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Tidy For a Friday

a round up of beautiful things

Tidy for a Friday is my excuse to roam the lands of the internet and find interesting or beautifully designed pieces that pique my interest, only to take them back to these pages to show you. Sometimes I buy them, sometimes I just admire them. A virtual fake shopping list… If you will. All sources are linked below.

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The Luminoodle LED Light Rope looks like a pretty cool and practical way to stay safe on a bike. Visible from all angles, flexible and energy efficient. Although the people with headlamps will always win the cool points. 

Generally, I’m a fan of soy candles over petroleum based candles (they burn cleaner and more even), but I couldn’t look past these beauties. The mixed metal, the lids with little chains, the hammered effect. *sigh*

When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with the Egyptians. I used to have one of those gold snakes that wraps around the top of my arm and I’d wear it… Just ’cause. This necklace is called Cleopatra. It’s gold and faceted and perfect. I just wish I could ask my parents to buy it for me like they did that snake arm wrap. 

Just imagine how amazing pastries would look if they were rolled out with this bad boy.

I need a This Is My Too Tired To Function Sweatshirt.

These circular beach towels are everywhere I look these days. I even encountered a girl on the actual beach with one of them and they look just as comfy and chic in real life.

I don’t like leaving my handbag on the floor and I get disappointed when I go to a bar and they don’t have hooks under the table. I think this is a great solution.

Sunglasses with bits of unnecessary parts on them. That’s my jam lately. Which is exactly why I love these metal numbers with little bars on top. They also come in a really cool black & amber.

Anything tickle your fancy too?

Happy Friday folks!!

Daily Routine of a Creative Freelancer featuring Erica Midkiff

Daily Routine of a Creative Freelancer featuring Erica Midkiff via http://www.naomiliddell.com

A little intro from me to say… Erica is awesome. Her job title one of the coolest, most needed niches in the online business world. I adored reading through this post and getting to peek behind the curtain of her daily routine. She shares some amazing tips about setting up and winding down for the work day and, like me, has to do it all without caffeine!

Over to the questions…

Hi there! I’m Erica Midkiff, a content coach for creatives. I actually started out as a copy editor, but as I worked on editing projects, I kept wishing I could find a way to help people before they got to the editing stage. I could see inherent, beautiful connections in my clients’ ideas that I wanted to help them explore before they ever put pen to paper—and that feeling, that wish of mine, was the seed that eventually (with lots of thinking and planning and not a few frustrated tears!) grew into content coaching.

Today, I get to help creatives see those inherent connections in their writing, and then learn to listen to and trust themselves so they can share what they know with those who need to hear it most—in a way that feels both meaningful and sustainable.

I am super into learning and growing, and one of my core beliefs is that building stronger content helps create a stronger business, but also helps create a stronger self. I love helping my clients identify and use their own strengths and natural tendencies to create content (and really, make all kinds of decisions) in a way that works for them instead of always trying to do what works for everyone else.

You can find me at ericamidkiff.com and on Instagram @ericatmidkiff!

How and when, do you typically wake up in the morning?

For a while, I’ve been waking up at 5:42—I love lying in bed and daydreaming through two snooze cycles, and I like to be up at around 6.

But recently, I found sleepyti.me—a genius web app that tells you what time you should plan to wake up based on when you’re planning to go to sleep. Essentially, it assumes you’ll take a certain amount of time to fall asleep and then calculates your wakeup time in between sleep cycles—meaning you don’t wake up groggy and disoriented (worst feeling ever). I’ve been using it for a few days and find it really does make a difference! (It can also calculate what time to go to sleep if you need to wake up at a certain time, which I know will come in handy as well.)

What do you do before work?

Here’s my ideal morning: I get up at 6 and have some lemon water and do some stretching. Then I write my morning pages and read for a while—something that helps me grow, like a Brené Brown book. Then I eat breakfast, do my morning chores (feed the circling kitties being a big part of that), and take an easy walk afterwards before I hop in the shower and get ready for the day. Then I head into my office (I work from home) and do a 15-minute meditation (I typically use one created by the incredible Alaya Morning) that helps me transition from one part of my day to the next.

In reality, I don’t always get to every item on the list (except for breakfast for me and those hungry kitties—those two are non-negotiable!). But I can usually get to at least a few things on my list, and then it’s an extra treat when I do make time for that longer, meaningful morning.

How do you keep on top of tasks?

