Book Club | Work Smarter : Live Better by Cyril Peupion

Hello and happy Tuesday! Today marks a new little section I am adding to the blog, book club! If you follow me on Instagram you will see that I recently finished Work Smarter : Live Better by Cyril Peupion and I wanted to share what I learnt from it in a mini review and as I am planning to do more reading and devote more time to self-learning this year hopefully I will be reading a lot more that I can share and make this an ongoing feature. 

Title | Work Smarter : Live Better by Cyril Peupion

Synopsis | Written by Australian business coach Cyril Peupion this book teaches practical tools to help you control your time and workload and organise your work so that you are not left stressed and feeling like you never get anything done. The teachings in this book are really interesting and for the most part quite simple. Putting them into practice that is the hard bit, but will leave you working much more effectively. The book will challenges how you think about work and time and aims to equip you to work smarter and live better.

What I thought | I found this book really interesting and read it in under a week (admittedly half of it was read on the journey back from Paris something that does not happen often enough). Although it was largely aimed at people that work in offices and in a corporate world the basic lessons can definitely be applied to a self-employed creative like myself. There were a few parts that I originally thought didn't apply to me (he talks about microsoft outlook a lot) but when I actually thought about it I saw how I could relate them to the way I run my business and spend my time. It definitely made me question the value I put on my time and made me think about my 'big rocks' the things that are most important to my business and my life. Whilst I haven't had a chance to fully put everything I learnt into practice I am already using some of the lessons in my day to day.

Biggest lessons / Email management. My inbox is very organised with loads of folders and subfolders, one thing that Cyril recommends. However, I have my email open all the time on my laptop and on my phone and it is such a big distraction. I now have twice daily designated to checking my emails and things that can be replied to in under 5 minutes I do then and there and those that can't be I schedule in my diary for the next time I have space. It is definitely going to take some getting used to - I feel quite on edge not checking it but I think it will bring some control to my email procrastination. Planning. I again am a bit of a planner but I have all good intentions invariably end up flapping my way through the days and weeks without much direction. This book has some great examples of how to plan an effective week with lots of breathing space so that I feel more in control of your time. I am trying to assign times to everything I do now so that I can actually see what I can fit into my day as opposed to just having a never-ending to-do list that I can never finish. It is important to fill your diary with your big rocks first and then fit the other smaller things around them. Big rocks are things that are important and high impact on your business. We want to try and spend more time in a proactive mind frame working on high impact long-term activities as oppose to reactive activities that are urgent but low impact. Say No. The key to being more proactive is to say no to low impact work, many successful business owners and managers say no to a lot of things that they don't deem important. It is okay to say no sometimes. Evaluate what the impact of the work is before saying yes. There is a difference between important work and urgent matters. Value time. We place so much more value on money than time - we are always hustling away to make money yet it is time that can be taken away from us at any given moment. Cyril opens the book with such a great example of this that really makes you think.

Favourite Quote | 'Think progress not perfection'

Rating | 5/5

Buy It | I have the Kikki K edition which you can buy here or the original edition is available on amazon here.

Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought if you have and leave me suggestions for my next read!

L x

studio shelves

What I Have Learnt | Instagram | Part Two

Well hello there and welcome to part two of What I have learnt about Instagram! If you haven't yet read part one (WHY?!) you can find it here. So settle down with a cuppa and fight the attention seeking toddler and dog away (surely that can’t only be my life?!) and get reading all about what I think about hashtags, having a cohesive page and lots more! As discussed in my last post about Instagram I am so far away from being insta-famous (goddamnit) but I am happy with where I am with my posting and engagement so I just wanted to share some tips that I have found helpful! 

HASHTAGS

Hashtags - those pesky little buggers. Annoying but essential. It is how the search system of platforms like Instagram and Twitter work and also if you don't use them then you aren't going to be getting in the #dream top nine and people can’t find you. You can use a maximum of thirty per post and in my opinion I would use them all. I personally have a little note in my phone with them all in and I just copy and paste and then add a couple which are more targeted to each post. When searching for hashtags to add to your ‘catalogue’ if you type into the search bar one of your hashtags it will come up with related ones if you are falling short of ideas! 

HAVING A COHESIVE PAGE

For me as a creative and visual person having a cohesive page is really important as I see my Instagram as an extension of my website. The images on my account are a mix of professional styled photos and pictures I have taken myself with my iPhone. I don't touch professional images (huge no no to edit any photographers images) but with my phone pictures I always edit with VSCO and use the same filter each time. Now I do not profess to know anything about photography lighting drives me crazy and getting whites took look the same quite literally makes me want to throw my phone in the bin BUT I do have a little area that I do most of my flat lays and I try to do it when the lighting isn't direct sunshine but before dusk. It is worth finding a little area where the environment is pretty constant to take your photos. Find a filter that suits your branding and style and then stick to it, apps like VSCO are great they have so many options for editing. I am also one of those insanely annoying people that posts a picture to see what it looks like on my grid and then deletes it straight away (SORRY to anyone that gets notifications for my account!) to make a proper post. Uber annoying I know. Sorry. 

