My Main Goal For 2016

fitbithr

I have a few things I would like to achieve this year. There is one major goal, though – and it is –

Eat Less, Move More.

This is a pretty simple goal. It needs to happen. My weight has been quietly creeping up to a place I am not a fan of. At the start of January, I weighed in at 95.2kg – (209.88 pounds) – if I let things continue this way, I’d soon be over 100kgs.

The Other Half and I bought ourselves the Fitbit Charge HR for Christmas. We got them on special for $124 each. This little gadget has changed my life in a good way – I will do a post all about it later this month once I have been using it a little longer. Here is a quick look at the dashboard, which you will see in more detail in my upcoming post. :)

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As a part of the Fitbit thing, I’m also tracking my food intake. I was doing it with the inbuilt Fitbit food logging software, but I have now switched to MyFitnessPal. You can find me here – MyFitnessPal & Fitbit.

We bought the Fitbits on Tuesday, so I weigh in on Tuesday mornings and in the first week I lost 1.3kg (2.86 pounds).

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Of course one of the very first things we did was go out for a long walk, during which I managed to pinch a nerve in my foot, making it difficult to get my 10,000 steps a day for that first week. In fact for two days I had to rest and limp about – then I injured it again and had to take another rest day. That has been quite frustrating. However even on a rest day I managed 6468 steps which is pretty decent.

I know I have a couple of readers who have set themselves the same goal and at least one thinking about buying themselves a Fitbit, so here are my lessons learned after one week.

Start Out Slow.

As soon as you get that Fitbit, you’ll want to get moving. However if you do that, you will not have a baseline to know how many steps you would usually do in a day. So my advice the first day is – do what you would do on a regular day.

Be Careful

An injury will hinder your progress and frustrate you, so rather than go all out, ramp up your exercise slowly. If you are not doing 10,000 steps to begin with, aim to add a thousand steps each day.

Work It Out

It is useful to figure out how many steps you get from things you do regularly. For example, if I need to run to the shops, it will be 2,000 steps or so. A shower is usually 200-300 steps – I keep mine on, you don’t have to, of course. Why is this important?

Step Budget

If you know that you have to do grocery shopping tomorrow, and you know that is going to be around 2,000 steps, you might want to cut back on your other activities.

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For example – I like to get on the treadmill and do a walk but I will always stop around 8,000 steps because I know the rest of my daily doings (dinner, cleaning, etc) will be around 2,000 steps. On the day you see pictured above, we discovered we did not have an essential dinner ingredient, so off to the shops we went – and I went way over on my steps for that day.

Not that going over 10,000 steps is a major problem, but at this stage with the injury I really want to try and stick to 10,000 -11,000 a day.

Sleep Is Interesting

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Sleep stats, that is. Above you see one of my best nights of sleep since getting the Fitbit. Interestingly, I had stayed up late reading a truly great book. When I did go to sleep, I was out solidly for 4 hours. I woke up so refreshed the next morning.

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This sleep was less good but it seems like this is a more normal sleep for me.

Fitbit Thoughts

Why does it seem like this is going to work well for me? Putting this little tracking band on my wrist has inspired me to get moving and watch my food intake. Is it because, in a world where everything can be tracked, tracking the human body tells us more about ourselves? I haven’t logged food to this extent before and I am finding it to suit my Aspie, slightly OCD nature.

Saying It Out Loud

The major reason I am posting this here is to hold myself accountable. There is always the danger I could become complacent and fall off the eat less, move more wagon. I’ll update here once a month.

Over To You

Did you make any goals for 2016? Do you fitbit or myfitnesspal? :)

2016 Goal, exercise, health, Making Choices, moving forward

Carter Models Again

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I found this years Winter Knit! YAY. It is a gorgeous knit from Millers. It cost the enormous sum of $15. It is a long cardigan – or perhaps a coatigan – which reaches around my knees. Wearing it is taking some getting used to, especially getting into the car. :)

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This is a closeup of the fabric which has a gold metallic thread running through it.

