This is a good news story is about a little town called Colbinabbin – a small farming community in central Victoria, with a huge, huge heart.
It’s got a population of just over 100 (according to the welcome sign), but it’s always punched well above its weight – in sport, in agricultural production, in community spirit, in fight. Especially in fight.
If you grew up at Colbo, as I was lucky to do, you’re damn proud of that fact. Even long after you’ve moved away, you still wear it as a badge of honour. Once a Colbo girl, always a #colbogirl.
At Colbinabbin, people care about their town. And people care about each other.
For the past two years, the town’s general store has been on the market. It’s the only food store in the one street town and it’s a vital piece of infrastructure that binds this beautiful community together. Without it, the whole town would suffer. Not only would residents be forced to travel 25km to the nearest local centre, or 50km to Bendigo, but the township could be looking down the barrel of eventually disappearing altogether.
With the store’s future becoming increasingly uncertain, a group of dedicated locals started fighting for its survival.
They formed a community cooperative in the hope of raising enough money to purchase and renovate the business themselves.
With a deadline set for yesterday to raise more than $400,000 in pledges, Colbo was literally in a race against time.
But they bloody did it. In a matter of days this incredible little town hit that target, and in doing so secured the future of their general store, and their community.
They received huge investment from locals, but also from further afield – from people who have lived in the community in the past, or who have connections to the area.
Because once you let Colbo in to your heart, you never let it go. It has that enduring kind of impact on people.
A couple of years ago, this same community saved its swimming pool from closure in a David and Goliath type battle against the local council.
Before that, two women saved the 110-year old Colbinabbin pub, re-opening it after it closed down. They later sold it to another two amazing women with strong ties to the town who have injected new life into the much-loved establishment with events, live music, twilight markets, a pub choir and a one-day music festival – Octolbo.
Painting is also about to start on the Colbinabbin Silo Art Project, which will see all six silos painted in what promises to be one of the greatest silo art canvases yet seen in Australia.
Colbinabbin – the little town that could.
I couldn’t be prouder to call you home.
As spreaders of the good news, we’ve been digging deep this week to try and find some good news around the coronavirus, which has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to media reports the WHO had delayed this announcement to avoid public panic.
As of Wednesday, nearly 120,000 cases and more than 4200 deaths had been reported worldwide, in more than 120 countries. According to WHO, the fatality rate for the disease is 3.4%.
These are worrying times and the situation is changing hour by hour, day by day.
There is fear and when there is fear, there is panic. Panic buying is still happening and probably won’t go away anytime soon. In the meantime, local authorities and governments scramble to put systems and procedures in place to cope with an increase in cases and help to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
So, is there any good news to report? Here’s what we’ve found:
A Cuban news article declared that we are facing a serious health issue, as well as a pandemic of panic. However, they also insisted that not all the news is bad, and listed 10 good news items about coronavirus, including:
1. We know what it is.
2. We know how to detect it.
3. Most cases are mild.
4. Most people get well again.
5. Only 3% of cases occur in children under 20.
6. The situation in China (where it began) is improving every day. Due to strong control and isolation measures the number of diagnosed cases has been declining for weeks now.
7. The virus is easily inactivated in just one minute by cleaning surfaces with a solution of ethanol (62-71% alcohol), hydrogen peroxide (0.5% hydrogen peroxide) or sodium hypochlorite (0.1% bleach).
8. Washing your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub kills the virus in one minute – this is good news folks. You don’t need a million rolls of toilet paper… you just need to wash your hands.
Toilet paper jokes aside, washing hands is very important and it’s the one thing we have been talking about at home. Hand washing is being seen as super important on the frontline (which is pretty much everywhere now), as it is THE best way to stop the spread of any virus in your home, your school, at work and in the wider community.
The case in point is Vietnamese dancer im.quangdang, who has created a clever hand-washing dance, to a very catchy tune, to combat the spread of coronavirus. Over on Instagram is has been viewed 92,599 times and on TikTok the video has amassed more than 200,000 reactions and we’re hoping it will catch on… literally!
Watch the full clip here.
Everyone’s favourite doctor of science, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki of Triple J radio recommends that to wash your hands properly you need to spend 2-3 mins to thoroughly get the job done. This sounds like the perfect opportunity to slow down for some mindful breathing or a mini meditation.
