Category Archives: - Managing Time

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 www.equinoxlifecoaching.co.uk 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.

10 Tasks to Do Today That’ll Save You 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!

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! 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 in January when I hear Moira Stewart 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. 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 be saving 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 you 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? Schedule in your ‘Power Day’ and see how much money, stress and time you can save!

 

Do You Wish You Had More Hours In The Day?

My friend and colleague Grace Marshall is launching her book today – 21 Ways to Manage the Stuff That Sucks Up Your Time.

Let’s face it, we all have the same 24 hours in the day, but sometimes ‘stuff’ takes over – little stuff (like email) and the big stuff (perfectionism-driven procrastination) – and we’re not as productive as we’d like to be.

This brilliant little book will help you to manage the ‘stuff’ that sucks up your time, so that you can gain more time for the things that really matter in your life.

Here are just some of the things people are already saying about it:

“brilliant insights, cleverly detailed in this easy to read, enjoyable book!”
—Debi Williams, author of The Greatest Leaders Do the Least

“an incredibly valuable resource for any small business owner”
—Julie Hall, Women Unlimited and LifestyleEntrepreneur.com

“packed full of useful advice, passionate, engaging and thought-provoking”
—Graham Allcott, author of How to be a Productivity Ninja

“truly a book for busy people, I defy anyone to finish reading it and not emerge with at least one fantastic time tip that will make them feel more productive.”
—Amanda Alexander, CoachingMums.com

For just $5.97 / £3.97 the book itself is already a steal.

What’s more, when you buy the book today, you can also grab your launch day goody bag, with bonus timesaving tools, business guides, expert ebooks and time out treats.

Get the book on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
Then pick up your bonuses today only click here

Happy reading!

Best wishes

Motivating Mum and Mums the Boss – bringing two great mums networking groups together

I’ve been sitting on this news for over a month already, and I’m so glad that finally I can share it with you all.  I have agreed to take over at the head of Mum’s The Boss, a networking group and blog very similar to Motivating Mum, as Sam and Helen have decided to move on to  other projects.

I’m so looking forward to taking this on, and to sharing the best bits of each group with the readers from both.  Look out for more posts on exactly what this means in the next few weeks, but for now, I’ll just leave you with the official press release on the Mums the Boss blog

Meet the new owner of Mum’s The Boss – Debbie O’Connor

My vision is to take two very successful mums networking organisations, and knit them together into a big amazing family, providing huge support to entrepreneurs, mums in business and anybody who has a dream of working from home.

Please wish me luck as I take on this giant project, and I look forward to seeing you all online, and meeting many more of you in person very soon

Ferry or Plane? What is the best way to travel abroad with children?

Those of you who have taken foreign holidays this year will probably have wrestled with this conundrum.  When you are travelling with children is it easier to travel by ferry or by plane?  Of course, if your holiday was to anywhere further than the nearer countries of Europe then there is no contest – nobody tries to go to Florida by ferry after all.  But if like us you were heading to a holiday park in Brittany, then you have to ask which way is best? Continue reading

Make More Time! Part 1

The school holidays are looming and I am trying to get organised!  There is so much to do: work, end of term activities, housework, packing for holidays…the list is endless!  Towards the end of term I do put pressure on myself to try to get everything done before the holidays start….but obviously this just isn’t possible.

In an ideal world I’d like to minimise the time I spend during the holidays doing household chores and maximise the time I can spend playing with the children and making the summer memorable for them.  As I need to work in the evenings instead during the holidays, I can’t postpone housework for the evening – I just need to get as much as possible done in the daytime without it impacting on the day.

In order to achieve this goal I like there to be some sort of order in the house because there is no chance of any sort of order once the holidays have begun!  So I have taken advice from more organised friends and have picked up some tips and tricks to share with you that will hopefully save you a bit of time around the house and get your home shipshape for the hols!

In this first instalment I am going to focus on laundry….as that seems to take up a vast amount of time especially in this weather when it is very difficult to get things dry!

1. Put a dirty laundry bin in every bedroom: it can be as simple as a small plastic tub trug but if there is a laundry basket to hand your kids (and husband…) are more likely to put dirty clothes in it, saving you the hassle of rummaging around their rooms looking for washing!

 2. Invest in a smalls dryer: I couldn’t live without mine, it saves hours of pegging and unpegging! Pair up socks as they come out of the machine and hang them together. You can hang the dryer on the line outside and if it threatens to rain you just whip the whole thing in and hang inside, rather than having to unpeg each sock and rehang.

