What Happened To My Goals? Re-Focusing With June and July Goals.

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At the beginning of the year, I set myself a challenge of focusing on two goals every two months and because the year before, I had been working on three goals every three months, I thought this would work out more positively for me because I was focusing on less. However, because I went away in March and then it took me a while to get myself back up on the blog again, I never went back to reassessing those goals so that’s what I’ll be discussing today. 

I could talk about goals until all the cows come home; I’m a very goal-oriented person and I believe you need to have at least one goal to keep you motivated. I don’t think it necessarily matters what your goal is, everyone is different when it comes to their goals like I have spoken about before but it has to be something that you want to do, or else, what’s the point? Because I hadn’t got back on track with setting goals, I had to sit down and think about what I wanted to do, so I’m still sticking with the two goals for two months because I feel like that particular plan hasn’t had enough time to really work yet. 

Run twenty miles. 

If you read my “Running Confidence” post, you’ll know that my running for the last year isn’t at the level that I want to be, and while there has been quite a lot of factors in this, it’s something that I know I need to change, because if I don’t change it, no-one else will. That’s why I’m committing to running twenty miles altogether in June and July; now the seasoned runners, that might not seem like a lot, but to me, it’s the perfect starting point to get myself back on track, and staying on that track. Plus, we’re coming into nicer weather (hopefully) so that should help with the motivation. 

Start learning Polish again. 

At the beginning of the year, Scott and I started learning Polish on Duolingo; we were quite proud of the fact that we had done it every single day continuously for three months and until we went away, we didn’t miss a day. However, we didn’t pick it back up once we came back, and we still haven’t! We really enjoyed doing that because it was something we could do together and it was so simple that it didn’t feel like a chore. It’s so simple that we really have no excuse not to continue doing it so we’re going to start it back up again. 

It can be hard to set goals for yourself if you’re not sure what you want to do, I’ve been there so I know how it feels. I decided to focus on something that I enjoy; learning a new language and continuing to enjoy a sport that I had been used to getting my teeth stuck into. For you, it could be career goals, hobby goals, relationship goals or something completely new, but just make sure it’s something that you absolutely want to do or you might find yourself not sticking to it because it’s not calling to you. 

Thank you so much for reading today’s post; it was a short one this week but sometimes I need posts like this to re-focus my mind for a little while. If you have any feedback, please let me know in the usual places. 

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My Experience of Anti-Depressants: One Year On (Part One)

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Next month (June) will mark one year since I started on my anti-depressants and because one of the focuses of my blog is mental health, I wanted to discuss briefly on how I got to that point and in my post that will follow this, I’ll talk about how I have been feeling during this period while on them. I just want to put it out there; this is in no way a sympathy post, I personally think it’s important to talk about different ways we cope with certain situations in our lives and this is one of the ways I have been able to cope, and if we can encourage others to talk to professionals about how they are feeling, then the world will be a better place. 

(Just as a disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional, I’m in no position to give out medical advice; this post is simply talking about my experience going to the GP and making the decision that was best for me at this period in my life.) 

I’m not sure about you but anti-depressants in my opinion, have never had the greatest reputation and I don’t really know why. I’ve heard them described as “numbing” and “short-term gain” which is two things they can do perfectly but for me, they have been so much more than that. I was recently listening to Dr. Phil’s podcast “Phil In The Blanks” and he was talking to one of my favourite people Dax Shepard. They were discussing going to the doctors and Dr. Phil said that quite a lot of general practitioners are very quick to subscribe pills and let the patient go. I’ve heard this a few times from different people, both in real life and on line, saying that when they were going to the doctors, they would listen to them for two minutes and put them on anti-depressants. Knowing that this was the experience for a few people I had heard, I was already preparing myself not to be listened to and being given pills.  