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I found this years knit at Wollongong on a recent shopping excursion. As part of Wollongong Central, they have opened up a new shopping centre across the road from the Crown Street Mall which contains such awesomes as Grill’d, Max Brenner, Guzman Y Gomez, to name a few. There is a new food court up the top with things like Schnitz and an amazing salad place called Soul Origin with a huge range of delicious fresh salads.

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I also picked up this lovely poncho. Many happy moments were had by all on this shopping trip. :)

Carter, Fashion, moving forward

Unpacking The Past

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I’m working with my psychologist to try and unpack some of my bad work experiences – this incident came up in our last session. I’ve written it down in an effort to get the events clear in my head, and also so I can easily refer to it in the future. My memory is not as good as it once was. ;)

One of the best managers I ever had was once totally undermined by a team leader underneath her. Because it was a 24/7 call centre, my manager saw this team leader for a maximum of 2 hours a day and for those two hours, this team leader was on her super best behaviour. It was a total accident that what this Team Leader was up to behind her back was discovered..

My manager called me into her office and told me that she was getting feedback that I was “dismissive”. I said I wasn’t really sure what that meant. Could she please provide me with a specific example. She said she could not, because then I would know who gave the feedback and asked me just to keep it in mind. I said ok, but I can’t fix this without more info, so please ask the person giving you this feedback to speak up and let me know when it happens, and/or ask them if they are ok with you relating a specific example.

A month or so later when we had another catch-up, she said she was still receiving feedback that I was “dismissive”. She had asked the feedback provider re relating an example and the answer was no. As no specific example could be provided, I said, “Sorry, I can’t fix this without knowing more. Plus, now I am starting to feel concerned that the person giving this feedback isn’t adult enough to put their name to it. Maybe there is a reason they will not put their name to it”.

Probably three weeks later, I was walking past the managers office and I heard my name and that word. Her office was glass, so I could see who was in there with her. It was one of the team leaders. The manager and I locked eyes and she knew I had heard it. After that person left, she called me in. I apologised. I did not mean to overhear but I was walking past. Then I said – now I know who is giving you this feedback, I actually know what the problem is – and I am not being dismissive, I am simply too busy to “debrief” with her.

This person was a team leader and if I had a question about how to handle something I would ask her. She would tell me to do X. I’d accept her answer on face value and do exactly what she said to do. Once I’d done what she said, I moved on to the next task.

Two or three hours later she would come to me when it was quiet and try to have another discussion about the question I’d asked. I’d be like.. I did what you said, it is handled, and I’ve moved on to other things. And she’d be like “No, we need to debrief”. And I’d be like, I’m sorry, I don’t have time to debrief. I have 6 other tasks in my queue that need to be completed. The situation was solved and I’ve closed it off, so we don’t need to debrief.

When I explained this, my manager said I was doing exactly the right thing. She actually felt that how I was handling this issue was too polite and she told me in future to be a lot more “dismissive” about these debriefs and just to give a simple no, and she would talk to the team leader directly about this.

My manager then asked me why I had not mentioned this situation to her. I explained that this team leader had told me to always go directly to her if I had an issue with her and she would do the same with me.

I had spoken directly to the team leader about it, and she told me the debriefing was her way of doing things and I should debrief whenever she wanted me to debrief. I said lets do a compromise – if I say that I have work I need to do, let it go. If I’m not busy, we can debrief. In that job, it was rare for me not to be busy, so 99% of the time I’d say I had work to do.

The manager was very unhappy about this “feedback deal”, and on further investigation she found out this team leader had made the same “feedback deal” with every single staff member. She sent out an email making it very clear that any issues with team leaders were to be raised directly with her, and no “feedback deals” were allowed.

I was also very unhappy that this team leader was saying to my face if she had any issues with me she would raise them with me, and from then on, I did not trust her.

