If there’s anything I’m known for in the office other than being the resident grad, and my sparkling personality, it’s my journal. Whenever I move office, I get at least a couple of comments on it a day, because it sits open on my desk, it’s orange and I guess people are intrigued by my tiny handwriting. So, I figured, if it’s interesting enough for office folk to ask about it, it might just about be interesting enough to share with you guys.

First off, I would like to say that I’m not sure if what I do is technically a bullet journal, is there an official definition? Can someone let me know? But it does keep me organised and make me feel much more together than I actually am which is all I can ask it to do.

My journal has been through many incarnations and permutations as my life and career have changed. Initially, it was inspired by the homework planner I had to carry around in school. Then it was just a book of lists. Then back to being a day by day to do list in a diary. Then it was my attempt to make something like the journals I saw on studyblrs. Then after all of that, it came out as something that worked for me. Something that included all of the things I needed my lists, my habits, my key dates, in a format that worked for me still day by day but in an undated notebook on dotted paper, that looked how I wanted it to neat and practical but still attractive.

It’s an ongoing process still though, and I’m sure that as my life changes so will the journal I use to organise it.

I think journals are just so personal that I didn’t really want to do a top tips style post because the only tip I have is try things out and make a journal that works for you. So instead, I thought I’d share a few of the bits and pieces that make my journal my own and why I choose to do them in the way that I do.



I previously used various incarnation of Moleskine, squared, diary, A5, pocket, but as soon as I used my first Rhodia Notebook I wasn’t going back. First, let’s discuss the paper.  It’s so smooth. There’s n no bleed through, there’s no feathering. It is a pleasure to write on. Second, dot grid paper is the only way to go. It allows you to line up your writing whilst giving you plenty of freedom and still leaving the page mainly free compared to squared pages. Third, it’s orange! The soft touch hard cover wears really well, and is always easy to spot in the office. It’s also worth noting the elastic fastener, ribbon and back pocket are all properly sturdy as well. In the past, they lasted me around 6 months, but with the style I’m using I think it’s going to be more like 9 months to a year. It’s safe to say I’m a little bit in love with this notebook, even now that I’m on my 5th I think.


There’s nothing too special about this pen. It just writes really nicely. It’s smooth and comes out with a good even deep black line. 0.5 is the perfect width for the size of my handwriting and the size of the dot grid.


I like to include any lists e.g. shopping or packing lists, any schedules, or any other miscellany on post it notes. It separates them from the main body of my journal and means they can be moved around or taken out in the case of my shopping list. I keep a stash of yellow square post its in the back pocket of my notebook. But I try and change the colour up as much as I can because it’s probably the only fun element to my journal. I am particularly partial to the light pink rectangular ones for schedules or longer lists.


The calendar that’s stuck into the front cover of my journal is a new addition. I realised I was struggling to joy down dates further in the future than a week and I was having to turn to digital solutions, so I decided to make a little calendar. I like having a centralised monthly spread rather than waiting every month to draw a new one out. Mine is made out of 12 pages of one of those coloured note blocks and I love it. It’s just big enough to include everything and just small enough not to intrude on my journal. I am toying with the idea of including a calendar in my first few pages of my next journal though.




Every week I do a weekly spread with, surprisingly enough, a list of the things that I have to do that week. This takes up the whole left-hand side of the page. The right-hand side also includes a bar tracker for my habits (exercise, writing in my journal, and making something), a list of the blog posts I want to work on that week, my overarching work goals, and a little notes section. I give my week view a full page of its own because my to do list normally takes the full height of the page.


I can normally fit two daily spreads per side now that I’m at work every day and my personal to do list isn’t as long. This means I get more use out my journal and my pages look fuller. Just as in the weekly spread, the left-hand column is a to do list. The right-hand column is habit tracking with tick boxes for my weekly habits plus making sure I eat enough veggies and drink enough water. Underneath my habits, I like to include a work to do list. I have a separate notebook for all of my rough work notes that I take in meetings or when I’m planning out presentations, so that work to do isn’t normally too long. I usually have to put some kind of notes in the middle as well as I think of ideas or other things to add in.


