setting up my weekly bullet journal spread

2020, creativity, organisation, student

Hello!

Whenever I write a post about how I lay out my bullet journal, someone messages it to tell me how they’re going to try and implement something I do in their journal or they’re going to try bullet journalling as a concept instead of their diary. So I thought I’d do a little update on how I lay out my weekly spreads, step by step!

My layout has remained the same for all of this year so far and it might be the longest time I’ve stuck with one design, but it’s really functional for me and right now with so much uncertainty in the world, having one thing on paper that I can always come back to is quite grounding, I find.

Rather than making all my blank weekly spreads in one go at the beginning of the month, I prefer to make them one week at a time – not only does this mean I get to sit down for half an hour every week and focus on something offline, but it means if I want to lay out any other spreads in between (like figuring out any finances, my uni assignments, any other notes) I have the freedom to do that. It’s probably not the most efficient but I don’t need filling in my weekly spreads to be efficient – having the task to come back to every week works well for me. But it’s personal, so you do you!

STEP 1

Creating the blank canvas – I use stamps to write ‘WEEK’ because I have them and it makes me feel crafty, then I draw my calendar, the divider on the left page, my weekly to do list check boxes, the daily to do list boxes on the right page and all the labelling. This is the most creative bit so this is actually the big I enjoy the most.

Also I don’t use a ruler to draw my lines because I like the almost ‘homemade’ look of freehand drawing them and following the dots means I don’t accidentally draw anything really wonky.

STEP 2

I fill in my June Goals and my Content boxes – the goals are the same every week so I copy them out from the previous spread and then I copy out the content I want to make from my monthly content plan. There was a little space at the bottom this week – sometimes I leave it blank, but a reminder to stay hydrated is never a bad thing!

STEP 3

Next I make my weekly to do list – this is an overarching list of what I want to achieve over the week that I will divide up into the daily to do lists. I make my weekly list digitally first so that I can figure out which 16 tasks I want to prioritise and in what order. Generally I have:

  • Dated tasks – like appointments, meetings or family quiz night
  • Uni work – currently just my dissertation
  • ‘Boring’ to dos – things like finances, cleaning the house etc
  • Stuff to do in quarantine – things that I don’t need to do but fill out my time a little more where I’m still stuck at home
  • Content – my blog and YouTube channel
  • Monthly goals – steps to help achieve my monthly goals
  • ‘Fun’ to dos – the stuff that isn’t as boring; painting my nails, watering my plants, little jobs that I don’t class as boring essentially!

STEP 4

(Sorry this photo’s a bit blurry – I have shaky hands and I can never tell!)

Next I fill in my daily tasks on the right hand side – this year I’m doing 1 Second Everyday and if I don’t write it down I forget so I put that in first. Some of my monthly goals involve daily tasks – like this month I want to try and do 5000 steps every day (it’s not going very well tbh!) and I’m doing Hannah Witton’s ‘Dear June’ instagram challenge but I thought three tasks written out everyday is going to mean I don’t have enough space to write other tasks in so I put them in one of the spare boxes at the bottom of the page.

STEP 5

I write in when I want to make a publish all my content, because if I don’t write it down I will forget. Breaking them down into smaller tasks rather than writing posts on the days I want to upload them or filming, editing and uploading in one day makes the overall task of producing content much more achievable – I spend maybe half an hour tops on each task (other than editing the video, that can take longer) and it means all my blog posts get properly proofread and no tasks feel too big to achieve.

STEP 6

Next I fill in uni work and the dated tasks – I’ve decided to give myself regular times each week to do my uni work so it feels like attending a lecture or something more time bound rather than ‘just do it’ because I will not do it, because procrastination is my middle name.

STEP 7

Fill in the rest! I definitely didn’t take this on a different day! Generally I go down my weekly list and assign tasks to different days – Sundays and Mondays are generally pretty similar every week but everything else just slots in wherever I fancy. If I’m having a really productive week then I’ll do tasks ahead of time anyway, but if I’m not, having only 6 (ish) tasks a day is generally pretty manageable. I’m getting better at not giving myself a hard time if I don’t get everything done.

And that’s my finished weekly spread! I know so many people are so much more artsy and creative with their bullet journals but mine’s always been about personal function and that’s what works for me.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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everyday things that help my mental health

2020, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

Mental health is a topic that’s incredibly personal – what works for one person won’t necessarily work for anyone else, what some person doesn’t feel anxiety about can absolutely debilitate someone else and on top of all that there’s still that kind of taboo where people online (and offline, actually) will make comments about whether someone is actually depressed or not (regardless of how little they know about a person or situation).