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Looking back, I couldn’t have been happier with my experience. I went and spoke to my regular doctor. I went over what had been doing as briefly as I could within a doctor’s allotted time slot and what was interesting with this visit was that they asked could one of the student doctors ask me questions to get a background on me before going into the appointment, and I was fine with that. It was a nice experience because it was an additional ten minutes, I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise so she had asked me why I was there today and why I thought I had been feeling this way. She asked me about past experiences so I was very open with what had been happening with me over the last few years; I also talked about going to CBT and I said that it had been amazing but there was still something just not right. I had been able to change most of my thinking patterns but my body wasn’t responding to those patterns sometimes. Once that was finished, I spoke to my regular doctor after the student doctor had told him what we had discussed and I already felt at ease about the experience. I was no longer worried that they were going to throw pills at me and be on my way. One of the main points he had asked me about my tiredness and I was completely straight with him, I told him that I can’t remember the last time I WASN’T tired and that’s completely true. Give me five hours, eight hours or twelve hours of sleep, I will still be tired. He was concerned about that considering I was still in my mid-twenties so when he asked me about my diet, I told him I was vegan and that’s when he suggested going on iron tablets and in my head, I rolled my eyes. It’s that classic vegan line, “Oh maybe you’re not getting enough iron” but I went with it because as much as I rolled my eyes, I probably wasn’t getting enough iron to be absolutely fair to him. He was very clear though; we’ll try the iron tablets for a few weeks and see if everything else lifts; and if it doesn’t, then we’ll look at something else. 

I left that day knowing that iron tablets weren’t going to be the cure all. Simply because I have been tired since I was around fourteen; and at fourteen I was eating meat, getting enough sleep and being a typical teenager so using the reasoning of my vegan diet, I just knew it was something more. However, I’m a woman of my word so I took my iron tablets, went back a few weeks later to get a few blood tests, and booked another appointment to see a doctor for another few weeks down the line while I was there. 

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This time around, I didn’t have my regular doctor which was fine, because you have to wait a few weeks for an appointment so at this point, I just wanted to speak to someone! My notes from the previous session had been on the system (albeit very brief) and I talked about being there last time and how I had felt so I had been put on iron tablets but I didn’t feel any better, I actually felt worse. She had checked my results and my iron had shot up dramatically which I was shocked at because many people think that if your iron levels are normal, you aren’t as tired (I’m living proof that this is not the case). We determined that this was something else and I spoke about how I had been feeling, and ironically during this visit, I had been told I was being made redundant just a few days before so understandably, I was still very emotional and I’m sure that’s one of the main reasons I was feeling worse (though not the only reason). I know all about self-care and looking after yourself so I stressed that I socialised, I looked after my body with the food it needed and the exercise it craved. There’s this huge perception online that you can cure “sadness” (or whatever you choose to call it) with good food and exercise, and while that may be true for some, it’s not always the case for everyone else. I sat in tears because I was tired; I had spent the first part of the year feeling completely miserable (and the first three months crying almost every day at little things). I should have gone to the doctor earlier, I know that now but I thought the sadness was go away at some point. We talked about the options and I had mentioned that I was currently going through CBT and while it was working great with some areas of my life, my head wasn’t able to catch up. She asked me how I felt about anti-depressants, and I raised my concerns. I told her that I was worried about being on them forever because I didn’t want to dependant on a tablet forever and change my hormones; it’s actually a huge reason I have never been on birth control, because I wanted to be in control of my body. I was desperate, I sat there in tears and told her that I thought I was depressed and I had thought it for a while but I never wanted to admit it. I had only ever mentioned the emotion “depressed” very few times in that time period because I didn’t think I had the right to be depressed. I had been in pain for a while but because I thought it was “just go away”, I waited and waited and it only got worse. She confirmed that this was more than being “sad” and that it was much deeper; she said the anti-depressants would be my best option for now and down the road we would review it.  

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After hearing the horror stories of others saying that GP’s just want to hand out pills and be done with it; based on my experience this was not what happened with me. I felt listened to, I felt like both my GP’s had compassion and it wasn’t being dismissed. While I didn’t feel like the iron tablets would do anything at the first appointment, I know now they just wanted to check that was okay first before moving onto to something else. No GP has ever sat me down and told me I have depression so for that reason, I don’t feel like I can say I have depression but I describe them as depressive episodes. Do GP’s explicitly say “I’m diagnosing you with depression” I don’t know so that’s why I don’t like saying I have depression because it’s never been confirmed to me, but I know it’s more than a sad phase. 