The New York Times has also shared a list of positive actions to combat the virus, including:
1. Keep your hands clean, and keep your distance from sick people
2. Stay home if you are sick
3. Unless you are already infected, face masks won’t help.
This is important, as there are many people in the health sector who ‘actually’ need masks… so don’t buy them if you don’t need them.
The publication also reminder its readers that the average fit and healthy person who falls ill from COVID-19 might suffer a dry cough, fatigue and fever and feel unwell for a week or two, before recovering fully.
This folks, is good news and what we should be focusing on.
In other good news the WHO has also encouraged us to not kiss, hug or shake hands when we greet people, which is music to the ears for those in the community who dislike any physical contact when greeting. Now you can safely keep you distance without feeling rude. The WHO recommends for now we wave, bow or nod.
We’d love to hear of any good news out there in the community about COVID-19. I have seen photos on Instagram of people giving out free toilet paper, which is a refreshing change from watching others literally punching each other for the last packet on the supermarket shelf.
Good information is also important and you need to ensure you using the most up-to-date and legitimate source, which is probably not social media. Government and health departments are a great source, as well as the WHO, which has loads of information on its website about COVID-19 – this one was my favourite:
Let’s focus on the things we can control and work together in these uncertain times – try not to panic, wash your hands and help each other out. Staying calm is hard to do, but it’s about all we can do right now as we let this virus run its course.
Images thanks to Instagram
Spreading the Good Stuff Live Q&A returns for its 7th instalment on Thursday December 5 for an evening of Gratitude and Giving Thanks from 5.30 – 7.30pm at Junction Moama.
Escape the festive season frazzle and join the entire Spreading the Good Stuff Podcast Team (Christy, Leonie and Katrina) for a live recorded podcast conversation around the benefits of practicing gratitude and giving thanks.
At this festive, social gathering we will share our thoughts on the benefits of practicing gratitude in our homes and within our regional communities and will also discuss how even in the worst of times, there is always room for giving thanks. The conversation will include inspiring examples of both and will be followed by a communal thanksgiving grazing style meal and social gathering.
The Spreading the Good Stuff Live Q&A series commenced in June 2016 and examines the lives of extraordinary individuals within our regional communities who are making a positive difference in their patch.
Since its inception, these extraordinary, sold out events have covered profound and important conversations around suicide and mental health, living with disability and inclusion, foster care and adoption, people with passion, living with grief and sustainable living.
These conversations explore some of the big issues, challenges and opportunities of our time and always leave our audience enriched, enlarged and inspired to spread more of their own good in the world.
A succession of successful live Q&A events prompted the STGS team to expand its offering to a podcast in May 2018. This fortnightly podcast has since been listened to more than 13,500 times, with many previous Q&A live conversations shared as podcast episodes, with listeners tuning in from across the country. This event is a thank you to our loyal band of podcast listeners.
We’d love you to be part of the audience for this special live podcast recording on December 5!
Tickets are $35, strictly limited and must be purchased prior to the event. Included in the ticket price is a complimentary glass of bubbles and nibbles. Get your tickets here.
I knew of Kim from the fabulous Up For a Chat podcast – of which I have been a long-time fan – and I also use her divine Twenty8 Essential Oils. And now her book has become one of the most dog-eared on my book shelf.
The Art of Self Love was a true gift, and a revelation at a time when I was probably feeling my most vulnerable.
Following a challenging period as a parent, and despite telling myself over and over that I was positive and strong enough, I was literally buckling under the weight of self-judgement and criticism.
I found myself unable to find a way out of the rut – a place I am sure many of us have been before.
Essentially, I was feeling guilt and shame and was really struggling to find the positive in anything – in both my personal and professional life – and this was a very unusual and uncomfortable place for me.
I had also lost confidence in my ability to achieve anything, in either my work life or as a parent.
The first think that Kim’s book taught me was that it is okay to fail and feel shame and vulnerability, despite this being a space of discomfort that most of us usually run and hide from.
Facing the fear and vulnerability was the first step, and not letting it define me was also key.
Kim’s message around facing your vulnerabilities and perceived failures really hit home for me at a time when I felt defined by circumstance in my life and judged myself accordingly.
In the past I had read similar themed books and listened to many a podcast on this subject – the incredible Brene Brown comes to mind here – however Kim’s story really resonated with me and her ability to find a way through the dark maze of self-doubt simply by practising self-care.