I very recently switched over from a more complicated task-management system to the free version of Wunderlist. I have folders for things like Clients, Development + Learning, Administrative, and so on, and within those folders I keep lists—one for each client or area of my business or project. I use their star system to mark deadlines, their date system to keep track of when I’m doing what, and their hashtag system to note how long I think each task will take me. That way, when I’m planning out my week, I have an easy view of what each day looks like—and if I start trying to pack too many hours into each day, I can move things around a bit. I also use my calendar to keep track of deadlines and appointments!

How do you stay motivated?

This is such a great question. I’ve realized over the years that I’m super motivated by organization of all kinds. When I have a handle on the big picture of my business (which is a big part of what I help my clients do as well because it’s the foundation of meaningful content), my office and home are neat and tidy, my files are all organized, and I know my week is mapped out nicely, I feel like I can do anything—and that I want to! So I don’t make myself feel too bad when I “procrastinate” by tidying up a bit—I know that it truly will give me the kick I need to keep going. Of course, I’m not always as organized as I’d like to be, but I really try to stay on top of things because it makes such  a big difference for me.

What do you have for lunch?

Soup is high on my list of favorite foods, so you can often find me having soup and a yummy salad. I also love having what I call a bistro lunch—a plate full of semi-random things like nuts, cheese, fruit, sliced chicken, and so on. Both fill me up without feeling super heavy. I try not to eat a lot of bread or pasta at lunchtime because it makes me feel tired really fast, but sometimes I forget (or splurge).

How do you beat the afternoon slump?

If I’m really struggling to get motivated or stay awake, I either take a short nap (we’re talking around fifteen minutes here) or take a quick walk around the block. Sometimes I need both, but sometimes just one or the other will do. (I’m getting better about being able to tell which I need!)

And throughout the day, if I need a quick pick-me-up, I stand up and do at least twenty jumping jacks. It makes me laugh every time, but just those few seconds give me just the right burst of energy! I’ve also heard that lying on the floor with your legs up the wall is an energy booster, but I keep forgetting to do it in the moment. (I’m setting an alarm to do it tomorrow!)

When do you clock off?

This changes based on when (or if) I go to the gym and if I have plans that evening. I generally end up working a pretty typical workday (the equivalent of 9 to 5 with a lunch break), but I often break it up to go to the gym at a time when not too many people are there. And if I’m honest, I often end up working some in the evenings as well—but I like to save fun or easy work for those times. So I might do some website updates or design a PDF resource (both are fun for me!) or catch up on my digital filing (which can be time consuming but doesn’t require a lot of brain power).

But no matter when I clock off, I have a little shutting-down ritual I like to do. I have a full checklist to remind me of all the steps, but essentially I tidy up (clean up my digital and physical desktops, close as many tabs as possible, and so on) and then plan for the next day (mark off things I’ve done in Wunderlist, check the calendar, make a handwritten list, and so on). It helps me turn my brain from work mode to home mode, which is really helpful when those things are housed in the same space! And it helps me feel organized the next time I return to work, which is motivating.

Is there anything you like to always do before bed?

I love to read in bed. In fact, a glorious weekend morning to me is when I get to lie in bed all morning and read! But I also love writing in one of those five-year journals right before bed—just a few sentences about what happened that day. This is our first year using it, and I can’t wait to go back and read our entries next year (ahem, for the days we didn’t forget, anyway!).

 

Rapid Fire Questions…

 

Pajamas or Grown Ups Clothes?
Pajamas! Or really, yoga pants. I like to be comfy.

 

Regimented Routine or Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants?
Ugh. I struggle with this one. Regimented routine with the option to fly by the seat of my pants when the routine feels like too much!

 

Tea or Coffee? Which flavour?
I can’t do caffeine—it makes me totally crazy—but I love both tea and coffee. Day to day, I drink decaf Earl Gray or Irish Breakfast tea, and then on random days and when I’m out and about, I love a cup of decaf coffee—it totally feels like a treat.

 

One Big Break or Lots of Little Breaks?
Lots of little breaks. I can only concentrate for so long! But I do insist on a full thirty minutes for lunch.

 

Work Station or Work From Wherever?
Work station all the way. I occasionally work from somewhere else, but only if I’m getting really, really antsy at my desk.

 

Lunch at your Desk or Dining Table?
Dining table 100% of the time. I stop, breathe, and read a fiction book—a total pause in my workday. It’s wonderful!

Thanks so much for having me, Naomi!

If you enjoyed learning a little about Erica’s work days and habits, please head on over to her website and check out what Erica has to offer. It’s pretty special.

*Erica’s beautiful image above was taken by the very talented Emma of W&E Photographie

The Slash & Burn Business Cleanse (With Step by Step How To)

A thorough and ruthless step by step guide to cleaning up your business by http://www.naomiliddell.com

My Mother In Law is the master of New Years with New Starts. She has her house completely spick and span to ring in the bells, including all sheets on all beds freshly changed. Being Scottish, New Year (or Hogmannay) is a huge deal to them.