As I mentioned at the beginning, there will be Part Two to this post (because I didn’t think that this would end up this long) and I’ll be discussing how I have felt over the last year being on anti-depressants and why my perceptions have changed completely on them.  

Thank you so much for reading today’s post; I know it’s quite a personal post but I thought it was important to talk openly (or as openly as I felt comfortable with) about what has been going on with my mental health. It can only take one conversation to help and while I’m not the most open person on the planet, I still think it’s important to talk to someone you trust AND a professional. Have a great day! ☀️

“Make Time” by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky: Book Review.

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Today’s post is something I am very excited about; now I wouldn’t say it’s a book review because it’s not as in-depth going into every single section but it’s picking out those little gems that I found fascinating or that spoke to me, and that’s what we should all look for when it comes to book reviews right? 

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I picked this book up in New York when we went to visit the Strand Bookstore; I had never heard of the book before but I’m very interested in self-development and originally, I thought it was based around productivity and because that is something I tend to struggle with, I picked it up pretty quickly. Once I got into the book, I realised that it wasn’t about productivity at all, but it was more about changing your habits in order to find yourself more time. What I personally love about the layout of the book is that; the chapters aren’t very long and because there are so many techniques, you can jump throughout the book so you don’t necessarily need to read it back-to-back. To give you a very quick over-view, it was written by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky and you can really see their personalities shine through throughout this book with their little jokes and puns and even the little illustrations too. 

Before getting into the techniques that I took value from, I wanted to go through the four steps that are absolutely key to making sure this process works a treat; Highlight, Laser, Energise and Reflect. 

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Highlight

What do you want to make time for? That’s the million-pound question right? We have so many different things going on day-to-day but the focus of this is to choose one single thing that you want to make the time for. This really can be for absolutely anything; work-related, a creative project, self-development or maybe something that has been on your to-do list for a while. Now of course, this isn’t the only thing you are going to do in your day but it’s something that you know that will need set time aside for. This section also allows you to help you make time for your highlight; whether that is writing it down on paper or digitally, doing your highlight in the morning or evening, or helping you design your own days around your own hours. 

Laser

Aah distractions, we’ve all been there right? This next step is to help with those distractions that we can’t seem to drag ourselves away from and yes, lowering our social media usage is included (but this will help you choose which techniques will make the process easier for you). 

Energise

We’ve all heard that recharging is amazing for the soul and when we’re working on any project (whether that be work-related, creative or simply doing a list of chores around the house) we all need to take time out rather than work twelve hours straight. This section is full of wonderful tips that many of us need to do more often to refresh the brain. 

Reflect

Reflection is so important when taking on any changes because if something doesn’t work for you and you’re not looking at that on a regular basis; the changes you have been making will continue to not work. John and Jake recommend doing this every evening before bed, so you can recall what you did during the day with it still very fresh in your memory. 

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Now, onto the techniques! These are just a few of my favourites that I took the most value from, as the book is packed full, so if you want to find out more, you should have a read of it for yourself. I’ve divided these into the four sections to make for an easier read. 

20190519_090955-01.jpeg(This is what we see A LOT within the twenty first century and I used to be a victim of it too – Constantly being busy and being so proud of the fact that you were so busy you didn’t have time for anything else. Look familiar?)

Highlight Tactics 

The “Might Do” List.
While this might sound overwhelming when I explain it; once I had done it for the first time, I realised that it’s definitely not as bad as it sounds. As someone who went way too far with her own lists only a year ago, I’m still careful with how I structure lists. This technique asks you to list all the tasks you need to do and then prioritise what tasks you absolutely need to do and what tasks you can put to the side; it’s as simple as that. It might take some time writing everything down but it will help you realise what needs done rather than becoming really overwhelmed. 