I finished her book in a week and it changed my outlook almost instantly. As a bonus, it also helped me rediscover my connection to essential oils, realise that I was merely dabbling in this space previously, and that there really IS power and comfort to be found in the right oil for what you need at the time. Reconnecting with essential oils has now become a non-negotiable, self-care ritual for me and can’t wait to learn more about this on Sunday at The Art of Self Love – An Afternoon with Kim Morrison.
How lucky we are that local wellness advocates Liz Sefton at The Nourishing Home and Suzy McCleary from Echuca Family Acupuncture have joined forces to bring this incredible self-love expert to our region.
Sunday’s event at Moama Bowling Club will essentially be a lesson in self-love, where Kim will share the numerous challenges she has overcome in her life by using the power of self-care.
Kim is passionate about the fact that we are ALL capable of being our best selves and this event promises inspiration, authenticity, humour and high energy in spades, as well as practical tools and solutions to life’s ups and downs.
Kim’s bio is impressive and her journey, and all she has accomplished to date, will no doubt inspire and leave us all empowered to take better care of ourselves.
The afternoon will also feature life and career coach Tash Spencer, who has a background in psychology and social work, and supports women to get unstuck, rediscover their skills, passions and talents, and lead meaningful lives and careers doing what they love.
A portion of proceeds from the day will go towards the Love Me Love You Foundation – a non-profit organisation that provides interactive and engaging programs to help young adults to take control of their mental well-being and to live happier, more fulfilling lives. Founder of the foundation and former AFL player, Lance Picioane, will be on hand Sunday to discuss his own personal challenges and how he found a way through his coping mechanism of partying and substance abuse during his battle with depression and anxiety. This event will directly support Love Me Love You workshops, which will be delivered in our local region by trained facilitators based on real life experiences. In addition, there will also be a variety of exhibitors who have the ability to help you on your wellness journey… plus a fabulous goodie bag and amazing door prizes.
What a great way to practise the art of self-love: with experts in their field, in a room full of people determined to live their best life. This is the ultimate gift to yourself!
Can’t wait to see you all there Sunday,
It’s been a while since I’ve worked in a ‘real’ office, but for the past few weeks I’ve been undertaking an in-house stint in communications and engagement with Major Road Projects Victoria on the Echuca-Moama Bridge build.
It’s my second in-house secondment with the organisation, and on both occasions it’s been a great opportunity to extend myself and shake things up a bit. I’ve genuinely loved working in a busy office space alongside the team of clever engineers, construction gurus and project managers who are delivering this once-in-a-generation infrastructure project here in Echuca Moama.
And if I’m honest, it’s also been a chance to test a niggling theory that maybe life would be easier working for someone else, than running my own business.
The morning tea breaks featuring scones with jam and cream, and the obligatory daily newspaper quiz with the team have sure added weight to that hypothesis. As has the regular pay check.
But it’s meant returning to that world of calling on friends to help with before and after-school care and sport-runs for my three young boys, missing important occasions at school, that dreaded feeling of asking for time off when your child falls ill, heading out into the cold to commute to the office, returning home after dark, and sacrificing my daily gym class. I know that’s the norm for most working mums, and it used to be mine. But it reminded me of why I made the change.
Don’t be misguided – it’s not all shinshine and lollypops at The Splendid Word.
Running your own business is bloody hard work. And when you’re talking about a start-up biz, the odds of longevity, let-a-lone success, are stacked firmly against you. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 60% of start-ups fail in the first three years.
The fact that TSW is now in its eighth year, and continuing to grow, quite honestly blows my mind.
And as anyone running their own business can attest, it’s a 24-7 commitment. It requires enormous self-motivation, dedication, risk-taking, sacrifice, vulnerability, courage and passion. There’s practically no security in terms of when the next pay cheque might arrive, and you never, ever switch off.
But if these past few weeks working in-house have shown me anything, it’s that the grass is not always greener. There are perks and pitfalls in every line of work – and it all comes down to personal choice and priorities. For me, at this point in my life, the upsides of life as a freelance writer, far outweigh the hard stuff.
The freedom to choose the work that lights me up, the flexibilty to work my own hours (and yes, often-times that’s the graveyard shift), to be my own boss, to be at school when my kids get awards at assembly, to welcome them home when they get off the school bus, and to run them around to extra-curricular activities in the evenings, is a rare gift that I feel incredibly grateful for. And I know Christy feels the same.
But if you ask me if we feel ‘lucky’ to have this flexibility and choice in our work life at The Splendid Word, the honest answer is no.
Luck really didn’t play a part in this business. And it hasn’t been easy. At all.
