5 Things I Would Consider When Booking A Personal Shopper

 

booking a personal shopper

 

So, you’re booking a personal shopper.  What a great idea!  Of course, you would expect me to say that, but long before I qualified I worked with a personal shopper and I still have the pieces today that I bought back then.  It’s an investment for sure, but its one that should have lasting benefits to you.  A great shopping experience not only results in some clever purchases but also a new found confidence in your own shopping skills.

 

To get the most out of your personal shopping experience I’m going to share my top tips to ensure you have any experience that is shopping trip gold.

 

Carve Out A Little Me-Time Before Booking A Personal Shopper

 

Like any investment it’s worth carving out some time to give some real thought to what you want to achieve.  Consider what you need clothes for and why.  Think about your lifestyle.  If your wardrobe (full of clothes) is no longer working for you chances are they simply don’t fit your lifestyle now.  Perhaps you once worked in an office but now spend your days running a business from the kitchen table.  Or you’ve not long become a mum and are trying to work out who the new you is and adapt accordingly.

 

Answer these four questions?

 

  1. What’s in my wardrobe that I’m not wearing?
  2. What percentage of my wardrobe gets worn?  If its only 20-30% consider why?  Has your lifestyle changed?  Perhaps you need to consider a Wardrobe Reboot before you go shopping to identify the gaps in your wardrobe?
  3. How has my lifestyle changed?  For example, are there items I need more of now than I used to.
  4. What is coming up in my diary that I need an outfit for?

 

Spending time looking at what you need now will really help you reap the rewards when you go shopping.  It will create a brief to give to your stylist and ultimately helps you get to the root of any wardrobe issues that has resulted in your need for some outside support.

 

Consider How You Want To Spend Your Money

 

It would be great if we all had endless wads of cash to spend on ourselves, but it’s likely that just like me you’re working within a budget.

 

So don’t just think about how much money you want to spend; consider how you want to spend it.

 

Are you thinking of making an investment. Do you want a coat, suit or statement dress that is essentially an investment purchase, or do you want to mix it up with high end/low end price point pieces?

 

Perhaps it’s a whole outfit that you need, in which case your stylist can help identify which piece within the whole outfit to spend a little more on. For example, you might fancy a trench coat, Breton top and Capri pants with loafers to finish.  The coat and shoes would likely be more of an investment purchase with the aim of enjoying a great cost per wear ratio from the purchase, while the top and pants can be less expensive.

 

Alternatively, you could a set budget that needs to really work hard for you.  You might need a lot of items.  Either option is absolutely fine, but if you consider your objectives and brief the shopper from the outset, she or he will truly understand where you’re coming from.  Their job is to align your budget to the shops they suggest when you go out together.

 

Have A Bra Fitting First

 

It’s actually not an obvious thing do to, but if you haven’t been shopping at all for a while it might be worth having a bra fitting before you go full throttle on a major  shopping expedition.  Or if you don’t have time beforehand make it part of the shopping experience.

 

What you wear underneath your clothes is truly the foundation for how clothes will fall and shape your body.  A good bra fitting is a great place to start.

 

Fittings are free in most major department stores and the ones I’ve tried, House of Fraser and Marks and Spencer have not been pushy for you to make a purchase.  There are also brilliant independent shops up and down the country.  If you’re in Bristol or Bath I can’t recommend Perfect Fit in Keynsham enough.  It’s a business that has been going for 26 years or more and offer a very personal service.

 

The last time I went for a bra fitting (House of Fraser, Cabot Circus, Bristol) I was wearing a 36c bra when I went in.  I left wearing 34DD.  Needless to say my boobs are back in the right place!

 

Open Your Mind To New Possibilities When Booking A Personal Shopper

 

No matter what your objectives for booking a personal shopper you should expect them to work to your brief but also, I believe, explore new possibilities when it comes to your style.

 

Yes, the stylist needs to listen to what you want, how you live your life and if there are more pressing pieces you want for your wardrobe than others, but you can also use the opportunity to see yourself in someone else’s eyes.  So my advice is ‘go with an open mind’ and let the shopper show you fresh and exciting ways to wear new clothes.

 

There is nothing I like more, or have had a better response from, than when I’ve taken clothes into a changing room that the client would not have picked for themselves and they’ve been stunned by how great they feel and how good they’ve looked.

 

All I can say is for a true transformation, be open, explore all the possibilities personal shopping offers you and let stylist guide you to a new, stylish you.