Tactic Battle: Morning vs. Night.
There’s often talk within the personal development world that in order to be your best self, getting up early in the morning is a must but what if you don’t feel like you work your best at that time. In this tactic battle, Jake and John discuss what works for them; Jon works better in the morning and Jake works better in the evening. I’m personally teaching my body to become a morning person and I am getting there but I thought this would be a great section to read if night-time is more your jam. 

20190519_090753-02.jpeg(An example of one of the many digital techniques in the book that Jake and John talk about including letting go of distractions from your phone. Also, how cute are the little heads and the speech bubbles?)

Laser Tactics 

Skip the Morning Check In.
I’m going to prefaces this by saying that this is something I wouldn’t be able to do during the work week, but during the weekend and when I have no plans, absolutely! Skipping the morning check in really is what it says on the tin; it’s where you wake up with an alarm and don’t check you phone until you have had breakfast and are ready to go for the day. Over the Easter break, I remember reading this part of the book before going to bed, I set my alarm and I went to bed. I woke up the next morning and the first thing I did was look at my phone (Ironic right?) and it was dead. The cable must have fell out overnight so I had no battery left, so surely this was the perfect opportunity to charge it in my room while I got ready. Now, I had zero idea of what time it was, so I went down and had my breakfast, got showered, dried and straightened my hair and got changed. When I eventually turned my phone on, it was 6:30am… the exact time I had set my alarm for. If that wasn’t fate, I don’t know what is frankly. Yes, it was still early but I had plans that day so I was able to read and chill for the early part of the morning. 

I don’t necessarily think this is a bad idea, I certainly seen the benefits after one morning but you still at least one alarm. I would suggest an actual alarm clock so you know what time it is but I do like the concept of not logging right into your phone as soon as your brain time to wake up naturally. 

Make a “Random Question” List.
Ever thought about who was in that movie that you love and you just HAD to Google it even though you’re right in the middle of something? We will do anything to create a distraction sometime but often, we can’t help what pops into our head which is why I loved this idea. You can write any random thoughts or questions down and once you are finished your task, then you can decide whether you want to find out the answer or explore it further. 

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Energise Tactics 

Central Park Your Plate.
This concept interested me because we’ve all heard of the perfect portion plate and it’s what most of us universally used when we were younger. This point of this plate is to imagine your vegetables are Central Park, bang right in the middle of the city, then what you put around that is your proteins, your fats and your carbs. It’s not only to make sure you get lots of vegetables but to re-structure your meals so there are more vegetables, if you’re the type of person that only puts a few on the side then says “Oh there’s not enough room for any more.” Now you don’t have that excuse. 

Sneak a Nap.
I’m not just choosing this because I love a good nap (because I REALLY do!) but throughout the book, Jake and John tell us about various studies they have read surrounding different studies and they mentioned that a 1994 study conducted by NASA focused on long-haul commercial pilots. The researchers found that pilots who took a nap improved their performance by 34% which was particularly influential because we all want our pilots to perform well. John does make a small note saying that he understands if you work in an office environment, it can either be awkward to go for a nap or you might not have an area for that, but even a quick nap on the weekend can help you benefit. Naps can get a bad rap sometimes and I thought this was a great section of the book to bring to the fore front as they can be beneficial. 

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This was one of the easiest books on how to design your life because it has over 80 techniques to help you figure out what you like, what you don’t and what works perfectly for you. I would say if you’re looking for a quick fix, realistically I don’t believe that any book like this is going to help you find it instantly; it’s important to note that when you’re trying to change your habits and make time for what you want to do, it’s all about the process. That’s why this book also includes reflect on the changes you make; is your highlight really important to you? Are you energising correctly? Are you letting your phone be the boss of you rather than the other way around? It helps you constantly look at what you are doing and if it is working for you. 

This is a book I will continue to go back to a lot, simply because our lives are ever-changing and our highlight will always be changing too. My advice would be (if you can) get this in the hardback version rather than the audio book because it’s really easy to flick to the page you need in just a few seconds. All the techniques are laid out in the contents pages at the beginning so it’s really simple to jump from page-to-page like I talked about earlier.  