When it comes to decoration I don’t really have any. I box my dates and hand rule a line between days as you can see, and there are icons for my habits but otherwise I don’t really decorate my bullet journal. I love seeing beautiful BuJos where people illustrate their weeks and include stickers and washi tape, but that’s just not for me. My journal is just about sorting my head out and keeping things neat and simple.

You’re busy. I’m busy. Our to-do lists are long and the hours in the day are short. So, what’s the solution? A time machine? Unfortunately, not. Stop taking on so many projects? Probably, but there’s no way we’re going to do that. Automation? Now you’re talking.

I know I’m well behind the curve but I’ve just discovered quite how much you can automate, and I am loving having a whole host of little robot (not really robot) helpers to make my workload lighter. Here are my favourite automation hacks:


I’ve spoken about Bonsai before, but it’s what got me started on this automation kick for real so I had to mention it. Not only does it mean pulling together professional contracts is pretty much fool proof it also automates your invoices. Can I get a hallelujah? When you set up your contract you can select to have the invoice sent at the end of your contract time period, as well as staggered reminders if the invoice isn’t paid. Because it takes care of the boring financial bit of freelancing it means you can spend more time on creating. It also, for me at least, takes some of the awkwardness out of sending an invoice.


I have not one, but two email automation hacks to share with you, oh yes. The first one I mentioned in my top apps for designers and I’m bringing it up again because it’s great. Gorgias is a bit like predictive text function for Gmail. You set up short keys for your most used phrases, which means that you don’t have to type out the same 7 phrases you always use or write out your terms every single time you need to send an email. The tool itself is clean and unobtrusive, and all of the little time saves it gives you really add up. My second email automation hack involved MailChimp, which I am using more and more these days. I probably don’t use it in the way that you’re meant to, mainly because I don’t have a huge mailing list. But it is a great tool for making template emails and as someone who sends out very similar emails to clien, s it’s such a useful function. I have a few templates set up which I then edit with any specific content and then send out, either to individuals or groups. The only issue is it doesn’t allow people to reply all, because it’s a marketing tool, which is a bit of a pain. If anyone has any better recommendations for this kind of tool please let me know!


I always want to type faster than my fingers/ability to form sentences can handle, which leads to more than the occasional typo. If, like me, you struggle with stringing coherent phrases together, you should check out Grammarly. It’s like have a little proof-reading cherub on your shoulder no matter where you’re typing in the form of a Chrome extension. Grammarly does grammar as well as spelling, as its name may suggest which for me is what really sets it apart. While it doesn’t eradicate the need to actually proof your work properly, it does mean that my tweets are semi-readable and has saved me from some rather embarrassing Freudian slips.


Sick of getting sent images which aren’t in the right format for you to use, or need to convert a whole bunch of designs to fit a printer specification? Yeah, me too. That’s why I set up a series of photoshop droplets to automatically convert files into the most common types I need, and let me tell you there is nothing more satisfying than dropping a hundred files into a droplet and watching them all come out the other size CMYK 300dpi while you sip your tea.


I think everyone and their dog (what?! No one knows you’re a dog when you’re on the internet) knows that they should be scheduling their social media. It saves you so much time, means you don’t have to be on Twitter all day (you still can be if you want though) and it makes it easier to optimise your send times. At the minute, I use Hootsuite because it’s easy and free, but I’m open to being swayed – any recommendations guys? I’m also ready for the day when I don’t have to have why phone on me when I want to upload something to Instagram.


When you’re onboarding a new client you often need to send them a summary of how you work of a little bit of homework so that you can produce work they actually need. Taking the time to write these documents up as nice looking pdfs and saving them somewhere handy means you can just send them out with onboarding emails rather than always writing out the same content over and over again. Okay, so this one wasn’t actually an automation hack but it does save a lot of time and effort, you can pretend you’re a robot when you write them if you want.


I will admit I have yet to actually do this yet, but I’m really excited to, so I’m sharing anyhow. As I said I’ve been using MailChimp more and more but I haven’t used automated emails before, and it’s such a useful tool for client retention. It’s so important to keep in contact with past clients but it can be hard, and I for one definitely forget and then leave it too long. But with MailChimp you can set up emails to happen at set times after someone has worked with you which I can see being an absolute life saver.

