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Introducing my Seasonal Wall Planner

I’m so excited to introduce my seasonal wall planner which I’ve designed with creative souls and heart-centred business owners in mind. 

The seed for this planner was planted in my mind amid all the early January noise, resolution setting and general hustle. I wanted to create something which presented quite the opposite of all that; a productivity and planning tool which was all about nurturing ideas and valuing a more gentle approach to growing a sustainable business.

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When it comes to planning, I really love a good notebook, but I find that if it’s not visible to me every day, I simply forget and find myself feeling a bit lost. Intentions and goals are too easily buried in a notebook which is why having something on the wall appeals helps me to stay on track – and it appeals to my visual learning style. It means that as soon as my mind starts to wander, I can glance up at my plan of action and bring my focus back to exactly what I should be working on that week.

Of course, there are no set rules or guidelines for using my planner but if this simple and seasonal approach speaks to you too, you may find it useful to know my thought process and some examples of how I intend to use it myself.

Week by week planning

The coloured boxes are designed to help you plan for your business or life goals over a twelve week period, with colours chosen not only to line up with the season but also to catch your eye. Use can use these boxes to write the one main thing you need to do that week to get you that step closer to your goal. I find the best thing to do is to set some time aside to set your overall goal – then, break it down into smaller actions which span the full twelve weeks. This way you’ll end up with a really clear set of stepping stones. The boxes are large enough to include micro-actions or additional goals if you have more than one thing you’re working on – use the space however you prefer – the most important thing is that you’ve taken the time to plan in advance and have at least one action clearly written in each box so that when your eyes land on your planner at the beginning of the week, you know exactly what needs to be done to move you forward in the direction you want to go.

Intentions

I have included a box for you to write your intentions for the season. Intentions are different from goals as they focus on how you want to be in the moment as you work towards your goals. It’s a great way to check in with yourself to make sure you are living your values through your work. It’s SO important to enjoy the journey rather than always keeping your eyes on the destination!

So, to give you an example, my goal is to sell X number of wall planners – but the intention I’ll be setting for myself is to inspire as many people as possible by sharing my own creative planning process and style. Even if I sold very few planners this first season, rather than feeling deflated I’ll have grown new relationships and made lots of valuable new connections. I also intend to wrap each planner with care and heartfelt appreciation for the person who will be using it, grateful that I could help them in a small way on their creative journey.

Why it matters

I find it helpful to check in with myself from time to time and just remind myself that I’m building my creative business for a reason which is more than financial reward. I think sometimes we can get caught up in the surface stuff and simply forget. By articulating the reason you’re doing what you’re doing and looking at it every day really help to move you forward on those days where it all feels overwhelming and pointless.

Words of support

There’s a space to write words which someone has said to you which you have found to be particularly encouraging or, perhaps you could choose words of your own which you know you would appreciate days when you might need a lift in your spirits.

Word for the season

I’ve seen so many people adopting a word for the year – if you’ve not come across this before, the idea is that you choose an anchoring word which acts as a reference point to guide your actions. I absolutely love this idea but I have to admit that I find it quite difficult to take things on for the full year so, I’m trialling a more seasonal approach. Once you’ve come up with yours, there’s space to write on the planner to keep it fresh in your mind.

The word I have chosen for summer is growth.

Simple changes tracker

Rooted in the idea of calm creativity and organic growth, the planner encourages constant movement and small steps taken every day. It’s also a tool for making simple changes, reflecting and refining our processes. The small coloured boxes on the right-hand side are there to help you make small adjustments in blocks of 30 days. This could be a specific small change in your work patterns or setting new habits for self-care. The boxes hold you accountable (with yourself!) for 30 consecutive days which will help you to set your new habit.

Thoughts and Ideas

I’ve included a column for you to record those wonderful and exciting creative ideas that float into your head as you move through the season. By recording them on your wall planner, they are captured as you think of them and giving them space to rest and settle. At the end of the season (or maybe earlier) you can decide if you want to proceed with them, file them for another time or just let them float on by.

Simple living 

This section is to remind yourself how you are choosing to simplify your life. Use is to jot down reminders for things such as spending time with your family, shopping ethically, pursuing artistic projects, visiting a new independent wholefood cafe, attending gatherings, noticing the moon, going on a stargazing walk or giving wild swimming a try (that’s basically my list right there!).

There will, of course, be a new planner for summer, autumn and winter to follow. In a few weeks time, I’ll begin sketching blooms and choosing a dusky and soothing colour palette for the summer one.  

Are you drawn toward a calm, intentional and organic approach to your creative planning? If you’d like to get started with a fresh page for the summer, you can order your seasonal planner over in my Etsy shop.

Happy planning!

Setting my intentions for the year

As I opened my beautiful Matt Sewell calendar on New Year’s Day, a few things popped into my head. Firstly, the bemusement and disbelief that I turn forty next year! And then, after I’d stopped trying to wrap my head around that large number, I realised that that means It’s been twenty years since I started university.

Twenty years!

