Thoughts on veggie food, work, play and life in general


Time Managment

My Mentoring Journey’s End

As my social media feeds fill up with the faces of embarrassed, frightened and smiling faces as the back to school frenzy gets underway, my year of mentoring with The Girls’ Network  is coming to an end.

It feels a bit weird.  As most people are starting something new I am finishing.

When I began mentoring back in January I remember worrying that I wouldn’t be of much use.  I don’t have children and my lovely nieces and nephews are either in their last year of university, or are successfully making their own way in the world.  

I don’t have much contact with teenagers.  Will I be too out of touch? Do I really understand the pressures they face?  Can I remember being that age?

I had little knowledge of why my mentee was on the programme, or why we had been matched.  With the other mentoring I do I know why we are meeting.

At our first meeting I was really nervous and I came a way half expecting my mentee to drop out, or not turn up for the next session.  But as the months went on we made a connection, shared our experiences, fears, failures and successes.

Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash

We even made it on to the local news in a piece about The Girls’ Network.

It was our last meeting this week and we have a good discussion around how we had found our few months together.  What we learned and liked. Where our strengths and improvement areas lie. I had been of use and made a difference in my mentee’s life.  How much we had laughed and enjoyed the sessions each month. also what we learned from each other and from the mentoring process.

As we said goodbye I realised that I would miss our meetings.  On the drive home I wasn’t sure if I would want to mentor again at this stage.  Would I get it right next time? Would I like my next mentee as much? Would I be asked to continue?

When I got home an email came from The Girls’ Network talking about the next cohort and hoping we would sign up again.  

I have learned a lot from this experience – from improving my  communication and organisational skills, through to realising that although a lot has changed since I was a teenager, a lot of things haven’t.  And that is where I can listen, challenge and provide support and guidance.

Reducing Travel

My job involves meeting people and therefore travelling.  Where I live and work is well connected to London, but not so much to the South Coast or the surrounding towns and villages.

I go to a lot networking events, plus I like to meet clients in person.  This means I spend a lot of time in the car travelling between appointments and events. Although I have a hybrid car and try to drive efficiently, I am still concerned about the impact of my travel on the environment.

I’d like to take public transport more, but the journey times and the cost start to make it look more prohibitive.  A thirty minute drive to Brighton equates to just under two hours by either bus or train. The bus is the cheapest option but the WiFi is not stable so precludes much working on the way. The train costs twice as much as driving and is generally unreliable.  

Of course I am looking at this cost in terms of time and money and not the impact on the environment.  

But I need to have a mindset change.  A lot of my client conversations can be quite personal  and detailed. I like to meet face to face as I can see their full reaction to questions and suggestions.  In my previous corporate life I used to use video conferencing a lot. The picture quality was ok, but time lag could make conversations difficult.  I have tried Skype over the years but always found that the system drops out after about 15 minutes.

Recently I was introduced to Zoom.  I joined a group call and was amazed by the quality and stability of the system.  So I have started to book Zoom calls with existing and potential clients. This has so far been met with enthusiasm.

Using video conference to reduce travel
Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash

Looking at my diary this is freeing up much more time in the office and means I can walk to work more.

There will still be days where using the car will be the only practical option, however I am committed to making these days the exception rather than the norm.

Task Overload

Ever had one of those days where, in your head, the number of tasks to complete appears to outweigh the time available?  We all go through this at some point, but how can you deal with it?

One option is ‘head in the sand’ and jut plough on its what your memory says needs doing first.

Another option is to take some time to review your tasks and review agains priority and ongoing tasks.

I recently went through this process and  ended up limiting all my clients and the amount of time I spend on them monthly.  I then added time for my own company admin and even time for lunch breaks.

This showed that, even allowing for travel time, I have enough time each week to do everything I need to.

This was good news for my panicked, overloaded mind.

My next step was to create a quick visual to show what work I can do and when.  This was only an high level view as, apart from a couple of clients who I visit on specific days, no week is the same.  

This has helped me come up with a strategy for planning my weeks.

