How To REALLY Get Things Done

So…January…2017! You have some goals, or perhaps just some tinglings of maybes that you want to have a go at doing this year. But you know how it is, you will sneeze and it will be July and none of your to-do list has been to-done.

And you aren’t getting any younger…

Oh, wait a minute, this is one of my talks to myself in front of the mirror. 

Hold on, let me start again…

How to Really get things done by Kim Dellow

[I do use affiliate links and there are some in this blog post.]

Hey Guys, want to REALLY get things done this year? Well, I have some tips that I want to share on how you can achieve your goals this year. But I am also hoping that you will share some of your favourite tips too so don’t be shy!

So shall we get started?

1. Work out your goals!

This is a subject that I have talked about before on my blog and in my newsletter but it is always worth revisiting and re-evaluating. Now I am a goal setter, but my partner isn’t, so I know that not everyone is a goal setter but this really works for me. If it doesn’t work for you I would love to hear what does, so do comment below. 

Pick 2-3 goals you want to achieve this year and really focus down on why you want to do them and for what reasons. The more you understand your motives the more you can be true to yourself and set the goals that you really want, rather than goals you think you want to achieve.

This year I am using the Dream | Plan | Do planner from The Design Trust to help me with my goal setting and monitoring as I find that I do need prompts with my goal setting. I find focusing really, really hard as there is so much I always want to do. One of the things that has helped me this year from this book is setting my values and really asking myself why I want to do something to make sure it is the right goal for me and my business this year.

2. Bite-sized chunks

Break down your goals into bite-sized chunks of task that you can do today, over the next week/ month/ 3 months etc.

Put those tasks somewhere visible, stick them on the wall next to your work space for example and refer back to them regularly to keep yourself on track. You will also need to change them and adapt them as time goes on.

3. Plan Your Week

Now you need to turn these tasks into chunks of time. At the beginning of your week make a list of all the things you have to do that week, your work things, home things, AND the bite-sized tasks that you can do this week towards your big goals.

List it all down then allocate the various things on your list to days of the week. There may be things you have to do every day or things that are time sensitive that you need to do first because of a deadline, so roughly fill your week with the tasks.

4. Schedule, Schedule, oh and Schedule

At the beginning of every day, or in the evening of the day before, break your day into units of time that work for you. I like to work in hourly chunks, and I have two peak creative times, one first thing in the morning and another late afternoon so I try to organise my designing and idea generation in those times and work other things around them. But everyone is different and you need to find the time slots that work for you and work around your lifestyle commitments. 

Use your best guesstimate on how long a certain project or task is going to take and don’t lie to yourself! Add in a bit of wiggle room and if it is a new project and you have no idea how long it will take, make your best guess and then double the time at least.

Don’t forget to schedule in breaks! Very handy wiggle room if you need them and very important to give yourself some breathing space.

Also don’t forget to schedule in time-sucking activities like social media! Give them time slots on your day so you do not get tempted to watch all those cat videos on Facebook instead of setting up your new website. Yes, I am talking to you! I know! It is like I can see into your brain! (I am your brain!).

For my scheduling I am using my MAMBI The Happy Planner like a bullet journal to list the times and the tasks and then tick them off smugly as I blast my way through them! If you want to know more about The Happy Planners I do have a blog post all about them.

The MAMBI Happy Planner

5. Stick To Your Schedule

Most important step of all, is sticking to your schedule. If you allocated a slot of time to doing that website hosting research or to write that blog post, don’t then spend it watching a cat try to jump on a bed and missing! Or writing that really important response to Jane on Facebook. It can wait until your scheduled break time or social media time. Honest, it can!

But if you are really finding it hard to make yourself do something? Well, a great tip that I got from Lisa Yacob’s Best Year 2016 for this is to break the harder tasks down into small chunks of time, like 15 minutes. You can do it for 15 minutes right? Then have a break and move on to something else. 15 minutes every day for a week is better then no minutes ever and not getting it done at all. I’m not sure if the tip is in Lisa’s Best Year 2017 planner yet as I haven’t finished working my way through it!

6. Keep Reviewing

Check you are getting your tasks done, tick them off at the end of the week and reorganise for the next week and check back on your goals. You are going to need to keep reviewing as you go along, as the goals evolve or as you find out new things that affect the goals, changing and evolving is a good thing. 

And if your schedule isn’t working then re-think it, reorganise where you do what task through the day, perhaps your creative time is from 7pm, whatever, make it work for you!

This really works for me and has taken me a few years of working as a freelance creative to develop for myself, it does change and I won’t lie it is hard work, but hopefully worth it!

So go on then, spill the beans, what are your best tips for REALLY getting things done?


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How To Get Through The Chaos Jungle To The Land Of Creative Joy

I feel the need to come clean with you. It took me ages to write this blog post, at least a couple of days. Crazy, right? Why did it take me so long? Why was I angsting so much about it? Well, let me tell you of my dilemma at the moment.

As I am teaching myself to work creatively, I have come to realise that part of my process is to go through a period of time when I am unhappy with what I produce. I often think of it as a period of chaos or like walking through a Chaos Jungle.

art journal page in blue and purple

Quite often nothing I do whilst working through this chaos makes me entirely happy. It is more than the usual analysis of my work to see where I can improve. It feels like something inside me is trying to break out but I just don’t know what. No analogies to the films Alien or the Thing please, I need to sleep at night!

But what I have found from working at this for a few years now is that these periods of making things that I don’t like usually come just before I make some sort of a breakthrough in my skill level or in my understanding of a particular aspect of my practice.