 

Think About Where You Want To Go Shopping

 

Where to go shopping?  Do you have a favourite brand or shop but you want a fresh pair of eyes to help you identify new looks for you?  Or are you tempted to try a store but feel intimidated to go in?  That’s where a personal stylist will come in to her own, because nothing phases someone who shops for a living!

Sometimes a department store is a good place to start, so consider which one has brands that you like or want to try.  You’re going to be shopping for a few hours, so perhaps when booking a personal shopper think about the area.  Independent stores can be stuffed with some really great pieces, but you’ll be wasting time in a car if you have to drive from one to another during your time with a stylist.  My advice would be to pick an area where there are clusters of shops that interest you.

It’s likely you won’t get everything done in one big shop, for example, in Bristol, Zara is based in Cabot Circus, but you might also like Hush, which is only available in John Lewis at the Mall, Cribbs Causeway. At this point, you just got to prioritize or book more than one personal shopping experience.  Whichever way, have a think about where you want to shop, to make the most of the time spent.

 

 

And that’s my five tips for you.  Hope you enjoyed it. Please do share in the comments below if you have you worked with a personal shopper?  How was your experience?  Do you have any tips for readers booking a personal shopper?

 

 

Gail x

 

 

 

 

 

Nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award

 

 

It’s always nice to receive a little recognition, so I was delighted when Heidi of Chronic Beauty Style nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award.

 

If you don’t know it’s an insider’s award scheme where fellow bloggers nominate blogs that they enjoy, sharing them with their readers, while answering five questions on the topic of blogging themselves.

 

So, here’s my answers to Heidi’s questions and if you’re looking for some fab beauty advice head over to Chronic Beauty Style afterwards.  Four more terrific blogger recommendations are at the bottom of this post.

 

Q 1:  What encouraged you to create a blog?

I caught myself in the mirror one afternoon and didn’t like the look of the woman staring back at me.  She needed sprucing up.  I googled fashion and make-up ideas for mid-life women and came up with very little information or ideas.  It kind of got my goat.  Was I invisible?  I jokingly said to my husband, I should start a blog documenting my journey to polishing up my appearance and he said, yes, do it.  There was no going back.

I did lots of research and set up my own blog site (that was painful) and Not Givin In went live September 2015.  I can’t believe that I’ve been a blogger that long to be honest.  P.S.  Technology has improved and companies now exist with services at relatively low cost, so setting up a blog isn’t that painful any more.

 

 

Q 2:  What would you say you offer your readers?

Some insight into presenting the best version of yourself to the world.  Like a supportive friend I’m sharing what fashions I’ve seen that will work for you, classic beauty treatments to stock in the bathroom cabinet, fresh make-up ideas, like the latest mascara that doesn’t smudge, or a cute lipstick that helps you to feel great.

It can also be lifestyle discussions.  One of my favourite posts from the last year has been 35 Things I Learnt in My Forties.  I wrote it when I turned 50 and I really wanted to share how I was feeling about life at this stage in the game.  It’s written from the heart and I really enjoyed writing it.  I guess it was a subject that I’m expert in!

 

Q 3: How do you see your blog developing in the next few years?

I’m excited to say that Not Givin In has been brought to life.  I’m now a qualified personal stylist working in Bristol and Bath, offering 1-2-1 services including Personal Style Development and Colour Consultation, a Wardrobe Reboot and Personal Shopping experiences.

It’s great to be supporting women who want to make the most of their appearance and find their own unique style.   It can be a thorough wardrobe declutter that reveals the hidden gems within it, so they spend less money and live more sustainably, or tapping into my savvy shopping skills to find key pieces to elevate their appearance. I love it.

The blog continues, of course.  I love sharing style tips, ideas on the latest fashions that work for all ages.  Perhaps some to avoid!  I mean, I keep it real!  I also love beauty and make-up, so when I find a good product, I have to tell my readers. That’s how we learn, right, from others who are in the same position as us but have had good/bad experiences they can share.

I hope Not Givin In continues for a long time.

 

Q 4: Do you prefer blogging or social media and why?

When I started to see conversations popping up that blogging was going out of fashion in favour of social media, I decided not to read too much into it as I enjoy both and believe there is a place for each style of communication.

When blogs became popular there was a lot said that getting information online would outstrip print media and yes, some magazines have sadly gone by the wayside, but there are always new ones popping up and truly great magazine titles are still going strong.  I think blogs have their place in the wide variety of media available.  There is room for all, but to get the most of writing blog posts you need to write compelling articles that people want to read.