What are you automating? Help me save time friends!

I am not a natural networker. I don’t have a jazz hands personality. I think I might be allergic to small talk. But I like getting to know new people and having interesting conversations. It’s also a huge part of my job, so networking and presenting myself as confident, even I’m freaking out internally, is kind of unavoidable.

So, I thought I would share some of the things I’ve been doing, and that have been working when I’m in those situations. I’ve found that when I go into meeting someone new, or networking, and I feel (or at least seem) confident I get a whole lot more out of it and dare I say I actually enjoy it because I’ve made it into the situation I want it to be. It becomes less about small talk and more about having an engaging conversation and building a real connection with someone.


I like to have an idea of things I can talk about before I go into a room. That can either be having a flick through the news, or a refresh of the topic of a talk or even mentally scrolling through my finest anecdotes. Don’t feel like you need to have a script, sometimes that can be more of a hindrance than a help. But, having a couple of fallback topics you can start or lead a conversation with can really help build your initial confidence and kill the “oh no what if I don’t have anything to say” demon.


When I did my GCSE exams I had a ritual of pretending to be an octopus before I went in and shaking my limbs all over the place, and it really helped calm me down. Unfortunately, flailing around is frowned on in an office situation.  So instead I like to have a little wander or a desk-bound boogie. Not only is this fun, and a great way to make you feel good. It also helps get rid of some of the excess cortisol (the chemical you produce when you’re stressed) your body is producing.


In my quest to feel more confident in networking situations, I’ve read a lot and I kept reading “stand up straight”. That makes sense. It makes you look like a confident lil peacock which is wonderful. The only issue is I start to overthink it a bit, and then I’m less confident peacock and more uncomfortable wooden post. For me, what has worked is rolling my shoulders back when I walk into a room. I know this sounds weird, but you can’t help but to stand up straighter after you’ve done it and it means I’m not constantly telling myself not to slouch as I try to mingle.


People like people who are interested in them. Fact. So be interested. Ask plenty of questions, about them and what they’re doing and follow up on things they’ve said. This will make the other person feel tip top and like a rock star, but it also takes the pressure off you having to say something really clever. Be the person who drives the conversation on, and you’ll feel much more in control.


Standing at a slight angle (don’t turn your back on the person) really helps the whole eye contact situation so much. It allows you to give them eye contact when they’re speaking/you’re speaking but also look away so your don’t have to bore holes in their eyes with your laser-like stare without it being super uncomfortable/obvious.

FYI – I stole this from my boyfriend’s peer support training


I don’t know about you, but when I get nervous I talk at approximately 300 miles an hour. Sometimes that’s fun. Most times it leaves me feeling more nervous because I trip over my words, and it leaves whoever I’m talking to completely bamboozled because they can’t understand my babbling. Try slowing down a little bit, it will make you seem and feel much more confident in what you’re saying. Take a little breath before you start and really pace yourself.

PS – it’s super hard to talk too slowly (unless you’re aiming for that slo-mo robot vibe) so don’t worry about going too far.


I feel like a lot of other advice about seeming or feeling confident says not to focus on the other person, but I’m going to suggest doing the exact opposite. Put your energy into making the other people in the room feel comfortable. If you see someone else looking kind of awkward go and say hi. If you’re in a conversation make sure you’re really listening to what the other person is saying. If you’re giving a talk, keep it light and make your audience feel included. This does a few things. First, it means you stop focusing on how you’re doing and your own internal freakout. Second, if you’re focusing on the other person being comfortable you’re not worrying about if they think you’re funny or you’ve got broccoli in your teeth. Third, positivity breeds positivity, which means if the person you’re chatting to is comfortable and relaxed you probably will be too.


This is a complete cliché, but it’s true. Everyone can get nervous, and uncomfortable, and a bit “ughghgh” when they have to present themselves. I have honestly had conversations with CEO’s, who I think are incredible speakers, who get just as nervous as anyone else. So don’t let it hold you back!


Do you have any top tips or secret techniques for feeling more confident and composed when you’re really not feeling it?

