Have you Got 5 Minutes? - Quick Tasks to Help Your Business

I've been thinking a lot lately about time management and ways that I can work more efficiently with Butterfly Crafts whilst also commuting to work in London, moving house and well, you know, having a bit of a social life.

I got to thinking about how easy it is to waste time "researching" on Pinterest or checking out Facebook and how those five or ten minutes can really add up and if combined what could I have achieved in that time?

I set myself ten minutes to think of different things I could do to help my business in the space of ten minutes, or whilst drinking a really lovely mug of coffee:
  1. Write a blog post - If you are going to have a blog then you really should keep it up-to-date and that doesn't mean you need to write lengthy essays, even just posting a picture will keep content fresh. A friend of mine Colt Pixy has her Work Table Wednesdays which is purely a picture showing what she is working on.
  2. List a new product -  If you have regular visitors to your website they will get bored of only seeing the same products for sale or that you have not created anything new. Adding a new product a day or a few a week will keep them interested but also be really good from an SEO point of view.
  3. Send a meaningful tweet - Have you read a blog post lately that you loved or a news article? Seen a fab new product that you are dying to share with the world? Tweet the link to your followers as its good to break up "promo" tweets with more meaningful content
  4. Edit some photos -If you're like me with product photography, you take a bunch of photos and then they just sit there until you have time to edit them and that means you also don't have images for new listings (see #2), so whilst you mull over a mug of chai, edit a few photos so they are ready for when you have a few minutes to make a new product listing.
  5. Tidy up! - This could be your work space or your kitchen surface but spending ten minutes tidying up will help free the clutter of your mind. A tidy work space will help you be more productive and also protect your materials/supplies and if you're sitting there trying to find inspiration but all you can think of is the dirty dishes in sink, that's not going to help anyone now is it?
  6. Respond to emails - have a dedicated time of day when you will check your emails and respond to enquiries, you dont have to respond within 33 seconds of receiving the email, that may indicate that you are just sitting on the computer/ipad/iphone etc but within 24hours maximum is courteous.
  7. Update your profile - If you are a savvy business person you will no doubt have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and goodness knows where else for social media. But how up-to-date are your profiles? 
  8. Send out an e-newsletter - Do you have an e-mailing list? When was the last time you communicated with people? If you have a new line of products out or have received an award, send out a bulletin to update your customers.
  9. Brainstorm - Ever feel like your inspiration has run dry? If inspiration strikes sit down and sketch out an idea or write notes for something in an ideas book that you can come back to another time.
  10. Go outside - Getting some fresh air is good for your business and for your health. Taking a few minutes break will help your mind and in turn keep you focuses so you don't become so bogged down in the minute details of everything. It is important to see the bigger picture, its also important to get away from the computer screen and give your eyes a rest.
So, if you only have ten minutes to improve your business - what would you do?

(Oh - see that lovely picture up there? Thats taken by a very talented photographer at Hudson Photographic)

Wednesday, 21 November 2012 | 0 Comments

The end of a chapter

Today has been a strange day, it is the end of a chapter in part of my life, for some it would seem really insignificant but to me it is a strange thing - I had my record closed in the blood clinic of the hospital I have been attending for the past four years.

Back in July 2008 I had my first DVT in my leg, well to get technical I had seven thrombophlebitis clots in my calf and then one huge DVT in my groin. It ruined a trip to be Maid of Honour for my best friend and led to thirteen weeks off of work. But I was under the care of some amazing nurses at the anticoagulant clinic at the hospital and they got my blood under control with a few days of "delightful" clexane injections and then warfarin which I took for 6 months.

Having a DVT so young and in the place it did led to many tests to discover why and thats when it was discovered I have Factor V Leiden putting me at a high risk of clotting. But the nurses were fantastic, even putting up with my tears at not going to Las Vegas. After the six months we said our goodbyes and I stopped treatment.

That was until Boxing Day 2010 when the ticking time bomb went off and I had two further DVTs in my calf. As I explained in this blog post, there was no point being sad or cross, it was relief at the paranoia going away of getting another clot, even if that did mean I will be medicated for the rest of my life and having to deal with the complications that means. And so I went back to the blood clinic to the same friendly nurses who were surprised to see me but remembered me like it was yesterday. Again we had to go over what being on warfarin for life means and I was again measured up for sexy stockings.

Luckily my blood got under control fairly quickly and I was once again in the routine of having my blood tested every few days, and then every couple of weeks and then finally getting to every two months. I like the blood clinic in that the nurses are so friendly, in particular Nurse Sarah who is very much no-nonsense in her attitude. They always want to know what else is going on, how im getting on commuting etc.

Ive not been very well lately, I have developed something called Sacroiliitus in my spine/pelvis which has meant I have been taking some super strong medication and so had to have my blood tested today. It didnt click with me until I saw Nurse Sarah that today was the last day I would go to that clinic again because I am moving to Cambridge soon. After taking my blood she said "well then, I guess I need to close down your record as we wont be seeing you anymore" and wished me very well in my future. I know that I will be switching to a new clinic either at my new doctor or at the hospital in Cambridge, but the staff there will be strangers to me, they wont know how I feel about being on warfarin for life.

I am looking forward and very "scared-cited" (scared & excited) about my new move and my new life that awaits for me, I just cross my fingers that as this blood clinic chapter closes and a new one opens that I am lucky enough to have a new nurse as lovely as Nurse Sarah.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012 | 1 Comment

In Flander's Fields

It's Remembrance day once more, a day to reflect and remember those who are no longer with us, those who have given their lives so that we can live in a free, safer world. I will be remembering those, not who were lost in the World Wars, but more recently in the Gulf and Afghanistan. My brother's "brothers in arms" who light up the night sky with their ever shining stars, those who came home heroes even if they were taken too soon and those who gave their ultimate sacrifice for what they believed in and the job that they loved.

We will never forget. 

We will remember.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

Sunday, 11 November 2012 | 0 Comments