All of a sudden, all the issues with people had with this team leader were going to the manager. It turned out this team leader was doing a lot of not great things and the spotlight was well and truly on her. The long cigarette breaks, the disappearances, her refusal to answer her phone when it rang, the non completion of tasks, some bullying of staff members, the times she would leave early and have someone else cover for her, the inappropriate flirting with clients on her calls, all of this came to light.

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Because my Best Manager was truly that – an excellent manager – she kept a very tight leash on this team leader once all of this came to light.. but when my Best Manager left, this team leader had free rein to act inappropriately. That was not a fun time for me, but I knew to keep a very close eye on her, and to call her out on her bullshit.

She did not appreciate my calling her out, and she used a new staff member to try and oust me by having them make false complaints about me. Unfortunately for her, I was already in the process of complaining about her behaviour with management and when I pointed out that there were witnesses to the event this staff member complained about and that management should ask them for their version of events, it was discovered my version of events was the correct one.

After that situation, I stated to management that I no longer wanted to work with that team leader, and we adjusted my schedule accordingly, until I eventually left the company, mostly because the new manager was not a patch on Best Manager, and I no longer enjoyed the job.

Eventually, she ended up being demoted from her team leader position. Karma, it happens. :) Though sometimes it takes longer than we would like, and sometimes we are not there to witness it happen in person.

Angry Snoskred, life lessons, looking back, moving forward, work

Buying Pet Food Online

Big Kitty

In early December 2013, we lost our oldest cat – Big Kitty. In mid-December 2013, we took our younger cat Grumpy in for her yearly vet visit and vaccinations. During the visit her ears were cleaned out, somewhat roughly both of us felt at the time. Unfortunately this rough treatment led to a punctured ear drum plus an ear infection. This led to antibiotics, and that led to complete kidney failure..

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Grumpy spent 7 nights at the vets on a drip. You can see via the above photo, she was not very happy about this.. Neither were we! We were both very upset and for a while there, it seemed like she might not make it home. The Other Half went in twice daily to feed her as she was quite difficult with the vet nurses. At some point she turned a corner, and got better.

When she arrived home, she spent over 2 months being syringe fed two to three times daily by The Other Half, and I can categorically state that without his nursing care Grumpy would not have survived.

He has a lot of scars for his efforts, as well, because Grumpy was not a big fan of being syringe fed. She did not seem to have any appetite or drive to eat by herself for a while. Eventually, she did get hungry again and was willing and able to eat on her own.

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We were told by the vets that she would need to be on a special diet and a kind of food called k/d Feline Renal Health by Hills Prescription Diet was recommended to us. That is a kind of food you can usually only source from vet clinics, and as a result it can be very pricey. We were paying over $90 for a bag of kibble.

Both of us were not happy with the vets we’d been going to after this experience – in fact we both felt that if the ear cleaning had been done more gently, none of this would have happened at all. I asked around to find out who was the best cat vet in our area, and that is who we see now.

We were already seeing a totally different vet for the chooks because I’d asked around to find out which was the best chook vet. It turns out the best cat vet works in the same practice, so we decided to buy the recommended cat food via that vet clinic and cut all ties with the previous vet. The new place stocked the kibble at a lower price of $72 per bag, so it was a win all round.

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That clinic closed earlier this year, merging with a new vet practice. At that time they switched to a new brand of vet only food. We got a sample and Grumpy did not like that food at all. She LOVES the k/d kibble.

So, we had two options – find another local vet which stocked the k/d kibble, or try to find a place we could buy it online. I did some googling and we found a place that looked promising, so when the time came, we crossed our fingers and placed an order. We ordered Thursday night, the order shipped on Friday, and Monday Morning the box arrived. Below you see Happy inspecting it.

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Shipping was free. The kibble was the cheapest price I have ever paid for it, coming in a huge $12 less per bag of kibble than what I had been paying. The website has a huge range of pet related items many of which are quite difficult to find in local pet stores.

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Plus, they sent us a lolly bag and a welcome voucher for $10 off our next order. The kitties approved the food immediately!

