A post about CIEP2021 and also not entirely about CIEP2021

Last week, I attended the CIEP annual conference, and by “attended” I mean I sat in my office (and for the first day, my bed) wearing my jogging bottoms while people talked at me through my computer screen.

I wasn’t sure about this online conference thing. I didn’t take part last year, mostly because I was in a bit of a mard (look it up, non-Northerners) that I wasn’t going to get to go to one of my favourite in-person events of the year. But then so many people said such wonderful things about it on Twitter that I ended up with serious FOMO, so I figured I would give it a try this year. (Also, I was invited to take part in a panel about blogging, so I’d be attending at least one session anyway.)

I’m so glad I did. The conference team did a fantastic job of making sure we got as many of the best bits of the “real” conference as we could – brilliant speakers, opportunities to learn things, the famous quiz and, best of all, the chance to catch up with colleagues and make new friends. There were plenty of opportunities for video networking, and the virtual space meant that many were able to attend who wouldn’t have been able to make it in person.

I’m not going to summarise the sessions, because there will be other people doing it better than me, especially on the CIEP’s own blog. But I will give a special mention to Crystal Shelley, whose two talks on authenticity reading and conscious language were a highlight for me, because they were related to a topic I’m passionate about. This year (and this is where I’m going into the “not entirely about the conference” bit), I’ve been involved with the CIEP’s anti-racism working group, because I truly believe that we as editors have an important part to play in tackling racism. As Ema Naito said in her superb lightning talk, English is power. We have, in the words of our wonderful Chair, Hugh Jackson, “the ability to lessen the distance between those who already hold power and those who don’t … We are part of the redistribution of a certain type of power, so we need to tread carefully.” I am grateful to Hugh and the CIEP for acknowledging this so fully. But there are still some in our profession who don’t want to hear it. They take any reminder of that power and our responsibilities with it as some kind of personal affront. But I believe those people are in the minority, and hopefully their voices will sound less loud as we strive to attract and listen to more diverse ones. Those recent days spent in the virtual company of this community have reminded me what a fantastic one it is, full of people who always want to do better and make the world better through words. We’re not perfect, and we have a long way to go. But if we stay as open to learning the whole year round as we are during conference, we can get there.

The flexible freelancer

I do a fair bit of yoga. Oh hey, look at me, starting off my first blog post in a while with a big fat lie. Let’s be more accurate: I used to do a fair bit of yoga, and now I do the odd Adriene video once every couple of months. But that’s not really the point. The point is that when you practise yoga regularly, you come to learn a lot about your body, how it works, and what it can or can’t comfortably do. I can’t, for example, touch my toes, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to, because I have very tight hamstrings. Other bits of me are more flexible, or can be more or less flexible depending on how many times I’ve heard “Hello, my darling friends” (if you know, you know) lately.

Flexibility, as well as being the thing that helps you hang out for a while in Pigeon pose, is the thing I love about freelancing. I bang on quite a lot about it on this blog. I can take on the projects that will fit around the rest of my life, and I can work on them on days and hours that suit me. And I like being able to extend that flexibility to my clients, when I can. Writing is not one of those things that always goes according to plan, even in normal times, if anyone can remember what those are. Shit, as we know, happens, and it’s good when we can shift around some things now and then to accommodate it when it happens to our clients.

This isn’t without its difficulties, though, as anyone who has ever looked with satisfaction at a full schedule only to receive an email saying “So, you know that deadline we talked about…” will understand. Sometimes when we try to be too accommodating, we not only punish ourselves, but we might end up hurting our other clients if cramming in too much work affects the quality of our output. So how do we extend that kindness to our clients while keeping everything in balance?

The key is understanding the limits of our own flexibility. As how yoga teaches you about your stupid unhelpful hamstrings, the longer you stay in business, the more you learn about how you work. You can learn to recognize when you can bend, and when you risk breaking. I know that I can be much more flexible during term-time, but when it comes to school holidays, I need to stand firm in order to protect my time with my family. When I have a lot going on in my life, I might in theory be able to shift projects around and alter my working hours, but I have to consider what the effect of doing so will be on my energy levels and mental health.

In yoga, we also have props, such as belts and blocks, that can help us into a posture when our own bodies have reached their natural limits. There are things that can help me bend a little further when my schedule needs it, too – my saintly parents and their wonderful willingness to provide childcare, or my husband’s flexi-time.

