Dig your heels in and hold on.
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Well hello there! I’m back! After the final leg of the ‘An Edited Life‘* book tour that took in dates at Canterbury, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Manchester, I’m home. I’m back in my own bed and Mark’s been reunited with a shower that he can actually stand up fully straight in. What a whirlwind and what an enjoyable end to the whole thing. THANK YOU to everyone who made it down and came to an event. It sounds like the cheesiest thing to say, but quite honestly these past few months have been some of my best yet and that’s down to the support from you lot, who make doing what I do the absolute dream – so cheers for that.
Over the past two months I’ve travelled to 16 cities to do 17 events (two in London you see), with one in Amsterdam and one in Canada (U.S dates to come in May and September, fingers crossed!). I sort of went all-in with book tour, partly because ‘WHEN THE HELL AM I EVER GOING TO DO THIS AGAIN?‘ and also because it sounded fun and aligned with my 10-year old dream of being a touring popstar. Others in the industry warned me that I was off my rocker for giving myself such a schedule, and some just sent ‘R U OK HUN?’ messaged intermittently which was actually very sweet. Overall though I think I’ve coped alright with my calendar and that’s down to some strategies which I was incorporating well before the book bonanza kicked in. Got a busy spell coming up? Here’s how to prepare, and how to get ahead if you’re feeling well behind…
My first, not particularly surprising rule is to plan ahead. I KNOW. What a shocker. Last December, when I could see how my calendar was shaping up for the beginning of 2019 I began to put plans in place and organise myself so that I knew exactly what I had to do and when, so that I had space in my schedule for a book tour in the first place. For me that meant planning out what videos I’d like to film and what blog posts to write, planning on seeing my photographer more frequently than usual so that we could get ahead and pre-filming videos where possible so that I didn’t have to rush and film things between my travels. I finalised the plan for THE DAILY EDIT in January and began recording videos in February so that I had a few under my belt before the month of March began. Without doing this I can pretty much guarantee that I’d be about 12 days behind schedule by now, so planning really is my BFF right now.
The funny thing is that by having a reduced amount of time to get tasks done, you find that you procrastinate way less; it’s a cute little byproduct of the whole thing. Lean into it. Having a deadline and being close to it can really put a rocket up your ass. It’s a good learn for setting myself end goals, especially during quieter periods when my YouTube viral video watching is OFF THE CHART.
The thing with this increased level of hyper-productivity is that it can really knacker you out. One mate contacted me before book tour with advice to amp up the self-care and give yourself permission to rest between busy spells where possible; cutting back on the need to cram a full working day in before doing an evening event and allowing time off. Time off? What a luxury, eh? I’m not a proponent of working yourself into the ground and try my best to keep my weekends free, but since the book was published I’ve worked in some way, be it large or small, every single weekend. So you know what I did this Sunday? I did nothing. I ate pizza in bed and watched A Star is Born (but not right up to the end because it’s so sad), and it was lush. In preparing yourself for the busiest month yet, you must honour yourself by preparing mentally too.
FIVE WAYS TO GET AHEAD TODAY
Block out time. When I’m feeling really behind with life in general, the only way that I ever shake myself out of the overwhelmed rut is to actually do something and to force myself to be strict with my routine. So if I’m worrying about how I’m ever going to feel ahead again I make a conscious effort to schedule a block of time in my diary and into my day, that I use exclusively for tasks that should (hopefully) make me feel back on track. No distractions, no faffing.
A short list. You know I love a list. OH LOOK, writing a list! Groundbreaking, eh? But I do have a mini tip for you here. When you’ve set aside this time, write a list for yourself (I usually use the Notes app on my phone to make it because then stuff can be easily moved around if required) and keep it really small. No more than three or four tasks. The number one rule? Be. Realistic.
Don’t put it off. If there’s a job that you’ve been putting off, then the chances are that it’s *THAT TASK* that’s piling on the feelings of stress. I’ve totally been there and yes it took me two months to finally write the first page of my book. OOPS. So get started; even if it’s just putting together a plan or coming up with initial ideas – something is better than nothing. Use your block of time to make some headway with it.
The speedy tasks. So you’ve got your mini list of things to complete in your allotted set-aside time, but what about your larger list that you’re working on. Are there any items on there that could be ticked off and completed in under five minutes? Sending a letter, printing something off, sending a quick email, organising a Dentist appointment, quickly popping to the post office? DO IT. Have a power hour where you can do all these little itty bitty tasks and get them off your plate, freeing up some space.
When all else fails. Sometimes you can attempt all the above and it just ain’t happening. I feel you. When that happens, ditch your plans, attempt to make headway with your everyday jobs and tasks and complete the following when you get home. One – put a clothes wash on. Getting ahead with your washing is one of life’s little pleasures. Two – schedule in a workout. After not working out for approximately two months, I’ve just signed up to a Pilates sesh tonight – practice what you preach and all that. Three – do a speed tidy; put clothing away, wash and tidy up from dinner, give the worktops a wipe down, clear up any cluttered areas. Get an early night and get back on it tomorrow. You got this.
Photos by Emma Croman
‘An Edited Life’ is now available to purchase worldwide HERE