We’ve worked (and continue to work) incredibly hard to build The Splendid Word from the ground up – and not just over the past eight years. The seed to where we find ourselves today was sown way back in the classroom at school and university, and then in the busy newsrooms of print and broadcast media outlets.
Eight years ago, when I was pregnant with my third child, and deep in the trenches of juggling motherhood with a career in political comms, I made a choice.
I took a giant leap and went freelance.
I didn’t want to give up the career I had worked so hard to build, but I wanted to be around more for my kids as they grew up.
And so I gave up the security of a great job, regular pay cheque, superannuation and paid holidays in favour of starting a brand new business in partnership with a near stranger – Christy – who today is one of my very best friends, mentors and confidantes.
In the early days, our business model was a messy mix of us sitting up all night long writing content, and then stealing pockets of time on the computer during the day in between running around after our little kids. It was a hard slog, and we were definitely burning the candle at both ends, but it built the foundation for our family-friendly business, that eight years on, has grown to a team of five amazing freelancers.
Back in the early days, I often told myself and others that TSW was a temporary gig, and that I’d get a ‘real job’ when my three boys were all at school.
Well I’ve put that theory to the test these past few weeks, and as I return to my TSW office today my feet are firmly planted where I stand.
The Splendid Word has brought with it some of the greatest challenges and triumphs that I have known in my working life so far. It’s my ‘real job’, and I wouldn’t give it up for the world.
In our regular Spreading the Good Stuff podcast discussions we often talk about making time to nurture our own physical and emotional well being. And we understand that for many of us this can be a challenge, particularly when the ‘wheels fall off’ and life throws up challenges which consume both our time and headspace.
However, we all know that it’s when we are working through life’s challenges and tough times that most self care habits get put on the back burner, despite it being THE most important time to get enough sleep, eat well, meditate, exercise, slow down and refuel your tank.
Self care is no longer a dirty word and many of us have started to fully understand the benefits of taking the time to replenish and appreciate the subsequent boost of energy and positive mindset to help us tackle life’s challenges. But for many, self care can still be seen as a challenge, or guilty pleasure. Thankfully help is at hand.
Thanks to some talented ladies who make it their business to ensure we are showing ourselves the same care and attention we might give to family, friends and work, there are plenty of opportunities to practice self care.
This weekend in Echuca Moama there are two wonderful workshops dedicated to self care, starting with a Wellbeing and Life Success Immersion on Saturday with Erin Barnes at Next Generation Wellness. This event is actually sold out, which is no surprise. We chatted with Erin (who is actually Leonie’s sister) on our Spreading the Good Stuff podcast during January and it has been one of our most listened to conversations.
Erin is a passionate physical, emotional and behavioural expert and her work, which also include one-to-one sessions, aims to bring you comprehensible education, actionable tools and integrative behaviours to enhance your life. Erin is a master at blending brain, body and behavioural science to help you achieve sustained and elevated wellbeing, and maximise focus and productivity to live your best life, which is something we bang on about a lot on the podcast. Erin’s immersion day offers practical and achievable tools towards greater wellness, a yoga session and delicious, healthy treats. And the good news news is that she is in town for a couple of days if you’re keen to lock in a one-to-one session of this ‘good stuff’ – find out more here.
We are doubly blessed in Echuca Moama this weekend to have another wonderful day dedicated to self care thanks to the lovely ladies at Well Soul Studio.
Beautiful You – Your Body Is Talking It’s Time To Listen is an event all about self care and will feature Nat Kringoudis (doctor of Chinese Medicine, acupuncturist, author, speaker and all-round natural fertility expert), Lola Berry (nutritionist, author and yoga teacher) and local lady Ellen McNeil (Well Soul studio chiropractor with a Diploma in Chiropractic Neuro-Developmental Paediatrics and yoga teacher). This incredible trio will help empower women of all ages to understand their bodies and discover how nutrition, movement, hormones and overwhelm can significantly impact our health. How good does that sound? The day includes workshops, information sessions and yoga and is designed for you, your mum, your daughter, your sister or your best friend, but you need to be quick as spots are filling fast. Book your place here.
So, it’s pretty clear that if you’re in need of some extra self care tools, Echuca Moama is certainly the place to be this weekend and we think it’s worth spreading the good stuff for!
Enjoy a weekend of wellness immersion, or even just a walk in nature with family and friends to refill your bucket. You won’t regret it.
