10 ways you can make time to relax (especially when you're crazy busy) and still get through your To Do list

a.k.a. How to prioritise self care even in the midst of wedding season / summer holidays.

Now I know what you're thinking...

Relax, you say? that’s something to do when you’ve FINISHED your To Do list not when you’re in the midst of the mental-crazy-busy season OMG someone save me from this pile of work even though I love it really <cue borderline maniacal laugh> But it’s true. You can *always* make time to relax, even if it’s just for five minutes.  Earlier this summer I spent three weeks on a meditation retreat in Sweden and it’s something I do quite often. In fact, it’s how I came to start my own business in the first place more of which you can check out here.

The thing is, when it gets really super bloody busy the temptation is there to try and do everything at once. I've learned from more than one burnout in my life that this ain't the way my friend. You don't get anything done nearly to your satisfaction and end up feeling rubbish and like you've let everyone down, right?

Now, I don’t always leave the office for that long plus I can’t just pop onto a retreat every time something stresses me out or overwhelms me but I do have things that I do daily to help me relax so I I thought I’d share 10 ways I find time to relax even when I'm mega busy (especially when I look at my looming To Do list).

1. I remember that I am not a robot

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Whenever I say this to my clients you can practically see the relief and it’s something that comes up in conversation on my Gin and Magic YouTube channel too. We are not robots and yet we treat ourselves as such. We crave that connection with others to the point where we don’t want to put down the devices. We respond to emails at midnight because we are worried someone else will get the booking otherwise which sets a dangerous precedent for any working relationship we may have with that contact or client. It took me quite a while to really change this habit and I’m so much more productive as a result!

2. I remember that I am actually in control of my life

Ooh, this is a juicy one. For a long time I mistook serving my clients in the best way possible as forgetting about myself but now I prioritise taking care of myself along with serving my clients in the best way possible. If you take a look at my carefully time blocked colour-coded calendar you’ll see that I manage my schedule meticulously. Whenever I get booked for a talk or attend an event I always block our time afterwards because I’m an extroverted introvert who needs to regain energy after being around a lot of people. See also point 1 - I am not a robot and therefore need time to recuperate and catch up.

3. I delegate / postpone

I work with a few select contractors to delegate work to that I cannot / do not want to do and it’s been absolutely brilliant relinquishing control and outsourcing work in this way. Do I want to spend hours internally shrieking at a computer because the code won’t work or do I send it to one of my web developer associates? I know which one sounds most relaxing.

If it’s not urgent and it won’t harm your business not to do something right this minute, then block put some time in your calendar to take action this time next week instead. (Just don’t delay until the end of time because there is literally zero point in cluttering your To Do list with tasks you’re actually never going to do)

4. I drink more water and eat fresh food

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I know I know, this may feel as obvious as Queer Eye's Antoni making guacamole, but let me state this first: I bloody love junk food and booze. It’s delicious. I’m never going to choose a green juice over a pint of beer believing it tastes better. We all read about how drinking more water and eating better is good for us but I’ve been edging into it recently because dramatic changes in habits don’t last for me. So I have little reminders to make me drink more water, I have a FitBit that vibrates if I don’t get up from my desk in an hour and I try to eat at least one completely fresh food meal every day. I feel better for it, and I’m much more relaxed as a result because the highs and lows energy-wise of the junk food I love so dearly don’t serve me (I’ve also noticed this has got a lot worse since coming into the second half of my thirties?! Just me?).

5. I have hobbies not related to my work

A lovely industry friend said to me last year “What do you do in your spare time when you’re your hobby becomes your business?” and it got me thinking. I work a lot because I love it. But I am not a two dimensional person and my guess is you aren’t either. My friends, going to see shows and musicals, going for big walks are all needed so I can relax and stay refreshed. I love makeup and pampering and so I have started to do makeup for friends going to special events. I adore films so I’m now a member of a retro cinema here in London, and have scheduled in a few movies to go and see already. By making time for actual hobbies outside of work, then I can even schedule time to relax.

6. I go for a short walk

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I try to go for a walk every day, even if it’s just round the block. Working from home makes this more challenging. But particularly if I get stuck or have no idea how to respond to an email, I’ll leave the house. It’s not procrastination, so therefore I do not have to berate myself about it. It helps!

7. I book a massage

Oh, self care how I love thee. I store all the memes on instagram but actually now have a monthly reminder in my task management app to book in a massage and allow the budget for it.