I really hope you enjoyed today’s post because it’s something I have been working on for a while; I prefer to go through a book and pick out the sections that speak to me because it adds that personal element to it, which is why you won’t see every technique listed out (I love the majority of the techniques but if you want to find out about the entire list, that’s when you buy the book!) These are tactics that I have found work for me or ones that I found interesting, and I decided that they deserve to be shared. You can find the book right here! (Please note: This is not an affiliate link, I simply wanted to be the helpful soul that I am, so you could find the book even faster) If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below or contact me on my Instagram or my Twitter

Three Simple Ways I Got Back On Track.

Three Simple Ways I Got Back On Track

In Part One of this post (Four Mindset Changes To Help You Get Back On Track) I talked about how changing my mindset around certain areas was important for me to get back on track after a break. Today’s post is all about three changes I made myself to make sure I was working towards my goals. 

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Meal prepping. 

I am such a strong advocate for meal prep! If you meal prep your lunches like I do, then you can relate to the feeling of knowing what you’re having for lunch for that day or that week, and knowing you don’t have the worry about grabbing something at the shop last minute. The most important factor for me is I know what is going into my food; I make a chickpea, tumeric and quinoa curry from Delicious Ella and it’s really easy to make plus it’s not full of ingredients that you wouldn’t know where to buy them from. From chopping, boiling and cooking time, I would say it’s around an hour and a half so it’s not a very long time which is why I get up early on a Monday morning to make it. It means that I don’t have an excuse to not get up because if I don’t, then I don’t have my lunch, and I’ll have to spend extra money in the shop for something that is more than likely, not as great for me as my original lunch would have been.

Other meal prep can take hours, even half a day and many can simply take a few minutes. It’s really up to you; who you are cooking for, what type of food is it, what meal it will be for, how many times a week you will be eating it. That’s where a little planning comes in and once you have your plan down, you’ll be good to go.

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Using one list and one list only. 

Now to-do lists can be my best friend and sometimes they can be my enemy; however I have found over the last year that my mindset with to-do lists has changed dramatically. They used to really terrify me and make me overwhelmed, it was something I worked very hard on in therapy but using an app called “Wunderlist”, I have found a little hack for myself which makes life so much easier.

I create a list every week in my own folder named with the starting date on Monday and the end date of the Sunday, and I put all my to-do’s in one list. Sounds extreme I know, but I then put in brackets about the ideal day I would like to do the activity on. This means I have able to space out the activities over certain days and not feel overwhelmed.

Here’s an example: Monday 29th April to Sunday 5th May. On this list, were the most important tasks I wanted to do that week. These included: cleaning out my cat’s litter tray, emptying various bins around the kitchen, washing the car, meeting my friend for lunch, batch cooking my lunches and going for a food shop. See? A wide range of activities from housework, to social time to necessities. I try and write everything out at the start of the week along with the day I hope to have it planned for, then as soon as I have finished it, I tick it off. Very simple but it has a really positive impact on how I look at what I need to do within my week. 

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Waking up early and going to bed early. 

On my meal prep day, I get up at 5am which I know is very early (Trust me, I know but it’s very very worth it!) but I certainly can’t go to bed at 1am like I used to, especially during a work week. I make it a priority now to leave Scott’s house earlier than usual if I’m there, to make sure I’m getting ready for bed, winding down and heading to sleep. It’s as simple as that and sure, at first it was hard going to sleep early but you soon get there.  Waking up early and going to bed early can be challenging (especially if you’re like me and you really like a cosy warm bed in the morning, I really do feel your pain!) but if I don’t push myself to do these things, the thing that I wat to change, won’t actually change because I’m not willing to.

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I’m certainly not perfect and I haven’t found myself in the perfect gym routine yet because I’m not as used to get up early every single day as I once was or to push myself to the gym in the evening because I’m exhausted, but I’ll get there someday soon. I know what I need to do to get there, and it’s all about those baby steps that we talked about in the previous post.