As freelancers, it’s quite easy to go around knowing that we can be flexible and only understanding the limits to that when we hit them, and that’s an inconvenient time to do so, because that’s usually when we’re in the middle of one too many jobs. So I’d urge you to take a step back and think about previous times when that’s happened – when did you hit those limits and why? What was at play, and can you recognize when that might happen again? What resources did you need to get through it, and will they be available to you in the future? There’s no time for this kind of thinking when you’re right in the pinch point, so thinking about it before you get there might help make the next one more manageable.

I will leave you with a stock photo I found when I had image credits that were about to expire. It resonated with me, for some reason.

Do what you want

Do you know what I’ve just done? Of course you don’t, because I haven’t told you yet. I’ve just taken all the half-finished/barely started blog posts and lists of ideas and tucked them away in a folder called “Unfinished posts that you probably won’t go back to”. I almost deleted them, but I wasn’t feeling quite brave enough. Still, being honest with myself and pushing them out of sight, so hopefully out of mind, feels really, really good.

There was nothing wrong with any of those posts. Most of them contained interesting (to my mind, at least) points, useful information, and/or some decent writing. I could have finished them, polished them up, and posted them. I just… didn’t want to.

And if I don’t want to, I don’t have to. Some of those blog posts have been sitting in that folder for years, glaring at me accusingly for not having done anything with them, and I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to realise that it’s totally within my power to make them go away. I’ve been keeping them, thinking that because I spent time on them or because I had planned to post them, then I really should do it. But I don’t have to, and no one can make me.

It’s a perk of working for yourself that I’m not sure we always talk about. Running a business comes with a lot of responsibility, and there are times when we just have to put on our big-person pants and do the crappy thing that needs doing. I never want to do my tax return, for example, but unfortunately I don’t get to opt out of that. But in many areas, and particularly when it comes to marketing ourselves, with great responsibility comes great power. I have the power to say what I’m going to do today, and with that power, I have chosen to write this blog post from scratch instead of finishing one of the many old ones. When I left fixed employment, I left behind having a boss. Nobody gets to tell me what my priorities are now, least of all three-years-ago me who decided that what my blog needed was a slightly complicated post about rates. So buh-bye, rates post. You’ll all never know what wisdom I might have shared. I daresay you’ll survive, and so will I.

Don’t get me wrong: making plans, staying accountable to ourselves, and following through on our ideas is generally a good way of living. But as business owners we also have the freedom to abandon plans that no longer serve us. The burden of guilt is rarely helpful, so if there’s something lying unfinished on your to-do list or plan, either do it, or admit that you’re not going to. Walk away from it and find something you’d rather put your energy into. Do or do not, as Yoda might have said were he my business coach. There is no should.

I’m not sure Yoda would make the best business coach, mind. “Failed, you have. Learn resilience, you shall not. Go and live in a swamp, you must.” Helpful.

Managing the busy times

I’ve been pretty busy lately. Woo hoo! That’s something to celebrate – when you’re freelance, work coming in is most definitely a Good Thing because it means you can do exciting things like Buy Food and Pay Bills. (I don’t know why I felt the need for Pooh Caps there; just roll with it.)

But actually, when I say “pretty” busy, I mean Jesus-Christ-when-am-I-actually-going to-next-have-time-to-draw-breath busy. (Turns out the answer to that is now, hence why I’m finally getting back to my poor neglected blog.) Various circumstances conspired to give me the most ridiculously packed April and May I’ve ever had, and I have been exhausted. But in this last week or two, the number of projects on my desk has come down to a manageable level, and I’ve been able to take some time off to enjoy the sunshine with my family, and I think I feel… what’s that word again? Oh, right – happy.

We talk a lot about self-care in this day and age, but the truth is it’s much easier to talk about than actually achieve. I think we all know, on an intellectual level, that we tend to work better when we’re less stressed, and that we don’t owe all of our waking hours to work and boring life-admin, and that stopping and taking a breather every now and then is actually pretty vital. But sometimes when you’re stuck on the treadmill of work, work and more work, even the thought of stepping off it takes more mental energy than you can actually spare. And for me, even when I do take time off, I tend to spend a chunk of it feeling guilty, which just ruins it. Sometimes it’s just easier all round to live with the stress and power through.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing. But now I’m out the other side, and some non-work things have resolved themselves and taken some mental weight off, and the weather has finally brightened up, and I really want to hold on to this lovely feeling of having a sensible amount of work and not all that many things to worry about (relatively speaking – I am a freelancing mother of two living in covid times, after all). If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my experiences over the last five years of freelancing, it’s that you have to learn from your experiences. Busy and complicated periods will come again, I’m sure, and while I’m not averse to that, I think I’d quite like it if they could be marginally less horrible than this recent bout was. So these are the lessons I’m going to take from it.

