My favourite apps and blogs for my daily workload

Gosh that is a catchy header! I really must work a bit harder on thinking up a snappy title but in all honesty, that really is the gist of this blog post. What I use to make my 9 to 3 as efficient as possible.

Hours Keeper

Hours KeeperIf you’re like me then you work for several different clients every day/week. I have clients that I work for on set hours per week and month. This gives me the freedom to either dedicate a day or perhaps an hour a day on them. As I like to keep my brain ticking over, I try and mix up the hours spent with each client. It keeps my thinking fresh.

My husband noted that I was rather lackadaisical about my time-keeping which meant that I would overwork on every account. But never bill for the correct amount of time worked. I think a little bit over every time is fine but as he pointed out, I was spending hours doing something that I wasn’t being paid for. Not really efficient or economical!

I downloaded Hours Keeper to help me keep track. Its not perfect as you need to remember when to switch on and switch off but it does help me see how many extra hours I do. And I try and reduce these as a result. It does have an Invoicing capability as well but I don’t use that. The simple clock-watching is enough.

Skype

SkypeDoes this count as an app? I use this for lots of my interaction with my clients as a few live abroad or are based miles away from me. It doesn’t make sense for me to travel to see them every time for one meeting. The bonus is that you can chose to do audio only as well for those bad hair days. In fact I’ve worked out that nobody looks their best on a Skype call. I have a few tricks that I use which I’ll share another time.

Hootsuite

HootsuiteWhere would I be without it? This allows me to generate and schedule all social media posts for my clients. I normally do this on a Monday where I plan my posts for the coming week. I do dip in and out of the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram across the day (I manage accounts for some clients) but this gives me clarity. I can see what will run, choose when (optimise the posting) to run and check the overall ‘story’ for the week.

Its free – to a point and hasn’t gone wrong yet.

Mailchimp

I use this with all my clients – its free up to 2000 subscribers (which reminds me, I should have a sign up for this blog as well – practise what I preach Laura!) but I digress. It tries to be simple but I do struggle with its options sometimes. Mostly it is great and a good way to track your clients reactions to content.

The Organised Mum Method

She’s not an app but a blog – although I hear that maybe in the works but her Instagram account is brilliant. I started following her (Gemma Bray – hi! love your work) last year when working and keeping up with the housework was dragging me down. She gives you a prompt for every day – which room to clean and tells you to do what you can in 30 minutes. There is even a play list. It does work. My house will never be tidy but it is clean and I feel more ‘with it.’ My Mum even mentioned how much better the house seemed! She also does Weekly Menu plans (something I’m a fan of – we’re having Vegetable Stir fry tonight – and you?) and well, other stuff too that just helps ease my stresses. (that didn’t mean to sound weird)

Citymapper

CitymapperWhen I have meetings in the Big Smoke (London) then I use this all the time. Having lived there for 12 years you would think that I would have the hang of the place but no, my sense of direction is appalling. I use it to time how long it will take me to get from A to B sometimes via C and onto D. It means that my London days are full but I arrive everywhere on time. Or if I don’t it isn’t my fault – its London Transport. (and we all like to blame the traffic). Seriously, this is a life-saver and I like the different option s it gives if I fancy a bus route only or just the tube.

There are many more that I use but I thought I’d start with these. They are the ones that I would say I use the most. Efficiency is (almost) my middle name!

 

 

It is all downhill from here…

Have a beautiful Monday
Oh the irony…

When I started this blog, I honestly thought that I could show and share my ideas about how to make the 9 to 3 work. I wasn’t smug but fairly optimistic that I had the rules set in place. And then yesterday happened. Monday. One of those days that nothing goes right and you end up working late into the evening because your daytime was hellish.

So I thought I would tell you that it isn’t always great. Sometimes you do need to stop everything you do and organise lost school shoes, ┬áharvest boxes, dance school location changes, husband’s impromptu governor meeting, pilates, babysitter, cancelled pilates and such like. Yesterday was that day.

But today is already better – work mostly done, eyelashes tinted and now I’m thinking about lunch.

Selfie
A happier Laura on Tuesday. Freshly tinted.

The rule is: it doesn’t matter that yesterday didn’t go to plan. Just keep going. You’ll get there. With newly tinted lashes.

Where do I start?

I’m a publicist. That means that I promote things – normally books and exhibitions. It also means that I ghostwrite blog posts for authors, artists and businesses. So really, writing my own blog should be a walk in the park. And I have tons of post ideas that I want to write about. I just need to get past this first initial blog. Which is harder than I thought! I guess its like an author writing the first page of their new book, or in my case the first sentence. So this blog post is about getting started on a new project.

I started this blog because I want to share my experiences and also learn from others and nowadays, it seems that blogging and social media is a great way to do both. Perhaps I’ll even make a few friends along the way.

Just a Girl and her blog
I have used Abby Lawson’s Just a Girl and Her Blog to help me kickstart this blog

To kick start this blog, I first started reading the brilliant Abby Lawson’s Just a Girl and her Blog where she covers hints and tips on a few of my favourite things – organising (I know, please don’t hate me, we’ve only just started to get to know each other) and writing. She fell into her blogging world almost by accident and has since gone on to make it her career and now has her husband Donnie helping her as well. Go and see – they’re really great.

Abby created an eBook awhile ago that I bought and downloaded, initially to help a neighbour kickstart her blogging idea, but I’ve recently gone back to it and applied all her prompts to planning this blog. I’ve learnt that even with a blog, it helps to be organised. Building A Framework has been massively helpful and I’d fully recommend it.

I used 123 Reg to register the domain name and host the blog.

To get the nuts and bolts of this blog started, I simply Googled” “How do you start a blog uk” and this article came up! I went with another company that I use for my professional website to register and host this blog (hello 123-Reg) and

I used the Canva app on my phone to create the logo.
I used the Canva app on my phone to create the logo.

I used Canva to create the logo. Lastly, I created an Instagram account for the blog – I’m such a fan of the ‘gram and have found lots of accounts really helpful. (that’s another blog post waiting to happen) You can find me on Instagram here. (@Laura_the-9_to_3)

And Voila! Here we are!

Phew! That first post wasn’t as bad I thought…