One of the many criticisms levelled at millennials (a term I’m not a huge fan of but will continue to use despite my disdain) is that we’re massively impatient. We grew up in a world that moved faster than any other before it and in an age where everything from information to food, to dates has, in part due to technology, been easier to access. To an extent, I think that’s true.

But some things take time, and I’m trying to learn to have patience with those things.

There are two categories of impatience. There’s the impatience that comes from slow wifi, which can make you feel angry and frustrated. Then there’s the impatience that comes from not feeling like you have the big things in life which are actually processes rather than things you can possess e.g. job satisfaction which can make you feel, or at least it makes me feel, dejected and without purpose.

8 things to do before 8 am


I think we all experience some kind of short-term impatience, for me one little impatience that always get my goat is feeling trapped behind a slow walker even if I’m only walking the 200m to the tube and I know it’s going to be slow. This kind of impatience seems to be written about quite a lot, and people seem to have a whole series of “solutions” for these short-term frustrations. A few of my favourites have included:


If you’re stuck in a queue, or behind a slow walker, how long are you actually “stuck” there? How much of a difference is that going to make to your day? Is waiting an extra 3 minutes for the bus actually going to set you back that much if you’re going to procrastinate for 20 minutes on the other side?


When you’re impatient for someone else to do something try and put yourself in their shoes. Think about how they might be feeling, what might be holding them up, how you breathing down their neck might affect them and then treat them with the grace and kindness you would want in that situation.


Practice being patient. Make yourself wait to buy that pair of shoes you want or that incredible looking cookie until you get home. It will taste all the sweeter for being saved and you’ll get better at waiting for things you want.


An article published in the Journal of Psychological Science claimed that you can “reduce impatience with a simple gratitude exercise”. So, work on being thankful for what you have when you’re impatient, or just generally. Whether that’s realising what you have, or reaching out to thank someone for their work or support in a bigger way.


We don’t like to be bored or frustrated or uncomfortable, but they’re necessary feelings. If you’re always comfortable you don’t appreciate it and you don’t get anywhere. Being uncomfortable isn’t intolerable and it will pass, learn to love it a little bit.

You will notice that taking a deep breath has been actively not included on this list.


For me, this is the impatience that actually bothers me, and I’m really working on. I quite often feel frustrated or impatient that I either don’t know what I want to do with my life or my career yet or that I’m not in a better imaginary position. I’m constantly looking for a magic switch to turn on my life satisfaction, which isn’t ever going to work. I want to feel fulfilled in my work. I want to have confidence in my choices. I want to be someone 15-year-old me would have been impressed by. I would also very much like my own space, but that’s less of a satisfaction and more of an I have to just persevere through being young and unable to afford rent.

I’m slowly realising the things that will really fulfil and sustain me take time to develop and I have to engage with that process, rather than checking out because it didn’t work immediately and looking for something new, something better.

If I’m honest I’m not sure that being on a grad scheme, where I move jobs every 3 months helped with that. Every quarter I change environments and hope that my underlying issues will be solved by some external factor, surprise surprise it didn’t happen.

But I’m not using that as an excuse. These are the four things I’m working on to deal with my life impatience.


This is a big one to remember for me. There is no end career. There is not yes I have happiness I have won. Whenever I feel like I’m trying to race to a finish line I like to go back to this Adam JK print. There is no end, there’s only trying so you need to learn to enjoy and get the most out of the trying rather than looking past it to something you won’t get.


Think about what you actually want. By that, I don’t mean a job title, or a salary, or a house, but the things that you want from those things: creativity, purpose, freedom, independence etc. Then work out how you can work those things into what you have now. You might not be able to get all of them or get them in the form you want but you can always incorporate them more into what you have now, even if that’s just realising you’ve already got them.


I’m always looking ahead to the next thing, or to the skills I will need and don’t have yet. Taking some time to look back on where you’ve come from and what you’ve learned is so important. Wherever you are, you’ve come from somewhere. Recognising that you’ve already gone some of the way can make you realise that you’re moving forward, and there’s not as much need to be impatient.