Okay, so it’s not life changing or rocket science but it really is simple things that I have managed to work out and plan into my life but as always, no-one is going to be the exact same. You may have different priorities and that’s okay; it’s always about working with what you have, what you need and what your goals are.

I really hope you enjoyed today’s post, it’s always nice to look back over the last few weeks to see that I have progressed. It’s sometimes hard to notice when you’re living day after day but taking a moment of reflection every once in a while, can have a massive impact. Let me know if you enjoyed my post, or if there’s anything else you’d like me to post about (I’m always open to new ideas!) over on my Twitter, my Instagram or down below!

I Lost My Running Confidence… But I’m Getting It Back.

I Lost My Running Confidence... But I’m Getting It Back

Losing your running confidence is really quite difficult to deal with, but it’s even worse when you don’t necessarily want to admit it to yourself. I’ve finally came to terms with not running as much and as well as I once used to, so that’s what I wanted to focus on for today’s post. 

Running has been a real relationship for me in terms of having a great time with it but not knowing if I could continue with it. I would get so frustrated with it, I would feel defeated and not think I was progressing with it. On the other hand; I felt so proud of myself getting a personal best time or distance, I felt great afterwards (Thanks to that cheeky post-workout glow!) and when I did feel like I was progressing, it was fantastic.

As sad as it is to say, when the cold weather came in again, I think that’s when I started to feel the slump. I’m not great with cold weather at the best of times, but having to force myself out for a run was not something I was very good at, and it didn’t just make an impact on me. Scott ran less too and he can say that it wasn’t my fault, but I know that I was part of the reason for his lack of running. That’s just part of being in a relationship; finding out that you sacrifice something for your partner and there’s always a lesson in that, isn’t there? I know for me, I’m more conscience about exercise and because I feel cosier inside than outside; if I still feel okay to go out, I will do because it’s important for me and Scott.

IMG-20180908-WA0013-01.jpeg(This was at the Larne 10K and I would say that I was at the top of my running game; it was such a great race and I felt great afterwards despite it not being my PB time, although it was my second best.)

It’s disheartening for both of us to see our progress go down and I’m sure it will be something that Scott discusses at some point on his blog, but it was tough to see my learning curves build up and for them not to be so apparent anymore. I’m not as fast as I once was, I have to walk more than I used to and sometimes you can feel a little useless.

Towards the beginning of the year, I was running regular park runs which I really enjoyed but something was missing and I didn’t know what it was. Was it knowing that I used to be better? Was it the pressure I was putting on myself?

Yesterday (Saturday 4th May) was the first time in a month I had been running and I’ve been putting it off for a while, so instead of going to our usual spot by the beach, we went up to our local park where all my running really started. We done a two lap route of the top of the park and a couple of sprints so it wasn’t a very long session, but it was more than enough to get our hearts pumping. I’m glad that I’ve got a little piece of running confidence back but I don’t think I’ll truly get it back fully until I’m back where I was when I was at my best. That will take time and patience but it’s worth it one hundred percent.

strava3065251963898333238.jpg(This was our first gentle run yesterday. We decided not to go to the full 5K because we knew we were doing sprints afterwards.)

strava7792303457139840561.jpg(Sprints were fun! We only managed to do three altogether because we tired ourselves out a little too much on the first go, but it’s something we’re going to incorporate them into future sessions.)

I’m the type of person who needs to aim for a goal in order to move forward with something like this, and this is one of those times so I’m planning over the next week or so on what I should do, what do I need to aim for? It might be a time or a distance but as long as it gives me the motivation to move forward, that’s all that matters.

If you have any blog posts or videos you think would be a good recommendation for me to have a quick look at when it comes to motivation or getting back on track; let me know either down below, on Twitter or on Instagram. Thank you so much for reading today’s post, I really appreciate it! 

Are Blog Schedules That Important?

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Ever since I started writing on the blog again, I have found it difficult to know whether I should stick to a blog schedule or not, so it’s a topic that I would like to discuss, to see if it resonates with anyone else. 