8. I keep my computer closed

The worst thing I can do sometimes is to open my computers / check my phone when I am feeling absolutely snowed under. So, I use a good old fashioned pen and paper to write out what I absolutely feel I need to do. I then mark next to each task – that day, that week, that month, sometime in the future. Then once I’ve done that, I feel oodles better and can open the computer and get stuck into the work.

9. I schedule

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, "I really don’t get how organising my calendar will support me to relax". But one of the things that I really have found to be useful is blocking out my time so that I can also schedule time out. This way I’m not taking time away from my desk stressing about my massive To Do list. I download my brain a lot whether on paper or in Asana, the task management system I use. Not everyone is an extreme scheduler like me I get it, but I wasn’t always like this, and it’s massively helped me.

10. I meditate

Of course, I was going to add this one in as I have a daily meditation practice I’ve been doing for 8 years with the Bright training and so with tonnes of free videos on YouTube I can just sit and watch one of these and relax as I am. I get so many comments from people who have been following me since the beginning and also those who have stalked me until the start of my Instagram feed that I have undergone quite the transformation and it’s not just my hair 😉

So there we have it, my top tips on how to relax even when it’s crazy busy. I’d love to know, did these tips help you?

Maddy x

P.S. If you’re feeling mega stressed about the biz and quite frankly you're a bit bored of feeling like that, check out my new free 12 minute video sharing my system of what separates the winners from the whingers here. 

The AHA! Moments of running a business with the Audacious Babe podcast

Hooray! The next interview in my Gin and Magic YouTube series championing strong creative women has dropped! Straight from my home to your eyes + ears, this week featuring the smiley sweet and wise Magdalena Mahdy from Love That Smile Photography & Audacious Babe podcast

I was delighted to get Magda on the show because she's so open about her experience of burnout, workaholic to managing her time better, and now she's writing a book all about that major taboo MONEY! Magda talked about self care, her podcast, her book and so much more. So grab a cup of something hot and watch along as we delve into a fun chat.

Enjoy and please don’t forget to hit like + subscribe if you enjoy the Gin & Magic videos 🙂

Thanks so much Magda, you were brilliant!

Magdalena's bio

Born and raised in Germany, after completing her Bachelor (BSc) in International Business Economics with a major in marketing at the Universiteit in Maastricht, Netherlands in 2008 and working in the marketing & advertising industry for nearly 7 years, Magdalena relocated to the UK in 2011 in the search for a new challenge; her passion for photography accompanied her entire life, and simply took over in 2013 when she has decided to setup and run her own photography business – Love That Smile Photography.

Capturing the beauty in the moments during a wedding or when a new member of the family arrives brings her pure joy and love for life. With her relaxed documentary approach she has now shot over 100 weddings and won an international wedding photography award. Due to her business background and running her own successful photography business, the University of Essex hired her on a freelance basis as a Student Business Mentor for any students who are interested in starting their own businesses (in any industry).

In 2017, Magdalena decided to add yet another new adventure to her own personal book of life and that is the adventures of THE AUDACIOUS BABE and the accompanying podcast. She simply loves working with other female photographers and helping them reach their own full potentials. Magdalena’s personal mission is to bring the fabulous world of business closer to you – empowering, helping and inspiring you to live more meaningful and incredibly passionate lives, and profit from showing up for your dreams and making them a reality. It’s like having a cheerleading support squad by your side to help you grow a business that you love!

Links to stalk here:

The Audacious Babe podcast
Instagram
Facebook
The episode where I was featured on the podcast sharing my top tips on SEO

Love That Smile Photography
Instagram
Facebook

We'll be back once again next week with the next interview for Gin & Magic strong women series! But in the meantime, check out some of the other videos on Gin & Magic here.

See you next time!

Maddy Shine

Feminism and Delivering Value in the Wedding industry with Jen from Catalyst Wed Co

Woop! It's Wednesday which means one important thing - the next interview in my Gin and Magic YouTube series championing strong creative women is live! Straight from my home to your eyes + ears, this week featuring the super lovely and talented Jen Siomacco from Catalyst Wed Co, the US-based equality minded wedding publication.

As soon as I met Jen at (Un)Convention a few years ago I knew she was someone I had to get to know better. Luckily fate threw us together a few times that first year and since then we've been fans of each other across the ocean.

This was a juicy topic and the longest chat I've had to edit so far because Jen was so open with her wisdom and insights!