So naturally, inspired by my Mother In Law, I decided to set upon what my husband likes to call “a self induced stress fest” in a bid to have clean sheets and a clean house for New Year. As I was hanging the sheets on the line, a bolt of inspiration hit me. It told me I should drop everything and go clean out my business instead of mopping my floors! And when inspiration calls, you must answer.

I turned on my computer and typed out the words Slash and Burn.

I don’t know about you, but throughout the course of a year, my business tools and files get cluttered. I hoard articles, set reminders and notifications that don’t work and get immediately disregarded, save things to my desktop (even though I know I really shouldn’t) and generally let the business mess pile up in a flurry of creativity and laziness.

The idea of a clean and organised business system to hark in the New Year had me too excited for my own good. I then set about it and wrote down everything that I did, so I could share it with you.

 

Slash & Burn Business Cleanse

 

Calendars

  1. Open up all the calendars you used throughout the year. In my case I started the year in iCal but moved to Google Calendar mid year.
  2. Look at all the Calendars you have set up, do they still serve you? If not, delete.
  3. Look at all the recurring tasks and appointments you have set up. Do you keep them and hold them sacred? If not, delete. Bam! Free time. You’re welcome.

To Do Lists

  1. Open up your To Do list manager of choice.
  2. Go through each project and list one by one. Be ruthless and delete anything that’s been on that list for more than a month. If you have something on there that really should have been done and you cannot possibly delete it. Reword the task to trick your mind out of its ‘scan past that’ mode and schedule it to get done asap.
  3. Delete lists that no longer serve you and keep your To Do list categorising as simple as possible.

Email

  1. I’m an inbox zero fan. I’m also pretty hardcore when it comes to email. If you’re one of those people that has thousands of unread messages *shudder*, my advice to you is toggle your view to unread only… And delete them all. Don’t look at me like that. If you’re afraid there’s an incredible opportunity lying amongst those emails, let me assure you, you’ve missed it. If it was really important, you’d have read it already.
  2. Delete any folders that are no longer relevant.
  3. Revise any rules you have set up for email filtering and make sure you’re still happy with that process.
  4. Archive all read emails. Now look at that, would you? In no time. Sweet, sweet inbox zero.

Evernote

  1. Open up Evernote, or your note collector of choice and delete every article you’ll never read. Gut check this one, but make sure you never lean towards ‘just in case’ reasoning. If it’s truly useful, file it and tag it as such.
  2. If you’ve made notes to yourself, try to compile them into appropriate folders and delete any that are no longer relevant.
  3. Aim to have as few notebooks/folders as possible.

Pocket/Feedly (Blog/article feed of choice)

  1. Go through everything you’re subscribed to and delete those you never read.
  2. Go through all saved articles and delete those you will never read.
  3. Customise your feed to show those that you want to read first.
  4. Add naomiliddell.com to your feed (Jedi mind trick).

Dropbox (or file storage of choice)

  1. If yours is anything like mine, take a deep breath.
  2. Start from the top and work your way to the bottom, open every folder and file, assess and delete those that are no longer needed.
  3. Those that you do need, move to an appropriate home before returning to the original folder you were working on.
  4. Do not get lost down the rabbit hole of folders within folders within folders. Aim to have them no more than three deep and your lifeline is to go back to the first screen. You’re working your way from top to bottom, remember?

Client Management System

  1. Over the course of a year, you’ve probably worked with a few people. You’ve also probably finished working with a few people. Archive those you no longer work with.
  2. In your current projects, check in on all documents, timelines, tasks etc. And make sure they’re neatly organised, and still relevant, ready to launch back in.
  3. Compile a list of next actionable steps for each project so you’re aware where the rubber will meet the road for each client in the New Year.

Computer Desktop

  1. Regardless of your Mac/PC preference (I’m a Mac user, so forgive me if my computer speak is geared that way), all computers have a somewhat customisable desktop these days. Delete anything you saved to that desktop that’s no longer relevant, eg. Screenshots.
  2. File away anything of importance that sits there. It’s probably the most unsafe area to keep anything of importance because you’re at the mercy of your computer’s health. Store online or on a sturdy external hard drive.
  3. Customise your app dock / console to only open one app at login. For me, it’s my Calendar. Having multiple apps open on login will not only slow the process down, but will begin your day with confusion and choice making. Don’t do that to yourself. Pick one, useful app (it could be your writing app) but for the love of hot chocolate don’t choose an internet browser.
  4. Customise your app dock / console to only show the programs you want to use on a daily basis. Key word, want. If you want to design more, get Adobe Illustrator on there. If you want to Tweet more, get TweekDeck on there. Whatever your business objective, make sure your menu bar/ app console supports and reflects that.