I love Instagram’s instant connection with everyone and that its multi-layered. I think Insta Stories will overtake interest in the grid.  Personally, I love the quick fix of entertainment I find by watching Stories and I’m often more interested in posting that way myself.

 

Q 5: What drives you to keep blogging when niches can be so flooded?

A blog more often than not documents a personal journey and generally its readers have a shared interest.  I think readers either like a writer or not so once you have a connection it’s as good as any loyal friendship.  Not everyone will ‘get you’ but concentrate on keeping the conversation going with interesting articles with those that do and the relationship will continue.

This leads me nicely to a blogger or two that I would like nominate for a Sunshine Blogger Award.  Can I recommend you go and read these fantastic online resources:

 

The Silver Kat

amothersedit

Small Town Threads

My Fashionable 40s

Also Nadine Baggot – Nadine is actually on YouTube, but I never miss her uploads and nor should you. She is ace.

 

As is the traditional, if these bloggers would like to take part here are my questions for your award post:

 

  • What was the catalyst to writing a blog?
  • How much time do you give to it each week?
  • Can you share three top tips to keeping motivated?
  • Where do you find inspiration?
  • What other platforms do you use to communicate with your audience?

 

35 Things I Learnt In My Forties

 

 

There’s nothing like facing a new decade to make you take stock of the years that have gone before it.  So before leaving my forties I decided to write a list of what I’ve learnt from those years.

 

 

I also wanted to take this opportunity to say that I’m taking a little break from writing my weekly posts.  You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been sporadic in posting on Not Givin In this year.  My time and energy have been needed to take care of family matters, which are obviously a priority, and to be completely honest I just don’t have the head space and time to think about my little space on the internet right now.  I will return when time allows.  Til then, thank you so much for our weekly chats and here are my 40-somethings musings.

 

Lots of Love

 

Gail xx

 

  1. My forties were some of my best years. By the time you dive in to middle age it’s likely that you’ve experienced some dark times along the way, but it does make you rejoice even more so when the good times roll in.  I don’t just want to visit Ayers Rock, I want to drink champagne on the back of a Harley Davidson going around it.  Because I know those dark times will happen, still happen, but if I load up on the good days, then maybe they’ll override how I feel when the crap ones turn up.

 

  1. Belts are not the enemy. I definitely had a drawer full of belts in my twenties, but somewhere along the line I thought drawing attention to my waist was a waste of time and only drew attention to how thick it was.  How silly was I?  It helps the situation, giving you feminine curves.  All hail the belt, which I only recently discovered, is my saviour.

 

  1. It will cost around £6,000 to rid me of my double chin. I asked a cosmetic surgeon. She said it would be cheaper to lose a little weight.  It’s true, I lost some weight and the double chin, but they’re both back and I’m trying to lose them again.  I’ve set up a savings account.

 

  1. I can’t ignore my mobile phone, but I’m trying to. It’s not that I dislike it, in fact the problem is I love its ability to keep me in touch with my nearest and dearest, but I’ve really got to work on being present. Texting while walking, running, cooking dinner, talking to SP, visiting family, all comes with a price.  Have I concentrated on what I’m doing, who I’m with and what I’m saying?  Possibly not and it’s not fair and sometimes dangerous, so I’m trying to keep my priorities in order

 

  1. The coil isn’t as scary as I thought. I have always had short, punctual periods but around my mid-forties my ‘monthlies’ really started to play me up and I was having a lot of trouble managing the flow. Numerous doctor appointments later and I was offered the coil.  I didn’t want it, but, other than the discomfort of having it put in it has been the best thing for me. I’m a no show nowadays and couldn’t be happier. It will also last five years and I’m hoping it will see me through the menopause.

 

  1. Forgetfulness can work in your favour. If I ‘forget’ the clothes washing, Steve will do it. Win

 

  1. People’s noses can get bigger as they get older.   Google it.  Mine has.

 

  1. I’m not a slave to fashion but wearing it is fun. I used to love fashion when I was younger but lost my mojo somewhere along the line.  Fed up with the way I looked, who wouldn’t be, same old sloppy jumper and jeans, I started to really take an interest again. I don’t go mad, there’s no credit for this savyy shopper, but if buying a new style top for the season or a trendy pair of jeans gives me a confidence boost I need I’m on it.