Jen talked about how Catalyst Wed Co continues to evolve it's all inclusive mission to include all, what exactly intersectional feminism is (and why it's OK to ask), as well as how to deliver value to your audience. Jen knows a lot, and I loved how she was so open about her knowledge. Of course we also talked about the fantasy dinner party, and just wait until you hear her story about Gloria Steinem! So grab a cuppa and watch along as we delve into a fantastic chat. I think you'll find yourself nodding along.

Enjoy and please don’t forget to hit like + subscribe if you enjoy the Gin & Magic videos 🙂

Jen's bio:

Jen Siomacco is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Catalyst Wedding Co. She works to mesh together her love of feminism, love stories, accessibility, equality, and design into the Catalyst brand. When she’s not traveling the country working to make the wedding industry a more inclusive place, she’s writing on her couch and snuggled up with her husband and SUPER lazy cats.

Check out our website here - https://www.catalystwedco.com/ and if you'd like to join the vendor directory with equality minded business wedding suppliers to join our vendor directory, find out more here: https://www.catalystwedco.com/adguidelines

Links:
Jen's TedX talk: https://youtu.be/RieLDxQpfpc
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/catalystwedco/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/catalystwedco/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/catalystwedco/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/catalystwedco

Thanks so much Jen, you were a brilliant guest!

If you agree, please don't forget to hit subscribe, like the video and leave a comment.

We'll be back once again next week with the next interview for Gin & Magic strong women series! But in the meantime, check out some of the other videos on Gin & Magic here.

See you next time!

Maddy Shine

What it takes to succeed with Beth from Bridebook

Yay! It’s Wednesday which can only mean one thing - the next interview in my Gin and Magic YouTube series championing strong creative women is live! Straight from my home to your eyes + ears, this week featuring the amazing Beth from Bridebook the UK’s no 1 wedding planning app, frankly the bubbliest person I’ve met in the wedding industry (and coming from me that’s saying something - lol) Beth is an absolute ray of light on all things wedding business and general hilarity.

I wanted to get her on the show because I think she’s got a lot of useful knowledge to share with wedding business owners in her role as Head of Community at Bridebook.

Beth talks about what it takes to succeed in this ever changing marketplace, why she wants to Meryl Streep, Chris Hemsworth and Nova Reid in a room, and why jetskis are life. So grab a cuppa and watch along as we delve into a fantastic chat and giggles! Don’t forget to watch until after the end credits because we had to put this outtake in - it’s too funny! All topped off of course with a G&T!

Enjoy and please don’t forget to hit like + subscribe if you enjoy the Gin & Magic videos 🙂

Beth's official bio:

I am Bethany Wright, Head of Community at Bridebook.co.uk. A true northerner, originally from Manchester - I have a love for gravy, Oasis and building communities. My love for community fuels my day to day role at Bridebook, as I channel the importance of connecting with suppliers and learning from each other. In my spare time, you can find me reading Harry Potter, singing Tina Turner on karaoke or stuffing food in my face.

A little more about Bridebook...

Bridebook.co.uk is the No.1 wedding planning app used by over 120,000 couples across the UK. That’s 1 in 2 weddings planned through our platform. Couples use Bridebook to search for and book their wedding venues and suppliers and help them to plan their unforgettable wedding without any of the stress or fuss.
Bridebook Business supports this by offering a free listing service for dedicated and qualified wedding industry professionals. Our goal is to connect couples with their trusted wedding dream team and to help venues & suppliers across the country grow and market their business successfully. To join the Bridebook Business Community head to business.bridebook.co.uk and create your free business account and profile today.

Links for Beth:

Bridebook IG: @bridebookhq
Bridebook FB:https://www.facebook.com/bridebook.co.uk/
Bridebook Business IG: @bridebookbusiness
Bridebook Business FB: https://www.facebook.com/BridebookBusiness/
Personal IG: @iambethanywright

Thanks so much Beth, you were a fantastic guest!

If you agree, please don't forget to hit subscribe, like the video and leave a comment.

We'll be back once again next week with the next interview for Gin & Magic strong women series! But in the meantime, check out some of the other videos on Gin & Magic here.

See you next time!

Maddy Shine

Being kind to yourself with Wellness Entrepreneur The Flourishing Pantry

Today I have a fantastic guest to share with you - Vicky Shilling of the Flourishing Pantry. Vicky is an award winning blogger and coaches wellness entrepreneurs with great success.

I had the great delight of meeting Vicky from the Flourishing Pantry last year when she was cohosting a supper club with Charlotte Argyrou who we’ve also had on the show and you can watch here. As soon as I met Vicky last year I instantly wanted to know more about her and her story.

