How I plan my long-term goals

Recently I mentioned on my Instagram account that I was going to set some time aside to plan long-term goals for my business. This was because after my declutter of office stuff, I came across my old folder and found the notes from the last time I set them – which was in 2016. Eek!

I find this quote oh so true…

I have started setting myself goals for my personal life and short term goals with the business but nothing too major. No scary aims and being honest with myself about my ambitions. I wrote a post awhile ago about how I had decided to take a step back from the amount of work I was doing because it was having a negative impact on my family life. I also think I wasn’t inspired by all the work either. And it is so true, if you love your job, then it won’t feel like work. I am lucky enough to say that 85% of the time I do love my job.

Taken during my ‘semi-retirement’ days

In 2016 things were a little different – we had moved from London in 2014 and I had basically taken a year of ‘semi-retirement’ to settle our daughter into our home life. I worked a bit but not that much. We had a shock when my husband was made redundant and suddenly I realised that I needed to step up my business. My business goals were quite simple – to earn money for our family whilst my husband job-hunted. We had a scary Autumn of that year but he was back in employment from January. In the meantime, I had refreshed my contacts and had work projects to do. My 9 to 3 really started.

Since then, I’ve been on a treadmill, accepting new projects when they come my way and I’ve since realised that not everything was really making my heart sing. So when I sat down in John Lewis Oxford Street cafe (it was half term), I started with a blank page in my notebook titled: Goals. Scary!

I decided to focus on 2 goals for the next 3-5 years:

  1. To earn more each year (I have set myself an annual income target for each year)
  2. To only work 9am – 3pm 5 days a week but allow for 1 evening work session

I then asked myself the following question:

  1. In an ideal world, I would like to…?

Swiftly followed by:

2. How am I going to do this?

These questions really gave me room to be honest with myself which was a bit scary because I realised that I wanted to work in areas that I haven’t for awhile and also gave me a steer on how I could achieve those wishes. I’ve learnt from Just a Girl and Her Blog website posts that if you break down a goal into smaller chunks, they don’t seem so terrifying. Whether that is a turnover ambition, saving for a car or learning a new language (hello coding!), if you break them down into bite size pieces, suddenly it isn’t too overwhelming.

I then broke down each goal further by setting myself time limits to action each intention. I’m really deadline driven and by setting myself targets, I know that I’ll do them. How can I be so sure? It worked for me in 2016 and it worked for me last Autumn when I told an ex-colleague that I wanted to start writing this blog by the October half-term. So another tip is to really know yourself – if deadlines aren’t your jam (as they say on Instagram) then find a way to tick those goals off that does work. It is all very individual.

What happens if I don’t achieve those goals? I’m not going to beat myself up because I know I’ll get there in the end. We can never be too sure of what’s round the corner but I hope by giving myself a bit of focus, I’ll be improving my chances of reaching those goals.

I’m not yet finished working on the how but I do have something that resembles a plan. Wish me luck!

Recommended reading/watching:

How I crush my goals – Abby Lawson- Just a Girl and her Blog

The Ultimate Guide to Small Business Goal Setting

An Edited Life by Anna Newton

Ted Talks on Goal Setting

Why I decluttered during a power cut and how it made me feel

Yes I hate me too. I thought I had better start with that! On Tuesday night, I arrived home after taking my daughter to her swimming lesson to discover my house in complete darkness. No security lights activated when we drove in and the lights I had left on as we left were no longer illuminated. Joy. After a quick walk round the house to establish that we hadn’t had a break in or a fuse had tripped, I called our local electrician. He told me to call the electricity board. To cut a long story short, the electricity supply to our house had stopped working. It ended up taking over 18 hours for the electricity to be back to normal and included at least 8 trucks parked up our road.

On Wednesday, it became clear that this was a serious problem and would not fixed in an hour or two. That meant I had no chance of doing any work as a) there wasn’t any internet b) my battery life on my laptop isn’t as good as it used to be and c) I wasn’t ‘feeling’ work. I was stressed, distracted and a bit twitchy.

So after trying to read a book, making drinks and doing a bit of tidying up, I decided to tackle the two shelves in our bookcase that holds all my work ‘stuff’. This included old Accounts files, many receipts, notebooks (new and old), a broken paper cutter, printer paper, card, label packs, random notes and lots of plastic wallets. There was also a hideous amount of old project files that I hadn’t emptied and removed. All piled together across two shelves and looking a bit of a state. It had sort of grown across the room as I couldn’t locate say, new A4 paper, so I would go and order more off Amazon. Ridiculous but I had been putting clearing it up for ages because I always had something more pressing.

This Girl Can Organise Instagram account
Fully recommend This Girl Can Organise – her stories are really helpful.

There are some brilliant organising and decluttering blogs and Instagram accounts out there (my favourites include: This Girl Can Organise, Just a Girl and her Blog and The Home Edit) so I’m not going to tell you how to declutter but I will share why it helped me:

  1. I couldn’t actually access my emails or any work projects because of the lack of power
  2. I still had 9 to 3 hours that I needed to use
  3. The mess was getting worse and I was wasting money buying stuff that I already had but just couldn’t be bothered to look for
  4. I didn’t have an excuse not to do it.

So, I pulled everything out off the shelves, created a bin, keep, recycle or shred pile system and just moved each bit to the according pile. It took awhile and looked terrible but I soon realised what I had, didn’t want and discovered a few gems that had been forgotten about including a few notebooks from Rome which I love.

I was then able to remove the bin pile out of the room which instantly gave me more space and made everything look so much better. Then I created smaller keep piles – segregating the stationary, finding a new home for the old accounts folders and popped the new notebooks together. Suddenly my massive mess was quite small and easy to put back onto the shelves.

As I’m a fan of organising blogs, I instantly went onto Amazon to buy in trays and box files, but actually I realised that I didn’t need any of them – yet. Instead, I used neat piles where I can see everything and after the declutter a lot of space was revealed. I could have fit everything onto one shelf but using two makes it more accessible. My takeaway – you don’t always need to spend money when decluttering, take time out after sorting through it all to see what space you actually have and then after a day or two see if you do need anything to help.

I will never declutter for the sake of it but it did keep me distracted from what else was going on outside my house, lowered my stress levels and gave me the ability to locate A4 envelopes instantly. I’m hoping I have also saved myself some cash by seeing that I do already own quite a bit of essential work ‘stuff.’ Hurrah!

Recommended reading:

An Edited Life by Anna Newton – I’m currently still reading this and I’m hoping to do a round up of great books that are helping me in the next month or so. Her YouTube channel is great too.

This Girl Can Organise Instagram – Nicola is currently writing a book but her account is really helpful – especially her stories.

This article in Psychology Today about the scientific reasons to declutter.

Ps I realise that I should have taken photos of my decluttering to help illustrate this blog but I’m not that organised!

This was the scene on Wednesday morning. What you can’t see are the other 6 vans down the road…

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…