Boundaries are good.

Part of the reason my schedule went bananas recently is because I was doing my best to be accommodating of clients who have struggled to deliver their manuscripts on time. I don’t particularly regret that in principle – these times have been rough on everyone, so kindness is important – but I think there are things I could have done, and things I could have refused to do, that would have protected my time and energy a little better. Being flexible is a good thing, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of things that matter to me and my family. I understand better than ever now that there needs to be a limit to my flexibility, so I’m going to try to be much better in future about putting those boundaries in place.

Looming decisions sap your energy.

And the bigger those decisions are, the more energy they sap. When work hits, it’s easy to think you don’t have time to think about other things that are going on in your life, but the truth is you don’t ever totally let go of them, or at least I don’t. They sit there somewhere in the corner of my brain, demanding attention that I tell myself I can’t give them. Once the decision is made, it removes that stress over not yet having made the decision, which in turn can make you more productive, so it’s worth setting a small amount of time aside to address those things. Consider your options, make a decision, and then it’s done. We bought a car last week, and I can honestly say I’ve spent more time deliberating over leggings. But taking a few hours to talk over the various options and just bloody pick one means that I’m no longer worrying about what we should get and what we can afford or whether we should just stick with our old one until it blows up. My brain is freer, and that’s a wonderful thing.

You can’t always think long-term.

I’m the kind of person who likes to fully think through the ramifications of the things I do. This isn’t necessarily a bad trait, but it does mean that sometimes making decisions is hard (see above). And it does mean that I often make decisions based on what I think will be better in the long-term than the short, which isn’t always ideal. I’ll squeeze in a client when I know I am already at capacity, for example, because I don’t want to lose them, or I’ll say yes to an opportunity that might be great for marketing, even though I don’t really have time and I might not be particularly hurting for clients right now. I was so busy recently that I really had no choice but to say no to those opportunities, or to only choose the opportunity that took up the least amount of time, even if it wasn’t the strongest choice strategically. I had to subcontract some work out, and refer a couple of regular and potential clients elsewhere. And the sky didn’t fall in. Maybe some of those decisions weren’t the best for the future, but I’ll just have to worry about that in the future, when I’ll hopefully have the time and space to properly think about solutions. Sometimes you’ve just got to put the quick fix in place to give yourself room to breathe.

Respect your own work time, or no one else will.

Say it with me, freelancers – just because we can be flexible in theory, doesn’t mean we have to be so ALL THE TIME. If, like me, you are a parent who lives with someone in fixed employment, you’ll know what it’s like. It gets taken for granted, by the whole family, that you’ll be the one to drop everything to take care of anything that crops up. Appointments, errands, homeschooling a child when their bubble bursts and they’re sent back into self-isolation – all you. But we have work to do too, and often our stakes are higher – my husband isn’t going to get instantly sacked if he has to leave work a bit early one day, because there are disciplinary and performance management procedures his boss has to stick to. But if I miss a deadline, one of my regular clients could drop me forever, and, worst-case scenario, refuse to pay me and maybe even sue me for breach of contract. I’ve always enjoyed that my work gives me the flexibility to be there for my kids when I need to be, but there have been times over the last couple of months where I have had to put my foot down and say “No, my work has to come first this time.” We’ve had to work together to figure out solutions that are fair, instead of just assuming I will make the time, and I think that’s been much healthier for all of us.

Freelance life inevitably involves ebbs and flows, so learning how to manage those is a crucial part of running a business. It’s important to take care of ourselves, and that in itself is a good business decision – we can’t give our best to our work and our clients if we’re running on empty. Now, let’s see if I remember all this wisdom the next time all my deadlines look like they’re about to converge…

Conscious Language

Do you ever get that thing, maybe when you’re drifting off to sleep and your mind starts to feel quite loose and free, where suddenly the meaning of a word or phrase will hit you and suddenly become crystal-clear? (Of course, sometimes you wake up the next morning and think WTF?) I had one of those moments the other night about the phrase “conscious language”.

