Posted on Leave a comment

How you can use product descriptions in your marketing

Using product descriptions in your marketing helps you to make more sales.
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

If you already write brilliant product descriptions (and if you’re not sure where to start, read this.) you might think that they’ll just sit on your website until your customers find them. Not necessarily. They can be incredibly time consuming to create, so why not share them further afield? Here are 5 easy ways to use your product descriptions in your marketing.

Create social media posts

If you’ve written engaging product descriptions that go beyond the technical details, you can share them as a post. Just read them through to make sure they’ll make sense on a different platform. This is really useful at Christmas or during other festivals, as you can make gift buying easier for your customers. Just add a sentence like ‘these are vegan and gluten free as well as being easy to wrap’ (or whatever fits your product). Add an image and it’s ready to go.

Use product descriptions in your blog

You could probably write a whole handful of blog posts talking about gifts for different occasions. Valentine’s Day, Mothering Sunday, Easter, Halloween, Diwali, Christmas… you get the idea. A blog post that’s tailored to gifts for different people will help you to turn up in Google searches, particularly if you serve a niche audience. Just write a preamble introducing your topic and use your product descriptions in each section. You don’t have to limit yourself to gifts either – you can use this method to introduce new products that solve a particular problem.

Create a gift guide

This is one of my favourite time saving tricks for product-based businesses. Put your product descriptions into a gift guide so your customers don’t have to search your website. Organise them by section and create a PDF that you can email to your subscribers and share on your website. If you have the budget you can also create a print version. More and more local shops are supporting other businesses by sharing leaflets and brochures, so it’s worth investigating.

Make a video

You already know how much Facebook and Instagram love video. You could do a live talking about one or two products using your product description as the basis for your script. If you can condense your descriptions down to bullet points you can use them in a reel. You probably don’t want to use a full product description in your stories, but you can share part of your description to highlight an interesting feature.

Share the little details

Your customers are surprisingly good at finding reasons not to buy from you. You can start handling those objections in your product descriptions and social media posts. Say, for example, you send out every order in gorgeous handmade packaging. That’s the kind of detail that will sell your products to customers who care about quality or who hate wrapping presents. If you talk about sustainability in your product descriptions, share those sections in your posts too. If it’s important to your customers, you can use those tiny snippets of your product descriptions in your marketing.

If you’d rather save your time and energy for everything else you need to do in your business, I can write (or update) your product descriptions for you. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

Posted on Leave a comment

How you can use your blog in your email marketing

A woman being happy because she's using her blog in her email marketing.
Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

When you’ve gone to the effort of writing a blog, I’m willing to bet that you don’t want it to just sit there on your website. You want it to be out in the world, being read by your ideal customers. At least, I hope you do. If you’re just writing for fun and a creative outlet, I salute you, but this blog isn’t really for you. (If you haven’t started a blog because you don’t know where to start, read this.) If you’ve spent time on writing a brilliant blog post and are wondering what else you can do with it, I have two words for you. Email marketing. It’s a wonderful thing to send to your list if you have one. Your blog can also help you to build a list if you need to. Here are my top 5 tips to get you started.

Create a calendar

A content calendar helps you to get organised. It also makes your marketing more coherent overall. When you choose a focus for each month you can plan all your blogs, emails and social media posts around that one topic. It makes things easier for you because you can repurpose your content by sharing your blog in your emails and breaking it down for social media posts. It also makes things clearer for your customers.

Use your blog in your email marketing

Have you ever stopped sending emails to your list because something had to give? We’ve all been there. It’s more likely to happen if you’re creating fresh content for every marketing channel. If you use your blog as a central part of your emails, you make everything quicker and easier. Then all you need to do is top and tail the email with a bit of news and your latest offers and you’ve saved yourself loads of time.