I mean, twenty years is such a long time and I just thought that I’d have everything figured out by now. As a fresher, studying Marketing, I thought the twenty-years-from-now-me would be super confident and self-assured. I thought I’d be working in a trendy office with a flashy car and toting a posh bag and delivering killer advertising campaign ideas (with PowerPoint slides) to fellow sharp suits. That’s what I thought it was all about and, even though I pushed forward in that general direction, the thought of that outcome secretly terrified me.

There’s been so many steps to get to the point I’m at now – the point of realising that what I’m really after is a simple life with time to nurture and grow my talents. A life with less stress and more time to think. A life where I can appreciate and be grateful for what I have rather than constantly striving for more. A life with less noise and fewer things.

I’m never going to be brimming over with confidence and, I still wince at the sound of my voice if I have to speak in public but, over the years, I have grown a quiet belief in my ability to do something good and worthwhile and have worked out where I’m most likely to find happiness.  

And it’s kind of nice to spend some time acknowledging that journey instead of freaking out about the other material achievement stuff and high power career that never happened.  

It’s easy to get swept away though. Spend too much time flitting around on social media (I’m so guilty) or follow the wrong type of accounts and you can get sucked into the over thinking/ comparison vortex – particularly at the moment when there’s no much new year noise. I keep seeing adverts and groups talking about how you can uplevel your business to achieve 10k months and I inevitably find myself feeling overwhelmed before I’ve even really started. I’ve realised that the best thing for me is to only follow selected accounts which line up with my mindset and generally just spend less time looking.

So, my intention for this year is work towards becoming a bit more grounded. I plan to spend the year growing roots; both in my business and for myself (so I’m less likely to get blown around like a leaf in the wind). I want to be able to keep my feet on the ground and remember all the good things I have to offer, keep my mind clear to be creative and notice opportunities to grow.

My intentions pan out like this:

Practise yoga regularly

I’ve done this Yoga with Adriene 30-day challenge a few times and really enjoy it. It’s short and I’ve always felt a big benefit after the 30 days – as well as feeling more supple, It makes me feel centered and balanced (If you’ve not come across her YouTube videos yet, do take a look – I highly recommend them).

Write in my journal

I find it so valuable to write a few pages in a journal every day but I really need to make this into a daily habit. I find free writing so much easier – when I’m writing just for me, the words just flow so really this will only take me ten minutes a day.

Spending time outdoors noticing nature and the seasons

I’m generally quite good at this but it does me so much good to spend time in nature I need to make sure it’s always high up my list. I’m planning a solo nature adventure for April which I’ll fill you in on once it’s organised! I’m excited and nervous about this in equal measures.

Growing vegetables on our allotment

We’ve had our allotment for three years now and we’re still learning but, we’re getting much better with our growing skills. I just want to be more on top of things this year and make the most of this gorgeous plot of land.

Enforcing limits on my social media 

I know I’ve been wasting so much time mindlessly surfing around on my smartphone, but it’s a habit that’s become really difficult to break. So, I downloaded the Forest app to my phone and it’s brilliant! Basically, you set a timer for a set amount of time that you want to focus on completing a task without distractions and as the timer progresses, if you don’t unlock your phone, the tree continues to grow. If you pick up your phone, even to read a WhatsApp message – your tree instantly dies. Keeping those trees alive is becoming addictive and it seems to be working. It’s amazing how much you can get done in 20 minutes when you’re not picking up your phone and getting distracted every 5 minutes. 

Draw every day

If I’m going to hone my skills, I need to practise every day. I did a 100-day challenge a few years ago and, when I look back at my sketchbooks, you can see a massive improvement in the quality of my work over the course of the challenge. I’ll be tracking this challenge for the next 30 days and posting on my Instagram Stories so I feel accountable!

Reaching out and connecting with people like me

On Saturday I will be meeting up with the Creative Countryside Community in beautiful Edale. I only joined recently so this is the first one I’m attending but I can tell from engaging with the other members in the Facebook group that I’m going to make some lovely new friends and connections. I’m also keeping my eyes open for other opportunities and I’ll be hosting a bluebell photo walk and tea party in the woods in May, so I’m sure that will bring wonderful new connections too.

Finding mentors 

Rather than comparing myself to people online who are one step ahead, my more ‘grounded’ approach is to focus on learning from them. If I see someone who I admire building a successful, heart-centered business online – I’ll become their student, making notes and observations which I can learn from when building my own.   

Keeping my desk and creative space clear and organised

I can’t work in a messy space yet I often let my desk get cluttered with all kinds of stuff. So, each night when I finish at my desk, I shall tidy and clean so it’s immaculate for when I come to start drawing in the morning.

I’d love to know what intentions you’ve set for yourself this year – or maybe just for this season. We may be a few weeks into January but there’s no rule to say that this all needs to be done as soon as your new calendar arrives. It’s never too late for this stuff.  

Adopt a seasonal mindset: Winter

It’s that wonderful time between Christmas and New Year, the perfect opportunity for reading, planning and generally creating a cocoon of calm (and eating copious amounts of chocolate, of course!).

I typically use this precious week to write myself a to-do list the length of my arm and sign up for every productivity challenge I’ve come across on Facebook in an effort to explode off the starting blocks into the new year. But, by the end of January, I’ve generally lost my focus and motivation.  

