Autumn Thoughts

The atmosphere in the house has been difficult to adjust to. It has been a week since Poppy passed away and for the first time in seventeen years there hasn’t been a cat in the house to get under my feet, yell at me for breakfast or test out the acoustics of the bathroom by singing their favourite songs at 3.00am. I have found it difficult not to walk up and down the stairs in a certain way to accommodate a feline zooming past me, or to open a door slowly just in case their was a cat sitting behind it, and for the first few days the sight of an empty kitty bed made me break down in tears. My lovely neighbour works with an animal sanctuary and so she very kindly agreed to pass all of Poppy’s things on so that they can go to help another animal in need, which has made me feel a little better. Continue reading

Introducing the July Daily Gratitude Challenge

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough – Oprah Winfrey

In times of struggle, it can often be difficult not to become permanently focused on the negative, and this year is certainly one of the most challenging periods in living memory. In a era of great change, the online world has become an even bigger cesspool of animosity and hatred.

Daily Gratitude

We all have those days when things seemingly go from bad to worse, but when reflecting we all have things to be grateful for every day, however small they may be. In an effort to inject a little positivity, I decided to set myself a Daily Gratitude Challenge for the entire month of July, and I am inviting everyone else to join in. I try to be as mindful as possible by taking the time to be grateful for the people around me, the lifestyle that I lead and the positive things that have happened in my day when filling out a Daily Gratitude Journal in my Bullet Journal. I find this enormously helpful when it feels like the world is imploding.

This Daily Gratitude Challenge is designed to be more in-depth. Instead of a sentence or two, each day will focus on things to be grateful for, with the act of writing becoming a larger part of my self-care routine. And with a sizeable following on Suzie Speaks, I am encouraging anyone and everyone to do the same. Continue reading

Hints and Tips to Stay Productive When Working From Home

14 Hints and Tips to Stay Productive When Working From Home 1

I’ve been working from home pretty much every day since 2015. While at first glance it may seem like the perfect situation (and in many ways it is), but there are lots of potential pitfalls and distractions when you’re solely accountable for your own workload. Over the years I have had to remain self-motivated and develop a routine in order to be able to stay productive and keep doing it successfully.

Here are some hints and tips that I have found useful when working from home.

Set up a dedicated working area. Whether it is a small desk a the back of a room or a shed at the bottom of the garden, create an area that is solely used for work-based activities.

Have a shower and get dressed. Getting up and ready as you would do for a working day elsewhere will help to change the mindset between work and home. It’s also useful should a last-minute video chat should happen – it’s unlikely that clients or colleagues will be impressed by your pyjamas and bed hair and being ready will avoid having to quickly jump in the shower or getting changed when you’re in the middle of something.

Plan your tasks in advance. When I start the day knowing what it is that I need to be working on, I find it much easier to plan and prioritise my tasks for the day, and for this I use a Bullet Journal. I use simple trackers for daily repeated tasks that are drawn out in a simple grid form, and I fill out individual tasks in a monthly calendar layout, colouring in the boxes as I go. This saves an enormous amount of time and I find the colouring rather therapeutic. Continue reading

Seven Weeks in Lockdown

It’s been just nearly seven weeks since lockdown began, and I’m getting used to a slightly different way of living. Granted, compared to many people my daily life hasn’t changed that much – I’ve worked from home for the last 4 1/2 years and so I’m used to my own company and being self-motivated enough to stay productive – but I have to regularly remind myself that I can’t just hop out to the local shops for things I need, visit a friend or organise a date night somewhere fun in the city.

However, if these are the only things I have to worry about then I count The Bloke and I incredibly fortunate. Our families and friends are healthy, our jobs are consistent, we have food in the cupboards and the bills are paid, and we have taken to expressing daily gratitude for this to each other in conversations should one of us feel a little low. Continue reading

Great February Bullet Journal Spread Ideas

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small amount of money if you make a purchase from any of the Amazon links included.

All of the images included were given with full permission from their creators and I have linked each account.

After what has seemed like forever, January has finally ended for 2020. (Incidentally, if you missed my Great January Bullet Journal Spread Ideas, you can visit here).