Add a sign-up form

If you don’t have an email marketing list, or you want to attract more subscribers, add a sign-up form to the bottom of your posts. (I have a widget from Thrive Themes that does mine.) It’s the perfect way to attract the right audience because people only sign up if they’re interested in what you have to say. It’s a good idea to offer people something useful as a thank you for signing up. Which brings me to…

Use older blogs as lead magnets

Firstly, a note of caution. GDPR includes rules about offering freebies to new subscribers. Please make sure you’re up to speed before you follow this tip. If you’ve already written a whole load of useful blogs, you can repurpose them to send out to your subscribers. Tips posts are particularly good if they have advice readers can put into action straight away. Just format the post as a PDF with images and you’re ready to go.

Blog series = email marketing sequence

If you’re new to blogging this is a good one to bear in mind for the future. A blog series works well for topics that are too big to cover in one post. For example, I wrote a series on how to start writing a blog. You can read it on my website or get it straight to your inbox. (Just complete the form below – see what I did there?!) What topics could you write a series about?

Are you ready to start writing a blog that you can use throughout your marketing? I can help with that. Click here to book a chat with me and find out more about your options. Or sign up to receive my series on how to start your business blog using the form below.

__CONFIG_colors_palette__{“active_palette”:0,”config”:{“colors”:{“b39a3”:{“name”:”Main Accent”,”parent”:-1}},”gradients”:[]},”palettes”:[{“name”:”Default”,”value”:{“colors”:{“b39a3”:{“val”:”rgb(255, 63, 63)”,”hsl”:{“h”:0,”s”:0.99,”l”:0.6235,”a”:1}}},”gradients”:[]},”original”:{“colors”:{“b39a3”:{“val”:”rgb(47, 138, 229)”,”hsl”:{“h”:210,”s”:0.77,”l”:0.54,”a”:1}}},”gradients”:[]}}]}__CONFIG_colors_palette__
__CONFIG_colors_palette__{“active_palette”:0,”config”:{“colors”:{“34f05”:{“name”:”Main Accent”,”parent”:-1}},”gradients”:[]},”palettes”:[{“name”:”Default Palette”,”value”:{“colors”:{“34f05”:{“val”:”var(–tcb-local-color-b39a3)”}},”gradients”:[]},”original”:{“colors”:{“34f05”:{“val”:”rgb(19, 114, 211)”,”hsl”:{“h”:210,”s”:0.83,”l”:0.45}}},”gradients”:[]}}]}__CONFIG_colors_palette__
Sign Up here
Posted on Leave a comment

How editing can help you create good marketing content

Typewriter emphasising the importance of editing and rewriting.
Photo by Suzy Hazlewood via Pexels

Have you ever sat down, ready to create new marketing content and found yourself grinding to a complete halt? You either can’t get going or you write a few sentences and delete them again because they sound rubbish. We’ve all been there (even me). The trouble is that we think we have to write something amazing first time. The truth is, we don’t. No-one has to read your first draft of anything. You can write the scrappiest sentences you like because editing is your friend. As long as the stuff you write gives you something to work with, you can go back and edit it later. So, set yourself free and write whatever you want. Then follow my five editing tips to help you make it better.

1.      Use your spelling and grammar checker

Yes, it’s really that simple. If you write using Word or Google docs, they have inbuilt spelling and grammar checker. You don’t have to follow every grammar recommendation – sometimes sticking to your original phrasing makes it sound more like you.

If you have a WordPress website and use Yoast’s plugin for SEO, it also has a readability checker. In my experience it’s not 100% reliable but it has some useful tips for editing sentences that makes them easier to read.

2.      Have you stuck to the point?

I mentioned this in my last blog (which you can read here). There’s no faster way to lose your readers than by wandering off on constant tangents. Read through your blog and ask yourself whether every paragraph talks about the original topic. If it doesn’t, take it out, but save it somewhere else. It could be useful for a future post. (Can you tell I love recycling?)

3.      Does it make sense?

This can be a tricky one to gauge. Your content might make sense to you but be bewildering to someone else. You’re an expert but maybe your readers aren’t. The first thing to check for is jargon. If you’re using phrases that only people in your industry understand, take them out.

Getting a second opinion is often a good idea. Tidy up your content then ask someone outside your industry to read it and see if they understand what you mean.

4.      Check your sentence length

This is supremely geeky, but it will help you to write better content. Using a variety of different sentence lengths makes things easier to read. It’s mainly because it makes your writing closer to normal speech.