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We feed one tin of wet food a day shared between the two kitties, kibble is always available to them, and they have a water fountain. The vet said feeling k/d to the younger cat would be fine, and she likes it, so we’re sticking with that plan.

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Having a browse around the website, they have the largest range of cat food that I have seen, ever. There are some cat foods there which our local supermarkets and pet stores stopped stocking – eg the Applaws range which our cats enjoyed – and they stock some foods which I had never heard of before. They stock some Fancy Feast flavours I have not seen in a while, too.

In case you were wondering, nobody paid me to write this post, nobody gave me anything for free.. I just felt this was a great experience and I wanted to share it with you. I know I have readers who have pets and who might find the My Pet Warehouse website useful.

With all that said, I would totally accept free samples of cat food if they were offered to me, but that is only because I don’t like paying for new cat foods and having them rejected with great prejudice by our kitties, who are the harshest critics of pet food. Understandable, seeing as they are the ones who have to eat it. :)

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Grumpy performing a pose we like to call monorail cat.

We don’t know how much time Grumpy will have with us. The vet says that her life expectancy may be reduced as a result of her kidney issues. Anything we can do to extend her time with us, we will do it, even if it means we have to budget a little more for cat food by cutting back in other areas. In the meantime, we deeply value the moments we get to spend with her.

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This pose I like to call morph ball with a half pike – great leg extension!

Grumpy is sleeping on Carters lap in that last shot, by the way. Carter is in the perfect position for winter, right in front of the gas heater. Plus, he does not move, unlike those humans!

kitties, looking back, moving forward

Done, for now at least.

newblog

So, we have a new theme! YAY! Welcome to Adaption, which changes depending on the way you are viewing the blog. If you do not see two sidebars – one on the left, one on the right, like the image above, then you are getting a smaller version of the theme.

We have a new title image too – unfortunately this theme does not allow for a large header image like we have been used to here at Life In The Country.

There are a few little changes still to be made, eg the comments area I want to make some changes and we’ve removed a lot of extra padding but will have to add some back in for the text of the posts I think, as my line breaks seem to have gone AWOL. But for the most part this is how it will stay and I’m deeply thrilled we achieved it in a few hours.

PS I love how meta this screenshot is, showing a screenshot of the old design and then the new design surrounding it. :)

blog design, blog housekeeping, Happy Snoskred, moving forward

Testing Was A Fail

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A screenshot, for posterity.. :)

To those who were having issues – some could not see the password box, and some could see that and get the post but then the comments did not appear.. Twas not you, twas the theme.

Cue, working on a new theme. The site will go into maintenance mode for a little bit. The other half and I will work like crazed.. well, I’m not sure what but I know it will involve THE CRAZY here.

I am quite terrified given how horrendous it was to create the first theme. Then again, we know so much more about html and themes etc than we did back then. Plus, I really am not difficult to please. I want to take some of my favourite elements here, ad put them into a new design.

I’ll give you a headsup once we’re back online and fingers crossed, with a spiffy looking new theme. :)

If nobody hears from us for 24 hours, send help. And donuts. :)

Annoyed Snoskred, blog design, blog housekeeping, moving forward, Worried Snoskred

Coffee In A Plastic Cup

So here I sit in our new home, internet finally working, Austar on and cranking out the Michael Jackson, able to use my laptop, drinking coffee from a plastic cup because I have not unpacked the mugs yet..

If you take away all the weirdness and the changing appearance, Michael truly was an amazing singer and dancer. I have been enjoying his music the way I used to when I was a kid growing up dancing to his Off The Wall album in the lounge room. I suppose I am not alone in saying I know all the dances. It is just such a shame that all the strange and controversial stuff got in the way of his enormous talent.

The move went well – it is not quite over yet but most of our stuff is over here now. There’s still a few bits and pieces at the old house.