Watch the video as Vicky talks candidly about how she started her blog, how she has evolved since its birth, and where her business is heading next. It's pretty bloody exciting tbh!

What I really enjoyed about Vicky’s story is her openness and willingness to evolve - a great key to success - and recognising the value in that ability whilst at the same time prioritising self care, always.

Vicky's official bio:

Vicky Shilling is a coach helping wellness industry entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into reality. She is also the award-winning blogger behind The Flourishing Pantry and co-founder of women’s wellness retreat brand The Reset. 

The Flourishing Pantry is Vicky's hub for everything healthy entrepreneur. She shares recipes, discoveries, tips and interviews to inspire and help people running their own businesses stay healthy in body and mind while they build their brands.

Links for Vicky:

www.theflourishingpantry.com - Healthy living for busy entrepreneurs

Winner Health & Fitness Blog of the Year 2019 

Instagram | @theflourishingpantry

Twitter | @flourish_pantry 

Facebook | @theflourishingpantry

Pinterest | @flourish_pantry

Vicky's Coaching: www.vickyshilling.com

Facebook group for wellness entrepreneurs: www.facebook.com/groups/flourishingentrepreneur 

If you like what you see, don’t forget to give me a thumbs up, leave a comment and hit subscribe if you don’t want to miss out on any future videos.

Thanks so much Vicky, you were a fantastic guest!

If you agree, please don't forget to hit subscribe, like the video and leave a comment.

We'll be back once again next week with the next interview for Gin & Magic strong women series! But in the meantime, check out some of the other videos on Gin & Magic here.

See you next time!

Maddy Shine

How to be super organised in running your own business with Fiona Kelly

I’m absolutely delighted to be joined by one of my oldest clients today Fiona Kelly a fantastic wedding photographer based in London. Oldest, I hasten, to add not in terms of her age but because we have now been working together for five years! So it’s safe to say we know each other pretty well. I wanted to get her on the show because I think she’s very inspiring to other photographers indeed anyone making that transition from 9-5 to self employed along with being a Mum and wife.

Fee’s straightforward approach has always appealed and I think you’ll enjoy it too. So grab a cuppa and watch along as we delve into her business, what she believes it takes to make a success of running your own business all topped off with a gin and tonic at the end of course!

What I particularly loved about speaking with Fiona is her absolute willingness to recognise that we cannot do everything on our own and that everything is a work in progress. We talked about valuing your time, outsourcing and the balancing act of mum/boss life.

Editing this video was challenging because Fee had so many nuggets of wisdom, but you're going to get so much from watching this!

Fiona's official bio:

Hi, I'm Fiona and I'm a photographer. My love of photography and my photographic style has grown over a number of years. I started my career as a graphic designer and photographic art director working for fashion and lifestyle brands. My photography business began 9 years ago and from the start my style has been influenced by my background in design. I find inspiration in the small things; light, nature, design and people.

My work covers weddings, portraits and commercial photography. I find real pleasure in getting to know the people I work with and I'm passionate about creating beautiful, natural photographs. 

When photographing weddings my style is relaxed and informal, creating beautiful, natural and vibrantly modern images that have a touch of romance and lots of fun. I capture the fun, laughter, emotion and beauty of a wedding day and create a relaxed atmosphere so you don’t even know you are having your photo taken…even when it’s time for couples photos!

It's been a huge pleasure to have my photography featured in Wedding, Wedding Flowers, You & Your Wedding magazines and on 100 Layer Cake, Junebug, Rock My Wedding, Love My Dress, Bridal Musings, B.Loved, Whimsical Wonderland Weddings and Festival Brides. 

For my commercial work I bring the same relaxed approach and style. With every shoot I am focussed on showcasing the brand and the personality behind it, as well as the products. I am telling the story of a business and showing clients exactly why they should work with you."

Links for Fiona:

https://www.fionakellyphotography.com/

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/fionakellyphoto/

https://www.facebook.com/fionakellyphotography

https://www.instagram.com/fionakellyphoto/

If you like what you see, don’t forget to give me a thumbs up, leave a comment and hit subscribe if you don’t want to miss out on any future videos.

Thanks so much Fee you were a fantastic guest!

If you agree, please don't forget to hit subscribe, like the video and leave a comment.

We'll be back once again next week with the next interview for Gin & Magic strong women series! But in the meantime, check out some of the other videos on Gin & Magic here.

See you next time!

Maddy Shine

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