You don’t have to count every sentence (I can hear the sigh of relief from here), but if a paragraph sounds a bit monotonous when you read it, have a quick count. You might find that all your sentences are the same length.

5.      Are there superfluous words?

Your writing will be clearer if you keep things simple. Words like ‘really’ or ‘very’ can add emphasis, but not if you use them in every sentence. Stephen King famously said that you should never use adverbs. Why say that someone shouted loudly? If it was quiet, it wouldn’t be shouting. (My grammar checker suggested that I take ‘loudly’ out of that sentence, which probably means that you don’t need to worry about it too much if you follow tip #1!)

Would you like a second pair of eyes on your content? Or would you rather hand it over altogether? Book a call here and let’s have a chat to see how I can help you.

Posted on Leave a comment

Case study – creating new content ideas for Birkett Consulting

Case study about coming up with new blog topics.

I first met Ros Birkett via a networking group (which is pretty much how I meet everyone these days). She’s utterly lovely and a brilliant person to have a coffee and a natter with. When it comes to branding and marketing, what Ros doesn’t know frankly isn’t worth knowing. She’s the owner of Birkett Consulting, working with a range of clients to deliver adverting and marketing that gets results. In a nutshell, she knows her marketing onions, which is why it came as a bit of a surprise to get an email asking if I could help her to come up with some topics for her blog.

The challenge

When Ros got in touch, Birkett Consulting was in the midst of a website makeover. All of this was happening alongside the day-to-day work involved in running a busy agency and serving clients. There was also the small matter of getting to grips with an in-depth SEO analysis report for a client that ran to over 100 pages. Ros was faced with two main challenges. Firstly, that she was struggling to find blocks of time that would allow her to focus on website tasks. Secondly, all the topics she was reading about seemed a bit predictable. She wanted some fresh ideas that would help her to get the messaging right as we emerged from lockdown.

The solution

To start the process, Ros and I arranged a Zoom call to talk through Birkett Consulting’s marketing basics. She described her customers and the services that she wanted to focus on in the blog. Ros’ awareness of her customer base meant that I could focus on the topics that would have most impact. We also talked about bringing a bit of humour back into marketing to lighten things up after lockdown.

After our chat, I went away and came up with four possible topics using a combination of tools, including my own random marketing thoughts. I’m looking forward to seeing the results when the new website launches.

Could a fresh pair of eyes on your business help you to speak more effectively to your audience? Get in touch and let’s have a chat.

Posted on Leave a comment

5 ways you can find new things to blog about

Woman making notes about new things to blog about
Photo by Judit Peter via Pexels

Finding new things to blog about can feel a bit relentless. You create a plan then before you know it you have to start all over again. I’d say it’s like painting the Forth Bridge, but even they’ve stopped. Then there’s the monotony of the whole thing. You might have your own favourite methods but you’re just bored of them. What you need are some fresh new ways to help you find topics to blog about. As if by magic, here are a few of my favourites.

Ask the audience

One of the simplest things you can do to find new things to blog about is to ask your customers. I suspect that if you took to social media and said, “what should I blog about?” you’d get tumbleweed, but if you ask, “what are you struggling with right now?” you’ll get some useful answers. You could also try a poll with a few suggestions to get them started.

This method helps you offer timely and useful information as well as boosting engagement on social.

Write a case study

Case studies are brilliant for two main reasons. Firstly, they offer social proof. It’s not just a nebulous statement that you can help with something. You can show your audience that you’ve actually helped someone. Secondly, it lets them imagine themselves in an existing customer’s shoes. Your case study could be describing someone just like them, with the same challenges. If you’ve helped someone else, you can do it for them too. A case study can also help them to understand the process or how you deal with potential problems.

Update an old post

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you should already have data to show what your audience liked. Use your analytics to find your most popular posts. Then update them. Are there new things that you’d like to add? Has your advice changed? This post from last week is an update of one I wrote a couple of years ago. I’ve changed the structure but also added some new ideas. Finding new things to blog about is a perennial topic so it’s always going to be useful.

