10 ways to make your job even better

10-ways-to-make-your-job-better

I’m incredibly lucky to love what I do, disregarding the frustrating moments when I’m working on accounts or something. I know that a lot of you also have jobs that you love, or have created your business to your own specifications. It’s awesome to wake up feeling like you can’t wait to get to work!

So, when you have the perfect job, how do you make your job even better? Here are 10 ways!

Outsource the annoying stuff

Something you really hate doing? Get someone else to do it! For me, that’s submitting a tax return, so I have an accountant who takes care of it. Maybe for you it’s copywriting, social media updates, graphic design. Places like odesk allow you to hire freelancers for jobs that you’d like to outsource.

Get picky

If you’re setting your own work schedule or finding your own work, then now’s the time to get selective. Choose projects that will challenge you, invigorate you and make you feel excited!

Reevaluate

Not loving it? It might be time to reevaluate your work. Why did you choose to do what you do? Are you even still doing the things that excite you?

When I left my day job I’d realised what I was doing wasn’t exciting me at all, and because of that I wasn’t working to the best of my abilities. I realised I wanted to be creative and make things, work with creative people, and help them develop their dreams.

Invest in your environment

You have no idea how much happier I am since I redecorated my office!

Build a network

Discussing things with your peers is one sure fire way of finding more fun in your business, job or profession. Knowing that other people suffer the same problems as you, and having people to ask advice is pretty awesome!

Learn to relax

Dude. Chill. Read my post on switching off when you work from home.

Create measurable goals

I’m not talking those wishy-washy “I will have more clients in a few months time”, I’m talking “I will have 5 more clients in 6 months time”.  Do the whole SMART goal thing, Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timed. Being able to see when you’ve crossed off a goal is a huge boost!

You could even make it a game, I love this TED talk on the advantages of using game like scoring in real life.

Learn something new

We thrive when learning, so what could you learn that would benefit your business AND excite you? I love to look at marketing tutorials, take illustration classes, find out new technology and methods that make my job easier.

Step outside your comfort zone

I’ve recently signed up to do some speaking at events. I’m not a natural orator, and this is hugely scary for me, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be exhilarating and I believe in grabbing every opportunity with both hands!

Is there something you’ve been holding back from doing because of the fear?

Take a dance break

You have 5 minutes. Step away from my computer. Pick a song. Dance. I guarantee you’ll have the best work day!

What have you done to make your dream job even better? I’d love to know!

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NYE Foodie Tradition

Today’s Blog Every Day in May post is about traditions. Well, it’s actually the post from a couple of days ago, but I’m playing catch-up.

There are a number traditions I could’ve chosen: our annual real ale trail in York, our big family Boxing Day celebrations, our snack-fest for TV events such as Eurovision/Comic Relief. I’m going to talk about my favourite, though, our New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Adam and I both enjoy cooking, for ourselves and our families, so it’s not surprising that a few of our traditions revolve around food.

For the past 7 or 8 years we’ve opted out of the whole hullabaloo of New Year Eve celebrations, and have created a tradition of our own at home. Neither of us are really into going out on the lash, and I resent spending extra money on taxis/drinks/entrance just because it’s New Year. Instead, we get our banquet ON!

new-years-eve-17

Mexican banquet 2012

Preparations start in the weeks leading up to Christmas, when we decide on a cuisine. In previous years we’ve had Indian, Mexican, Spanish, American BBQ and even Japanese. We rifle through our cookbooks and the internet and choose a variety of recipes that we’ll cook on NYE, completed with the drinks menu.

When NYE arrives we pretty much spend the day in the kitchen, cooking up our banquet and dancing to the radio. By the time 7.30pm rolls around the cooking is usually complete. We clear the coffee table, start bringing through all our various dishes, and stick one of our pre-selected DVDs on the TV. We usually cook enough for a small army, meaning we have left overs for the next couple of days.

The next day we head out for a country walk to alleviate our food comas, before heading home and devouring some of those godly leftovers.

To be honest, I’m already thinking of what cuisine we should have this year… mmm… food.

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How to switch off when you work at home

how-to-switch-off

My office is in my home, right next to my bedroom actually. It makes my commute ridiculously easy, but it has its disadvantages to boot. Like, “Oh, I’ll just nip into the office and do XYZ before bed” or “I’ll stop working in a minute…”. When I’m not working in my office I can sometimes be found cradling my laptop on the sofa, catching up on a few easy tasks while watching TV.

It’s pretty hard to switch off when you work from home, when work is right there all the time. Luckily I mostly enjoy what I do, so it doesn’t feel too much like work for me, but Adam has to shout at me sometimes so that I take a break. Especially when it comes to bank holidays!

I’ve realised that there’re a few things that help get me out of work mode, though.