And to be honest, my mental health isn’t great at the moment – the end of 2019 kicked my ass a little bit, 2020 is already proving challenging (a returned tooth infection and tonsillitis? Fantastic) but there are a few things that make me feel a bit calmer day to day and I thought I’d share because even if these don’t work for everyone, I love reading posts like this just in case I find a new idea or something to try.

  • properly taking my make-up off and washing my face at the end of the day

It’s not a face mask or anything but just cleaning my face and having that time in front of the mirror to look after my skin and feel just a little bit like I’m pampering myself, even when it’s just cleaning my face in the most basic way.

  • tidying and getting rid of clutter

Clutter and too much stuff makes me feel overwhelmed, hence why I got rid of like six bin bags of clothes in my last year at uni. Having a clear floor in the living room, making my bed with my nice Harry Potter pillows from Primark, maybe even emptying some bins around the house but we don’t want to push the boat out and get too productive.

I don’t know why but it just helps calm me down, maybe it’s like a claustrophobia thing like I just don’t feel so cramped in a space when it’s only got what we need and everything is in its place.

  • curling up under a blanket

Is there anything cosier when you’re feeling a bit sad and overwhelmed to tuck yourself into a little blanket burrito and watching YouTube or scrolling through Instagram or putting some cosy Netflix on.

Bonus recommendation that I can’t actually vouch for – I’ve heard that weighted blankets are meant to be really good for helping with anxiety. I looked at a website where they were only like £200 (note: sarcasm) so not going to be rushing to buy one soon, but I really want one.

However, I have tried and tested a slanket (a blanket with sleeves) – I’ve been telling my family I want one for probably the best part of 6 months to a year? My mum regifted me one that she got for Christmas and I love it.

  • ticking something off my to do list

When I’m not feeling it, being ‘productive’ isn’t something that I prioritise but getting just one thing done can feel really good. Whether it’s making a list in the first place of things you can actually, realistically do, maybe it’s adapting a list you already have to prioritise the things you can achieve on that day or maybe it’s looking at a list you have a just starting t the top because making a real decision is a bit much.

Even seeing just one tick on your list app, in a notebook, wherever, is better than a growing list of tasks.

And if your brain isn’t letting you get off the sofa, then taking that list and putting it in the bin (physically, digitally or metaphorically, whatever works!) counts.

  • take time to cook something great

Whether that comfort food is full of cheese and carbs, is full of vegetables or is covered in buttercream, taking time away from screens and ‘real life’ stresses to just cook is so therapeutic. I find this is a great time to spend with my partner – after long days we can catch up, we can listen to music and dance, it’s really nice quality time we spend together and I really hope that I can continue to prioritise it even after I go back to uni in a couple of weeks.

So that’s five things that immediately sprung to mind when I thought about this topic – obviously if you feel your low moods are severely impacting your life then please see a medical professional or talk to friends and family because it’s not something you have to go through alone.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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having a 5 year ‘plan’… ish

2020, career, goals, lifestyle, organisation, student

Hello!

With the amount of goals, organisation and planning posts I’ve written on this little blog, I think it’s relatively clear that I’m one of these ‘productivity’ types (even if being organised is actually procrastinating being productive). One of my goals for 2019 was to start a five year plan and get some notes on paper on what I want to achieve over the next 5 years. As I moved into my new bullet journal this New Year, I’ve started my ‘new’ 5 year plan starting in 2020 and ending in 2024 (where I’ll turn ~28~ and that is scarily close to 30).

But calling it a 5 year ‘plan’ feels a little bit more formal than my plan really is – it’s a double page spread in my bullet journal (though it might actually make more sense to make it digitally if you do everything else online!) with a grid split into five columns and three rows for the five years of the plan and three categories I plan my life in.

So I thought today I’d write about how I make my 5 year plan, what I’m learning in my second year of having a 5 year plan and where I think I’ll learn more in the future.

I started by making a grid in my bullet journal – as I said, 5 years across the top and three categories down the side. Three seems to be my magic number and having three categories works for my New Years Goals and I thought it would be useful to have those three categories match up, so mine are Professional, Personal and Home.

