Day 101, Diets and other stuff!

Yeah, my new time planner seems to be working, today I have done some work for a client, worked on a poster design for a fundraiser (a committee I am on) and left a slot to do some blogging, well actually hubby has gone out so I have some free time to catch up on my blog. I enjoy writing my blog (and reading other blogs) but it is always pushed back to being the last thing on my list and because of this I am now aware that I have not blogged about Day Zero since February, about Roller Derby since January and I blogged about a diet in February and have not mentioned it since. So, apart from Roller Derby which warrants a post of its own, this is going to be a bit of a catch up to keep you up to date on what I have been up to.

 

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Day Zero
885 Days to go, 13% complete.

Well without trying I have ticked off another two on my day zero list, #43 go to the theatre to see a show. I had a great evening in Oxford watching ‘An Evening of Burlesque’ with darling hubby, and #69 to tweet more, I am now up to 199 tweets, part of this is the fact that I have linked with my Facebook account so any public statuses are shared on twitter, and as Twitter now posts to my social and personal pages on Facebook I am inclined to compose tweets more.

I have also managed to mark a couple as ‘in progress’ and some of these are coming along quite nicely, I just have to remember to make a note of anything I do that is on my DZ list as trying to do it in retrospect is proving quite difficult – I know I have read books, watched movies, listened to new music and cooked new dishes but cannot remember at this point what they were.

 

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Diet
Remember me blogging about ‘The Two Day Diet’ that was serialized in the Daily Mail? (click here to read it).  Well the book arrived, and I had a look through and it is not as simple to do the diet as they made out, you still have to follow a Mediterranean diet for the other 5 days. A lot of my friends are having success with the 5:2 diet, where for two non-consecutive days a week you limit your calorie intake to just 500 calories, so I have decided to give this one a go.

My first challenge to face was to choose my days. I used to regularly have a ‘skinny day’ on a Monday out of guilt from the weekend excesses, so decided Monday would be one of my days, for the second day I needed to choose one where I did not have any roller derby training (could not do that on 500 calories) and one where I was not going to be rushing around too much. My only option was a Friday, great for feeling guilt free heading into the weekend. So Monday and Friday’s it is. So far I have had 3 fast days and lost 2lb. This way of dieting appeals to me as I can still eat normally the other 5 days, I have managed to maintain my weight on my ‘normal diet’ for 4 years now so must be doing something right, and on fast days only have to think – I can have that tomorrow if I want to.

If you are thinking of doing this diet be warned, it is tough to go a day on only 500 calories, I really struggled on the first day and did not space my meals/snacks out enough and ended up with a raging head ache and feeling sick, the second day was slightly easier as I had two small meals well spaced out, I did not get a headache this time, however, I could have eaten my own arm by 6pm and was seriously tired and ratty. I now space my calorie intake out even more, I am not a morning eater anyway so find 120 calories at 11am, 120 calories at 1pm, 250 calories at 6pm and then a 10 calorie jelly at 8pm works, I don’t feel as tired – and I drink either water or black tea with sweeteners during the day to make me feel full.

 

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Work
I went self-employed in January, however, because of my operation I did not do any marketing till a couple of weeks ago and have already had interest in my services and taken on a new client – a short term project that will need regular ad hoc work in the future. I have existing clients but this is my first since launching as Sharon Greenwood SMART (http://www.smartofficeservices.net)

Portfolio Building
This ties into work as it is something I need to do to build my business, so I have been doing some ‘free’ stuff to gain experience in areas where my portfolio is ‘unqualified’ or ‘inexperienced’. One of these areas is desktop publishing and specifically programme/brochure/e-magazine production. My roller derby team hosted their first open door bout on Sunday 21st April and I helped create the poster and programme for them – take a look here at the poster and view the programme here.

 

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Studying

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am an eternal student. I love to study and take exams and it is very rare for me not to be attending a course or doing a correspondence course. I take some courses ‘just for fun’ however this time it is work related. I want to be able to offer a (locally) unique service, and focus on an area that will be useful to my other ‘services offered’ so signed up to do a proofreading and copyediting correspondence course, it was delivered a month ago now, and as yet I have not had a chance to look at it. This is the first time ever, that I have not jumped on the box as soon as it arrived and got ‘stuck in’ so I must have been feeling pretty rough when it arrived.

 

As always,
thanks for reading

‘Hoping to keep on top of it now’
Sharon x

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How can I manage ‘everything’ being self-employed and a full time Mum?

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In January I went self-employed and started my own business, www.smartofficeservices.net.  My business plan is to offer services to local business, entrepreneurs, charities, clubs and groups. I want to offer some mainstream services, such as bookkeeping and office admin, and also offer some unique services such as e-Media solutions. My personal plan, is to be able to do work I love, with the variety and challenges I crave, and to be able to do this around caring for my family and being a full time Mum.

As I have only worked part time for one business for the last for four years, and done some freebie stuff for friends now and again, the going self-employed part was not as scary for me as it would be for some, I am not giving up a regular income to give it a go, I still work for the business only in a self-employed capacity now. Darling Hubby (DH) is also very supportive, and is happy to continue supporting our household to see if I can get this off the ground. Little man (C) starts school full time in September this year, and if my business is not good I will start looking for jobs so that we have a second regular income.