Smart Phone

  1. Look at your apps, really look at them. Are there any that distract you enough that you can’t go an hour without checking them? Delete. Are there any that you have ‘just in case’ but never actually use? Delete.
  2. Notifications, pings, dings, badges and banners. Go into the notification control center of your phone (you do have one) and have a look at what’s calling for your attention. If there’s anything on that list that prevents you from being creative and demands you automatically check it. Turn it off.

And Finally Ideas…

  1. Did you have any ideas scribbled in notebooks, Evernote or burned into your psyche that just haven’t come to fruition yet? Things you have harbored for a long while but haven’t taken any significant steps towards making a reality?
  2. If so, I want you to promise me something. You’ll either tackle that thing this very month, or burn it completely. Stale ideas take up brain real estate. They prevent the flow of new ideas and fill you full of a defeatist failure attitude. I know this, because I’ve had many. So I’m right there with you when I say either do it now, or let it go.

Practical Take Away (because I’m always interested in the practical)
Space. All of these things, the skipped to do’s, the ignored (or worse, addictive) notifications, the dying ideas. They all take up space in some shape or form. By clearing them out, you’re giving your brain much less to process on a daily basis. Freeing up space for creative ventures and wild ideas.

 

Magical Take Away (because I’m always interested in the magical)
By holding on to things that do not serve you, you’re asking for more things that do not serve you. Clear space. Make room. Present yourself all clean and fresh, ready to take on new ideas. Then see what comes your way.

 

If you’ve reached the end, high five friend! You did a lot of reading and I’m proud of you. You might want to Pin it or save it for future reference. I’m planning on doing this once a quarter. 

Did I miss anything? If so, let me know in the comments below. 

Much love, 

Naomi

Daily Routine of a Creative Freelancer featuring Sara Berkes

Daily Routine of a Creative Freelancer -- Sara Berkes -- Find out how Sara beats the afternoon slump and what her favourite online tools are | http://wp.me/p5PcsJ-cV | naomiliddell.com
 
 
If you haven’t familiarised yourself with the beautiful design work of Sara, you’re in for a treat. This lady is one incredibly talented designer and I’ve loved getting to peek behind the curtain at how she makes it all happen. I know you’ll enjoy it too!

Sara Berkes is a whiskey drinking, cat loving, fabric hoarding, clothes making Canadian design strategist and owner of Sara Berkes Creative. She helps make the visual experiences that clients and customers have with small businesses absolutely amazing. Her design philosophy is that she doesn’t believe the devil is in the details—she believes the difference is. Between good business visuals and great ones. And getting down and dirty with the details just so happens to be her specialty. Passionate about the power of good design and how it can change the way people experience the world, Sara wants to help contribute to that change—making everyone’s experiences in life a bit more beautiful.

 
On to the questions!
 
How, and when, do you typically wake up in the morning?
 
I usually wake up between 9 and 10 am, sometimes to my alarm clock, usually just to my body clock, occasionally to incessant dog barking from the dog park across the street.
 
What do you do before work?
 
Check my email, Instagram, and Facebook on my phone in bed, and have some breakfast—either at home, or I’ll take the two block walk to my local coffee shop and grab a treat.
 
How do you keep on top of tasks?
 
I use a printed day planner (I know, so retro of me), plus Timely app and Basecamp to keep track of everything I have going on. If I don’t write it down, I forget pretty much instantly (one of those typical “I’m turning into my mother” things), so I keep a running list for clients in Basecamp, a written list in my day planner (I’m currently using the Day Designer but I have just ordered Danielle LaPorte’s new planner for 2016 to try switching it up a bit), and have my week blocked out in Timely. I like being able to physically check things off in my day planner, but Timely is great for keeping track of how long I spend on each project. 
 
How do you stay motivated?
 
90% of the time I really enjoy what I do. I’m motivated by tackling a challenging project and making it work, by the excited emails I get from clients when I’ve nailed it, and by knowing that something as simple as a new brand identity or finally having a user-friendly website or a well-designed eBook can really help take someone’s business from flailing to successful. And when all else fails, deadlines really motivate me to get shit done. 
 
What do you have for lunch?
 
I don’t really eat lunch persay… I’m usually hungry around 2 or 3 pm and will have a bowl of cereal or some toast, or if I have leftovers those will definitely be demolished, but it really depends on how big my breakfast was. I’ve always struggled with lunch as a meal. I never know what to make!
 