I’ve been thinking a lot about conscious language this week, for messy and complicated reasons I know some in the online editing community understand. But I think I had been a little guilty of treating the phrase as a buzzword, just another catch-all phrase to describe words and phrases that don’t offend marginalized people. That lightbulb moment made me stop and think about what that little word “conscious” really meant.

A few hours prior to that, someone had, quite graciously, called me out online for using a metaphor they considered problematic. I apologized, changed the word in question, and said that “I didn’t think.” And there’s the rub, isn’t it? I did not think.

We don’t, really, always think that hard about the words that fall out of us when we speak or communicate casually. We use the idioms and figures of speech that we’ve grown up with, safe in the knowledge that the people around us are likely to know what we mean.

But what happens if we do stop and think about those words and phrases? Well, when we do that, we can often find that many of them are rooted in assumptions and associations about people, about places, about human bodies. And some of those associations reflect and reinforce real prejudices that harm real people in the world today.

Perhaps this, then, is what conscious language really is – stopping and thinking, examining and unpacking all of those assumptions behind our words, and considering the harm they might do.

Sounds fucking exhausting, right? You’re not wrong. It is exhausting. It’s hard and it’s confusing and it’s really, really, bloody uncomfortable, especially for people who have never had to think about this kind of thing before. But we need to do it, and we the people who claim to be language professionals need to do it perhaps more than most, because of that real-world harm I mentioned. Language is powerful, and editors have a role in shaping that language and therefore that power.

So maybe you decide that you’re going to start being more conscious with the language you use. That’s brilliant. But I’ll tell you something right now – you’re going to fuck up. We all do, all the time, because we’re human. I’ve probably fucked up somewhere in this post. It would be lovely if, when we fucked up, there would be people there to kindly and gently point out to us that we’ve fucked up. Often there are. But often, the only people who notice that we’ve fucked up are the people who are being hurt by our words and the ideas that they reinforce. And those people might be really bloody tired of pointing out when other people fuck up. They really wish people would just stop fucking up. So those people might be angry and frustrated, for very good reasons, and that doesn’t always breed kindness.

We could bristle at that. It’s easy to do. After all, you’re a good person. You would never want to hurt anyone. Can’t they see that? Why are they attacking you like this? It’s a horrible feeling, when you feel as though someone is having a go at you over something you believed was innocent. But I think it’s really important that we try to separate that feeling from the point being made. Did the person questioning you actually say that you, personally, were a bad person? Or were they pointing something out about the words that you used? If we would like people to be more charitable in their interpretations of our words, perhaps we need to make sure we are extending the same courtesy to them.

Perhaps you do consider what the other person is telling you, but you disagree. It happens. People disagree on all kinds of things all the time. Perhaps you don’t believe that the words you used were problematic in any way. I think it’s important to consider why you think that. If this word could hurt people, would it be you that it hurt? Privilege is like a suit of armour, keeping you safe from the sword that language can become. What business has the person in armour to tell the naked person that the sword isn’t sharp?

Or perhaps you do agree with what you’re being told, and you add that particular word to your “Offensive – do not use” list. That’s a good start, but to me that’s not what “conscious” language is about. Even if we were in the Matrix and could download the knowledge of which words were ok to use and which weren’t straight into our brains, it would become out of date almost immediately as the conversation moves on. And then we’d have to keep plugging ourselves back in and that would increase our exposure to Agents and I think this analogy might have got away from me a bit.

Far better, then, to remind ourselves to think more carefully and deeply about the words we’re using. This is easier in some contexts that others. When I speak, there is not much time between the thought emerging in my head and the words coming out of my mouth. When I am writing something like this, I’m doing it over several days, and the words are mine and mine alone. When I’m editing fiction, I’m being paid to respect the author’s creativity and expression, while also serving the reader, which includes protecting them from harm. There are choices to be made. They’re not always simple, and we won’t always make the least harmful ones. But I believe that if we all try, in whatever tiny ways we can, we can make the world a kinder, more respectful, safer place for people who have not always been able to take that for granted.

Life in the Time of Coronavirus

2020–2021. What a shitshow, eh?

One year ago today, I posted that I was taking a break from blogging. I didn’t envisage then that (aside from a couple of posts to promote sweary things) it would last a whole year. Did any of us, back then, have any inkling of what we were facing?