They’re pretty self-explanatory – in ‘Professional’ I put my career goals, at this point I am having somewhat of a career crisis and I have no idea what I want to do so this section is a bit quiet at the moment. But as I do more research into what I actually want to do and actually develop a career I can make more solid career goals but this section is probably the simplest.

The next section is ‘Personal’ – this is where I will detail my travel plans, any ‘life’ stuff like when I want to shave my head again etc. I’m still kind of figuring out what I want to put in this category but it’s for things that aren’t career stuff, kind of hobby related, travel goals and stuff.

And then the last category is ‘Home’ – this is where I put my plans for my life with my boyfriend essentially. Where we’ll live, what we’re saving for (house deposit etc), when we’ll get a pet, maybe a wedding or a baby? It’s another one of those that’ll get more specific when I have more of an idea about what my career will look like over the next few years but the baseline and the ideas for what I want to achieve is already set!

And that’s my 5 year plan! It feels like I haven’t described enough but actually, all it takes to make a ‘5 year plan’ (or ideas, which is how I prefer to think about it) is to write down 5 years and write down what you’d like to achieve in that time.

Now going into my second year looking at my 5 year plan, I can see what was a ridiculous idea and what is actually more achievable. I’ve learnt that setting ‘blind goals’ (such as “I want to have made this career progression” when I’m not actually sure what career I want right now) is not going to help anything and filling up space for the sake of it might make it look like I have my life together but it’s just unachievable words. This year, having an emptier plan is something I’m finding reassuring rather than intimidating – it’s a prospect of endless possibilities and not a terrifying emptiness (well, most of the time anyway).

As I continue to fill in my 5 year plan this year and start again in next year’s bullet journal and so on, I can only see that I’ll get better at goal setting and making them S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound, or something like that). It’ll be less ‘get married’ and ‘try for a baby’ and more ‘pay X amount of the mortgage’ and maybe ‘Child A starts school’ – the next 5 years are going to be some of the biggest of my life and that is exciting.

But even talking about 5 year plans sounds daunting – the thought of knowing exactly what I want from the next stage of my life is a lot! But seeing the scope of what I could achieve is really motivating and helps me focus on the steps I need to achieve to be able to get there. 

If you’re wanting to take yearly goals to another level and get some longer term ideas down on paper but don’t know where to start, just start by writing down the years. It’s a lot less daunting than you think when it actually comes to it! Hope that helps.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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2019 Goals – Mid Year Review

2019, goals

Hello!

love goal setting and the end of June is always somewhat momentous for me because I know it marks the halfway point to the year, so it’s the best time to check in on my goals, adapt if necessary and see how much progress I’m making!

Quick context – I have three categories that I set goals in (personal, career, creative) and each of those categories has three goals and then I tried something new this year in setting some ‘bucket list’ style goals.

I’ll try to keep this brief but I do love a ramble about goals and progress so tuck yourself in lads! Grab a cuppa and tell me all about your goals in the comments please!

Personal Goals:

1. work towards my weight goals – eat well, build workout routine

I feel like I mention it in every blog post, YouTube video and Instagram caption but I’ve been trying to lose weird basically forever now. Progress has been slow over the last three months or so but I’m trying to eat much more intuitively and I’ve been running three times a week (or thereabout) for nearly 10 weeks now and I feel like it’s the longest I’ve ever stuck to something and I’m really proud of myself!

2. prioritise tasks and make time for hobbies – stop caring about ‘productivity’ so much

I’ve been refining how I make my to do lists and generally I am finding ways to make the most of every day as much as I can. I definitely haven’t been making time for hobbies but I have been more efficient with my productivity. I still care about productivity much more than I want to, but with how the rest of the year is going to go I think the time for hobbies will come. But in a way writing blog posts and YouTube videos are my hobbies so I guess that counts?

3. self esteem, I need some

This was a way of wording ‘fix my mental health’ whilst being a bit kinder to myself about it. I’ve tried my best to get to know each other and build better habits and I’m much better at recognising the triggers of when I’m not doing so good. I’ve had a bunch of doctors appointments, I’m on anti-depressants now and I’m on a waiting list for computerised CBT, which I’m hesitant about but know it’ll probably be for the best. This is the most progress I’ve made with my mental health in the ten years I’ve been internally battling with myself so whilst I don’t really have any self-esteem yet, the whole process is a work in progress.