How do you beat the afternoon slump?
 
Naps if I have time. I love to nap. Sleep in general is one of my favourite things. I think most people really undervalue it. I’ve just recently joined my local YMCA and now that the days are getting shorter I think I may have to trade that nap for some exercise to keep myself going, because waking up at 4 pm in the dark (which it’ll be where I live in about a month) is really disorienting. If I’m really slumpy and getting nothing done, I may do something fun like pick up some sewing or knitting, or watch an episode of a guilty pleasure TV show if I just feel like being a zombie for an hour. I’m currently throwing back to the late 90’s with Dawson’s Creek—so guilty, so pleasure. Love it. 
 
When do you clock off?
 
Once I’ve finished checking off my to-do list! It varies every day. Sometimes I’m done in as little as 4 or 5 hours, if I’m really on top of it and not facing a large deadline or launch, and sometimes I’m staring down midnight with an upbeat playlist and a takeout order on the way. Luckily the former happens much more frequently than the latter, as I would definitely burn out doing that regularly, but sometimes you just gotta buckle down and keep going. 
 
Is there anything you like to always do before bed?
 
Drink some sleepytime tea (my current favourite is Serenity Now from David’s Tea), check in with social media, watch an episode or two of whatever show I’ve got on the go or pick up whatever library book I’ve got checked out at the moment (right now I’m reading Playing Big by Tara Mohr. Highly recommend), and then turn off my phone and enjoy my cloud bed. Pillowtop mattresses, I’m telling you. So dreamy. 
 
 
Rapid Fire Questions…
 
Pajamas or Grown Ups Clothes?
The pajamas of grown ups—cute sweats and sweatshirts (cute sweats sounds like an oxymoron, but I swear these are the cutest sweatpants I’ve ever owned. I make my own clothes and the pattern is called the Hudson Pant from True Bias, in case anyone reading this is a fellow sewist). 
 
Regimented Routine or Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants?
Regimented. I usually have my day planned out in advance, and if not, I make my checklist before I get started on anything. 
 
Tea or Coffee? Which flavour?
Tea on weekdays, coffee on weekends. Green in the morning, sleepytime in the evening, chai tea latte if I’m feeling fancy and like leaving the house (I have no idea if that counts as tea but I’m going to pretend it does). Though right now is PSL season and I’ve been enjoying far too many of those, even on weekdays. 
 
One Big Break or Lots of Little Breaks?
Lots of littles. I have plenty of solo dance parties in my living room throughout the day.
 
Work Station or Work From Wherever?
Work station. 
 
Lunch at your Desk or Dining Table?
Given I don’t have a dining table (just a weird tiny patio table from Ikea in my kitchen because it’s all that would fit) I usually eat at my desk or on my couch if I feel like taking a TV break while eating. 
If you’d like to see more of Sara or connect with her online, you can visit her website or like her Facebook page.
 
 
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My Best Two Ingredient Skincare Tip

My Best Two Ingredient Skincare Tip -- Perfectly natural, cheap and shows amazing instant results. I swear by this | http://wp.me/p5PcsJ-cT | naomiliddell.com

 

We live right next to the beach in one of the hottest countries on Earth. 

While this does mean a cleansing sea breeze and excellent Vitamin D exposure, it also means a lot of sweat, sunscreen and dried sea salt. Which for me, over the last month or so, has led to terribly clogged pores. 

I had read about this tip a few times on good old Pinterest. A coffee and coconut oil face scrub. But for some reason dismissed it as a less effective natural alternative to the face masks I have already bought. 

Until one day, I noticed a bucket of used coffee grounds in our local cafe with a sign saying “Free” in front. I subsequently found out that people take it by the bucketload for their gardens (apparently a great soil conditioner and compost additive) which explained the very strange look the Barista gave me when I rocked up one day with a teeny tiny jar to fill. I explained it was to make a face scrub, to which he replied “I’ve not heard that one yet”.

So off I went home to mix the grounds with some coconut oil. I am not joking when I say that the results are instantaneous. My pores were mostly unclogged, my skin was glowing and tauter than before. I’ve been using it once or twice a week since. 

For the sake of this post, I’ve also researched exactly why this two ingredient DIY face & body scrub works so damn well. And here’s what I uncovered…

The coffee grounds are exfoliating, but also boost the skin’s production of collagen and elastin. Which explains the taut, anti-aging effect. A recent study has also shown that when topically applied, caffeine actually reverses the harmful effects caused by UV exposure!