 

  1. What I weigh still matters to me. No-one is sniggering behind my back in the playground and SP (thankfully) hasn’t left me cause I’ve eaten all the ice cream, yet still my weight continues to be a source of angst, after all these years.  You would think I’d give up and relax into middle age, but I can’t.  I blame it on those sodding eighties supermodels, but I always want to be the better version of myself.

 

  1. Colour my happy. That time I spent on a floor in a friend’s lounge with a woman holding squares of coloured fabric against my face in my twenties was worth doing.  Getting a colour analysis and knowing the colours that make your complexion look fantastic is the quickest way to getting a compliment and not looking like death warmed up.

 

  1. Jamie’s fool-proof dinner trick is a real people pleaser. I can’t remember where I read it, but this Jamie Oliver tip has helped me out on more than one occasion. Basically, if you don’t have time to make dessert just buy good quality bars of milk, dark and white chocolate and break them into pieces on a plate.  Voila!

 

  1. Multi-tasking sounds great but it’s a total wind-up. I can do several things at one time, balancing campaigns and clients in one hand while hanging out the washing and calling Sky to complain about a lack of Wi Fi in the other, but it makes me so stressed.  It’s a bit like the high I would get from smoking a cigarette, which is also horrible.  Now I try and start one job and complete it before starting another.   I don’t want to juggle plates and its way more satisfying than running around like a headless chicken.

 

  1. Being a smoker is a big regret. It’s probably the silliest thing I ever started, and I hope I never pick it up again.  To clarify, I puffed on my first cigarette that I had pinched from my mum’s packet before I started secondary school. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I finally kicked the habit.  At times it ruled my life and it wasn’t until I realised it made any anxiety worse that I finally stopped it, for good.  That said I would say I am a smoker.  I will always have been mindful that I could easily do it again, and it scares me to think I would

 

  1. You’re not a failure when a career choice doesn’t work. Although it feels like it at the time, I’ve been employed twice where I didn’t feel that I fitted in.  However, it wasn’t the end of the word, it just meant I had to keeping moving forward until I found the right role.  Square peg in a round hole sounds about right, but it’s not anyone’s fault and a better opportunity is likely to be just around the corner

 

  1. Love was worth the wait. I had boyfriends, some serious, some not, but when it came to me being settled, I guess I was single half of my life.  I really did marry my better half, soul mate, truest companion, love of my life, but it was a hell of a wait and one I loathed at times. I wouldn’t wish singledom, unless they’re happy with it, on anyone. If not keep looking he/she might just be out there.  I hope so, I really do. And I hope you don’t have to wait like I did.

 

  1. I still want to dance into the dawn. I don’t, of course, I can only imagine the looks I would get going down to Motion on a weekend throwing some Saturday Night Fever shapes.  But I love dancing, I do!  Probably why I love Vegas so much.  I can go dancing and the guy next to me is 92 (true story).

 

  1. Wine packs on the pounds. Call me stupid (please don’t), but I didn’t realise how much weight you gain from drinking wine (and other alcoholic beverages) until I slipped into my forties and staying in was the new going out.  Wine goes with cheese, crisps, cake and chocolate as does other alcohol, but there’s less calories in gin…so avoid unless you want a double chin or other problematic areas of your body

 

  1. I’m not an imposter, I’m just me. I know I’ve felt like it so many times, imposter syndrome is a ‘thing’, a feeling that someone is going to find out that you’re not as smart, funny, successful, clever as you feel you need to be.  And it’s bullshit. I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone feels this way in some way or another at some time or another and it’s just a trick to hold you back from bigger and better achievements in life. Feel the fear and do it anyway

 

  1. I’m not good at everything. Steve is really good at hanging out washing….and bringing it back in, folding it and lying it on the bed ready to be put away. WIN

 

  1. You really should brush your teeth twice day. I don’t know when I started the habit of not brushing my teeth at night, but boy have I paid for it, and feel there is more squirming in the hot chair down-the-line.

 

  1. Fad diets are not the answer. Any routine that suggests cutting out a food group to ensure weight loss is likely to fail.  I have tried them all and although I have seen good results with some (anything with less carbs works for me) it is NOT sustainable.  We don’t live in a protein only world, or a world where cabbage soup is in every store.  Follow the fad knowing that it will help you be party ready, if that’s what you want, but know you’ll be eating greasy pizza come 3 am.