Find things to blog about with autocomplete

This is a bit of a blunt tool, but it’s useful if you need inspiration. Head to Google and start typing a question that’s relevant to your business. Here’s what I got when I started typing ‘content writing tips’.

As you can see, it gives me a whole list of potential things to focus on, including key phrases that I can target to help with my SEO. Some are useful, some not so much, but it helps me to learn what people are looking for advice about.

Collect useful resources

It’s tempting to believe that absolutely everything you write has to be fresh and original. It doesn’t. Your content just needs to be useful. If you can bring together resources that have helped you (or that will help your customers), that’s incredibly useful. It saves them a heap of research time and offers them solutions that are already tried and tested. By supporting your audience you’re also building trust in your own brand, so it’s a win-win.

Do you need to come up with new topics? I can help with that. We’ll have a 30-minute chat then I’ll come up with some fresh new ideas that you can take away and write about. Just book your slot here.

You could also sign up for my mailing list for hints and tips straight to your inbox every month. I don’t do spam and will never share your information with anyone else.

__CONFIG_colors_palette__{“active_palette”:0,”config”:{“colors”:{“b39a3”:{“name”:”Main Accent”,”parent”:-1}},”gradients”:[]},”palettes”:[{“name”:”Default”,”value”:{“colors”:{“b39a3”:{“val”:”rgb(255, 63, 63)”,”hsl”:{“h”:0,”s”:0.99,”l”:0.6235,”a”:1}}},”gradients”:[]},”original”:{“colors”:{“b39a3”:{“val”:”rgb(47, 138, 229)”,”hsl”:{“h”:210,”s”:0.77,”l”:0.54,”a”:1}}},”gradients”:[]}}]}__CONFIG_colors_palette__
__CONFIG_colors_palette__{“active_palette”:0,”config”:{“colors”:{“34f05”:{“name”:”Main Accent”,”parent”:-1}},”gradients”:[]},”palettes”:[{“name”:”Default Palette”,”value”:{“colors”:{“34f05”:{“val”:”var(–tcb-local-color-b39a3)”}},”gradients”:[]},”original”:{“colors”:{“34f05”:{“val”:”rgb(19, 114, 211)”,”hsl”:{“h”:210,”s”:0.83,”l”:0.45}}},”gradients”:[]}}]}__CONFIG_colors_palette__
Sign Up here
Posted on Leave a comment

How you can find fascinating blog topics

A woman at a laptop reading about fascinating blog topics
Image by Ekaterina Bolovtsova via Pexels

When you start coming up with blog topics, there’s one very important thing to keep at the front of your mind. Your customer. Whatever you write about, ask yourself – “will my customers care about this?” If they won’t, don’t write about it.

Knowing your customer should be one of the foundation stones of your marketing. When you know who’s most likely to need your services you can start talking just to them. A good blog can create that moment of recognition that makes your reader feel seen and understood.

Before you start working on a list of blog topics, think about who they’re for. Are they cash rich but time poor or the complete opposite? Will your products only suit people who are at a particular stage in their lives, like new parents or people who’ve just retired? Think about the problems you solve or the ways you make your customers’ lives better. Then we can get started.

The story so far

Sharing your story with your audience helps you to understand each other. People get to know you, like what you say and ultimately come to trust you enough to buy from you. The key is to talk about your experience and link it to the ways that helps your customers.

As an example, if you’re a parent selling clothes for babies and children, talking about your family shows your customers that you’ve been through it all and know how to make clothes that will last. 

What has my personal life taught me?

You might have a personal story that isn’t obviously related to your business, but that’s made you who you are.

For example, when you’re building a business, you need to be a bit brave sometimes. If you’ve found a way to be brave, share it! Maybe something in your past has helped you to build skills that you use now. Tell your customers because they might just recognise themselves.

FAQs

Answering an FAQ is a quick and easy way to create a new blog post. What are you asked most often? What do your customers ask you in emails or face to face? If they’re asking, people who are looking for you online will be too. It’s an easy way to start building your search rankings.

Create a list of the questions you’re asked all the time and start answering them in your blog.

What’s in the news?