I hold qualifications for the skilled services I am offering , which is great, but for some of the newer services I want to offer  I am either unskilled or only part trained, so my first task as a self-employed person (SEP) is to take on the extra training I need and do some ‘gratis’ work to build up my portfolio – I would personally not employ someone who could not show examples of their work, so would not expect  any potential clients to take me on without checking out my portfolio and any testimonials first.

So, my website is up and running, I am enrolled on a copy editing and proofreading course, and I am volunteering to do ‘jobs’ that will boost my portfolio and experience, all this ground work is finally paying off, I was approached to do an internet research role for a local company, unfortunately I could not commit myself to the hours required, however, the ‘boss’ was impressed with my skills and versatility and has a few projects in the pipe line that he would like to talk to me about.  I was disappointed at the time, however, a few days later I received a desktop publishing enquiry and am having a consultancy meeting next week to have a look at the project.  In retrospect, I am happy that I did not get the internet research role, as this more exciting project has come along, and I would not have been able to fit it into my work schedule.

I am also working on two personal projects, that hopefully going forward, will earn me an extra income, and they will also be great for boosting my portfolio as they will cross several areas of my expertise.

So at this point in time my work commitments are the following:

  • 1 Existing – bookkeeping, Social Media Management, website and general admin. PAYING
  • 1 consultancy booked PAYING – with potential for contract after consultancy phase
  • 1  Short term Social Media Management – Free
  • 1 eBook  – Free
  • 2 poster designs – Free
  • 1 sports programme – Free
  • 1 e-Booklet – Free
  • 1 Social Media Project – mine
  • 1 website project – mine

I know that I have taken on a lot of Free work, but at the time I was thinking more about my portfolio, and not the actual time this would take, hence quite a few late nights, no time to blog, read, watch TV or to just relax.

Some days I just sit and think, how can I fit this all in?  I am a Mum, so during the day, I clean, I iron, I cook, I spend time with C, take him to classes, groups and on play dates, and on the days when he is not at pre-school my ‘working day’ will start at 8 pm after he goes to bed. On other days I just don’t know where to start with my ‘work’ and how to fit it into my already busy life. One thing I know now, is that I want www.smartofficeservices.net to be a success, but to do this I need to organise my time better, to prioritise my work – my personal projects might be the most exciting for me and the ones I am happy to give my heart and soul for too, but they don’t pay the bills (yet), and as I need an income, anything that brings a financial boost needs to be put first.

So, I have realised, that working ‘free-flow’ and doing what I want when I fancy it, and on occasion cutting it tight on deadlines, is not working for me and is not best for my business. I need to organise my work, family and social time much better, so am going to buy a project planner where I can block out slots for everything and stick to it – and if I take on paying clients anything I am doing for free needs to be pushed back unless I am willing to stay up to the early hours to complete it.

So for anyone starting out as self-employed offering the same of similar services as I do,  these are my lessons learned (so far):

  • Do work for Free – but only if it is really going to benefit your portfolio/experience.  Restrict free work to the areas where you have just qualified or have limited experience. Before saying ‘yes’ to anything, think do I need to do this for free, if you are giving up your valuable time there needs to be some benefit to you.
  • Plan your time effectively – not just your work time, all your commitments need to be considered. Think about when you work best, can you move your other commitments around so that this is the time you are able to work?
  • If you have allocated two hours to a client, set an alarm for 10 minutes before the two hours is up – this gives you time to finish up where you are and take any notes for when you pick the work back up, whether that be in a few hours, or a few days.
  • A difficult one – if you really don’t like the idea of the doing the job offered, don’t do it just because you need the money.  A half hearted job is a job half done and it will not reflect well in your portfolio or testimonials. So unless you are absolutely desperate don’t do it.

If you are in a similar situation, or just have some ideas of how to be more effectively manage and balance your work, family, social life – let me know.

Thanks for reading.

Sharon.

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My neglected Blog :(

Well it’s 9.30 am Saturday morning, 20th April 2013, and little man is in his drama class, I have to wait for C and it is Dads dropping off today so no one to gossip to. So unexpectedly I have an hour to myself, so dig in my bag for my trusty notepad that travels with me, and decide that I don’t have to be at my computer to write my blog, I can do it here and now using old fashioned paper and pen and then type it up later, and hopefully I will find the time to do that before it goes out of date (this paragraph is being typed after drama class, between lunch and a friend of C’s birthday party this afternoon 1.34 pm)

I am only just feeling 100% after my operation in January, my energy levels were shot and I am only just getting back to where I used to be. On top of this I am on three committees, have little man to look after, a home to keep, a business to build, my beloved Roller Derby, a college course, my blog and a Day Zero project. So my next blog, which is currently in progress, will be:

How can I manage ‘everything’ as a self-employed full time Mum?

(second paragraph typed, 23.16 pm, got back from the party, made two lots of cupcakes for an event tomorrow, cooked supper, washed up, refreshed the dye on my hair, sorted out some things I need for my Roller Derby teams first bout tomorrow, started writing my blog and have decided that I do not really have time tonight to double check it and publish it, and have a busy day tomorrow so need to get to bed before 1 am)