Image thanks to: www.weheartit.com
Can you believe we’re almost through March?
It’s been a busy start to the year for us, finishing off some large social media and event projects and opening doors to new and exciting content writing challenges for the year ahead.
In between our weekly content creation tasks for social media business pages, websites, marketing and communications plans, and brochures, we have found small pockets of time to pursue our passion project – Spreading the Good Stuff podcast.
Have you had a chance to tune into our podcast yet? It’s been full of so much good stuff!
We started the podcast early in 2018 with Katrina Myers from Barham Avocados, who was our first ever guest on the couch at Spreading the Good Stuff (STGS) live conversation series at Junction, Moama.
So far this year we’ve dropped five episodes, which you can find here, and the conversation has flowed from tackling goals for the new year, how to achieve health and fitness ‘your’ way, to a profound and moving discussion around grief.
There was not a dry eye in the house and we will be forever grateful to Shari and Tracey for opening their hearts to share what grief can look like and the many challenges of wading through it.
This emotional conversation explored the complexities, the misconceptions and the mystery of grief and touched on how we can do it better – as individuals, as friends and family members, and as a community.
We only scratched the surface on this topic, but know it was the start of many brave and much-needed conversations since, and have no doubt it will become a helpful tool for many to continue to listen, learn and share when it comes to living with grief.
More than 6000 people have now downloaded our podcast conversations, and since making it to our 20th episode last month we have been buoyed to continue to share the successes and challenges of achieving wellness in our often ‘busy’ and overwhelming lives, where caring for ourselves is sometimes the very last item on our ‘to-do’ list.
Self care has been a common theme so far this year and Episode #19, featuring Koondrook based fitness guru Rach Robertson in conversation with Katrina, discussed the importance of regular exercise for our wellbeing, and the important tip that one size does not fit all.
Our follow-up conversation in Episode #20 discussed how we all choose to keep physically and emotionally in shape and how to resist the urge of comparison when it comes to setting our personal fitness goals – which is not an easy task.
Episode #17, which dropped in mid January, was a fabulous conversation (one of our most popular to date) with Leonie’s sister Erin Barnes, who runs a wellness business Next Generation Wellness on the Sunshine Coast. The girls discussed how and why we often set ourselves up to fail when it comes to setting unrealistic goals and encouraged us to take the time to recalibrate and be gentle with ourselves.
Erin is a passionate physical, emotional and behavioural expert and this conversation discussed society’s obsession with resolutions and why we typically fall short on them. It explored an alternative strategy for a better way to achieve overall wellbeing and life success goals in the year ahead and we know you’ll gain plenty from this conversation.
In the following Episode #18 we unpacked our own experiences of intention setting, dreaming big, doing the work, letting go and rejecting the ‘all or nothing’ mindset, choosing action over perfection and decluttering. This was a BIG conversation and one we all benefited from, thanks to Erin.
We love delivering these fortnightly conversations to our growing audience and are extremely grateful to all those tuning in on a regular basis. This podcast is a real gift and we often comment it’s like a therapy session for the three of us to regularly set aside time to talk about the ‘big’ and important things in our lives.
If you’re keen to tune in to any one of our 21 conversations so far, subscribe via Whooshkaa, on iTunes or on your favourite podcast app. We also love hearing heart-warming feedback from our listeners and also suggestions for future conversations.
We have only just scratched the surface when it comes to the subject of women and wellness in work, family and community and we have so many stories to share with insights and advice from incredible individuals from across our regional communities who can help empower us all to live our best life.
Thanks for tuning in and helping us to Spread the Good Stuff!
We’re back #spreadingthegoodstuff for a fabulous event happening locally next week to celebrate regional women.
A group of motivated local women and businesses, led by Nina O’Brien at Committee for Echuca Moama, has organised a fabulous International Women’s Day Brunch event to celebrate all women in our twin towns and highlight just some of the amazing work being done by our local ladies.
The event – this coming Tuesday March 5 – is hosted by Moama Bowling Club and includes some amazing guest speakers, as well as a diverse panel of local ladies who will share their experience and advice and start an important conversation around fostering confidence, knowledge and inspiration among us women folk.
The aim of the brunch is to highlight what incredibly diverse, strong and talented women and girls we have across our region and to celebrate what can be achieved when we support each other.