You have to move fairly fast for this one, but if you can relate a news story to your business, people are more likely to find you. Lots of businesses offered advice about GDPR when it was on everyone’s minds. You can talk about current topics, but it’s also worth thinking ahead. Look out for topics you can talk about that your customers will need to deal with in the future.

What’s next?

Hopefully that’s got you off to a good start, but what else can you do? As always, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Think about what questions they’re typing into Google that will help them to find you. I’ve found that small business owners won’t necessarily search for a writer. But they will ask how they can attract more customers or improve their marketing. It’s my job to make sure that I talk about the answers to those questions.

If you’d like some more inspiration in book form, I can help.

‘50 blog topics for your business’ does exactly what it says on the tin. It gives you 50 topics that you can use straight away – if you write one a month that’s over four years’ worth of ideas for less than the cost of a family takeaway.

Does that sound good? Get your copy by clicking on the image below.

book with 50 blog topic ideas for your business

Some useful resources

Answer the Public – type in a key word and it’ll tell you what people have searched for.

Google Trends – what searches are most popular when.

Posted on Leave a comment

Want to help new customers find you? Use your blog.

Woman working on her blog to find new customers
Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

Have you started a blog and are wondering how long it will be before it brings those lovely new customers to your (virtual) door? Maybe you’re just thinking of starting one but are hesitating because you don’t know whether the time and effort is worth it. Whilst a good, helpful blog that’s relevant to your customer base is a wonderful thing, there are still a few things you can do to give it a better chance of being found and read. Here are my top 5.

Optimise your blog for keywords

You might already have your SEO strategy sorted, or you might not. Whatever your situation, one of the simplest things you can do is to optimize each blog post for relevant keywords. If you’re a hairdresser with a blog post about elegant wedding hairstyles, use that as your keyword phrase. Using the right tech will really help you with this. If you have a WordPress website, Yoast have an excellent plugin that will help you to use your keywords in the right way.

Share on social media

Yes, I know this seems blindingly obvious, but it’s worth including for completeness. There are loads of ways to do this, like creating a short video summarizing the main points with a link in the comments. You can also post snippets with an image and add a link to those. Don’t be afraid to share multiple times and add a link to your Instagram bio if there’s space. You can find more ideas here.

Reuse your blog in your emails

Email marketing is a great tool for making sales, as your readers already like you enough to have signed up for your emails. If you’ve written a blog with gift ideas for an upcoming occasion, or services that will support them with a current challenge, you’re already being helpful. Add links to buy or book and they’re more likely to click through because you’ve just made their life a whole lot easier.

Write good headlines

A great headline can make the difference between someone clicking through to read your blog and scrolling on to find something more interesting. The important things to remember about headlines are that they need to be relevant to the post and your customers. Basically, avoid clickbait (it’s annoying) and show people that you understand what they need. Headlines that feel personal are more likely to be read, so using words like ‘you’ and ‘your’ work really well.

Track what’s popular

If you’ve got website analytics set up, review them once a month to see which of your blog posts got the highest number of visitors. You can also check what followers engaged with on social media. Is there a pattern in terms of the headlines you’ve written, or the type of content you’re covering? You might also have a post that didn’t get lots of readers, but which prompted people to get in touch. By working out which posts get the best results you can do more of the same.

If you want to attract more new customers by starting a blog, let’s have a chat. I offer a range of options to support you, from topic suggestions to writing it all for you. Email me or book your free discovery call here.

Posted on Leave a comment

Case study: a Christmas blog for a non-Christmassy business

A Christmas blog for a locksmith - case study
Photo by Katrien Grevendonck from Pexels

How do you market your business at Christmas when your service isn’t seasonal? A Christmas blog sounds like a great idea but what on earth do you talk about? If the problem you solve could come up at any time of year, you might find yourself struggling to make it festive.

The good news is you just need a bit of lateral thinking. You might also need a writer who doesn’t work in your business every day.

The client

The client came to me through an SEO expert they’d been working with to improve their search rankings. They’re expert locksmiths based in Scotland and serving a clear geographical area, so their SEO campaign was helping them to build their local reputation. They wanted to let local people know about their employee credentials and show why their service was better than the competition.