STYLING

This point follows on slightly from the last - I am SO far away from being any kind of styling guru but after I went to a Makelight workshop and saw the styling GENIUS Emily Quinton style some of my calligraphy I started to pull together a bit of a styling box which I pull out when I am putting together a flat lay. This has made life waaaaay easier as I know where everything is and its super easy to grab the bits I need. I have a selection of ribbons and materials and also a couple of backdrops from Capture by Lucy which are amazing and since getting my Ash Bush penholder that has made a lot of appearances! Using the same selection of items to style up my images also brings together the cohesiveness of my page…for me, luckily, the things that I am taking photos of are generally pretty small so I don’t need a lot of styling tools just adding a bit of ribbon or material in brings a bit of depth to the photo. 

SEEING YOUR PROFILE AS AN EXTENSION OF YOUR WEBSITE/PORTFOLIO

As I mentioned on my previous point I see my profile as an extension of my website, it is essentially a up to date portfolio for my work. On my website I only use professional images that I have got from shoots but on Instagram I can post less than perfect images of my works in progress and show them off. Quite often when I get enquiries from potential clients i will point them in the direction of an Instagram post if I have done something similar in the past. For me also it is a great way of attracting new clients and I do get a lot of my work through people that have found me on there. Because of this obviously it is important to be professional on your profile when communicating with your followers and also posting on other peoples pictures. In short. Don't be a d*ck on Instagram.

INSTAGRAM CHALLENGES

I love an Instagram challenge, its great if your lacking a bit of inspiration and the people who organise them generally know what they are talking about so you’ll be posting content that people react well too. If you follow me you will know that currently I am doing Joanne Hawkers march meet the maker and I am really enjoying it. I have also previously done week long Rising Tide society challenges and one by Jenna Kutcher. It is also a great way to engage with other creatives who are doing the challenge by looking through the associated hashtag.

STORIES

Instagram stories are awesome. I love them. In a world of perfect curated Instagram pages they are a great way to show real life and behind the scenes without the pressure of it looking Instagram perfect. I love to use stories to show new materials, projects I am working on and sneak peeks along with a little insight into my life (mainly videos of my son and dog BECAUSE THEY ARE CUTE plus they literally follow me everywhere and I can’t get rid of them) I am yet to talk on stories as I sound like a four year old when I talk in videos so yeh probably going to keep avoiding that, but if you have the confidence to then go for it, I think its a great way to communicate with your followers. To top it off you can filter them and add a little bit of text to explain to your followers what the hell is going on. 

WOW so to round the second part of this essay up. I love Instagram. These tips might not work for everyone but I am very happy about where I have got in the last year of having my business account and I wanted to share a little bit of my learning process with you…just incase it can help…and if it does then please let me know - it’s always nice to know that someone out there is reading this.

L x

Workshop | The Trafalgar 6th November 2016

Hello! Today I am going to share with you some pictures from my most recent workshop at my new venue, the gorgeous riverside pub The Trafalgar. I absolutely LOVE this location. Greenwich has become one of my favourite parts of London with its stunning buildings, village feel and just general beauty, so I fell in love with The Trafalgar when I had my first meeting there. My workshops take place upstairs in a private room which overlooks the river filled with masses of natural light...absolutely perfect for a calligraphy. Not to mention there is a bar downstairs if you fancy a tipple.

As always my workshop was filled with a talented bunch of ladies and they all did brilliantly, I am looking forward to seeing lots of Christmas cards and tags being made this year! The gorgeous Maxeen Kim was there snapping away and as you can see below she got some pretty good action shots of the class in action. 

All my 2016 workshops are now sold out, but I will be releasing dates for early 2017 super soon so if you are interested then sign up to my newsletter below and follow me on Instagram to be the first to hear when I do!

Workshop | Brixon Ritzy 27th August 2016

Hello! Happy Wednesday everyone! Todays post is all about my first group workshop that was held on Saturday 27th August at Upstairs at The Ritzy in Brixton. I had such a great time teaching this wonderful group of students and was lucky enough to have Catherine from Catherine Short Floral Design attend and bring some gorgeous blooms with her as well as the wonderful Philippa from Philippa Sian Photography there taking all kinds of professional snaps for me! 

We started off the workshop with a little introduction to myself and the basic tools and rules of modern calligraphy. I then introduced the group to the wonderful world of drills and how to use the nib and penholder to create the thin upstrokes and thicker downstrokes. After some drill work we moved onto the much more exciting alphabet! I talked them through my style of lettering and did a little demo showing them how I hold my pen and write some of the more difficult looking letters. 

I absolutely LOVED this workshop it was so much fun and full of enthusiasm and it is the best feeling to be able to share my skills with others. Take a peek below at some of the gorgeous shots that Philippa took for me and sign up to the newsletter below to be the first to hear when I release new dates (it will be super soon!) and also some collaborative workshops I have in the works!