|Photo by Hannah Blackmore|
Couple & Family Therapist and Relationship Education Coordinator
What does a typical day look like for you?
My husband gets up anywhere from 4:40am to 5:30am so I am usually up at the same time, we don’t have kids to contend with yet so I take this time to check blogs, write a post, plan dinner, send emails or scroll through instagram. I get to work at 8:30am (it’s only a 10 minute commute for me) and open up my Outlook, a lot of my job is work created from emails, setting up new programs, partnerships with other agencies etc so I am always at my desk tapping away. I am the kind of gal that that likes to do things as soon as I can — the impulsive side of my personality — so it’s important for me remember not to rush as that’s when I usually make mistakes. I may have a client some days and others I have relationship education groups to run. In between these things I am responding to emails about my blog, surfing the web for inspiration for my home all the while blabbing on the phone throughout the day — did I tell you I can multitask? I am usually done with work at around 4:30pm and back home by 4:45pm which gives me time to de-stress, go for a walk, check emails and prepare dinner. I have a strong routine and I find it very reassuring, I like knowing what my next 48 hours looks like and planning ahead. We usually get into bed by 9pm (yes I know and we don’t even have kids yet!) but Jules falls asleep within a nano second and I catch up on my TV shows, check out all the ‘what’s new’ on my fashion go-to’s (NAP, Topshop, Shopbop) and end up nodding off at around 11pm.
What parts of your job do you love?
The parts of my job I love are all about coordinating people and getting things done. I like to be able to tick things off my list each day, it gives me a sense of achievement and satisfaction. I love working with people in distress and being able to help them work things out for themselves, it’s also a pretty big honor to hear all the stories everyday, people place a lot of trust in me.
|Photo by Hannah Blackmore|
What parts of your job do you dislike?
Hmm, the fact that I’m not working for Kelly Wearstler! No, kidding, there are parts of my job that are hard, the burnout rate is pretty high, you need to take really good care of yourself which is something I have gotten pretty good at over the years. The work can be stressful, people usually come to us in times of crisis so emotions are at an all-time high and if we aren’t managing our emotions very well then it can spill over into our personal lives and make things unmanageable.
What things do you have to do that you didn’t realize going into your job?
I have been in this industry for a pretty long time now (about 10 years) and have slowly progressed through the company so luckily I always kind of knew what was coming; there have never really been any big surprises. Actually, moving into management, I didn’t realize how painful co-workers can be with their admin tasks! I have to learn not to get too frustrated and judge-y because admin is something I am really good at and can forget that it’s not that easy for others.
What type of calendar do you keep?
I download one of these each month for home and have all my non work and blog related things on there they are a fuss free calendar that I pretty up with my beloved post its. I also still keep a paper diary for work (gasp, I know), it’s a habit I have not been able to break, I think when I finally get my iPhone I will make the move officially. But I do like being able to see my full week with one glance so I will see how I go.
How do you plan out your calendar?
Week by week usually, I like to see at a glance how busy the month is but I don’t like to preplan months in advance (unless it’s a holiday!). I only put in non-related work stuff at home and keep the work calendar to my paper work diary. I think once I get an iPhone I will integrate and digitize things a little more. It’s also good to be able to go, wow, these next two weeks are busy, let’s keep the next weekend totally plan free so we can relax. Otherwise it gets too overwhelming and busy – I need me time.
How do you organize your to-do list?
My to-do list is a series of post-its in my diary, on the calendar and on the fridge, generally the bills go on the fridge until they are paid and then I shred them. I use a Rhodia notebook (the best orange) on my office desk if I have a lot to do, then when it’s all done I tear it out and bin it (see? so compulsive!) Things I see that I want to buy I usually blog about or put in the ‘Peep Loves’ post each month, which is really the reason I initially set up the blog, a bit of a virtual inspiration board and reminder of the things I want to buy. Oh, I also still write little notes on my hand to remember important things, is that bizarre? Do people still do that? Maybe peeps without iPhones…
How do tackle your to-do list?
I am pretty stress-y about lists, if I create one it’s like a nervous energy until each thing is done, which is why I find it easier to address things as they come up, so I am not left with piles of magenta paper everywhere! I try to work through things in a methodical way, do the quick easy things first to get the list down then work on the more time consuming things. At work, my inbox is my to do list, once something has moved out of the inbox it either means it has been dealt with and gets filed/deleted or it means it can wait and goes into my ‘to do’ email folder.