 

  1. Always have a back-up. And my back up I mean good quality hard drive.  There’s no going back, we are paper-less people, and if your lap top or other device breaks you’re screwed, let alone broken hearted to lose all those precious memories of holiday past.  Worth the investment and the time, it takes to set it up (yes, I hate this bit too).

 

  1. Wardrobe basics will see you through. You don’t need to follow fashion, but if you have some good quality basics in neutral shades in your wardrobe you’ll be ready for anything. Think dark jeans, a white shirt, black trousers, striped T.shirts, ankle boots, trench coat, black turtle neck, checked blazer and khaki jacket.  You get the gist.  Then keep an eye on the sales for on-trend pieces. The sales start so early you should get plenty of wear and most pieces can be kept for the following year.

 

  1. Unless you exercise like an athlete you won’t lose weight just by working out. There’s a reason why those in the know say Eat Less, Exercise More in that order, the first rule is the most important.

 

  1. Camping doesn’t come easy to me, but I can survive it. A boyfriend once said that I wasn’t an outdoor pursuit kind of gal, which I took as a compliment.  However, with the right amount of positive thinking, a case of ale, warm socks and a bobble hat I can get through a long weekend under the canvas.  My hair meanwhile cannot.  Fine wavy hair equals tangled bird’s nest by day three, but thankfully by then it’s time to head home.

 

  1. I can also do festivals, if they’re fancy schmancy. I absolutely loved my first-ever festival.  It was at Wilderness in Oxfordshire and we stayed for the whole four days.  It was fun, interesting, exciting and the toilets stayed clean right up until the last morning, when I was very glad to leave.  We were also lucky that the sun shone gloriously, every single day.  Rose tinted glasses, you bet.  Highly recommend it

 

  1. Saturday night TV sucks. Just because I’ve hung up my disco pants for family life does not mean I want to spend my much-loved Saturday nights watching a dog do tricks on the box or watch an Irish guy dress up like his mammy.  It’s supposed to be entertainment, but really, I’m glad to go to bed

 

  1. Make sure your car battery never runs out. On my return from a trip to London I found that I had accidently left my car headlamps on all day, which in itself is a pain in the ass, but was made 10 billion times worse by being parked in the middle of nowhere in a car park known for dogging.  Waiting for the AA man was the longest hour of my life and luckily a friend was with me, though that also meant creepy old men kept coming up to our vehicle, flashing torch lights to watch us “make out”.  It was hell on earth and kept me awake for weeks to follow.  I don’t know what I would have done if I’d been on my own.

 

  1. You don’t need to worry about bumping into an ex past 40. Uh uh, life’s journey is just as hard if not more so for them (I would hate to lose my hair) and if you don’t have your glasses on you won’t see them anyway

 

  1. Say what you want, but I love Botox. I started to notice the two vertical lines shooting upwards between my eyes from my early forties and by around 45 it was all I could see when I looked in the mirror.  Obviously by this time I had read everything I could on Botox and was interested but scared, then one day I couldn’t face seeing the 11s anymore and made an appointment.  I’ve never looked back and have minimal injections every six months that clear those “concentration lines”.  It doesn’t hurt, there’s no side effect and honestly, it has given me back my confidence.  I love it, and no-one can tell me otherwise.

 

  1. Pick an exercise that easily fits into your routine and you’ll keep doing it. I go running.  Though strictly speaking it’s a jog, I do it three or four times a week before I start work and have been doing it for so long it has become second-nature to exercise before I shower and get dressed and is part of my daily routine. I wouldn’t do it if I had to get dressed, drive to a gym etc, but it’s free and neatly fits into my day. I have no excuse.

 

  1. Saying thanks goes such a long way. I blush to my roots when I think of the times I received cards and gifts as a child and didn’t respond and acknowledge the thought with thanks.  My parents didn’t instil the discipline in me and now I’m older I realise how much the gesture means.  I try to remember now

 

  1. Working with young people motivates me. I notice it more and more, people in charge are now younger than me.  Whether it’s the store manager, policeman, doctor, a client, I feel like I’m always thinking how young people look and how able they are.  It frightens me a bit, because it means that I’m in the generation that has passed its first flush of life, but I also love working with and surrounding myself with young people.  It rubs off, that youthful motivation, goal-driven passion for all that can be achieved in a day and gives me a kick up the backside to do my best.