They were already starting to see results and then came the question of the Christmas blog.

The challenge

The great thing about being a locksmith is that people could need your services all year round. This is good for business but not so great for your Christmas marketing. Do you ignore Christmas altogether or try to include it? The client had only just started blogging and didn’t want to lose momentum. They also realised that a Christmas blog would be more likely to attract readers. The question is, how do you make it interesting and relevant to your audience?

The Christmas blog solution

Luckily for the locksmiths, they were working with me, a writer with a strong lateral thinking streak. It turns out that people lock themselves out of their houses much more often at Christmas, simply because they’re distracted or out of their normal routine. There’s also the increased risk of burglary when your house is full of presents. We talked about simple solutions and included details of what a locksmith could help with. It was helpful and sent a clear message.

So, there you have it – a Christmas blog for a non-Christmassy business. If I can help you to create one of your own, email me or book your no-obligation discovery call here.

Posted on Leave a comment

Are you ready to start planning your Christmas marketing?

A woman with hot chocolate getting ready to plan her Christmas marketing
Photo by Brigitte Tohm from Pexels

Yes, I’m publishing this blog in May. No, I haven’t lost my mind. If you’re still scarred by the ghosts of 2020, I wouldn’t blame you if you’re leaving your Christmas marketing until the last possible minute. Even the organized people who were sorted by April had to change everything in the autumn. I’m giving myself the gift of optimism this year and daring to hope that we might have a relatively normal Christmas. Even if we don’t, we’ve learned to adapt so we can still plan.

I’m not suggesting that you jump into content creation right now (unless you really want to). All the same, a bit of thought and planning now will make things much easier further down the line, plus you’ll have plenty of ideas if you need to get someone else (like me) to do the creating for you. So, here are a few things to think about for your Christmas marketing.

Start with a blog

You won’t be surprised to hear me suggest this. Even if Christmas isn’t peak season for you, a blog can be reused and shared throughout your marketing, so you build awareness. If it’s your busiest time, a blog gives you a central piece of content that you can break down and share as individual posts. It means you’re more likely to be found by people buying gifts, looking for inspiration or just trying to survive the Christmas stress.

Be helpful

I know that for most of you Christmas marketing is about making sales. That’s OK. The important thing to remember is that you’re more likely to make a sale if you’re being helpful. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Offer them a solution to a problem. That solution might end up with them buying something. Even if it doesn’t, you’ll have created a good impression and started to build a relationship that’s based on trust.

Ideas for product-based businesses

Need some ideas? No problem. If you’re a gift-based business, start by making gift recommendations alongside some lovely pictures and links to buy. You could create a whole series of blogs with gifts for mums, dads, aunties, little kids – you get the idea. If you have gifts for the person who has everything or is difficult to buy for, talk about that. You could even do a round up of Secret Santa gifts if you have lots of stocking fillers to share.

Ideas for business that create the perfect day

If you help to make Christmas easier or more enjoyable, talk about it in your Christmas marketing. Do you do home delivery, help with meal prep or offer gift wrapping? Can you suggest 5 ways to keep the family entertained when they’re full of turkey or sick of the sight of each other? Talk about ways to survive Christmas without getting frazzled or share expert tips for busy people. If you can make the whole thing less stressful, your customers will love you.

What if your business isn’t Christmassy?

Writing a Christmas blog for a non-Christmassy business takes a bit of lateral thinking. It starts with putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. Can you offer tips to make extra family time less stressful? Could you help them avoid a Christmas Day emergency? Quick self-care tips are perfect for this time of year. You could just focus on fun – share some Christmas jokes or write a funny blog. My personal favourite is still this one I wrote for an insurance broker about insuring Santa.

Have I got you thinking? If you’d like to talk over some ideas and find out how I could write your blog for you at any time of year, you can book your free discovery call here.

Further reading

If you’d like to go a bit more in depth on the Christmas blog ideas, I’ve got a whole load of them here:

This is for you if your business sells gifts

If you help to create the perfect day

Or if your business isn’t Christmassy at all

You can also sign up to my mailing list for hints and tips straight to your inbox every month. You can unsubscribe whenever you like and I won’t share your information with anyone else.