How do you attack your never-ending email? Do you have a certain strategy you use?
Most definitely, for non-work related emails I read them as soon as I get them and usually respond to them immediately. They all get sorted into different colours so I know what needs attention and what can wait. Then they make their way into folders for blog, personal, bills etc so I have a fairly clean inbox usually.
How do you get your blog posts organized and published?
Okay, this makes me feel really organised, I usually get little bursts of inspiration for the blog and have ideas for 5 or 6 posts in a row so I schedule them about 7 days in advance, this helps me feel more relaxed about it because I may not even look at the blog for 3 days, I forget what she looks like! It also means I can go away for holidays and not have to worry about posting (mind you, post holiday posting is one of my favourite things!). If I have an idea for a post I will draft a title and put a link to a web page, a picture or a little bit of text to jog my memory about what I want to post about, this way, when I have some spare time in the evening or morning I can go back and finish it then add it to the schedule. At the moment I have about 7 posts scheduled and about 4 drafts, this is pretty standard for me. I try to put a lot of effort into each post and make them worthwhile, I used to post twice daily but that was too much pressure so I am back to once.
When you are stuck on a project, how do you get out of the rut?
I usually stop what I’m doing and go for a walk or speak to someone about it. Clearing your mind helps, I also like to break it down into manageable pieces. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed stressing about the enormity of something that I can’t see how to figure it out, that’s when I need to de stress and come at it differently, I usually find that once I make a start it instantly becomes more manageable. It goes to prove that it’s the self talk that keeps me stuck. Restyling my desk also helps enormously in getting my mind to refocus.
What is your process and/or work strategy? Anything that you have found that works for you?
The first rule I have is no work at home, as soon as I leave the office I switch off, I deliberately didn’t link my work emails to my blackberry so I can really de-stress, I also make it a rule to never check work emails at home, I can stress about work when I’m there! Plus my phone goes off at about 7pm or 8pm each night so I can really relax – my friends find it annoying but I need to do these things for my own sanity! I keep my desk relatively neat and de-cluttered and I file things away in cupboards and folders to keep it minimal.
As well as my blog being my virtual inspiration board, I also keep an inspiration folder that I started in about 2007 and it’s filled with lusty images, magazine tears, stickers, anything that gets me excited about style. I love going back to it for reference, and have found that I am just as inspired from the first images I put in there now as I was then!
How do you GSD at home?
My husband thinks I am crazy OCD with my level of organization in the home but he also really loves it because the apartment never gets messy – I am a constant tidier, I don’t leave things until they are worse, I clean as I go. If I am feeling moody about decorating (which is usually late at night in bed when I’m thinking about all the cool things I’ll do when I buy a house) I get all energized and end up getting out of bed and either writing a list of my ideas or rearranging things at 11pm! I can’t relax if I have a creative idea bubbling away. As for getting beloved to do the vacuuming, well he needs a weeks notice to gear himself up for the task (he HATES it but does it anyway because he loves me) and I don’t really mind vacuuming but I love getting him to do it because of how dramatic he makes the whole thing, oh, and the praise he thinks he deserves after? I mean! The whole thing makes me giggle so I keep it going. I actually find a lot of comfort in tidying and cleaning, I am very house proud and feel most relaxed when my surroundings are fresh.
Nuggets of advice you’ve been given that have stuck?
My mum always says ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ but the reality is, the small stuff keeps me energized and moving, I love getting things done and probably always will. So what if being organized makes me work better, sleep better, and feel better? If it feels good, do it! Saying all of that, I do consciously make myself relax about things as often as I can, and I do not run the house like a military base, I just thrive off GSD. I have also been told to ‘do what you can in the time you have and that’s the best you can do’.
My most important ‘gadget’ has to be a post it, I LOVE them (in neon colours, of course), they are my life, I use them to stick in my diary, on my wall planner, on my I Mac and once I have done whatever it says off it goes into the bin. I am also the type of person who deletes emails once they are dealt with or they are filed away immediately (you should see my Microsoft outlook at work) I am a bit – okay a lot – OCD about ‘getting things done’ ask anyone who has met me, people always comment on how efficient and organised I am, it’s my thing. My mind naturally figures out the quickest most efficient way to complete tasks whether it’s getting to work, finishing a report or doing a blog post, Getting Shit Done is my life!
All photos by Claudia unless otherwise noted.