Career Goals:

1. build freelance career – make my own work, be my own boss, superhero woman (essentially)

I set this goal in the beginning of the year when I had freelance work and that fell through within a few weeks (which was horrible, ngl) so now this goal is just about working hard for me. How this year has gone so far hasn’t been to plan for me, but I’ve gotten over myself and made my situation work and I’ve earned enough many to make a big purchase recently so it’s going okay! I’m making it all work.

2. build my own media kit (save for a camera/refine my skills)

This one is something I know exactly what I want but I’ve justified that I’m not going to spend the money on something as big as a camera and lenses etc when I’m not certain I’m going to use them or they’re going to be a cost-effective purchase. If I spend the second half of the year glued to a camera, then I can justify it, if I don’t then I’m not going to spend that much money on a camera. All justified!

3. make a future plan with work goals, house/relationship aspirations etc

I’ve done this! Not set in stone kind of 5 year plan because that just doesn’t work for me but I have the framework in my bullet journal and that I add to a change and adapt occasionally. It’s all flexible because I think life is too unpredictable to really make a solid 5 year plan.

Creative Goals:

1. continue towards making the most genuine ‘me’ content on my blog and youtube channel

Actually really pleased with this one – I’m really happy with the attitude I have towards my blog and my channel at the moment and cutting myself some slack when I don’t upload exactly at the right time or anything. I feel more genuine than I’ve felt in a long time and I’m really happy with it.

2. write a book? finish something? write more than I did in 2018 (may be some freelance writing?)

I’ve been planning little writing challenges all through this year in the build up to writing 50,000 words in November for NaNoWriMo and it’s been going semi-decently! I’ve not always hit word counts but I’ve been writing consistently for the first time since before I went to uni. This month I’m hoping to write 35,000 words but I’m significantly behind and it’s day 6 so I’m hoping to get a couple of really good catch up days in before the month is out.

3. work on photography – need to solidify basic knowledge and then work with better equipment

I spent a lot of time at the beginning of this year teaching myself the basics of photography – what all the settings really mean, getting to know my camera, figuring out how the core skills of photography really work. It’s something I want to develop further with more experience when I go back to uni in September but for now I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made so far.

10 ‘bucket list’ goals:

1. have a PT session

This one is centred around driving for me – I can’t walk to a gym locally and I’m moving soon so getting professional help with working out will come when either I can drive or I move. Another work in progress!

2. get another tattoo

Done! Got a series of tattoos to start my travel sleeve this week and I love them so much.

(photos)

3. read a book a month

I’m currently on 7 out of 12 books for the year! I haven’t read for a few weeks but because I was a little bit ahead it was a bit of pressure off and I’m going to get back to it soon, when I’ve fixed my sleeping pattern (lol).

4. do a grid drawing every month

For context – the premise of this is this is that I print off a line drawing, draw a 30 square grid over the top and colour in one square each day of the month. This is something I’m really enjoying – sometimes I find colouring books a bit daunting because I don’t know where to start or they’re so intricate but this one has been really good for my mental health and for my creativity.

5. listen to more music, use Spotify playlists

I’ve been writing my monthly mixtape posts for a few months now and I listen to my discover weekly playlist every week!

6. save for a canon 80d, 50mm lens and a 75-300mm lens

See previous photography goals – if I don’t do this one it’s a financial choice.

7. have a little trip away with my boyfriend every month

I wrote a blog post about how I’ve already broken this one for the year but finances and work have disrupted this one a little, but that’s alright – it was pretty ambitious anyway.

8. take my driving test + upgrade my car

I have taken my driving test once and failed but next one is booked and I feel so much better about it. And I bought a new car at the weekend! I’m genuinely so excited about it all, I can’t wait to see where my little H R Wheels and I will go in the latter half of this year.

9. improve my posture

A silly one, but one I’m trying to integrate into my day to day life.

10. find somewhere to live/get our own place

And following the brief mention of going back to uni, my boyfriend and I will be moving somewhere close to Oxford (probably Aylesbury because there doesn’t seem to property available anywhere else). We’ll be moving in the next couple of months!

And that’s a check in with all of my goals for 2019! I think checking in on goals like this is really important because if you’re on track and making progress it inspires you to keep going and if you feel like you’ve not made as much progress as you’d like it gives you the kick up the bum to focus!! Here’s to the home straight of 2019!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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pushing through procrastination

2019, organisation

Hello!