Dark art journal page with teal and pink and black

You may very well have found this happening to you too, but perhaps you haven’t recognised it? Or perhaps you have and felt that it was just something you alone went through? Or maybe you are fully in touch with this part of your creativity, in which case I congratulate you wholeheartedly on being so well attuned to yourself, well done!

Whatever the case, don’t worry – going through a period of chaos before a breakthrough is not an uncommon part of the creative cycle.

In fact, rejoice! You are on the precipice of a new aspect of your creative life! 

Unfortunately, there is no time frame for this period and you could be on the precipice looking out to your future Land Of Creative Joy for the next 10 minutes or for several years to come. But, hey, it will be worth it!

Neon pink and blue art journal page

How Do You Get Through The Chaos Jungle?

1. Be kind to yourself! Foremost in this period of chaotic unknown is to acknowledge the self-doubt but don’t allow it to take hold of you. So don’t believe it. OK it is there, it is an aspect of you but it does not define you. This is important! Self-doubt is CRIPPLING and will stop you from reaching your next level, whatever that level is.

You may have your own coping mechanisms for self-doubt but for me personally I have found that I can not ignore it – telling it to shut up doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it worse. It has taken me a while to get to this point but I have come to realise that I need to recognise the self-doubt, acknowledge it, then reason with it, explain to it why it is wrong, give it examples of how its view of the world is somewhat skewed.

Lots of art journal pages being made at once

It takes constant practise not to give in to self-doubt and there are no easy fixes for this one, I’m afraid, but you need to try because the next tip to making it through the jungle of creative chaos (sounds like an interesting holiday resort!) is:

2. Don’t give up. Work through it however long it takes. Turn up at your workdesk and work, work, work work! If you want to jump off that precipice into your creative future, then do something towards it every day. Whatever your creative thing is, from art journaling to cardmaking, get something made, or at least partly made, every day even if you only have 10 minutes to spare.

3. Talk about it! Don’t bottle it up inside. One thing about working as a creative, particularly a freelance one, is that you are often working on your own. This is where having someone you trust, who can understand the ups and downs, to talk to is invaluable. So grab a coffee, tea, glass of wine or whatever your favourite tipple is and talk, email, message your arty, crafty or other trusty friends and loved ones. No doubt they have been through it too.

There are times when it is easy and there are times when it is most definitely not but I can tell you, here and now that

YOU can do it!

Art journal page in pink with a diamond frame and writing

But why did it take me so long to write this blog post, what was my dilemma?

Well, I am going through my own personal Chaos Jungle right now, I bought a packed lunch, I might be here some time. But as an Artist, Crafter, Blogger (it is in my bio, it must be true), there is a constant pressure to provide quality content, beautiful things, or at least something inspirational that you as my reader will want to have a go at even if you don’t like how I did it.

But this pressure to make beautiful things is even harder when you are traipsing through the Chaos Jungle. So as part of my being kind to myself strategy, I am owning up to the chaos, I’m embracing it and revelling in it and if you are going through a similar thing I want you to do the same.

Come with me on this trip and put our trust in the fact that on the other side there is a breakthrough to Creative Joy!

A collection of art mark making tools

Please do feel free to share any thoughts you have on Chaos Jungles or the land of Creative Joy, they are all welcome.

But please do not feel you need to give me an ego boost or leave positive comments about my work, I’m embracing my trip through the jungle. I just wanted to put to words something that many of us go through in the hope that it might help you, either now or at some later point, if you feel a bit lost and aren’t sure why!

Catch you later Art-inators


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*Heart* you.


Affiliate Programs And Etsy UK

I’ve been umming and ahhing about joining affiliate programs for a couple of years now, for a ton load of reasons that I won’t go into here, but I have finally taken the plunge. Some of you might have already noticed that some of my blog posts now carry a ‘There are affiliated links in this post’ notice in the postscript.

If some of you aren’t sure what affiliate programs are, they are a way for bloggers to generate income. So if I put an affiliated banner in my sidebar or an affiliated link in my blog post to a product and you click through and decide you love it and buy it, I get a small commission for referring you.

Well let’s face it I’ve been sharing my favourite products with you for years, I mean that is what we do isn’t it? We artists/crafters love sharing what we have been making and what we have been using. I’ve also been working for Design Teams for years too and part of that job is to link to the products we use. The only difference now is that for some of my links, those that are affiliated, I can get a little bit of money for doing it.

One of the programs I have signed up to is the new UK Etsy Affiliate program. I thought the Etsy Affiliate program is a great way to help support my blog and at same time support the wonderful people who make the most amazing handmade products.

So I’m excited to share with you some products I love from some fabulous Etsy shops, do go have a browse and share the love! It is a mix of paper, jewellery and geeky cuteness from three of my favourite Etsy shops run by people I know via blogging or in real life.

[Photo Credit: All photos belong to the makers, Kate Haines, Clair Rigby and Julie Kirk]

The geekery is from Kate Haines’ shop Gallerie St Gery, the jewellery is from Clair Rigby’s shop Obstinate Pursuit (she also sells jewellery-making tutorials) and the papery is from Julie Kirk’s shop Julie Kirk

Oh and Julie is having a sale in her shop Julie Kirk at the moment, 15% off with the code EVERYLOSERWINS15 at checkout until 2pm (BST) tomorrow 20th June 2014.

I adore these items so I hope you enjoy them too!

I would love to know if you have any experience with affiliate programs or any thoughts about them so please do drop me a comment below.


[Just so that you know the product links are affiliated!]