Women who attend are in for a treat with an amazing panel of guest speakers including local GP and marathon runner Dr Claire Goodman, chiropractor and yoga teacher from Well Soul Studio, Ellen McNeil, and an incredible discussion panel featuring Megan Williams from Camel Milk Co Australia, Georgia Cadd founder of Squoosh, Njernda’s Kelli Bartlett and owner of Endota Spa Echuca and singer Jacinta Cannon – all hosted by MC and Boss Lady Brain founder April Whiston.
The event aims to provide all those who attend a great morning of networking and inspiration, as well as health-related information about health and wellbeing activities and services, which are all available locally.
Importantly, any funds raised from ticket sales will be directed back into a community-based charity or initiative that supports the advancement of women in the local community.
Doors open at the Venue, Moama Bowling Club at 8.30am for a 9am start (concluding at 11.30am), tickets are only $10 and are available here.
What a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day, which is coming up on Friday March 8th!
We can’t wait to bring you another profound Spreading the Good Stuff LIVE event at Junction and we are thrilled to be back for our sixth episode, next Wednesday November 28, for an important conversation about grief.
Episode 6 will bring together two brave local women for an important discussion about what grief looks like, their own personal experiences and importantly how well we deal with ‘grief’ as a community.
Together with mental health social worker Tracey Farrell, of Hidden Treasure Therapy, and the brave and determined mother of baby Ruby (now in heaven) Shari Gotch, we will discuss the challenges, misconceptions and mystery of grief.
As an accredited AASW practitioner, Tracey has an unwavering commitment to working with our most vulnerable children and families, those who have experienced trauma and attachment difficulties, children living out of home, families where a parent has a terminal illness and of course, the bereaved.
Tracey (pictured below):
~ “To me, grief is best imagined using the analogy of the kaleidoscope. It shifts and changes. Just when you feel there’s some predictability in the patterns, it changes again.
~ “We need to tell our stories, and be willing to listen to them, without trying to make it better,”
Shari and her brave family said goodbye to baby Ruby just after the Christmas of 2013, following a courageous battle with a rare genetic disorder, which included severe epilepsy.
Baby Ruby Eve endured her first seizure 14 hours post birth and continued to battle them on a daily basis during her short ten months of life.
Ruby spent much of her short life in and out of Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital and since this challenging time her family has strived to continue her legacy in a positive way. This has included Team Ruby Eve competing in the annual Run for Kids in Melbourne and various other fundraising efforts, including hiking the Kokoda Track – raising much needed funds for the Children’s Neuroscience Centre. In May this year, Shari and sister Toni also walked the El Camino track in Spain to raise money for Ronald McDonald House.
Shari and her extended family and friends work tirelessly to raise both funds and awareness for rare childhood illness as she continues her daily journey through grief.
Shari (pictured below with Ruby):
~ “Grief is an endless journey… coping with grief is like driving with no destination.”
~ “Starting the conversation and raising awareness is a good start in educating people about grief. Which is why nights like this are a great opportunity.”
Since its inception more than two years ago, our Spreading the Good Stuff LIVE events have examined the lives of extraordinary individuals in our region who are making a positive impact in their patch, and we have covered some profound and important conversations around suicide and mental health, inclusion, foster care and adoption and sustainable living.
This LIVE conversation series builds on our crusade to promote positive communication and the power of kind language across our regional communities, and we have also recently adapted this concept to a fortnightly podcast, also called Spreading the Good Stuff, with our good friend over at Barham Avocados Katrina Myers.
Our LIVE Spreading the Good Stuff events involve an intimate conversation hour to explore some of the big issues, challenges and opportunities of our time – leaving you enriched, enlarged and inspired to spread more of your own good in the world. There is also opportunity at each event to ask questions of our guest speakers and continue the conversation over a casual drink or bite to eat.
For more event details and to purchase tickets visit the event page here.
We hope you can join us for an intimate and insightful evening.
See you there,
Christy and Leonie
You set out with good intentions, but you get side-tracked with distraction after distraction, and by days’ end your to-do-list is even longer than when you started……
We get it. Being productive at work is a universal challenge. And believe us, procrastination visits here often.
But thankfully there are plenty of ways we can all increase our productive flow and get back to the important business of getting stuff done in the workplace!
Here are just 5 simple tips that do the trick for us:
1. Set small goals
Do you often find yourself staring despairingly at a to-do list that runs across pages and pages of a notepad? You’re not alone.