  • Having an iPad for checking out blogs, using pinterest, reading magazine etc. has helped me stop working in the evenings. It’s a lot harder/slower for me to work on my iPad, so I tend to just use it for more relaxing activities. It still lets me check in on things though which brings me to…
  • Being able to check in on emails just-in-case. I realised during this past week, whilst up in Scotland with very little phone signal, no wifi and no 3G, that I find it a lot easier to relax if I can occasionally (a couple of times an hour, maybe less) check my email. Otherwise I spend the time worrying that there might be an urgent email in my inbox!
  • Shutting the door to my office really helps, it creates that physical work/life boundary that’s pretty important. It works both ways, too, I think it triggers something in my brain so when I’m in my office I switch in to work mode much easier.
  • Not responding to clients during non-work times. It’s hard to do, especially if it’s just a couple of lines of an email that needs sending, but I’m very strict with myself on this. At weekends, and between 6pm-8am, I will not respond to any work related emails. Okay, so I might draft them up ready, or use gmail’s boomerang to send them so they arrive the next day, but I don’t engage in email threads when I’m not working. It’s a slippery slope!
  • On that note, I’ve found it worth discussing with my clients just when I will be available, especially for those who are out of the UK and in a different time zone. I worked with a client a few months ago who expected me to be answering her emails at 10pm. Woah, nelly! I’m practically asleep! That relationship didn’t last long…
  • Go out, leave the house, leave the laptop. Go for a pint, go for a walk, go to the gym, go to the cinema! Basically, preventing myself working by doing something fun and away from the office.

Believe me, I know exactly how hard it is to switch off when you run your own business. It’s your livelihood  and it’s all on you. The guilt that comes with that is stifling, but hell, if you don’t take a break then you’re going to burn out and the business is ruined!

I’m pretty sure that one of the main reasons people start their own businesses is to gain more freedom with their schedule, don’t fall into the trap of not enjoying that freedom.

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Pampering on a budget

pampering

When I decided to quit my day job I had to make sacrifices where pampering was concerned. I’ve learnt that you don’t need to break the bank to feel pampered!

Hair

One thing I realised early on was that buying in bulk can save you SO much money!

I always try and use a quality shampoo and conditioner, that means salon quality (actual salon quality, not that tresemme shit). Unfortunately salon quality comes at a price, but shop around and you can find some amazing savings.

Before I moved on to mane’n’tail shampoo, I was using Tigi tweens which you can find at bargainous prices over on the old Ebay. Mane’n’tail is my new favourite budget buy, and I’ve picked it up for a reasonable price on Amazon and Ebay. When you buy both of these in their larger sizes you’ll find they work out around the same price as a decent ‘everyday’ shampoo/conditioner, but the quality is much better.

Face

I no longer trust anyone else with my eyebrows. Nope.

I started waxing and tinting my own brows when I quit my day job, and doing quite a good job of it! I didn’t have to spend £10+ a month on getting someone else to do them in a salon, and I had complete control. A few months ago I went to a benefit brow bar where they BUTCHERED my beloved thick brows, I looked like a shocked Liverpudlian. Woe.

Take care of your own brows using the veet facial hair waxing kit (this lasts forever), a pair of tweezerman tweezers for the stragglers and eyelure dye kit for tinting (about 12 applications here).

Body

Making your own sugar scrub is awesome, seriously… so pamper-some. In an old bathroom container of some kind, or even just a tupperware,  combine brown sugar with olive oil and stir together. Use it in the shower to scrub the day away, it’s such a treat! You can even add essential oils and scents, many available on ebay. Swap out the brown sugar for seasalt if you feel like it, too.

Mind

One sure fire way of feeling pampered is to treat yourself, and that doesn’t need to cost any more than a couple of quid. For me, that means a bunch of flowers (£2 from the super market), an ikea cinnamon and apple candle, and reading my book in a quiet room for a few hours. Deliciously cheap luxury!

(image source)

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Why Perseverance is EVERYTHING

I’m trying really hard to keep up with my ‘blog every day in May’ challenge, but I sort of forgot to queue up posts for this week while I’m up in Scotland with very limited internet! We’re staying in a log cabin where I can barely get 3G, let alone wifi. This post was due to be posted on Wednesday, but I’ve shifted it to Thursday instead and will combine the weekend posts on Sunday. 

The theme for today’s Blog Every Day in May post is ‘Life is a Lesson’. I post a lot about the things I’ve learnt through running a business, hoping that by sharing my experiences it might help other people a bit.

One of the most important posts I’ve ever written is about how to deal with failure, and on the back of that I want to reiterate how persevering is the most important lesson you can ever learn.

perseverance

If you persevere, wade through the shit, and work your arse off… you’ll succeed. And if you go through all that and still haven’t got there, keep going. You. Will. Succeed.

Whereas if you come up against a wall and figure “I’ve failed”, then yes, you’ve failed.

Jump over the fucking wall. Hell, scramble over it and fall on the ground at the other side.

Keep on track and aim straight at your goals. You’ll get there someday.

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