Annoyingly, at the beginning of last year I really felt as though I was on a roll. I’ve just looked back at my blogging plan – yes, I had one of those– and I had posts laid out for the following couple of months, and a plan to keep creating more. I had a marketing strategy for the entire year. There was going to be a rebrand and everything.

Alas, it was all not to be. Three months into the year, our lives were turned upside down, and many of us had no choice but to go into survival mode. I’ve spent much of the last twelve months either frantically trying to juggle editing work with homeschooling my children, or juggle homeschooling my children with panicking because my editing work had dried up. Income targets, marketing strategies, training plans – all have been jettisoned in favour of just getting through each bloody day.

My children have finally gone back to school (fingers crossed they stay there), and my brain is now doing its best to get back into proper work mode. But I’m exhausted. It doesn’t take much to make me lose my momentum at the best of times, and these have categorically not been the best of times. I no longer know how to assess where I need to be and what I need to be doing, and this is a vital part of running a business.

I’m not entirely sure what the point of this blog post is. I’m not sure if I even have one, or any wise words of advice for anyone who’s been going through the same thing. Maybe this is all self-indulgent twaddle. But as I write this, it occurs to me that even if it is, at least it’s something. It is a step back towards the things that matter to me and my business, and maybe, for now, that’s enough.

We are at the start of the road (hopefully; please, please let this be true) back to something like normal. It’s probably a long road, littered with deep, muddy holes that our tired feet might get stuck in now and then. We can’t be expected to sprint joyfully down it, all the way to the end. (Some of us have had far too many lockdown takeaways for that kind of thing.)

One thing that’s really helped me through this last year has been seeing all the kindness and grace people have extended to others as they battle with the circumstances they find themselves in. As we look forward to better days, let’s make sure we show some of that kindness towards ourselves.

A Very Sweary Dictionary – Out Now!

Hello there!

Do you like swear words? Or do you hate swear words, because you have to edit them and you’re never quite sure what to do with them?

If either of those things are true, then you might want to buy the little book I’ve written. It’s called A VERY SWEARY DICTIONARY, and it’s a dictionary that’s very sweary. Or more accurately, it’s a style guide of swearing.

You see, some of my clients like to swear. A lot. And because my job as their editor is to ensure correctness and consistency in all their words, even the rude ones, I fairly quickly established my own set of rules for how to style things like “rat-arsed” and “batshit”. Then, because I spend far too much time on social media, I developed a reputation in online editorial circles for being a good person to go to when it comes to all things sweary. One fellow editor even dubbed me the Empress of Sweary, which I would quite like on my tombstone.

And so, I’ve written a book. It’s a very small book – it fits handily in your pocket, should you need to carry a pocketful of profanity with you everywhere you go. It outlines my style choices for the most commonly found compound swears and other terms for which such decisions might need to be made, and also looks at the general principles behind those choices, so that when your client decides to call someone, say, a “tiny-bollocked arsebiscuit”, you can feel confident you know what to do with that.

I hope you enjoy it.

Available in paperback from:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Amazon CA

(among other global Amazon sites)

Barnes and Noble (US)

Waterstones (UK)

Or you may be able to order it through your local independent bookseller.

And in ebook on the Zon.

How The Fuck Do I Style This? – The Game

Anyone who attended my SfEP conference session in 2018 will remember that we finished off by playing a little game that combined my two favourite things: swearing and word-nerdery. Now, in these troubled times, I am making it available to the wider world, to find out whether it’s at all entertaining when you haven’t spent the whole day learning and networking and looking forward to the next drinks reception.

I think of it as a little like Cards Against Humanity for people who like hyphens. It descends into wrongness nearly as often as Cards Against Humanity does, so please don’t play it if you’ve never forgiven your mate for that time they played that Jimmy Savile card at the perfect/worst moment.

I obviously wrote this for an occasion when people were allowed to be in the same room as other people, and that’s not where we are at the moment (the moment, in case you’re reading this from the future, being the Covid-19 pandemic), so unless you’re fortunate enough to live with people who would enjoy this kind of thing, you might have to get a little creative in order to play it over Zoom or on social media or however you’re connecting with people right now.

Click on the link below for the rules and game pieces. You will need old-school tech such as a printer and some scissors.