In addition to this I use Asana to track all my tasks.  It is a great tool to use to help track projects, one off and repeating tasks.  It is also free to use or up to 10 members.

Having completed this review, and put a task tracker in place, I now feel that I can handle my current or load.  I also now have a way of identifying when the work load is becoming too much, and I need to get some help, before it becomes too stressful.

How do you plan and manage your time? Would love to know your top tips and apps that you use.

Getting Prepared

Do you spend enough time getting prepared?  Prepared for what? It could be the day ahead; the important client meeting, job interview, special occasion.  Anything. Or do you know these things are coming up but somehow end up spending less time preparing than you thought you would, or thought you needed?


I do a bit of both.  Usually successfully, but sometimes I sit there and go ‘oh damn, I really should have put a bit more effort into this’.  Sometimes events and situations that appear to be straight forward, turn out not to be and you have to think on your feet.  Or prepare in a different way.


I go to a lot of networking events and have prepare for each one, usually the day before, by writing my 60 seconds (if required), thinking about my goals for the meeting and making sure I have business cards with me.  Just occasionally neither of these actions happen. So what do I do? Well, being the daughter of two hoarders, I usually have a stash of business cards in my handbag and wallet and keep a box of them in the car. This last one has bailed me out on numerous occasions, and helped when a casual conversation in a queue, or at a social occasion, has led to some new business.

Getting Prepared
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

But what about not preparing for the meeting?  Well I do keep in my notebook a ‘stock’ 60 seconds that I can pull out and use.  In these situations I also hope that I can do my pitch half way round th group. That way I can pick up on themes or complimentary services that I can provide.  This also gives a double whammy of showing that i have listened to those before me , or understand the other skills in the group, and appreciate what they have to offer.


Some people are naturally good at preparing.  My partner prepares for meetings and events weeks in advance – planning out what he needs to do each day to get ready.  I find myself both in awe and dismay of this at the same time. However, whatever he is doing, he always does it well. Fail to plan, plan to fail as the old adage goes.


My problem with planning is that I used to plan for everything.  I had a reputation for being prepared for things, but also felt this made me come across as inflexible – as though if circumstances changed at the last minute I resented the change after all the effort I had put in.  I realised that even if you put a lot of effort into planning, most people don’t realise or appreciate it. I spent a long time trying to free myself up to e able to ‘go with the flow’ and just enjoy whatever happens next.  Be in the moment. Enjoy the moment.


So now I am in a weird no-mans land of being mostly prepared and occasionally not, but then making the most of each situation.  Some days I find this refreshing and congratulate myself on how I did. Some days I give myself a good telling off, and promise to do better next time.


Where are you on the preparedness scale?


Making The Most Of My time 2

So its been a while since my last post where I was mulling over how to better use my time.So what have I been up to? (Apart from having a break!!)


I have been getting up earlier and doing some mundane tasks each day.  This is proving to be a good thing – filing up to date, washing and ironing up to date and giving me more time to relax in the evenings.  And I feel like I am accomplishing a lot more each day.


Of course there have been some days when I haven’t felt like doing anything, or just decided to stay in bed for an extra half hour.  But part of my new routine is saying yes to doing what I feel like doing rather than feeling too pressured to complete things  (unless they really need to be done!).  Giving myself permission to do this has been a revelation and has made me feel refreshed and re energised on its own.  So far I haven’t missed any deadlines, or got behind with anything and don’t feel guilty if I decide to have a slightly lazier day.


I am doing the half on Linked In each morning, which is paying dividends.  I have made many more connections, read some really interesting articles, been able to share my knowledge and experience and so far have two new clients from it.


The added benefit of this is it means that I can spend a little more time at work dealing with clients and running the company, rather than worried about getting to every face to face networking meeting.  This half hour each morning won’t replace the face to face networking I do, but it is showing rewards quite quickly.  And of course it is much cheaper and less disruptive during the day.


So all in all my routine is working well.  I’m hoping to add in some time to learn new things, and currently trying to identify a course to do.  And yes I am feeling happier!


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