I used to be really proud of my schedule; I posted every Wednesday and Sunday for months without fail. I felt my content was working for me and I felt motivated. I believe this was more to do with the fact that I wasn’t stuck to one subject; I have a range of topics on the blog so it makes it easier to broaden my horizons. More recently since the beginning of the year, I didn’t mind too much if I didn’t post on my exact days because I would rather write zero content rather than “write for the sake of writing” and I made my peace with that. I believe that made me a better writer, because I only want to write when I feel like I can bring good content.

It got me thinking, “is there a point to having weekly schedule?” I don’t have a big following, certainly not enough where people are patiently waiting for my post to be published but I know that I do have readers. I don’t think anyone would mind if I posted on a Sunday one week than a Thursday the next, then maybe the next Tuesday. What is more important to me is consistency but in a different perspective; while keeping to a schedule is consistent, so is having at least one blog go out a week on any day.

The blogs I read or the YouTube videos I watch, I don’t necessarily look at the dates (However, if someone posts in a group about their new post but you look at the date, and it’s a year old then that’s where I have an issue… it’s not new content) I look at what they’re talking about. It’s really as simple as that. I choose carefully what type of posts I read like we all do really; we’re not going to read blog posts we don’t like, are we? It’s a waste of time.

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As we always hear, quality over quantity and I’ll admit that I used to rush posts to get them out in time to make sure I had a post for a particular day. I was never proud of those posts but I thought because I had my set schedule, I HAD to do it. I never “had to”, no-one was holding me accountable apart from myself. I put too much pressure on myself every week to commit, which I thought would make me a better writer, but it would often burn me out instead. I’ll give you an example; my Sunday Saves that I did for over a year, I was really proud of that series but it started to get tedious. Don’t get me wrong, it was so easy to write because I read quite a few blogs so I always had new content to write about and include, but I got bored of the process. It took me quite a while to move on from it but looking back now, I’m glad I did because if I had have continued that, I would have lost my creativity for the blog in the long-run.

I can certainly see the positives to blog schedules because I often look at it like other every day routines; having a schedule lets you get back on track faster if you “fall off the wagon” and if you have a deadline set, your brain can often get “in the zone” because it knows it has an expiry coming up. I can completely understand it but we all work differently when it comes to trying to get into “your zone” and that’s something I’ve been learning about in one of the books I have been reading recently.

I’m not saying I do have a schedule but I’m not saying I don’t; I’m figuring that out at the minute but I know that my content is much more important that what day of the week it has been posted on, so I know I’m on the right path at least.

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Is a weekly schedule important to you? Does it matter when a post has first gone live or as long as you are consistent, does that matter more? Please let me know your thoughts on this either down below, on Twitter or on Instagram.

Six Lessons I Learned About The Job Interview Process.

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After being unemployed for almost five months, I had my fair share of interviews and it was incredibly frustrating because I simply wanted a job, and I kept getting so close but just missing out on the opportunity or sometimes, it wasn’t the right fit. In today’s post, I’m going to share what I think are my best tips in order to come across the best in a job interview and throughout the looking-for-a-job process. 

Learn about the company. 

At first, I thought this was the most obvious advice but I have heard quite a few stories of interviewees going into job interviews with their possible employer, and when asked “What do you know about our organisation?” They have simply said, “Only what’s on your website.” As respect to not only yourself, but to your potential employer, you should do your research. They have probably filed through dozens, if not hundreds of people to offer you an interview, and for you not to do your research; that opportunity could have been given to someone else. Even if you don’t understand what the company does, you could say that you have looked online and conducted research, but you would like a better understanding of what they do. That shows that you are interested in learning more. 

Ask at least one question at the end. 