Whether it be due to anxiety, having to do school work you really don’t care about or just being tired, I can guarantee that every single person in the world procrastinates, loses motivation and puts things off.

And I say this as someone who prides herself on her organisation, colour coordinated lists and post it notes, but that doesn’t mean I’m productive and on task 100% of the time. I love to think I give the illusion of having my life together but I really don’t think that’s the case!

So I thought I would put together some of my tips for how I tackle the worst bouts of procrastination, because I’ll be brutally honest – these past couple of weeks I’ve really struggled to motivate myself to do anything and I’m motivating myself to push through it as much as motivating anyone else!

1 – pick one thing that will help you with a routine and force yourself to do it, even if you don’t want to

I know this sounds like the worst tip if you’re struggling to motivate yourself, but I promise just picking one thing and making sure you do that is like rebooting your brain and reminding yourself you are in control and you can push through it! For me, when my anxiety hits and I start to feel low, it’s things like brushing my teeth than I just can’t bring myself to do. I know it sounds gross and there’s a deeper psychological reason for it but if I can push through and make myself do it, it makes other tasks on my to do list feel more achievable.

2 – focus on one task at a time

Sometimes a whole list can be incredibly overwhelming, but picking one task and working on that, and then the next task can be so much more approachable than seeing a whole list of however many things.

It can just be a case of going ‘right! I’m going to work on this task for this amount of time’ – for me, I volunteer on reception at a dance school and if I’m struggle to get on with things, I’ll set myself the task of working on one thing until the next dance class finishes. Then if I get that task done, great! If I don’t, I’ve made a start. Breaking it down works really well for me.

3 – try a change of scenery

It can be so easy to convince yourself that you can work from the sofa, or your bed, or whilst your boyfriend is playing video games in the same room (this one might be a bit niche) but sometimes that doesn’t work – whether it’s moving to a desk, a different room at home or going to a local cafe or something, a change of environment can really make the difference in altering your mindset to be more productive.

If going to a cafe isn’t financially viable and moving around at home isn’t working, I recommend either having a tidy up or switch around at home if you can! See if you can move things around, maybe move your desk closer to the window or Marie Kondo your stuff so it all feels a bit less cluttered. There are lots of ways you can change up your space without having to spend lots of money.

4 – give yourself some breathing space

I’m not saying give up, but give yourself half an hour to breathe – watch a YouTube video (but only one or two, put a deadline on it), play a few rounds of Candy Crush or something or make a new adapted to do list to help refocus your mind.

I remember at school always being told to do 20 minutes work and have a 10 minute break and the same applies outside of doing homework and revising for exams – forcing yourself to work when your mind is tense and frustrated is never going to work so take a step away, recentre, take the pressure off and then step back into it.

5 – make a new to do list!

My personal favourite – even if it means having the same things written out basically three or four times in different places, being able to adapt or switch up your to do list to help your own productivity is always a good idea!

If I’m feeling particularly frustrated, I will start my to do list again and only write out the tasks I think are genuinely achievable and I might even write out some things I’ve already done that day so I can lull myself into a false sense of productivity – because there’s nothing like a half ticked off to do list to motivate you to do the other half!

Obviously, take all of these tips with a pinch of salt – it’s so personal for everyone that it will take a lot of determination and hard work to find what works for you. I tried so many different revision techniques when I was doing exams at school, then I had to adapt that to finish assignments at uni and find other new ways to be productive now that I’m working. It’s constantly changing and evolving, so if there’s anything you do that isn’t on this list please do leave it in the comments so I can try them too!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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how to make productive to do lists!

2019, lifestyle, organisation

Hello!

Thought my confidence in my ability to do literally anything right now is rock bottom, one thing I know I can do for sure is make a list and get stuff done. In the two years since I’ve had my bullet journal I’ve got a lot better at figuring out what works best for me.

How I make my to do lists has changed a lot – in the summer of 2016 I remember making lists that were 9 or 10 things long and then getting really demotivated because I wasn’t getting anything done. In the following January I started my first bullet journal and from there I started experimenting with writing a long weekly to do list so I could see what I needed to achieve over the whole week and then I could pick out tasks that I needed to do on each day.

I stuck with that structure for a while, developing it to split my weekly tasks into categories like Uni, Society, Personal, Long-Term etc just to help me focus more. But when I finished uni I felt I didn’t need the focus as much and I didn’t have the same need for tasks that were completed each week so I stopped using this around June 2018.

