Time is Precious, Do What You Love

Last week I turned 30. In the run up to my birthday I started to reflect on my 30 years and ponder on the biggest and most important lessons I’d learned. Other than the basics like how to walk and that doing your grocery shopping online means you can do it in your PJ’s (win!), there was one biggie which really stood out.

Time is precious!

Time is Precious, Do what you love, Do what you love - time is precious - tips on business planning and doing what you love, building a creative business and measuring your success | Josephine Brooks

I’m not sure when it happened over the last few years but time seems to have sped up. Fitting everything in has become a daily struggle. Friends, family, partner, work, creative business, play, me time – sound familiar? And inevitably living for the weekends becomes pretty prominent and as a result the weeks fly by.

Seeing as my first 30 years have sped by, it now seems more important than ever to treat my time as precious and do what I love

With all this reflection comes a new direction, it’s something that I’ve been working on for a couple of months now and this seems a better time than any to let you in on what’s coming.

I’ve known for a few years that I crave freedom and autonomy and I want to be my own boss. I’ve always enjoyed making, so it seemed natural to go down a creative route. I've dabbled with all sorts of creative side-hustles; millinery, leather bag making, DIY blogging and most recently a home decor business which, over the last 12 months it’s been my total obsession.

Weekends, evenings, any time I could muster I’d be making, photographing, listing, promoting, going to markets etc. My business started to pick up and get traction, I received tons of lovely feedback from customers, things were looking great.

In that weird gap between Christmas and New Year I sat down by the fire with a big blank A3 sketchbook and some fat coloured pens to review my business and plan for next year.

A wild landscape in the peak district in winter

I didn’t just give it a once over and a dust off, I looked at every single detail - budgets, spreadsheets, charts, diagrams, the list goes on. I sat back with my cuppa and felt a feeling of satisfaction – a whole day spent planning, making charts, plotting out new product and content ideas. A day had disappeared in the blink of an eye.

This was my light bulb moment

In that moment, I realised that what I enjoyed most about my business was the planning, measuring, analysing, critiquing and looking for areas for growth. That was where the hours flew by and where I thrived.

Now I know there will be a lot of people who find that hard to compute – you’d rather look at spreadsheets, to do lists and growth planning than sitting at a sewing machine with a cuppa and a good podcast while you make. What!?

But, I guess what I’m trying to get at is how important it is to do what you love, and working out what it is you love doing; because your time is precious.

The view from the Roaches in the Peak District - a rugged landscape with dry stone walls

Your time is precious

So, where do you sit with doing what you love? And do you have a plan for getting there?

Working out what it is you love doing is a whole other blog post. But if you already know what it is you want to do, do you know how you’ll get there?

As with all things in life, anything worth having is going to take a bit of work. With doing what you love, you need a goal, something to aim for and a route plan, with milestones to help break it down.

I believe that everybody has got the power to build a business that gives them a happy and fulfilled life doing what they love.  But to make it happen, you need a plan.

This is where my new direction comes in...

On this blog I’ll be bringing you practical business planning and productivity advice for makers who want to do what they love and be creative, on their own terms. There will also be plenty of product-based business tips and anecdotes of country living, as always.

Peak District Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - a view of the hills from the Roaches

What you can do to start planning more effectively today

Get a big A3 sketchbook and some felt tips for all of your big picture planning

Whether it’s new product ideas or reviewing the materials you use, working on a big piece of paper is much freer than anything digital. And because you’re not staring at a screen you’ll get into a different and possibly more creative headspace.

Monthly check in

Start recording monthly stats, social media followers, website visits, email subscriptions. These are all really useful pieces of information and over time you can start to see trends which can help with your planning.

Keep notes

As well as stats keep a record of anecdotal stuff, like which of your posts performed best on Instagram or which stands you really liked the design off at a trade fair you visited.

Use Google docs

If you’re anything like me you’ll often get your best ideas when you’re on the go, I use Google docs to make a note of any ideas I have when I’m out and about – safe in the knowledge that when I log back into my laptop at my desk that note will be waiting for me when I click onto Google docs.

Get outdoors

Going for a walk each day will help clear your mind. I have three dogs which force me to get out and I always find that my mind is subconsciously ticking away when I go walking and I come back to my desk feeling a lot clearer and lighter.

Moorland gateway in the Peak District National Park

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with me. I hope you had a cuppa to hand because that was a long-y.

If you’d like to hear more from me on creating the lifestyle you long for, make sure you’re signed up to my fortnightly side-hustle letters. You’ll also get access to my free resource library, packed with eBooks, workbooks and templates to help you level up your side-business.

Reflections on turning 30, Time is Precious, do What you Love. Making the lifestyle you wan to live, designing your own lifestyle | Josephine Brooks