Asking a question at the end of the interview is advice I got constantly, from people in real-life to online resources and when you put it into practice, you can see why. Your interviewer hasn’t necessarily have a wall built up because there’s a change when you turn the tables on them. You don’t have to ask anything complicated nor should you make it completely personal but I think it’s important to ask something which is relevant to the company. I prefer to ask “What do you like about working here?”, “Where would you like to see the company in five years?” or “Is there anything on my CV you would like to ask me about?” This also gives you a little break towards the end, to take a breath and breathe, because interviews are nerve-wrecking and it’s nice to have that little moment of space while they’re answering YOUR questions. 

Dress appropriately. 

Dressing appropriately can be a tricky one sometimes because if it’s smart casual; it’s easier for men (I believe) than women. I’m not saying you have to go out and buy yourself a brand new wardrobe but dressing appropriately for the job you have applied for, will come across to the employer that you are taking an interest. I wouldn’t turn up in a pair of trainers and tracksuit bottoms but I’m not going to turn up in a pair of heels that I can’t walk in either, in order to seem professional because it might have the opposite effect. 

Bring your experience into your answers. 

You can Google as much as you like about a certain job role, but if you can’t describe on how you would either handle a certain situation or how you have tackled a similar situation before, it can be hard to persuade employers. They’re looking for experience and I know it’s tough if you don’t have any but you can usually think of something in your life where you have been in charge. For example, if you’re coming out of school and straight into a job, you can use your role in a team for coursework to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of being in a group and how you would handle it differently next time. If you volunteer, you can talk about some of the issues that can come up during this, or if you’re coming from another role, you can talk about taking on the responsibilities in that job and how you were able to take control. 

Show your personality. 

I remember some of my first interviews and while I don’t think I necessarily did a bad job at presenting myself, I know the reason why I wasn’t at the top of their list. I was too tense; I was too concentrated on the answers I was giving and I didn’t give myself time to think about the answers. I constantly had a dry throat and one time I was so nervous, I had the bottle of water poured into the cup before the interviewers even said “There is water there for you if you need it”. You can bet, I felt really embarrassed at that moment. I was starting to get through to the interview stage more and more so that enabled me to feel better about going in each time; it helped that I had a really nicely presented CV that was colourful but not too over the top, I wanted it to reflect my personality. In my interests, I wrote (amongst others things) “eating vegan pancakes” and “drinking all the tea”; now that might not be appropriate for certain jobs but I wasn’t applying to be a doctor or a lawyer so I felt that was suitable. You can be qualified for a role but companies most of the time are also looking for someone who is going to fit into their work environment and be a team player so by showing your personality in a really fun but professional way, I believe it helps in a big way. 

Have standards. 

Having standards for yourself is something that can be quite hard to balance out especially if you are unemployed and you simply want a job. A problem I had when I was going through this stage, and my boyfriend disagreed with me at the time, was my standards. Now, I’m not saying that I was looking for all the money in the world and thinking I deserved that, because that wasn’t the case. It came down to money and while you might think (and my boyfriend even said this) “I don’t think you’re in the position to be picky about a job when you don’t have one” Fair enough point absolutely but I’m not willing to work for less than what I know I’m worth. I’ll give you an example; there was a job interview I went to that wasn’t very close to where I live so it would require four buses a day so instantly, I was thinking about the commute time and knowing how the Northern Ireland public transport system works, sometimes it’s not on time so you have to factor that in. Another thing was that is was minimum wage; now let me say that I don’t think there is anything wrong with minimum wage but my previous job was higher than the minimum and I also had to think of how I would survive on that. I have my own house which is rented so I have to pay someone each month, I have bills to pay, I have a little kitty to feed as well as myself and I also have to take care of other things around the house. Minimum wage wasn’t going to cover me and at the time, my boyfriend said “it can be something until you get a permanent job” and yes, that’s a perfectly fine point but why would I waste my employers time and more importantly, my own time training up for a job that I wasn’t planning on staying at for less than I could afford and adding in transport costs to that too. It didn’t make sense to me, and Scott disagreed with me greatly on this, but now I’m glad I stood my ground with my point.  

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Would you agree with me? What would you advice others to do in a job interview? Let me know either on my Twitter, my Instagram or let me know down below! Thank you so much for reading, I really do appreciate it!