And between summer 2018 and the end of the year I really refined how I make my to do lists and it’s working really well for me to have a balanced productive day – not giving myself too much to do, making sure I finish all my computer jobs during the day and doing as much as I can to make sure I get everything done.

Shock horror, she’s talking about her bullet journal again. This is my nearly finished weekly spread – on the left page I write the content I want to make for the week, my monthly goals and tick boxes (because is there anything more satisfying than ticking a tick box?) for my daily tasks and this is working really well right now.

Then on the right I have my daily to do’s – each day has 4 lines for me to plan things to do and the highlighted numbers is my word goal for my writing challenge this month. I keep my Sunday box longer because I can catch up on things  I’ve missed during the week and make notes for the following week.

I think if I had a better memory and such I wouldn’t need to rewrite each list every day but I really like writing my to do’s for each day on a post it note and stick it to the front of my bullet journal so I can just tick it off without having to have it open all the time.

The way I make each list is I write the day of the week at the top, because let’s be real – I forget what day it is at least 7 times a day, then I draw 5 boxes and 3 dashes.

(not the greatest picture but gives you the idea of what my lists look like!)

The 5 boxes are for me to write the must-to do’s and those are my kind of bare minimum tasks for the day – it’ll include things like any editing or writing I’ve got to do, if I’ve got a dance class or work or anything like that, it all goes on the list with any other tasks I want to do for the day.

Then I use the dashes for tasks that aren’t too important or wouldn’t be the end of the world if I didn’t do – things like my daily writing challenge that I’m doing at the moment, any tasks I could do if I finish everything else on my list and any little jobs that really need doing but it wasn’t worth a tick box.

And this system works really well for me. That’s not to say I get everything done on my list every single day – I have bad days that I just can’t bring myself to do the things I need to do and I’m frustrated and tired. But this is the best system I’ve found so far – some people get 10 things done every day, some people get three things done a day, some people go to the gym at 6am, work 9-5, volunteer at a food bank after work and have a solid mental health so comparing your productivity to mine or anyone you see online is utterly pointless. It’s all about things like substituting phrases like ‘I was so productive today’ to ‘I got everything on my to do list done today!’ – productivity is so highly valued in society and on social media right now but every person is different and everyone works differently.

Conclusion – to do lists are great and all and I’m really happy with how I make mine now but we shouldn’t compare productivity because everyone is different.

I hope this has been even a little bit helpful! I do love talking about organisation and things like this so if there’s anything you’d like to hear my two cents on, let me know!!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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January Goals

2019, goals

Hello!

And the last of the trilogy of blog posts about New Year’s Resolutions and goals is upon us! I’m so excited to have another year of focusing, setting myself little goals and giving myself the exciting feeling of new year’s at the beginning of each month.

I’ve decided this year that each month I want to set my goals in accordance with my 2019 resolutions – last year I did them based off what I want to achieve each month and I’ll still do that this year but I really want to properly focus on my goals to make sure I’m working on achieving them every month.

Progress is a huge motivator for me and finding new ways to work on that and ensure ongoing development makes me happy! So let’s jump right in.

[ J A N U A R Y   G O A L S : ]

  • get back to healthy eating and a workout routine – the whole reason I focused on for losing weight (a family wedding) is coming up at the end of the month so I’ve decided, quite spontaneously, to go part time vegetarian – not for any moral reasons (don’t come for me pls) but just for health reasons I’m planning to eat veggie up until dinner time every day during the week. And I definitely need to get back to working out – my tap classes start again next week but I’m aiming for one at home workout each week. If I put a number on something I’m more likely to actually do it so once a week – sorted.
  • work on prioritising productivity – I have refined the way I make my to do lists so I have 5 tick box jobs, 3 additional tasks that are not quite important enough for a tick box or would be useful if I have time after I’ve finished everything else (I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone but me!). The next step for me is to make sure I get them all done during the day rather than working half heartedly on my laptop till 9pm – essentially I want to have business hours and unless I’m using my laptop for something like creative writing I don’t want to use it in the evenings. That’s the goal!
  • working on hobbies – start my knitting project – to go hand in hand with the productivity, making time for hobbies is something I really want to work on! I think knitting would be a great activity for me because I’m not very good at sitting watching TV and just watching, so I think a non-committal task like knitting would be a good start for me. The other half of this one is not taking my laptop into the living room so I’m not tempted just to scroll through Facebook for the sake of it. Knitting and no laptops!
  • get more freelance work – I mean, this one is kind of a necessity more than a goal but it’s got to be a real focus for me this month! I’m going to reach out to local businesses and get as much work as I can, because I miss it and I need a focus. If anyone has freelance advice that would be much appreciated thank you!
  • focus on blogging and YouTube – I’ve been really happy with the content I’ve been making and how regularly I’ve been creating and uploading in the last few months but I want to step up my game this year – I’ve got a few ideas that I’ve been a little apprehensive to make and I’m just going to bite the bullet and make them this year! I want to work on growth and read advice from other bloggers and YouTubers and think about building my platform a bit like a business. Maybe that’s pretentious, or presumptuous that I think my platforms deserve to grow (I seem to be allergic to followers anyway), it’s all a bit complicated and I feel like a proper dick about it but I want to at least give it a go!