(A quick moneysaving tip: wash and reuse outdoor/gardening gloves and kitchen cloths).

3. Get an old-fashioned ceiling airer: will save you time, space and money.  This is another item I couldn’t live without.  I use it all year round.  No more hanging clothes over radiators or using floor airers that take up lots of room. Clothes dry quicker in the warm air at the top of the room saving on tumble drying.  It is also useful to dry fiddly items flat or to avoid peg marks on delicate clothing.  It’s also great for allowing smaller children to help with chores because when it’s lowered down they can easily reach to hang the washing for you – more time saved and children entertained!

4. Divide your airing cupboard: only sort clothes once. If space allows have baskets in the airing cupboard for each person in the household. Then once clothes have aired all you have to do is take each box to the right room (and in an ideal world everyone will put their own clothes away…!). My airing cupboard hasn’t quite got room for a basket for each person but you get the idea.

 

5. ‘Bundle’ your bedlinen: save time rummaging through the airing cupboard for matching sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers. Put the matching set inside a pillowcase for quick identification and retrieval:

Now even the children can identify which set is theirs – all you have to do now is get them to help you put it on the beds…

6. Create a ‘filing system’ in drawers for clean clothes:

Instead of piling clothes on top of each other which results in a huge mess when the children come to choosing the item at the bottom of the drawer, stack clothes behind eachother.  If you’re really organised you could put them in colour order…  This really does work – my kids clothes used to be constantly spilling out of the drawers and I was getting irate that the beautifully ironed t-shirts were ending up in a scrumpled heap.  Now they can just open their drawers and choose the clothes they want to wear. It even works for boys too..

7. Drawer dividers: related to the ‘filing’ system, are drawer dividers. Again from having pants and socks strewn all over the floor, my kids can now open their drawers and choose what they want without rummaging through…
As you can see, I just made the dividers using bits of cardboard so it didn’t cost anything either!

8. What to do with tights?: Mums of little girls will realise the need for various different coloured pairs of tights to suit every occasion! But how does that fit in the ‘filing system’?  Cunning plan no.8 – the tights hanger!

The right pair of tights immediately to hand without clogging up the chest of drawers!

So what are you waiting for – get your laundry organised and make more time for playing with the children and getting some work done!

What are your top tips for saving time around the house?

Next time we’ll look at some top tips for how to save time around the house AND entertain the kids!

 

 

 

 

Are You First Class Material?

Today I had a business meeting in Reading, about a 45 minute journey from my home town of Staines , on the train.  Thje meeting was scheduled to be 1-2 hours long, but with the journey time each way it would still take up most of my main working day (defined as the childrens school hours 9-3)

I decided that the best way for me to make this work was to bring along some work to do on the train, and make myself do it rather than just wasting the journey looking out of the window, as I am inclined to do. So I packed my trusty Ipad and protable keyboard, and set myself the task of writing several blog posts throughout the journey, including this one. Continue reading

Top 5 Time Management Tips for Juggle Mums

If you’re like most time pressed Mumpreneurs, you probably find that much of your time and focus is spent juggling day-to-day administrative and office management tasks (and your childrens’ social diary) rather than on actually growing your business.

Planning your day efficiently can really give you hours back, increase your productivity and help you leverage your time more effectively.

Here are my top 5 time management tips for time starved Mumpreneurs:

1. Set goals. Set yourself achievable daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals for your business and family life and stick to them. If they seem overwhelming break them down into manageable chunks and tackle them one step at a time.

2. Plan your day in advance. In the evening or the first 10 minutes of your current working day, plan your ‘to do’ list so that you can start your day with focus.  Batch similar tasks to be worked on together and add times to them so that you know precisely when you will work on them.

3. Use your calendar effectively. Block out time to work on specific projects and stick to these times. Schedule everything from phone calls to meetings to picking the kids up from school.  Never agree to calls or meetings with no clear agenda or end time.

4. Switch your phone to voicemail or divert it to your call minding service and use that time solely to clear the items out of your to-do pile.

5. Manage your email inbox effectively. Aim to clear your inbox. Once you have deleted unwanted mails either action or file the remainder immediately – you will find that your inbox is much less of an interruption and source of stress. If you regularly receive a lot of emails then allocate a couple of set times in the day to go through and action items.

Julia BurmanJulia Burman specialises in providing virtual business support, lifestyle management and coaching for mums in business.

For more information you can contact Julia directly at [email protected] or visit www.juliaburman.com

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