There was one bad thing that happened – I had a big fall a few days ago. I was carrying a box and I tripped over another box. I fell down hard, banging up my right leg and knee as well as the toes on the right foot, bruising a lot of my right side and putting a massive bruise on my right arm. I guess I was lucky not to break anything (must have been drinking all that milk when I was growing up!) but I also skinned my right palm.

The palm turned out to be the most annoying injury the day before the truck arrived to pick up all out stuff. Bandaids wouldn’t stick to it long enough to move a box, and I ended up needing to bandage it up so I was still able to do things. That of course got in the way of my obsessive compulsive handwashing. I had to build a bridge and get over it. ;)

Today is the first chance I have had to take it easy since the fall and I think I will try to do exactly that – I certainly can’t wash dishes in the sink or get heavily into cleaning at the old house at this stage, the injury is right where the palm creases and I have only managed to get it to heal reasonably by doing very little with it yesterday, so I do not want to undo all that good work today.

Oh, and.. when we arrived here with the truck on Monday, after not being here for a couple of days, there was a little kangaroo poop right in front of the garage. A roo must have been feeding on our lawn and left us a little present!

As we turned into our street last night I said to the other half that I wondered when we would see one at our place – and he said “Maybe right now” and there was a massive male kangaroo feeding on the grass outside our place. The car did not scare him off, and neither did the garage door, and he stayed out there long enough for us to unload the car and put the bins away and go for a little walk to admire him a little more closely.

All our cameras were at the old place, of course. It is always the way. The iPhone camera didn’t have enough light, so now nobody will believe me when I say how huge he was and now the cameras are here he will never return! So I will just say.. that is the biggest roo I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot of them. He was not just tall, but *solid*.

moving forward, Moving House, yay

Important – Your Attention Please

I am about to move the domain to the new blog, this may mean you are unable to access the site for the next 24 hours or so – it may work right away, it depends.

Those of you with the feedburner feed, you will not have to change anything.

Those of you on the old blogger feed, you may find you get a few messages from me saying the blog has moved over the next few weeks, just to remind you to go and pick up the new feed.

I hope to see all of you at my new home shortly! When you get there, can you leave a comment to let me know you got there ok?

This may be the end of the internet as we know it.. ;) hehe

blog housekeeping, moving forward

Snoskred Is Getting Organised – Are You?

I am all for making positive changes in all areas of my life, but sometimes you have to put the blinkers on and focus your sights on one specific area. Right now for me, that area is organisation – or organiZation if you’re from the US – and time management.

I have good reasons for wanting to get organised. I want to start a business over the next two months. I realise that if I started a business now without having the right skills in place it just would not work. So it is time to take a deep breath, suck it up, and get to it. At the start of this week I made a personal commitment to myself – I am getting organised.

Now some of the stuff I am going to say here is going to seem.. lame.. silly.. possibly even stupid. In order for you to understand where I’m going you need to know where I am at now. I’m not going to lie to ya’all. ;) here’s my major issues.

I am easily distracted.

I have trains running just fine on the tracks but then suddenly they crash. IE – I can be in the middle of doing something and then my mind throws out something else I need to do, and I will stop and change direction.

I’ll be in the middle of writing something and remember I wanted to check a website. I will be in the middle of one task, and remember one that needs doing RIGHT NOW. Yes, this is happening as I type. I haven’t updated the Aussie Blogs List yet, cos I took a day off today.

It happened again just then, as I was typing this. I noticed my glasses were dirty. This brings us to another issue I have –

I don’t put things back where they belong.

I was watching a West Wing in the lounge room yesterday. Part way through, guess what happened? I noticed my glasses were dirty. So I came in here to my desk and took my lens cleaning cloth out to the lounge room. I had to stop typing this post to go and get it.

My computer is a mess.

On the inside, that is. Information goes in, but I have no easy system, no good way of finding things, my desktop has always been a nightmare of files just dumped there. In fact here is how it looked at the start of this week.

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I need to take charge NOW.