I got proper rambly in this goals post! I think I got a bit lost in it, sorry!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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happiness = productivity?

2018, lifestyle

Hello!

I feel like it’s a huge part of today’s society, everything is about productivity and getting stuff done – being successful is a measure of how regulated your sleep schedule is, how on top of your work out routine you are and how many things you got done that day.

It’s gotten to a point where if I’m not out of bed by 8am I struggle to feel motivated to do anything and I’m not sure how it got to this point because I’m pretty sure it used to be cool to sleep till the afternoon and not do uni or school work.

Personally I find it so much harder to be content and motivated when I know there’s a list building up of stuff that I’ve been writing down for a few days – there’s only so many times I can write ‘apply for a job’ before it becomes utterly soul destroying to actually do it.

I don’t know where the pressure is coming from, who I feel judged by or where this all began but I really hate that my productivity is directly equal to my happiness on a day to day basis and let’s be real, there’s no pressure from anyone or any kind of society, it’s just me beating myself up and I need to come up with some methods to stop… doing… that?

Step 1 – don’t be a dick. I mean, that’s generally good life advice but I need to stop telling myself I’m not good enough! Because it escalates very quickly from ‘I didn’t apply for a job today’ to ‘I have no skills and don’t deserve a job anyway’ and I’d like to think that’s not true.

But you know, step 1 is pretty difficult when it’s quite deeply ingrained in your brain. But what can I say, I’ve acknowledged the problem and I know roughly where to start. I think that’s progress?

Step 2 – figure out why I’m not productive and adapt my to do lists accordingly. But that’s not really addressing the problem of my productivity being related to my happiness.

Step 3 – it sounds too simple but just let it go. Let the list go, no pressure to do more than I’m capable of – work on relaxing even if I didn’t quite get everything done and enjoy an evening of not squeezing in more work and doing whatever it is I’m doing below average anyway.

Step 4 – I don’t even know anymore, I’m rambling for the sake of rambling.

It gets to this point in a blog post where sometimes I’ll doubt whether I really want to publish it – am I making a point or am I complaining about something that no one else really cares about? But I think it’s defying thoughts like that are important – this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while and I want to share!

I think there’s a lot of pressure in our generation on the internet that you’ve always got to be doing something, making something, working towards something and we all know that the internet can be a pretty toxic place. But defying these things that we’ve been conditioned to feel is the best way to combat it.

Today hasn’t been a productive day, but I had a really lovely afternoon working on my scrapbook and that doesn’t make how I spent my day any less valid.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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5 mini goals for March

2018, lifestyle, photography, student

Hello!

I definitely stole this idea from Dorkface but anyway – I’m a very goals orientated person. I spend a lot of time thinking about my goals, where I want to be and whether I’m achieving what I want to achieve.

Often, this just involves me thinking about where I want to be and why I’m not there yet whilst eating copious amounts of chocolate but it’s a work in progress and progress is something I think I can fairly confidently say is somewhat getting there (but the fact I worded that so speculatively suggests otherwise).

Either way, I saw Jemma writing these ‘mini goals’ blog posts and this month I decided to give it a go – it might help me focus and I’m going to make a pretty spread in my bullet journal to incentivise me to tick things off. I’m going to start with just 5 and if it goes well I’ll reflect on them before setting April’s goals.

