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When Life Gives you Lemons....

I was catching up on my Face book groups the other day and someone had asked the question, if you blog and work how do you fit it all in and it got me thinking how do I fit it all in and am I achieving what I set out to?

Well as the old saying goes - "When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade"

1. Day Job

As an independent author I still need a 'day job' to earn a living, I'm not in a position yet where the money I earn as a novelist is enough to cover my expenses,  I am working towards that but for now I need to support my writing by working.

I'm a Personal Assistant in the Fire Service, I'm lucky in terms of my job is flexible.  A lot of writers and bloggers starting out are in jobs where the time they are in the office is set and unchangeable.  I'm lucky that mine is flexible.  Having this flexibility allows me to plan my days effectively.

Most days I'm at my desk by 7.30,  depending on what the day holds which being an emergency service you can't always predict I can usually finish work by around 3.30 - 4pm.  Other days I can be there until 5 or 6pm depending on what's happened or what meetings I need to attend.

As my working time is flexible it does give me the option to take time off when I've worked over my allotted hours.

2. Writing

My aim everyday is to write at least 1000 words.  I set aside two hours every evening to do this.  If however I have a quiet lunch break I may try and get a jump on my target.   The time I plan to work on writing is between 6pm - 8pm, however, I do also like to have a social life so I make sure I'm flexible with this time.  If I can write earlier in the day - say during a break, before I go to work or later in the evening I will do that.

If I miss my target I roll my word count over to the next day and try and catch up.

Sometimes it's a little too much pressure,  if I'm working on something that requires more thought, research or if the words simply aren't flowing I will walk away and regroup.  I don't punish myself for not achieving my goal - I find that has a negative effect on my so I give myself space, time to recharge and come back to it with a fresh mind.

3. Blogging

I'm relatively new to blogging so initially I didn't set any goals or targets, I just wanted to get used to writing a blog and seeing if it was something I enjoyed and thought worth pursing. So now I'm almost 9 months in to it, I'm starting to treat blogging more seriously.  Setting myself a target of writing two blogs a week publishing on a Friday and Sunday.  I do allow myself a little leeway for example if the Friday or Sunday falls on a special event of some kind or if the day job has taken precedence over my writing and blogging.  These things happen and again I simply try and get back in to my routine as soon as possible.

4.  New Business

I am just starting a new business with a friend, it's something we've talked about for a long time and now we're actually trying to make it happen.  We are still in the initial stages of set up and this takes time dedication and a lot of planning and discussion.

I discuss my ideas with my friend via text message whenever they pop in to my head, we use Pinterest to share ideas and we're setting up an initial Face book page to promote our craft and gift business.

I try to work on ideas and crafts for four hours a week spread across the days depending on what I need to create.  

5. Being Healthy

I used to go to the gym three to four times a week, then my life changed and for a long time I didn't really do any real exercise.  Around 18 months ago I decided I needed to get back in to a routine of healthy exercise as I just wasn't feeling great.  I went back to the gym and aimed for three mixed sessions or cardio and weights a week.  Due to work pressures I've reviewed this and in order to fit in what I need to I aim for two gym sessions a week each lasting 60-90 minutes depending on the needs of the day.  I supplement my gym work outs with walking my dog two or three times a day depending on the time of year and weather, for around 40 - 60 minutes a time.

I change my diet whenever I feel like something isn't working, I try to be balanced and don't restrict myself in terms of things like chocolate I simply try to balance them.  If I have a really bad day where my food intake isn't to healthy the next day I make sure I eat more healthily.  If I'm eating on the run and have no time to prepare lunch I will then try and have a healthier dinner.  I try to always have a healthy breakfast of something like poached eggs.

I also try and substitute things out of my diet if they aren't working for me.  For example, I used to take sugar in my tea, it wasn't really helping me or assisting my health so I took my time and weaned myself off added sugar in my tea, on my porridge, on my strawberries and in my coffee.  Now If I need something to sweeten my tea I will use honey (preferably Manuka 10+) this helps me keep my energy levels up and keep my mind and body in good shape.

6. Hobbies & Living

Even when working, writing and blogging I need time to spend with friends and do other things I love.  This is essential to help me relax, de-stress and enjoy my life without drowning under the pressure to achieve everything.

I aim to go to the movies at least once a week with my best friend, it's something I love to do and it gives us time to catch up.  

I read everyday, I set myself a goal of reading 20 books this year, which may not seem a lot but I try to balance with everything else going on in my life and keep my goals realistic so I don't set myself unattainable goals that will leave me feeling negatively about what I can do.

I spend time with my Mam and my dog, they are my family and what matters most in life.

Catching up with other friends, I have a pretty small group of close friends who I keep in touch with regularly and try to spend time with whenever I can.  As in all things I have assessed and reassessed friendships over the years and stepped away from negative ones.

I love cooking and baking and I try to take time to make the food I love, play around with recipes and try new things.  Food brings people together, so whether it's for myself, my family or my friends making food is something that grounds me.

There are times when I need to do the practical things like tidying my home, doing the garden etc.  I plan these in as they are things I need to do, I want my life to be as smooth as I can, if my house is in a mess my mind will be pretty messy to.

6. Focusing & Planning

I'm a Virgo, which apparently makes me very organised, whether this is solely due to my star sign or just because it's the way I am who knows.  But I am a planner, I like to be organised.  I make lists, keep diaries and plan everything.

I plan my outfits for work the night before
I pack two lots of gym kit in my bag and have it in the boot of my car so I'm prepared
I have my on line diary and a paper one to record my day to day appointments and to journal my day including what I'm grateful for, what went well and how I can improve.
I always have a note book and pen to jot down anything I need to.
I don't beat myself up when life gets in the way, after all life is the messy bits, you just have to roll with them and do what you can when you can to stay on point.

You can so easily feel overwhelmed by what you need/want to do, they art of life for me is planning what I can, sticking to the plan as best I can and when things don't go to plan, take a breath, stay calm, re-evaluate, change what I need to when I need to and stay positive.  There will be moments when you feel you're not getting on with thing, that you are treading water or falling behind, for me I give myself a moment to feel sorry for myself then mentally I kick myself or get a friend to do it for me and get back on to doing what I want to do.

After all Nothing is Impossible 
Even the word says I'm Possible 


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