10 Things I Learnt From Reading The Working Women’s Handbook
Prepare to feel PUMPED…
I’ve raved about ‘The Working Women’s Handbook’ by Phoebe Lovatt so much that you might be thinking that I’ve secretly bought shares in the whole thing, and honestly if that option was available then I’d be front of the line. I’m pulled in, hook, line and sinker to this new read and I’ve been staying up till my eyes got so puffy that not even an hour of jade rolling them the following morning would help. The tagline promises ‘ideas, insights and inspiration for a successful creative career’ and I’m actually sad that I’ve read it all. I could have kept on dipping my toe into this pool of motivation with a hefty dollop of realism, every darn night.
I love self-development books, however they can often be samey, but this one emcompassed so many different facets of creative careers, littered interviews with badass individuals throughout and the emphasis on planning and organisation gave advice that I could easily implement the following morning. So grab yourself a copy, but in the meantime here are the 10 takeaway tips that I learnt from leafing through…
1. Pay attention to your attention. We’re all so busy getting our heads down and ploughing on with our never-ending to-do lists, that we rarely stop to come up for air and reflect. What is it that we love to do? What are the tasks and projects that grab our attention most? How can we manoeuvre our careers and so that we get to more of them? It’s kind of nuts that these are questions that we don’t ask ourselves often. Reading this section has really forced me to stop and think; re-evaluate how I plan and create content and re-jig my priorities in my business.
2. Use the internet, then get off it. It’s an obvious one that we’ve heard a million and one times before, but sometimes the internet is our worst enemy. As someone who sits on it ALL DAY, almost every day, it’s a hard one to pull myself away from. But I’m trying to find the balance and swing it so that I spend more time creating than I do consuming.
3. All self-made businesswomen are badasses. The interviews wedged between chapters include some from women who I’ve heard about and some that I wasn’t familiar with, but all are badasses. The common theme is that they all hustled, took risks and put all their time and resources into ideas and concepts that they felt passionately about. It takes time and it’s not a bump-free journey; but with this unwavering belief in their ability to make it work, they all have. I feel like they’ll be great Q&As to dip back into whenever my motivation levels are dipping to ‘I can’t be arsed to do anything except read Buzzfeed articles‘.
4. Build a budget. GROAN. I’m in my sixth year of being self-employed and yet I still haven’t got the hang of this one. Phoebe’s chapter on money is actually extremely detailed – much more so than any other book I’ve read – and so I’ve vowed to put her tips into practice and get to grips with cashflow and see how I can personally save more money, because I think if Mark has to go one more year of living in a flat without a garden then he might start mowing the local park as he’s just so desperate to tend to a lawn. Bless him.
5. The 10,000 hour rule. Well, I did not know this one. Word on the street is that 10,000 hours of practice of a skill is what is required for you to become world-class in that field. That’s eight hours a day, five days a week for almost five years. MIND BLOWN. I can vouch that after blogging for almost eight years that I still feel like a new kid on the block.
6. Celebrate success. Why are we all so darn terrible when it comes to celebrating success? It seems that once we achieve one goal or get to the next step in our careers, we’re already unsatisfied and are eyeing up the next rung. What’s all that about, eh? This is something I’m really going to try and embrace in the future, even if it’s just having a G&T with Mark one evening to celebrate a video going down well or because the newsletter send-out list has grown to an amount that I never thought it would. It’s time to stop sweating the small stuff and celebrate it instead.
7. Block out time. Given my upload schedule, the core tasks that I have to get done each week remain the same. So next year I’ve set myself out a weekly plan (let me know if you’d like me to do a post on it), which breaks down my tasks so that they block out the whole day – Mondays for blog post writing, Tuesdays to do everything to do with YouTube etc. I’m sure I’ll have to be a little more flexible than that, but it should help me plan my weeks and use my time more effectively so I actually finish up tasks instead of being distracted.
8. Outsource and delegate. Phoebe stresses the importance of outsourcing low-priority, but essential tasks and delegating where possible throughout the book and both are things that I’m terrible at. I’m a class A control freak which means that aside from Lauren taking and editing photos for me and having a bookkeeper to keep a hold on finances, I do everything else myself. Although I’ve digested this chapter, I can’t see me getting help anytime soon because I secretly love it all and can’t see where I’d loosen my grip (See? Told ya). However I’m thinking with my new weekly plan (see above), this should help me block out time so the menial tasks should be slotted into just an afternoon a week.
9. That first thing slot. During part of the ‘Working on 100‘ section Phoebe suggests incorporating a 20 minute non-work related morning routine dedicated to you looking after yourself each AM. I like a tip that’s easy to put into action and since reading that, have managed to fit in a quick fun thing each morning that doesn’t involve me scrolling on my phone. I’ve either got up, had a very speedy browse through the ol’ phone before reading a book for 20 minutes (I set a timer so I don’t get too carried away), or have thrown on a podcast to listen to as I eat my breakfast.
10. How to take holidays. I know this is more applicable to those who are self-employed, although I’ve got friends who work in other industries that still feel guilty for taking their well-deserved (and contracted!) holidays. They’re there for a reason people! We all need take a breather and reset from time to time, so let’s not feel guilty about it. It’s easy to say though, because this is always something that I haven’t been able to get a handle on. Phoebe’s chapter includes some cold hard advice for how to take time off and not feel like a terrible person, realistically.
Photos by Lauren Shipley
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