 

  1. An eyebrow is important, two are preferred. I don’t have much beauty advice, but after Botox the one treatment that I can’t live without is Microblading.  It has changed my face.  I can’t see for toffee, so pencilling in my eyebrows was a joke.  Eyebrows frame the face and this tattoo-like treatment means I only must pluck a few stray hairs, which I can just about do, and my face looks alive even before I feel it

 

  1. Be careful what you say. I’m always going on about my love of flying, because it generally means I’m getting out of dodge on a big old aeroplane and heading somewhere far more interesting, but for my 50th Steve has bought me an hour’s flying lesson in a two-seater plane!!!  I’ll let you know how that goes….

5 Ways I’ve Made Working From Home A Success

 

I became a freelance PR at the end of 2006.  It wasn’t planned, at all.  I had become sick in the summer, suffering from Bells Palsy, which had me laid up for a few weeks and during that time I realised that I just didn’t want to go back to my job, working in a PR agency in Covent Garden.

 

While convalessing back in Bristol, where I’d fallen sick, I started to think about what I would do if the Bels Palsy left me with permanant damage to my face.  I was suffering from stroke like syptoms down the left-hand side of my face, and I began to wonder if I could do my job, which mainly involved writing and talking to the media, from home.

 

I met up with a good friend who said she was looking for some freelance support and that was all I needed to hand in my notice.  I leapt into an unknown future.

 

What I love most about being self-employed, though it has its ups and downs, is working from home.  It has surprised me that I don’t mind being alone for one thing, because for the most part I’m on my own and I love to talk.  I mean I can really chat some when I want to and I love company.  You only have to look at my old school reports to know, “well, Mrs Dibble, Gail is easily distracted”.

 

More and more people are choosing to work alone, so I thought I would share some tips that I’ve learned.  If you have tips and tricks please share in the comments below.

 

1 – Music All Day Long

Steve is the real music fan in this house, so I’ve learnt from the best and have a radio on in the background all day long.  It keeps me up to speed on the news of the day, there’s chatter that can imitate a noisy office background and I turn the dial to suit the different moods I’m in or need to get to.  If I need to quicken my pace it’s Kisstory club sounds all the day, but there’s plenty of times that I’ll go on Youtube and pick out a favourite and enjoy The Best Of…

 

2 – Early Morning Jog

It wakes me up with a blast of fresh air – there’s nothing more mind-numbing than moving from bed to desk in one move – and means I can tick exercise off the list before my day really begins.  I just have a quick espresso, start up Strava and stick on my head phones.  Admittedly sometimes I feel like I’m running in my sleep and my legs are still heavy from the night’s sleep, but I really am chuffed.

3 – Watching the Clock

It’s not what you think.  I watch the clock to do the best, most effective job I can.  By keeping track of my time, from the start of a piece of work, to when I finish, not only means I’m efficient for my own purposes, I’m accurately billing for my businesses.  If you don’t, you can easily think you haven’t done enough and over-service, equally, the people who pay me want their money’s worth.  Using timesheets means we’re both winning.

 

4 – Office Essentials

Includes a clutter free desk (have I said I can be easily distracted), good coffee (see last week’s post here), hand cream – (currently loving Neutrogena Hydra Boost), a pin board with motivational quotes and pics of family and friends, cute fairy lights to cheer me up in the winter and a leafy plant to help clean the air.  I have a Spider plant on a shelf, which I bought years ago.  I’ve never looked after a plant so well.  And I talk to it!

 

 

Lastly, I always have a bottle of bubbles on the side of my desk. It reminds me that my job is supposed to be fun.  I’m not saving the planet, but sometimes it can get stressful when working to others deadlines.  You remember Ab Fab, right?!  Successful pitches, wins, achievements just need to be celebrated…

 

5. Decor

 

We turned our small bedroom into an office space.  Aside from the usual equipment (desk, exec-style office chair, printer/copier/scanner, modern table lamp, white blinds and a mug coaster) I added a snazzy rug and brick wallpaper, to give the space a sense of being in a real office.  There’s no room for lying on a bed when you’re trying to earn money.

 

Have a great weekend.

 

 

Gail xx

 

P.S  I didn’t take the photo on the front page.  Credit: wong via unsplash

Being Present

Credit: Priscilla-du-preez. Thanks Unsplash

 

I was seriously craving some ‘time out’ last weekend.  The plan was to chill, enjoy some sun, fun, food, family and friends and unwind the knot that was giving me some serious gyp in my neck.