I think I end loads of these feelings-y posts on, you’re not the only one. But you know what I don’t care because it’s true. We’re all impatient and we all want to be better and everyone who starts anywhere is probably a bit uncomfortable with it. It’s easy to see the people in the positions you want and not think about how long it took to get there, or to see other people in your position as projecting that they’re happy and loving the process (no one loves it 100% of the time). You’re not the only one, and waiting is normal. You’re not behind. You’re not going too slow. You’re going at your own pace, and you’re going* which is all that matters.

*Even if you’re not obviously going where you want you’re still going, promise.

PS – sorry if you were eager to get to the end of this one, I know it was long, but just see it as an exercise in patience

Some days you just feel like this furry fella, and why shouldn’t you naps truly are the best. But sometimes you have to work through the urge to nap and the desire just not to do anything and get your shit done. There’s no magic cure to feeling unmotivated if there was I would be stocking up, but there definitely are things you can do to get back in the groove depending on why you’re feeling unmotivated.

How to Work When You're Unmotivated Sloth Illustration




Screen fatigue is a real thing. As someone who works 8 hours a day in an office then goes home to look at a screen some more. If your eyes are dry, you’ve got a headache, or you’re just struggling to focus step away from the screen. Every hour or so when I’m in the office I try to get up and go for a walk (read tea break) just to get away from my laptop. I don’t take my phone with me on lunch breaks and just read or chat to colleagues. You would be amazed at how refreshed you can feel after a screen break.


The classic symptom of this one is the nagging little voice who keeps saying “I don’t want to do this anymore”. If you’re bored with doing one long task, step away from what you’re doing and pick a little task off your to do list and go and do that instead. Doing this not only gives you a break it also gives you that little dopamine hit of finishing something which you can end up longing for if you’re working on something big. If you really have to finish that one thing, try doing it in a new location or in a different way. If you’ve been typing at your desk, try handwriting the next paragraph or two at the kitchen table. If you’ve been working on the same graphic for ages, pick a different section or work on it upside down! Just give yourself a change.


It’s hard to be productive or motivated if you don’t know what you’re doing. Taking the time to put together a plan for what you’re going to do, with clear goals and manageable stages can really help motivate you because you can put yourself on a track to success.


Have you ever felt like you’re just too busy to do anything and then ended up doing nothing but panicking about how much you have to do? That’s a feeling I like to call to do list overwhelm, and it usually comes from trying to cram more into a day than is physically possible. The first step to beating to do list overwhelm is going through your list and getting rid of anything that isn’t actually a priority, you’ve got to be ruthless. Then break down the items you have left into little chunks that way each one feels like something you can do easily.


If you’re falling asleep at your desk, get cosy somewhere else and just take that nap. Sometimes you do just need a nap.




I don’t know about anyone else but for me to really engaged with a piece of work I have to know why I’m doing it. It needs to have a purpose. Have a think about the task you’re avoiding, why do you need to do it? What is the outcome going to be once you’ve done it? Does it fit into a bigger scheme of work, will it help people, will it allow you to do something else, will you learn from it? When you know why you’re doing something and what you’re going to get back from doing it, it’s so much easier to motivate yourself to do it.


I am so guilty of this one. Sometimes I just decide something is going to be rubbish, or that I’m not going to have a good day. That can be a random decision or it can be based on “I didn’t have a good day yesterday so I won’t today either” or “I’m bored and grumpy and I just don’t want to do anything”. I guess just thinking more positively would be the answer, but honestly, I have no idea how that works – if someone can tell me how to flip my emotions just because I want to please please let me know. Instead what I would suggest is bribing yourself a little bit to get going. If you write that presentation you can go outside for lunch. If you sort out your invoices you can get into your pyjamas early. When you’ve decided something is going to suck, you have to start before you can realise that it doesn’t suck and I am fickle and easily bribed by naps, tea, and the promise of a square of a Ritter sport bar.


If you feel unmotivated every day when you go to work or go to chip away at a project at some point you have to decide if it’s something you actually want to carry on with. Being chronically unmotivated can be a symptom of something bigger so it’s worth taking the time to work out why it is you’re motivated and whether you’re happy with where you’re at.