The addition of coconut oil makes it easier to apply. But also adds antibacterial, anti fungal and antimicrobial benefits. Making it perfect for any skin type, be that dry, oily, or combination. 

The other thing I love about this scrub is that I don’t like the taste of coffee. No matter how many times I try it. But I do love the smell of it. So waking up and being able to scrub my face with coffee first thing in the morning while the scent fills the room is incredible. 

And if you don’t happen to have coconut oil on hand or still can’t get over the idea of applying oil to your face, put some of the coffee grounds in your hand and mix into a paste with a few drops of water, I’ve found this works just as well.

I’d love to know if any of you use this already, or if it’s something you might try?

Much love and coffee, 

Naomi

My Challenge for the Rest of 2015

#headstartonething - A Challenge to do One Thing every day for the remaining 35 days of 2015 - FREE PRINTABLE || naomiliddell.com ||

There are 35 days left of 2015.

35 days.

I know this because I found myself pondering the impending New Year this morning. Which is unusual, because I’m get so wrapped up in the joy and excitement of December that the 1st of January kinda sneaks up on me.

I’m sure I had some goals (aka resolutions) for 2015. But I can’t remember them now, which gives you a pretty good idea of how well I’ve stuck to them. Considering there are still some areas of my life that I would like to improve, I started fantasising about all the things I could do in 2016.

Then I remembered, there are 35 days left until the 1st of January 2016.

That’s a whole month and a bit to accomplish something. As my lazy mind kicked in to put it off until 2016, I decided that enough was enough. I’m not going to relegate the things I want more of in my life to the strange (and let’s face it, ridiculed) tradition of New Year’s resolutions. It’s almost like they’re doomed the day you make them. I’m going to get a head start.

I’m going to challenge myself (and you) to commit to doing one thing for the rest of 2015.

A 35 day challenge, if you like.

And to make it entirely doable and easy on ourselves, I really only want you to pick one thing.
Yep, just one simple thing.

 

 

In my case, I’ve chosen exercise. I’ve found that exercise is my keystone habit. If I exercise, I’m more productive, I’m in a better mood and my creative flow comes to me much easier. It’s the habit that makes all of my other habits seem simple. But I’m not very good at making myself do it and I’m really good at counting my walk to the coffee shop around the corner as exercise.

So my #headstartonething is going to be:

I will intentionally exercise for at least 10 minutes every day until 2016.

I’ve chosen 10 minutes because I want this thing to be doable. I can always carve out 10 minutes of my day. I intend to do a lot of 30+ minute Yoga with Adriene classes (because she’s my fave), but I also want the option of an extended workout from the famed 7 Minute Workout App, or 10 minutes of skipping to be my fall back on a busy day.

Like I said, something simple and small that you’re willing to do every day between now and the New Year.

I’m also making the printable you see in the photo above into a free download. No need to sign up to anything, just click below, print it out and stick it somewhere you’ll see. If you’re up for taking the challenge with me, colour each little heart in for a day you do your one thing. The aim is to not break the chain and finish the year with a bang!

I’ll be doing this, so if you’d like to see my progress and share photos of your own one thing, just hashtag them as #headstartonething on Instagram and I’ll be sure to like and comment.

With that said, I’m off to do a yoga class. Wish me luck!
And regardless of if you’re up for the challenge or not, I’d love to hear the one thing you’d like to do every day for the rest of 2015 in the comments section below.

Much love and yoga pants,

Naomi

P.S. If you happen to stumble across this after the day it goes live and want to join in, please do! And you totally get to colour in any hearts left over at the end if you don’t break the chain. Consider it a bonus for not thinking ‘Oh I’ve missed the boat, I’ll just have to wait until New Year’ 😉

 

printablelink

Daily Routine of a Creative Freelancer featuring Quaymberley Dudley

 

drcf-quaymberley-dudley

I’m Quaymberley Dudley and I live in South Africa. My name is pronounced the same as ‘Kimberley’ because of the word ‘Quay’. I studied Fine Art and I’m a freelance illustrator for my small business Leenykova Creative. My creative work comes first and then I do design work for clients. This year I chose to use color pencils to build my portfolio. Most days I sit with my color pencils, a blank sketchbook page, podcast playing and something starts to happen. My art is process base, so I never know what the final artwork looks like and I tend to come back to drawings a few weeks later to use aspects of them in other places.

 

How, and when, do you typically wake up in the morning?

My favourite thing about waking up is that there is a magic moment when my eyes are still closed, my body is still in sleep mode but I’m awake in bed. That’s when I can get some really good ideas or at least some clarity before I start the day. It’s also a great way to ease myself gently into getting out of bed. Usually my dog Snoopy wakes me up because she is hungry at 7.30am and she is always putting her cold wet nose on my face. If I’m lucky I get up before her. 

