stress levels via a questionnaire, all throughout a five day period.

The research was conducted by small business supplies company Viking, and the results are illustrated below: Continue reading

Running a Multi-Faceted Life

Practical hints and tips from a recent Motivating Mum East Hertfordshire event

Business mums at the Motivating Mum East Hertfordshire event in Hertford on the 4th October raised lots of questions during Barbara’s talk about running a multi-faceted life.

Providing practical hints and tips from professional experience as a life coach and as a business mum, Barbara from highlighted the fact that as the brain uses a certain amount of energy to think, if our thoughts are constantly changing (when we try to multi-task) then we are unable to be productive when thinking about one thing.

So, what should we be doing to help run our multi-faceted lives?!

If you don’t write things down your brain has to use valuable processing energy to retain information in the conscious mind, when it could be using it more productively. Writing lists should be an art form. Find out what works best for you and then stick to it!

Barbara’s top tip is to use different coloured sticky notes (which she puts onto sections of a picture frame in her office) in four category areas: Today, This Week, To do and Question mark. Sticky notes can be moved from one category to another as they are actioned and crossed off when done (this system can also apply to children with activities they need to do!)

Decide on a set amount of time to action work emails, say 30 minutes, then use a kitchen timer and stick to it! Once the timer is up move onto the next thing and, again, set the timer for the length of time you need for this particular activity. This could seriously help you move from activity to activity with focus, and particularly when school pick up time is looming.

Take a couple of minutes break between activities, to look out the window and take some deep breaths. It may only be two minutes but to your neurons that travel at the speed of electricity, it is like a holiday! Phew.

Positive Language and Thoughts

The language we use can have a big impact on what or how we achieve things. For example if you say “I’ve got to….” and then change this to “I will do….”  , it should feel very different and much more positive.  “I can” and “I’m going to” are also positive, and should help to make you feel positive in what you plan to achieve.

The biggest challenge of being a business mum is changing your thinking to become a mother with her own successful business. We are playing two roles and when we have child-free time – to run our business – we do not have to justify what we are doing with this time.

The biggest benefit of running your own business is being able to build flexibility into your day, only take care this doesn’t become a diversionary tactic. It is important to set realistic business goals and a planning timeframe, both in the development stage of a business and then when running a business.

When planning your day, having a plan A for what you hope you can achieve if everything goes as you expect with childcare, travel and any other considerations and also a plan B which might be a reduced number of activities in line with the fact children and family life can be unpredictable, will help make you feel positive in whatever your achievements are on that day.

If you have found this useful, and want to find out more, why not try ‘Coffee with a Coach’ where Barbara talks to groups of women on any subject that is requested.

Thank you to Barbara for her really useful talk, I think we have all gone out now and stocked up on sticky notes!! It was great to see everyone so enthusiastic and asking lots of questions at this event, and hopefully now being able to put some of it into practice.

Looking forward to seeing more mums at the Motivating Mum East Hertfordshire pre-Christmas gift selling / browsing and networking event on the 7th November in Bishop’s Stortford. With lots booked on to this, it is going to be a great networking (and some shopping, perhaps!) event ahead of Christmas, which is coming up so fast now.

save money

10 Tasks to Do Today That’ll Save Money and Stress!

Is your To-Do list getting out of hand? Do you want to save money and avoid stress? Then why not have a ‘Power Day’? Write down your ten most hated tasks, set aside half a day, or even just a couple of hours – AND GET THEM DONE!

save money

Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves…

Today is going to be my ‘Power Day’. Here is a list of the 10 things I’m going to tackle and why getting them done will save me money, time and stress:

1. Tax Return:

It has got to be No. 1 on my list of horrors at this time of year.  I have to dig out my list of log-ins for the HMRC website, find all those dull bits of paper that I’ve (hopefully) shoved in the creaking at the seams ‘tax’ folder and scrabble around for dog-eared receipts. It is not a job that can be done in two minutes but if distractions are kept to a minimum and I have all the bits of paper ready it’s not actually that bad. And I will feel so virtuous when I hear the adverts reminding all the other not so organised self-employed that they need to get their form in pronto! I also will save myself the automatic £100 penalty for a late return…

2. Insurance Renewals:

House insurance, car insurance, life insurance, health insurance, travel insurance, professional indemnity insurance…there is quite a list! However with each insurance there is the potential to save yourself a bit of money if you just take a few minutes to double check that you’re still getting the best deal. Obviously not all your insurances will come up for renewal at the same time but take a moment now to check renewal dates and put a note on your calendar to remind yourself to check a couple of weeks before each expires.

3. Save Money on Utilities:

I have to admit that I haven’t checked whether I’m getting the best deal on our electric and gas since we moved in here….six years ago! But that’s why I’m having my ‘Power Day’! Take a moment to check all the utilities: water, gas, electricity, oil etc. Are you getting the best deal – it doesn’t take a minute to check online. Would it save you money long term to invest in a different sort of energy e.g. solar panels? Would you save money on purchasing heating oil if you became part of a local buying group?

4. Mortgage:

Go on, be brave, take a look at your mortgage statement! It seems to be one of those conundrums of life that even though most of the money we earn goes straight to the mortgage company, the outstanding balance never changes very much! But again, you could save money if you switch to another provider. Go online now and check you’re still getting the best deal. Switching your mortgage today might not be as tricky as you think and could save you a lot of money.

5. Car:

Once a year I go into a mad panic and realise that my MOT is going to expire tomorrow and I haven’t booked the car in! Then afterwards I vow never to get in such a situation again and to schedule the date into my calendar so that I can book in well in advance…. So today’s that day that I’m going to sort all that out too! I’m going to get out my ‘Car’ folder and schedule in to my calendar the MOT date, servicing dates, breakdown cover renewal date, tax disc renewal date etc.

Don’t push your luck – make sure your breakdown cover is in date!

6. Phone/Broadband/TV/Mobile:

Again easy to compare online and it could save you a lot of money. So get your contracts out or login online and check you’re getting the best deal. If you get satellite TV it might be worth looking to see if combining with your broadband or phone could save you money. If contracts aren’t up for renewal then make sure you make a note on your calendar to check at the relevant time.

7. Dentist:

Even if you are lucky enough to find an NHS dentist, visiting twice a year for a check-up, scale and polish might not seem very expensive at the time but it soon adds up. Also are you covered if you need some major work done? Unfortunately as we get older the likelihood of this increases. Your dentist might offer some kind of direct debit scheme to cover the costs of two visits a year. Give them a ring now and see if you can get a better deal.

8. Bank Accounts and Savings:

Not many of us have savings accounts these days as we’re too busy trying to pay off the mortgage (see no.4 above) but in an ideal world we’d all have the oft-quoted 3 month’s salary in an account somewhere in case of emergency. So we need to make sure what little we have in the bank is working as hard as possible for us. Get your statements out now, check the interest rates on your accounts. If they’re not good enough, switch them.

9. Passports:

This isn’t going to save money but it is certainly going to save you stress! Get your family’s passports out now and check the expiry dates. You can apply for a new passport up to nine months before it expires and the remaining validity will be added to your new passport so you won’t lose out.

10. Credit/Store Cards:

Is your wallet full of cards you don’t use? Then now is the time to cut them up and cancel the account with the provider. Are you getting the best deal on the cards you do use? If you always pay your balance on time there are a fantastic range of benefits to be had, from cashback to free flights. If you need credit then make sure you’re getting the best rate. Switching is not difficult and will save you in the long term.

So what are you waiting for?