I like February – I have been able to get myself back into a routine and start preparing content ideas for a later date, and as always, my Bullet Journal has been instrumental in allowing me to organise myself effectively without becoming overwhelmed.

Instead of focusing on Valentine’s Day during the first half of the month, I like to spend the month being more conscious of self-care and wellness. I find it equally as important to take care of my own well-being in the same way I do for The Bloke. Consequently, some of my spreads are specifically targeted towards taking some time for myself when things seem a bit too much. Continue reading

40 Before 40: The Bucket List

40 Before 40 The Bucket List

When I first left my job to become self-employed I created a Bucket List. Some of it consisted of small goals that were designed to push myself forward in my new career path, while others were seemingly far more outrageous and frivolous at the time, being included in a ‘pipe dream’ section at the end.

Rather unexpectedly I managed to complete the entire list, with the final item being ticked off after I had the chance to meet Dolph Lundgren – my ultimate celebrity crush of 30+ years – in December 2017. However, since then I haven’t really focused on major goals, instead choosing to go from day to day with little direction other than getting through the month ahead.

In November I turned 38 and so I decided that I would create a 40 Before 40 Bucket List – 40 things to see, do and achieve before I turn 40 years old – in which I have just under two years to complete. I’ve seen quite a few of them online and after a period of time of feeling like I have little direction this seemed like the perfect solution: acknowledge what I want to do… and do it. By putting it in a public forum I am making myself accountable to not only myself, but for those who read and follow Suzie Speaks regularly. Continue reading

Step By Step

On the 1st January I decided to work on Step One of the next part of my blogging journey, which would eventually lead to Step Two much later on. Neither Step One nor Step Two are actually needed if I’m honest, but I have seen how much more successful Step Two is once Step One has been established for a while. I was quite excited about it – I created a whole bunch of ideas of how I could build on it to make it beneficial…

…and then proceeded to ignore it.

It has been weighing on me for a while, getting heavier each day, so this morning I woke up to the dark and rain outside, had a little tantrum to myself and decided that if I achieved nothing else today, I would do this ONE THING. Just one. Continue reading

How to Create a Gratitude Journal That Actually Works

How to Create a Gratitude Journal that Actually Works

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough – Oprah Winfrey

It’s easy to become bogged down in minutiae, particularly during days when even the smallest of things doesn’t go as planned. As someone who naturally adopts a ‘glass-half-empty’ perspective on life when things don’t go my way, I find it difficult not to get pulled into a wave of negative energy that affects my mindset and how I function.

In an effort to try and gain a more positive perspective in my day-to-day life, I started to fill out a gratitude journal of all the beautiful things that I have to be grateful for, and I discovered that it was an incredible helpful tool to boost my mindset on even the most difficult of days. Actively forcing myself to focus on the positive has indeed had a positive impact on my perception of how I live and work. Continue reading

Complacency and An Extended Blogging Break

At the beginning of August I felt fired up and motivated. My head was spinning with ideas about what I could do and achieve over the month and I had a whole bunch of plans as to how I was going to move forward. 

It lasted two days. 

It wasn’t intentional, but I ended up having an extended blogging break. I tried to convince myself that it was needed, but the truth of it was that I simply couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm to post anything on a regular basis. After six and a half years and thousands of articles the mental burnout was real. Continue reading

How to Do a Blogging Mid-Year Check-In

Simple Ideas for a Mid-Year Blogging Check-In

As July has seemingly appeared from nowhere it occurred to me yesterday that over half a year has slipped by.

I’ve never really focused on a mid-year check-in before. I actively track my stats, growth and client data every month in my Bullet Journal which allows me to see progress over a long period of time, but any goals and plans I usually set are long-term (often with a deadline of twelve months).

At the point where I decided to take blogging more seriously I had two goals that were my sole focus: to replace my teaching job with my own social media business, and to hit a million views, and I worked incredibly hard to achieve them. Once I had done both, it was almost like the fire went out – I made the crucial mistake of not setting something meaningful to work on. Admittedly, I took my foot off the gas, sat back and coasted along because, quite frankly, it was easy to stay in my comfort zone and within the deliriously happy little bubble that I had built for The Bloke and I. Continue reading