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Just keep Swimming!

We’re in a third lockdown in Wales. The kids are homeschooling once again. The house is in a perpetual state of chaos and the cat constantly wants feeding! 


This is hard. And I don’t have any words of wisdom for you this time. Except for “Just keep swimming!”


Running an online business, whatever it may be has its challenges at the best of times. If you’re a sole trader/self-employed like me, then you wear many hats. Marketing, accountancy, business strategy, web development, blogging, project management.


It all comes down to you. And that can get a bit much at the best of times. let alone during a pandemic, with three school-age children to home school. Although, I am lucky in the sense that the three of them are at an age where they are 90% self-sufficient. They can cook simple meals, like beans on toast, make a cup of tea. They can get through their school work on their own no problem (With a little help from mum checking they’re doing more than the bare minimum of course!) But what they can’t do so well is manage their time and recognise when they’re spent a little too much time on Minecraft. 


So this is where I have to step in! I’ll be honest. I’m guilty of much the same. Too much time on Twitter and Facebook and my brain gets fried with trying to process all the information. Social Media seems to be full of political debate, negativity and people wanting to be right about everything. 


So I switch off….


And concentrate as much as I can on my little (but growing!) business and the kids. Hubby is in there somewhere too 🙂 


Last spring, right around when the lockdown was just starting. I wrote about surviving the whole work from home situation we had all been thrown into. In that article, I gave you some tips on how to organise yourself, and manage what we thought would be a very short term solution to a situation we knew very little about at the time. 

Today’s plan is to get back to the “Sunday Plan Day” Or maybe just get back into planning altogether!, Print off some time tables and stick them to the fridge, feel more in control and be able to plan more days out to the beautiful coastline on Anglesey.  – Current restrictions considered of course!


Anything just to feel more on top of the day to day running of a business. 

The printable planners I designed a while ago were designed with one thing in mind.


“Sometimes planning, and sometimes not planning”


Because let’s face it. There are times where we are more inclined to plan our days down to the minute, and other times we don’t. We just want to get through the most basic of tasks for that day so that we don’t feel like a potato!  This is why I enjoy using my own perpetual calendars so much. Sometimes I feel on top of my game and in the zone to plan everything down to the smallest detail. Other times, I stick to a list. Sometimes, I just totally wing it, and won’t put pen to paper in my planner for ages. 


Whenever I missed a few weeks of planning, I’d go back to the Filofax and feel guilty for all the missed pages. The weeks of wasted paper. That’s why I decided to design my own planner pages, without the dates! 


As a thank you for getting this far with this article, and my droning on!! Here’s a 50% off voucher for any of the printable planners in my Etsy Shop. 


Just type in PLANNER50 to the vouched code section at the checkout and you will receive 50% off the total of your purchase. 


If this article has resonated with you, please share it to someone who you think needs a little boost in their day. 


Remember, we are all in this together, and there will soon be a time where Covid-19 coronavirus will be a distant memory. 


But for now, Just Keep Swimming!

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Working from home during Covid-19

As workers across the country hunker down and start working from home where possible due to #covid-19 people are starting to share their ideas and setups. 

As someone who has worked from home for the last 2 years, I’m here to give you some top tips on how to keep on top of your work and be productive. 

So the number 1 tip I have for you is to have a dedicated place to work from! I’ve been lucky enough to be able to put together a home office in the back of my living room. But before this, I had space in our converted (ish!) attic.  My desk was two old wardrobes sawn in half, and doors from my old Ikea Malm tv unit for the tabletop with 1 small section of the desk being an actual desk that I bought off a Facebook sale or swap group for £10!! For the most part, this is where I did my degree. I’ve seen so many setups on twitter too. From a laptop on top of a washing basket to the “soft office” commonly known as sitting in bed or on your sofa! We are creative beings, so clear space if you can. Have all your essentials in one place. Keep your laptop and notes in a bag and call it your “movable office” if you want to. But in my experience, having one dedicated place to call your workspace helps you to get into that work mindset.

My second tip would be to have a planner. Now you can have all sorts of planners, but the one I’ve found most effective for me is a paper planner. More specifically, a ring-bound Filofax. I’ve used a Filofax for years and find that the customisation of this style of the planner to be what keeps me going back time and time again. Having a planner and using it is one of the best ways of keeping some form of structure and normality to your day to day life. If you have children off school as I do, then you will most certainly need some sort of a routine. I have created a downloadable time table for you to be able to plan out your days! I also have some printable planner pages over on my Etsy store. Take a look! Having your time table printed off and stuck on the fridge or the kitchen cupboards also helps the kids with their routine.

My last tip would be to “stop being so hard on your self” You are trying your best. Let your customers know whats going on with your business; If you’ll be closing down for a few weeks, like many have had to, or if you’ll be working reduced hours. It’s always best to keep your customers in the loop and to keep them engaged. You want them to remember you after all this is said and done! So keep up to date with regular social media posting, write blog posts and experiment with new products.

Working from home during the coronavirus with kids to home school can and will be tough. But, having a structured routine and a dedicated place to work from will help a little. It won’t be forever, so try and enjoy the extra time with your kids as much as you can!

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Adobe Photoshop on the Ipad Pro – My Thoughts.

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Organized creativity

I’m a planner. I love to plan. I use an A5 Malden Filofax and I love it! I love creating my own inserts, weekly calendars, dividers and stickers. So much so that I’ve recently started designing inserts to sell over on my Etsy Store.

Planning to me is a mindfulness method. I’ve been at points in my life where I haven’t used a planner as much, and my stress levels have been a lot higher than when I have planned. Just the simple act of writing down your appointments for the week, things you want to achieve that week or writing notes to yourself as a form of self preservation is such a confidence boost. Ticking things off the “To Do” list helps with that sense of achievement and “supermumness” plus the 8 year old Nia in me loves the fact that I’m still making diaries and stickers just like I used to, sat on the floor in my bedroom with bits of paper, sellotape, a biro and a stapler to hand.

The thing about planning and being organised is…its either in you or, you have to learn the habit. If you want to that is. No one ever said that you HAVE to be organised. But in all seriousness, it does help quite a bit with life in general.

When my twin girls were born, planning and organising was a saviour. Especially as I had an 18 month old as well. There was a routine, that I stuck to, even down to what time I had a shower and what time I could leave the house to run errands. It also helped anyone coming to the house to help out as they knew what time the next bottle feed or nap time was if I needed to pop out on my own for a while.

Now that my three are 8, 8 and 9 and a half, I still plan. This week is half term and I’ve planned days for work when I have child care and days for being “home” with the kiddies, making memories.

This is the current set up I use. It’s easy to use because it’s so simple. Appointments on one side and to do’s on the other. With 2 blank boxes for whatever needs noting down that week. I may change my mind in a few weeks and decide another layout is better suited to my needs. But that’s what I love about having a ring bound planner rather than a “book” planner or for the correct technical term, a perfect bound planner.

If you have purchased my downloadable planner printables.l, let me know in the comments what you think! I love receiving feedback so that I can keep improving my products and services.

Bye for now!

Nia xxx