As working women with young families, we too know what it’s like to have full calendars of business, sporting, community and social commitments. The logistics of keeping your head around all the competing demands on your time can be overwhelming, and the best way to get that stuff out of our heads is to put it down in a list on paper – lots of paper.
But the problem with working from a monster list like that is you can NEVER get to the bottom of it and you often wind up feeling like you’ve achieved nothing at the end of the day – which is when the negative self-talk can creep in.
Here’s how we avoid falling into that trap.
Instead of working from your monster (let’s call it ‘master’) list each day, and feeling like a failure at 5pm when you discover you’ve added more new tasks than you’ve completed, have a go at this.
Each new working day, create a separate ‘daily list’ to which you add the three most important tasks from your master list. Now work from that list instead, and if you get through each of the tasks before the day is out, grab another job from your master list, and work towards completing that too. We promise by days’ end you’ll feel so much more productive because you’ll actually reach the bottom of the list.
2. Plan ahead
If you rock up to work without a plan, the chances are you’re going to start your day directionless, wasting precious hours deciding what to do with your time first.
Before you clock off for the day, our tip is to spend five or ten minutes planning your next working day, even breaking it down in to one hour blocks if it helps. Jot your plan down on a fresh page and leave it front and centre at your work station so that the moment you sit down to work the following day, you have a clear strategy for what needs to happen, and you are ready to roll from the get-go.
3. Limit distractions
In this constantly connected, fast-paced, digital age in which we all live and work, the distractions are relentless. And if we let them have their way with us, they will.
We are constantly interrupted by that addictive ‘ping’ signalling a new email, text message, social media notification, newsflash or phonecall. And when our phones and computers aren’t pinging, we’re busy checking them anyway, refreshing the page just to double check that we haven’t missed an update. Seriously it’s a miracle anyone gets anything done!
For us, the best way to limit distractions is to turn them off and put them well out of sight. Sounds simple in theory doesn’t it. But in reality, it’s not.
That’s why we love using the Forrest app, which is designed to help you stay away from your smartphone and stay focused on your work in a fun way. Whenever you want to focus on your work, you plant a tree. The tree grows in the time frame you set, and it dies if you try to use your phone for anything else during that time. Neat huh!
Unfortunately though, the Forrest app doesn’t stop you from sneakily wandering away from the task at hand to check your emails on the computer. We know this, because we do it sometimes.
So our tip there is to completely shut down your emails when you’re trying to focus on a particular piece of work.
What we find works well is to set certain periods during the working day (usually 10-20 minutes) where we ‘intentionally’ spend time tending to our inbox, responding to emails, and liaising with clients. When the time is up (again you can use the Forrest App to keep you on track), we shut the email down and get back to the real work. For us it works well to schedule email time in the morning, noon and afternoon, but do whatever fits best for you.
Some people recommend not accessing your email at all until lunchtime, which frees you up to focus on your own work for the entire morning without being bogged down by the demands of others on your time (which is essentially what most messages in your email inbox are – people working through their own to-do-lists with their own deadlines and agendas). We’ve tried this in the past, and it really does work – so test it out and see how you go.
4. Embrace the tools
There are so many great apps and tools out there (many of which are free) that can help you remain focused on your work and support you to really power through your to-do-list.
At The Splendid Word, we are a team of freelancers, and we all work individually from our own homes, so we find project management tools like Trello and Asana to be tremendously helpful. Both programs are free, and in our experience, they help us to work more collaboratively and to get more done. Trello works like a huge whiteboard, with cards and lists that allow you to organise and prioritise your projects in a fun, flexible and productive way. Similarly Asana helps you to set priorities and deadlines, share details of projects and assign tasks to team members all in the one place. With both programs you can follow projects and tasks through every stage of the game and keep everyone aligned on the goals to ensure you hit those all important deadlines.
We also love using Google Drive for sharing and editing documents, Google Calendar for sharing our weekly work plans and meetings, and Dropbox for sharing photographs for social media clients and other projects.
5. Celebrate the wins
The key thing to remember and to acknowledge is that not every day will be perfectly productive, so try to cut yourself some slack when things don’t go to plan.
When those days do strike (and they will), try not to wipe the whole week off. Take some time to plan ahead for the next day, set yourself some realistic goals and try again!
If you want to hear more about how we get stuff done at work and about other tools that have worked for us, be sure to tune in to this week’s Spreading The Good Stuff podcast episode where we dive a little deeper in to the issue and explore some of our biggest productivity challenges and triumphs.
Until next time, good luck mastering those distractions!