 

So imagine my frustration when I spent the first 45 minutes of Saturday morning working.

 

That I’m aware of, I don’t save lives for a living, but it has become second nature to look on my phone ALL THE TIME and it was my addiction to grabbing my phone, while in bed, that got my weekend off to a bad start.

 

The annoying thing is that it didn’t have to go that way.  If I hadn’t opened the email I never would have known that someone had contacted me, or felt the need to respond, there and then.

 

I’m the same with text and whatsapp messages.  I’ll be sat eating supper with SP or we will have just sat down to watch a film together when a message beeps at me from the coffee table.  I don’t think twice about responding, sometimes with messages going back and forth for an hour at a time.

 

Of course, I start those conversations off as well.  I’ll ping off messages to friends late at night, assuming they’ll answer.  Of course, they will.  We’re all on our phones, aren’t we?  To be honest, I think a lot of us are.  But is being available 24/7 good for us and is it starting to affect our relationships with others in real life as well as our health and wellbeing?

 

Certainly, I’ve seen SP throw me some side eye when I’ve picked up my phone at every ad break to continue a message with someone else and as Saturday demonstrated, spending nearly an hour dealing with a work query was not the best way to start a much longed-for weekend of fun.

 

Emails, Instagram, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and Facebook, are all time thieves allowed into my life daily and I think it’s down to me to use them more wisely.

 

The internet and the invasive way it has entered our lives won’t be slowing down any time soon and to be honest I love the way the use of mobile phones has opened up my world.  I meet new people through it all the time, can multi-task life admin without leaving the sofa, and even glean new opportunities for work.  So what’s the problem.

 

It’s just too much.  I’m on it too much.  I feel anxious that I have to respond to every beep that lands on my phone.

 

I started dumbing down notifications, but have you noticed that with one single app you can receive three notifications, in separate ways, per message. I’ll get a ping, then a notification at the top of the phone screen and just to back both those up, a message to say I’ve got a message in my emails!

 

I mean!!

 

So, taking control back in to my own hands, I’ve decided that first off, I’m going to turn off the phone at 8 pm each night.  I need to give myself a cut-off point and SP keeps his phone on, so if anyone needs us in an emergency then they have his number, or our landline.

 

Secondly, I thought I would start reading my emails at scheduled times of the day.   Checking them constantly gets in the way of my to do list. As a PR, I communicate all day long, but I often need to sit down, gather my thoughts and write copy.  With constant interruptions it can take some time.  So perhaps a schedule of 9.30, 12.30, 2:00, 4:00 and 5:15 will be enough to read and respond to queries, even if it is to say I got your message and will get back to you tomorrow.

 

With this in mind, I started the experiment this week.  Here’s what happened:

 

Monday

Phone went off at 8 pm.  Twitched for two hours til bed-time, but slept better than I had in a while.

No work, no emails.

Tuesday

Phone off at 8 pm.  Less twitching, but my eyes were closing earlier than normal and I had to excuse myself from the Ten O’clock news…

Checked emails at 9.30 am.

Wednesday

Phone off at 8.10 pm.  I had to finish off a text…

First checked emails at 9.45 am.

Thursday

Phone off at 8:05 pm.  Responding to a text…

Checked emails at 9 am.

 

So I think I’m doing pretty good.  Albeit there does appear a loosening of the rule as the days go on, the deadline is firmly in my head and that’s because I’m already starting to feel the benefit.

 

Without the phone on and my eyes constantly staring into bright lights, they are naturally dimming ready for bed.  My mind is also less anxious for the two hours before bed-time, well unless SP puts The Walking Dead on!

 

What you will have you noticed is that I have paid hardly any attention to the email scheduling.    Apart from starting to check them at 9.30, I have still been looking at my emails all day long, until the phone goes off at 8 pm.

 

Still room for improvement obviously, but I’m glad I have nailed the timeline for the phone.  I instantly feel relaxed when it’s off and the world hasn’t caved in.  Yet.

 

As for keeping in touch with family and friends, I hope my relationships will benefit. It’s already on my mind to make arrangements and meet up with people and when I go out with them, I’ll leave the phone in the bag…as soon as I’ve taken a pic of my food for Instagram.

 

I can cut down, not out.

 

Have a good weekend.

 

Gail xx

 

How do you feel about your mobile phone?  Friend or foe?  And even if a ‘friend’, is it over-staying its welcome at times?