 

What do you do before work?

I have to have my oats and a cup of coffee first and I love a block of dark chocolate with it. My desk has to be cleared and my studio has to be moderately clean. Then the work starts.

 

How do you keep on top of tasks?

My daily diary is where I list everything I want to do that day and it starts with 3 things, 1. Draw, 2. Yoga/Pilates, 3. Freelance work or something similar that needs to be done. I also have an A4 paper that lists my goals, illustration plans, wish list items & to-do list for the month and whenever I’m not sure what to do, I use it as my guiding star. It’s decorated and very pretty because I use it everyday and I’m always adding or removing things from it.

 

How do you stay motivated?

Having a creative flow, nurturing it and seeing the results is very motivating. I really enjoy what I do. I’ve been working for myself since the beginning of the year and I know that what I am doing is a process. Everyday I do something that contributes to my body of work. I am motivated by looking back at where I was a few months ago to where I am now. I started off in January with no ideas, no drawings and today I have more than 6 A4 sketchbooks filled with completed works that I use to design products for my Etsy shop. 

 

What do you have for lunch?

Soup or a green smoothie. The less decisions I make, the better.

 

How do you beat the afternoon slump?

I do yoga daily and the little rest at the end, shavasana (corpse pose) can easily turn into a meditation (which is really refreshing) but mostly I end up having a power nap on my yoga mat.

 

When do you clock off?

Well, this is really bad, but I think I only clock off when I close my eyes at night and even then I’m letting my mind wander and planning my day ahead or thinking about all the amazing things that could possibly happen next! 

Is there anything you like to always do before bed?

I like to read before bed because it makes me sleepy.

 

Rapid Fire Questions…

 

Pajamas or Grown Ups Clothes?

PJs!

 

Regimented Routine or Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants?

Stick to the routine.

 

Tea or Coffee? Which flavour?

Black coffee x2 a day.

 

One Big Break or Lots of Little Breaks?

Little breaks especially because my dogs are in the studio with me all day so we have to go outside, play ball and get some sunshine.

 

Work Station or Work From Wherever?

Workstation all the way in my studio.

 

Lunch at your Desk or Dining Table?

Desk lunch.

 

I don’t know about you guys, but I was very inspired to hear that Quaymberley puts her own creative work before her clients! I love this and am thinking of incorporating it into my own business. If you would like to pay Quaymberley a visit, you can find her website here, follow her on Instagram, visit her Etsy store or like her Facebook Page

What I Learnt From a Stranger In a Cafe

what-i-learnt-from-a-stranger-in-a-cafe2

 

I’m sitting in a cafe that’s across the road from my house. They do great breakfasts here and today is a day where I feel like being in the company of strangers, rather than couped up at home.

I’m working.

As are five other people in this room, judging by the flipped laptop lids and the serious look of focus on their faces.

But the one stand out person here for me is the middle aged gentleman to my left. He’s wearing the same look of focus as the rest of us, but his eyes are not fixed on a monitor. They’re fixed on a crossword puzzle.

He’s got a delicious looking hot chocolate next to his right hand, perfect for alternating between casual sips and dancing a pen around the page as he brings his puzzle together.

And I’m learning.

This morning, I decided to change things up a bit. And instead of dropping Ethan off at daycare and returning home to launch straight into my pending to do list, I decided that I would start my work day by straightening my hair and painting my nails.

My goal was to be at this cafe by 10am working. I was here by 9:20am. What did I learn from this? That too often, the things we want to do for pleasure, be that slicking on a few coats of nail polish or sitting down to a crossword puzzle, take way less time that we think.

This man sitting next to me, do you think he cleared his entire day with the plans to do nothing but go to a cafe, do a crossword puzzle and drink hot chocolate? Likely not. Do you think he has a family and obligations and daily responsibilities to attend to? Likely so. But he chose to slice a little time out of his day to do something that clearly brings him joy.

That gentleman, since I began writing this, has just packed up his things and left the cafe to go about the rest of his day. I bet he’ll be kinder to his colleagues, brighter for his wife and more relaxed in himself because of it.

I’m taking note.

Tidy For A Friday

Tidy for a Friday is my excuse to roam the lands of the internet and find interesting or beautifully designed pieces that pique my interest, only to take them back to these pages to show you. Sometimes I buy them, sometimes I just admire them. A virtual fake shopping… If you will. Click on the image to be whisked straight to the source. 

***

I so desperately wish that I could say that today embodied that Fri-Yay feeling. But it in fact did not.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to moan all over your internet about it. But let me paint you a ten word picture. 