__CONFIG_colors_palette__{“active_palette”:0,”config”:{“colors”:{“b39a3”:{“name”:”Main Accent”,”parent”:-1}},”gradients”:[]},”palettes”:[{“name”:”Default”,”value”:{“colors”:{“b39a3”:{“val”:”rgb(255, 63, 63)”,”hsl”:{“h”:0,”s”:0.99,”l”:0.6235,”a”:1}}},”gradients”:[]},”original”:{“colors”:{“b39a3”:{“val”:”rgb(47, 138, 229)”,”hsl”:{“h”:210,”s”:0.77,”l”:0.54,”a”:1}}},”gradients”:[]}}]}__CONFIG_colors_palette__
__CONFIG_colors_palette__{“active_palette”:0,”config”:{“colors”:{“34f05”:{“name”:”Main Accent”,”parent”:-1}},”gradients”:[]},”palettes”:[{“name”:”Default Palette”,”value”:{“colors”:{“34f05”:{“val”:”var(–tcb-local-color-b39a3)”}},”gradients”:[]},”original”:{“colors”:{“34f05”:{“val”:”rgb(19, 114, 211)”,”hsl”:{“h”:210,”s”:0.83,”l”:0.45}}},”gradients”:[]}}]}__CONFIG_colors_palette__
Sign Up here
Posted on Leave a comment

Are you getting back into work mode?

Getting back to work mode
Photo by ThisIsEngineering from Pexels

Like a lot of you, I’m a Mum who has had her kids at home for the last couple of months. The last period of home school (if you can really call it that) taught me a lot. It meant that I felt a bit more prepared for the day-to-day reality. I’m not going to say that it was easy, because it wasn’t. There were a whole lot of days where the kids cried and I joined in. Sometimes it was even the other way round. Or I cried and they wandered off to play because they hate handwriting practice and geography is some form of torture. We got through it. What’s surprised me is how much I’m struggling with the back to school bit. Not because I don’t think they should be there, I do. It’s just been different and that’s what’s inspired this blog. If any of this resonates (or if you’ve got any advice) please leave a comment and let me know.

The schedule shift

Home learning meant that my working day started at 3.30ish and had shrunk down to a couple of hours. I thought that shifting back to my previous work pattern would be easy. The start of the day was fine. I made a cup of tea and turned on my laptop as I always have. That wasn’t the issue. It was the afternoons. A full working day suddenly felt too much. It was as if my brain had turned into a sulky teenager. I couldn’t work out why it had been easy to readjust last time but not now. Then it clicked.

I’ve been thrown in at the deep end

Last time the kids went back to school it was much more gradual. The phased return that applied to younger kids first meant that my youngest was the only one who went back before the summer holidays. It wasn’t an all or nothing situation where everything had gone back to normal. Then the summer holidays started as usual. By the time that school fully reopened for the Autumn term, it felt more like normal school. Somehow it meant that I could get back to work more easily. It made the difference between then and now so much harder to understand.

Procrastination

The strange this about this return to school is the sense of anticipation that came with it. I kept hearing that this would be it. There was no way they’d close the schools again (although I heard plenty of muttering to the contrary). It was a sign that life was getting back to normal. I don’t know why, but I felt as if I’d be able to leap back into work and everything would be as it was before. It wasn’t. Having shorter day had focused my mind. A full day found me procrastinating, unable to decide what needed to happen first.

How I’m dealing with it

I wish I could tell you that I’m back to full strength and have turned into a goal hitting dynamo. I haven’t. As I write this, I’ve just completed a bit of planning that would normally have taken me an hour. My lack of focus turned it into three afternoons of dragging myself back to my notebook. I’m getting there though. There’s a plan and my priorities are putting themselves into order. I’m gradually building my work muscles back up (just in time for the Easter holidays!). Plus, if I need a break, I take one. Even if it means a two-hour lunch break.

Are you getting back into work mode? How’s it going? Let me know in the comments!