So, this year, instead of setting myself a gigantic list of tasks, I’m going to try a slightly different approach in an attempt to bring my business to life in an organic and much more sustainable way. 

I’ve written some of my thoughts below for how a winter mindset can be applied over the next few months when you’re working on your business:  

Enjoy the winter stillness

You know those crisp, frosty mornings where the grass glitters in the low sunshine and everything is quiet and perfectly still. Make it your mission to get outside with your camera and enjoy taking your time and noticing the details.

Create some empty space

Tidy your workspace so that you only have the absolute essentials around you. There’s no better way to start the year than with a really good declutter.

Reflect and focus on what you can do differently this year

Tuck yourself away somewhere quiet and spend an hour or two having a think back over the year and the progress you’ve made. What habits have crept up on you? What can you tweak and change? Do you need to introduce a way to end your mindless social media scrolling or, if you’re frustrated that you don’t have enough time to work on your creative ideas, look at what stuff you can ditch or delegate. How can you carve out regular time to work on your business?

Take stock of what you already know

However tempting it might be, you probably don’t need to sign up for another online course in order to move your business forward. Just take some time to do a mini-audit of the skills you have and the things you already know and then work out how you can package it in your own unique way.

Planning

Before you start making your big plans for the year ahead, take a moment to remind yourself why you want to do this so badly and what your future success looks like. It’s so easy to get tangled up in the day to day stuff and the endless to-do list that you can lose sight of the bigger picture. Get snuggled under that blanket with your hot choc, gaze into the open fire (if you are lucky enough to have one) and drift into your thoughts. How will you feel when you have achieved your goals? What value will you have created?

Make sure you have some good people around you

If you’re feeling like a bit of a lone wolf on your mission to achieve your creative dream, you might want to use this time to reach out and start building relationships with people who are on your wavelength, people whose opinions you value and make you feel inspired when you chat to them. Perhaps you could join a group or reach out to people you know on Instagram and organise a real-life meetup.

Creative breathing space

If we don’t experiment and try new styles and techniques, then your work and ideas will not be much different to last year. Do yourself a favour and give yourself some dedicated time to indulge in creative play. Write in a new style, use acrylic paints instead of pencils, learn how to dance or play an instrument – just make new things in new ways, just for the fun of it.

 

Preparing for the other seasons

Whilst you’ve got your new 2019 diary out, why not get ahead and plan in some key dates for the rest of the year. Set yourself a day for creative brainstorming in early spring – maybe get together with other creative ladies and inspire each other. Think up a fun marketing campaign for the summer which draws on creative play in some way. Book out a few days for yourself in the early autumn to reflect on the progress you’ve made in your business – perhaps a spa day or a solo retreat?

Speaking of solo retreats, I’ve not been on one before but I really like the idea of it so I’ve blocked out a week in April and I will be creating my own trip in the UK – I’m hoping to find some nice campsites with shepherd’s huts where I can lose myself in nature and work on my creative ideas. I’ll be sharing my trip plans (and lots of other behind these scenes things) in my monthly e-newsletter which you can join here if you fancy, it would be so lovely to link up with you. 

 

Autumn colours (and my gentle launch)

Hello,

I’m still snuggled warmly under the duvet at 10 am working on my laptop. I’ve not opened the curtains or peeked out, but I know it’s chilly out there. I can hear the wind whistling and blowing the wheelie bin lids. If I really listen, there’s also the intermittent squawk of the Red Kites as they swoop above the houses, enjoying the power of the stormy gusts.

It feels good to have had a such a slow and reflective start to the day –  these moments are usually most productive as I’m totally focused on what I’m doing. I don’t work half as well when I’m stealing time or juggling activities. Finding a calm retreat (even if it’s just for an hour) really helps me to focus and get things done.

I don’t have a list of jobs or chores to do today, I only have this. I’m cocooned here, feeling relaxed and at the same time, super excited about my ideas for Jasper & Rose and – determined to write this introduction for you to read.

I’ve made some good progress this past week. I’ve just finished the ‘about’ page which you can read here. I know it’s only a single web page, but it feels like really a good step forward. In my mind, that’s Jasper & Rose officially launched. No fuss, no marketing fanfare. It just doesn’t need it. If you were doing the same, and you were evolving a business which you wanted to grow naturally and organically – I’d probably advise you to do the same. Take the time (however long that may be) to make it look as lovely as you can, make sure it feels like ‘you’, keep it simple and, work on the words until you can communicate your purpose in a way that is easy to understand. 

I’ve been holding Jasper & Rose in my mind for a couple of years now and it’s only in the past few months that I have spent the time to really question what it’s really about and what I want to achieve. So, here’s what I hope it will become…

I hope it will become a place where you can get to know me and find inspiration, help and support so that you can bring your own ideas into reality. I want to set a gorgeous mood of calm and share my love of nature and the changing of the seasons.

I’d really like for you to join me on my creative journey and I’d love for us to learn from each other and…maybe meet at a creative gathering one day.

It’s time to get started.

Jo

 

Photos from late Autumn