Sick toddler.
No sleep.
Baby diahorrea.
One baby wipe left.

Yep. Now that he’s in bed asleep, I have a rather large bar of chocolate in the cupboard calling to me. But in the meantime, let’s look at spectacular things from the internet to cheer ourselves me up.

2adult

This is how I felt by about 9am today. To be fair, it’s also how I feel when bill paying, grocery shopping and telling people I have a small child who I’m responsible for. 

 

2bookends

 

Speaking of that small child… He’s building up quite a book collection. And the propping of said books should absolutely be done with balloon animal bookends. 

 

2keyboard

 

Logitech has created a washable keyboard. And to be honest, it makes me really nervous. But also curious.

 

2namaste

 

Hard truth: At the beginning of this week, I convinced myself that I would do a session of YouTube yoga every day. That mat is on my bedroom floor and I’ve mainly used it for sitting on while I fold washing. #yogafail

 

2roomba

I have never much understood the Roomba fascination. I don’t mind vacuuming. And I don’t really trust a circular robot to get the dust from the corners. But this bad boy… The Scooba Floor Washer, I can get on board with. I would happily have un-mopped corners in my house, if it meant the rest of the mopping was done for me. 

 

2ubud

 

And finally. Why, yes! I would absolutely love to be whisked off to this five star Bali retreat. Thank you so much for offering. 

How has your Friday been treating you?

Much love and dark chocolate, 

Naomi

xoxo

Daily Routine of a Creative Freelancer featuring Asia Croson

 
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Asia Croson is a professional photographer, personal blogger, podcast co-host & editor in chief of SLO What? Magazine, living in San Luis Obispo, California, the happiest place in America.
She hopes to be Oprah one day, but with a six pack and purple hair.
 
How, and when, do you typically wake up in the morning?
 
I typically wake up early- at 6:30 or 7- by the sheer grace of God, because alarms wake up my boyfriend, who works nights & is a sleeping bearded giant that early. I always think it’s a great idea to sleep in simply because I can, but then I feel sluggish the rest of the day! 
 
What do you do before work?
 
Before I head to “work”, I get presentable enough to see like 30% of my community (#smalltownliving) on my daily walk to Starbucks. I always start the day at Starbs, for some down time, organization time, coffee (duh), and just to get myself out of the house!
 
How do you keep on top of tasks?
 
I purchased the Day Designer, which I adore, and I write all my tasks in it neatly & in purple pen & that keeps me very much so on top of my tasks. AKA a simple to do list that is presentable for Snapchat (so I can snap me crossing things off my list so everyone can oohh and ahh over my productivity). I make a master list for the day, or for the week, and then make sub lists “I can go swimming after I finish these things” or “I will feel ready for my vacation next week when I finish these things.”
 
How do you stay motivated?
 
I give myself plenty of rewards- vacations, lunch dates, frozen yogurt, swimming, shopping. And I am also just very motivated by crossing things off my list! Recently, though, I have been working on going above and beyond expectations of my clients or my audience, and really enjoying wowing them- whether that’s by speed of turn around, quality of turn around, etc. I definitely find a thrill in my clients/ audience being extra happy!
 
What do you have for lunch?
 
I typically spend lunch with my bearded bae, because he works nights, and we like taking advantage of our flexible schedules and enjoying midday time together. Tacos on Tuesdays, wings on Wednesdays, sometimes I make salads, sometimes we have left overs, sometimes he’s just waking up so I make breakfast again!
 
How do you beat the afternoon slump?
 
Coffee. More coffee. Or a nap. Or I do something that doesn’t take much brain power, like swimming, or cleaning my room (that happens like once a month), or addressing envelopes while watching The Mindy Project. But most of the time I nap 😉
 
When do you clock off?
 
Only when I start doing something else. If I have no other plans, I’m definitely working! So I tend to make a lot of social plans. Relaxing is something I definitely need to work on!
 
Is there anything you like to always do before bed?
 
I fall asleep pretty early, and I really enjoy scrolling through my favorite blogs before bed. I recently purchased gamma ray glasses that protect your vision from the blue lights of electronics, so I feel a little better about this habit, but after I finish Mindy’s book on audio, I’m going to start reading long form again before bed!
 
 
 
If you want to pay the hilarious and talented Asia Croson a visit, you can follow her on Instagram or catch her on Periscope (@asiacroson).
Hi! I'm Naomi

Hi! I'm Naomi

Life affirming designer and productivity enthusiast.

Designing values based brands and teaching creatives how to balance productivity, creativity and pleasure.

Technically, on honeymoon since 2011

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