  1. Really focus on my FMP (my final major project, my degree’s equivalent of a dissertation) – this sounds dumb, because I’ve been thinking about and working on this project since last summer but I’ve been really struggling in these past few weeks to focus and get anything done but March is going to be the month I get shit done.
  2. Blog more regularly – again, potentially a stupid goal but every time I sit down to write I fall in love with blogging again but I just don’t make time to do it. I’ve been really enjoying my blog photography at the moment and I do want to make more time for it because to be honest I spent too many hours of an evening just playing on the xbox with my boyfriend. I don’t want to stop doing that per say, but it’s a balance isn’t it.
  3. At least three more instagram theme colours – I’ve not written about this here, but I’ve got an instagram theme! I was trying to make the yellow thing work but it wasn’t working so I was chatting to my wonderful friend Kathryn and we decided that a new colour every row could be a really nice theme without the commitment of sticking to one colour forever so I gave it a go! I had a pastel yellow, red and I’ve just finished my blue row. It’s a work in progress and I’m still figuring out the balance of what looks good and what I post just because I want to post it but I want to get at least three more rows finished this month. 9 photos doesn’t sound like a lot but I’m still getting my mind around planning and taking all the photos to fit the theme.
  4. Cook more – maybe all of these goals sound stupid, obviously I make myself dinner every night (save for a take out night every now and again) but I want to invest more time in to cooking more complex dinners. I love cooking and even setting aside an hour every night I think will both be good for my diet and my mental health, because I find cooking really therapeutic.
  5. Apply for some post-graduate jobs – I graduate in July, my final project hand in is at the beginning of May – the sooner I apply for stuff the happier my brain will be to know what’s going on after July, because right now the anxiety of not having a single ounce of a plan after I take off those graduation gowns scares me a lot and it’ll give me some peace of mind to at least know I’ve applied for stuff. I’ll tentatively set the goal of three jobs, but I know that these applications will take a lot of time so even one would be enough.

I probably could have just left it at the parts in bold but it’s nice to have a record of what I actually want to achieve this month. Maybe some of it does sound a bit silly but maybe that’s just my insecurities. I think these goals are useful, somewhat realistic and completely feasible if I stick my mind to it.

What are your goals for March? Do you have goals that you set yourself over a time period? What works for you? Let me know – I could do with all the help I can get!!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

Side note, can we talk about the crafting I did to make the feature photo for this post, actually thoroughly enjoyed it!

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productive, but chilled

2016, lifestyle

Hello!

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had three deadlines and a lot of stuff to do, so managing my time has been a particular challenge. But I’ve found a way that helps my productivity sky rocket so I thought I’d share!

Working with 100% focus, no distractions and complete silence doesn’t work for me – I get really tempted to do anything but what I’m meant to be doing and I spend the whole time thinking about everything else I could be doing.

In the run up to a big hand in of a research workbook, I knew I had a lot of work to do. I sat on the sofa in the living room whilst my flatmates played GTA, my iPad set up to one side with YouTube playing, headphones on and just slowly worked away at my workbook.

With having YouTube on in the background and being with my friends, feeling like I was only working at 60%-70%, I worked for five hours straight and got about 15 pages (of what would become a total 41) done. I continued this success with more ‘chilled productivity’ sessions and got the whole thing done and uploaded with plenty of time to spare.

Since then, I’ve done pretty much all of my work with YouTube on in the background, or in a coffee shop or with my friends in the room, rather than in complete silence and isolation. I feel like it means I can work for longer without feeling as tired and what I make in the end is of higher quality too because I wasn’t pushing myself to make it.

Obviously this only works if you allow yourself enough time to work that way and it doesn’t work for every kind of workload – I have a lot of coursework based assignments but if you’re wanting to do some intense revision, having YouTube videos on in the background you probably won’t absorb any information, but it can still be applied in other ways.

If you have the kind of workload that allows for ‘chilled productivity’, I thoroughly recommend it because in the end, I enjoyed making my workbook and I liked making the pages look as creative as I could. And I caught up on so much YouTube in the process, I’m nearly not behind anymore!

And to anyone that says the quality of the work won’t be as good because you’ve not paid full attention to it – I got a first for this assignment and my workbook was the highest part of my marks.

Different things work for different people, but everything I’ve ever seen about revising or being productive has involved putting your phone to one side or not letting yourself listen to music, when depriving yourself of these little pleasures aren’t always certain to make you more productive. It takes a lot of experimenting before you can find out what’s right for you!

Another thing I’m thinking about trying in the New Year to help my productivity is bullet journalling but I have no idea where to start right now, so if you know anything or have any tips please do leave it in the comments!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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