When I am running my own business, working to deadlines? All those little distractions and things not being where they should be and not having a system of where things get put and how to find them again on the computer – these things are going to add up and drown me. Especially because the business I want to run is computer orientated.

So how to fix it?

Step One – Done!

Get my computer organised and start a system of where things go that will work for me.

Thanks to this wonderful article – How to Keep your Desktop Organized (without getting insane) my desktop now looks like this.

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Step Two – In Progress

I am a digital packrat. There are folders full of files. Take for example our photographs. We have a lot of them. We never had a system for organising them other than to put dates on the folders. Consequently, we now have a lot of this –

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Yes, that right there is the date we began putting some kind of name on the folders. But the no name folders go back to *cringe* 2 years before that date.

There is no magic wand I can wave here, but thanks to another article I read – A 3-Step Cure for Digital Packrats, and How to Know If You’re One of Them – I now know how to cure it.

I’m looking through two folders a day, naming them, putting aside good photos I want to use for the thought of the day photos. I am also looking through two bookmarks folders a day, sorting, deleting, moving. This will take time – If I tried devoting one day to it, I’d still have a lot of folders not labeled. Better to do little chunks daily than overwhelm myself right now.

Step Three – Time Management – Done Daily

1. Create a daily list of tasks.
2. Give each task a priority A, B, C,
3. Ensure that you work on the “A” tasks first.
4. Handle each piece of paper on your desk only once.
5. Ensure that you make the best use of your time.
6. Don’t postpone anything – Do it now!

Step Four – Day Planner

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I have done this for the last three days and spent a day preparing for it before that. It’s rocking my socks, ya’all. You have no idea how focused I feel right now. It’s a happy feeling. :)

Step Five – Checklists

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Yes, this is possibly the most lame of all the things I am doing, but it is helping me remember the things I do daily. I plan to update it in a week or so when I have identified more things I do daily. This is laminated so I can tick the boxes each day with a whiteboard marker and then rub that off ready for the next day. Yes, in the past I would forget my head if it were not screwed on, apparently. Now I have the checklists, sitting right in front of me, there’s not much chance of that.

Step Six – Email Check

One of the ways I get distracted is by the little envelope that pops up when I have new mail. Solution – open the mail in the morning, check emails, reply emails, close emails. Open again at lunchtime, dinner time, before bed. So if I don’t reply urgently, now you know why – and you can know when to expect that reply.. approximately.. ;)

Step Seven – Time Off For Good Behaviour.

This new stuff I’m doing is pretty intense right now, because I have a lot of organising I am doing. The major two things I need to finish are sorting my google reader and going through my archives here. These are both time consuming. So at lunchtimes, I step away from the computer for an hour. At dinner time, I step away for two hours.

I plan on having at least one light schedule day each week until I have a good handle on things, but I still want to make sure I get two of photos and bookmarks done each day. I took today off, got a haircut, went to see a house, put in an application so we might be moving, got my glasses fixed, did a little shopping. Whoa, what was that? Yes, we might be moving to my dream location. More on that tomorrow.

Step Eight – Buy In Bulk

The inexpensive things I find myself looking for, I need to purchase them so I can have one in each location I may need them. The lens cleaning cloth is a good example. They’re not expensive and it will cost me less to buy 2 more of them (I have 2 now, one in the car – one on my desk) than my time is worth to keep chasing them from room to room.

Step 9 – Put Things Back

The things that I can’t buy extra of, I need to put them back when I’m done. Simple, hey? It’s not as easy as it sounds, but I am committed to doing it.

What happens next..

I’m taking it one day at a time right now. I am hopeful that in three to four weeks I will become unconscious competent in being organised. However I think it may be a habit I need to keep working on and these skills of time management are going to be so useful to me in my business, I’m going to keep using them.

All I know is, I’m feeling motivated. I’m sleeping a bit less because when I wake up, I want to get onto the daily tasks I have set. I’ll update you urgently on developments. ;) so stick around!

get organised, how to guides, life lessons, mistakes I made, moving forward, work