How The Fuck Do I Style This – The Game

I hope it brings you a moment or two of joy, or at least mild amusement. Let me know how you get on with it in the comments, or on Twitter @kiathomasedits

 

Working with a coach 2: Time blocking

When I first started working with my coach, what I really needed was someone to kick my arse. Accountability has been something I’ve really struggled with since I left my old job. I’d always worked for an organisation and always had a boss. And even though I always had bosses who very much trusted me to manage my own time, just knowing there was someone who would notice and care was enough to make sure all my shit got done, even the boring bits. Of course now I have my clients, and I daresay they’d notice if my work wasn’t done. Because I know they’re waiting, their stuff does indeed get done, without fail. But all the rest of the things involved in owning a business… well, they can easily fall further and further down the priority list, which obviously isn’t ideal. If you don’t do all that admin and marketing and other non-client-facing stuff, your business will eventually suffer, or at least stagnate. I also had a suspicion that I even though I was getting the editing done, I could probably get even more done, and therefore earn more, if I could just stop wasting so much time, mainly on social media.

Gina introduced me to a concept that has genuinely revolutionised my life. It’s called time blocking, and it’s pretty simple. You organise your day into chunks of time, and assign a task to each chunk. You also schedule in breaks where you will do something else, away from your desk. Crucially, you do this in advance, at the start of the week or each evening for the next day, so you never have to waste time dithering about what it is you’re supposed to be doing. As I am a consummate ditherer, this sounded perfect.

For accountability, I would send my time blocking to my coach, and she’d check in to make sure I was staying on track.

Here’s what a typical day of time blocking might look like for me:

  • 09:00–09:45    Edit 2000 words of current manuscript
  • 09:45-10:00     Strip beds and put wash on
  • 10:00-10:45     Edit 2k
  • 10:45-11:00     Put the girls’ clean clothes away
  • 11:00–11:45    Edit 2k
  • 11:45–12:30    Empty dishwasher and have lunch
  • 12:30–13:15    Draft new blog post
  • 13:15–13:30    Put the sheets on to dry
  • 13:30–14:15    Edit 2k
  • 14:15-14:30     Sort hair out (because I probably haven’t done anything with it yet)
  • 14:30–15:15    Social media
  • 15:15               School run

As you can see, I schedule EVERYTHING. I get little bits of housework done around my work. I have dedicated social media time. I make sure to include marketing and admin tasks as well as my editing work. I remind myself to brush my hair. This way of working brought me a startling revelation: if you put aside time to do things, things get done. Who knew?

Time blocking has many advantages:

  • It forces me to plan my day effectively to make sure I can fit everything in.
  • It takes away the time and mental effort wasted on deciding what to do next – if you’ve done it the night before, the decision is already made.
  • It’s forced me to think about how I work and how to get the better of myself – if I know I’m likely to put a task off in favour of editing, I schedule it in my first block of the day so I can’t use the excuse of running out of time or energy.
  • It’s helped me (somewhat) to use my social media time in a targeted, focused way (I’ll be honest – there’s still a fair amount of slippage in this area.)
  • I can work with my natural dips in concentration to get the most out of my editing time – after about 45 minutes of editing, my brain always starts to wander, so I might as well take advantage of that.

Like any system, it’s not perfect. Time blocking does have its disadvantages too:

  • Disruption can throw you into a tailspin, whether that’s a minor one like a knock at the door or a huge one like having to pick up a vomiting child from school. It’s easy to get stressed out if you fall behind, and the temptation to say “Oh, fuck it all” and drift Twitter-wards when your blocking has gone to shit can be strong.
  • It can take time to figure out the right chunks for you. And then when you think you’ve figured it out, you get a piece of work that’s completely different and you need to reassess it all again.

It’s important to find a balance and a rhythm that works for you. And it’s important to recognise that it’s not always going to work – some days you just need to be more flexible. Another important thing Gina made me realise is that some days will just go badly, and that’s OK. It’s not necessarily my fault, or the fault of the time blocking system; it’s just life, and you can try again tomorrow.

Time blocking changed my days almost immediately. Even now I’m no longer working with Gina so no one sees my blocking but me, having it written down in front of me helps keep me accountable to myself. This change happened right at the start of my coaching journey, so it became clear that maybe accountability and efficiency was really only a tiny part of what I needed help with. Perhaps there were bigger fish to fry. But that’s a story for another day.