September 18, 2014

How to stop procrastinating and get things done in 10 simple steps

How to stop procrastinating and get things done.

The shadows are getting longer and you suddenly feel ravenously hungry and exhausted. You glance at the time, shocked to find out it’s closing 6pm! You have no idea where the day escaped while you’ve been crazy busy, and yet all you’ve accomplished is bouncing from one distraction to another. Instead of ticking things off your to-do-list with a big fat marker, you answered random ‘urgent’ emails, got involved in a Facebook group debate about whether it’s cool when clients post your images with ugly filters applied, watched cat videos on Youtube (or snuggled with cats demanding attention), opened and closed InDesign/Photoshop/Lightroom/Word several times, meaning to knock out that layout or blog post or finish an edit, but then you weren’t quite ‘feeling’ it, or the phone rang, or you decided you need to do more research at a vague undefined time in the future first.

Any of this sound familiar?

Let’s see if we can nip all that time-sucking procrastination in the bud with these 10 simple steps.

1 – When you get an idea, do something about it right then.

You know how those ideas for a new technique to try, a new product to offer, a new post to write, or a new colour scheme for your new branding pop into your head, and you think, ‘I must see if this idea has wings, I’ll do it when I have proper time to sit down and play with it’. And then, if you’re good you write the idea down, if you’re in full-on procrastination mode you might decide to write it down later, but what you absolutely won’t do is to act on it until you’ve had time to think about it properly.

What about if instead of getting an idea and just sitting on it until it fizzes out, you begin right then. Right when you get the idea, act on it. It might not work, it might not be perfect, but you have at least made a proactive start. Things can always be refined later, but if you want to see your ideas come to fruition, act on them right when you get them.

2 – Let go of the idea of ‘perfect’

Being a perfectionist is what stops most of us from acting on so many things that could have turned out to be real game-changers. Here’s the thing, you don’t need to get everything done, and you don’t even need to get it done that well, what matters is that you get over the idea of perfect and instead just get it done.

3 – Commit publicly

When I started swimming again after 20 years of excuses for not doing it, I announced it on Instagram & Twitter, just to have that bit of public accountability. I’m pretty sure no-one would actually call me out on it, but I would know if I let myself, and everyone I shared with, down. If sharing your intentions with thousands is a bit too intimidating, at the very least share it with a friend, just as long as you feel accountable to someone (which, really, is yourself). And you know what, since I announced my swimming intentions, I have been going twice a week. Every week. (You are free to congratulate me now.)

4 – You have more time than you think

We all feel like there are just not enough hours in the day. But actually, if you added all the tiny windows of time you deem too short to start something new, they would probably add up to a fair bit of time. You don’t have to complete everything in one go, it doesn’t take away from your accomplishment if you do something 10 minutes at a time. You will still make a lot more progress on your project than killing that 10 minutes with a cat video…

4 – Set specific daily goals

Not having specific goals rarely works. ‘I need to catch up on my emails’ is the equivalent of saying ‘I’m going to sort out world peace’. You can’t save the whole world at once, much like you can’t wade through your whole inbox in one go, especially as the ratio of emails pinging back at you seems to always be higher than those leaving the nest. Which emails are the most urgent, and how long are you going to dedicate to dealing with them? How will you manage distractions so you can concentrate fully on your task? Set a goal of replying to 10 urgent emails within one hour, while ignoring everything else, including your phone and your Twitter client.

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September 17, 2014

Quote of the Week / 5

dalai-lama-quote-handlettered-for-her-lovely-heart-by-gioia-de-antoniis

Sometimes you need to read something a bit reassuring and uplifting in order to remember the bigger picture. This Dalai Lama quote has helped me many times to switch my perspective about stressful times.

Handlettered for Her Lovely Heart by Gioia De Antoniis. You can also find her on Instagram. Download desktop wallpapers of this Quote of the Week in today’s Goodie Bag.

Goodie Bag / 7

Gioia De Antoniis handlettered our Quote of the Week, and now you can stay inspired by downloading these original desktop wallpapers for your computer.

Dalai Lama Wallpaper hand lettered for Her Lovely Heart by Gioia de Antoniis

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September 16, 2014

Our favourite productivity apps of 2014

Her Lovely Heart Favourite productivity apps of 2014
Her Lovely Heart Favourite productivity apps of 2014

We’ve just been introduced to the new iPhone 6 and Apple watch (what an earth happened there? Within half an hour we went from ‘really not interested’ to ‘oh my word it’s amazing, we live in the future!’), which means there’s sure to be lot of new developments on the productivity app front, so we thought now would be a good time to list the apps we’ve found most useful so far this year. While all the apps listed are for Apple products, most of them do have an Android and/or a desktop version as well. Our main criteria is for apps to be easy to use and functional, but also visually appealing, which is why some didn’t quite make the cut. With all this technology at our fingertips, there really is no excuse for not staying organised!

P.S. Look out for an article on how to stop procrastinating and get things done later this week.

WorkFlowyHer Lovely Heart Favourite Productivity Apps Workflowy

I want to start with this little app, which packs a real punch despite, or maybe perhaps, it’s simplicity. I’ve really grown to love WorkFlowy when it comes to big picture thinking, and for sketching out ideas. The simple and intuitive way in which you can make and organise lists, with as many sublists as you wish (the flexible hierarchies are good for ideas that have different directions and/or stages of things to complete). It’s also easy to drag items and whole sections to different places, and you can also mark things done as you progress.

 

ThingsHer Lovely Heart Favourite Productivity Apps Things

Moving on to to-do-list apps, Things is probably one of the most long-standing ones. Its straightforward interface, beautiful graphics, and great synchronisation with its desktop versions make it a popular choice. It’s hefty price tag does put some people off though, especially now that there are so many different options available. But if you are looking for a true and tested app, which does exactly what it says, you can’t really go wrong with Things.

 

her-lovely-heart-favourite-productivity-apps-rtmRemember the Milk

This is a basic, but pretty powerful to-do-list app, which has been around for a while now, and has it’s die hard fans. I generally like apps that are seemingly simple in that they are straightforward to use, but have powerful features, such as tagging and ability to set reminders, to really keep you on task. Remember the Milk certainly ticks a lot of boxes.

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Winner of the first Her Lovely Heart Quote Contest is…

Her Lovely Heart Quote Contest Winner

Big fanfare, please! We have chosen the winner of the first ever Her Lovely Heart Quote Contest, and the lucky winner is Natasha Linskill, with the above submission. This quote is just a beautiful guideline for most things in life, plus we couldn’t resist the gold touches! Huge congratulations Natasha, we look forward to meeting you at the upcoming Live What You Love workshop!

September 15, 2014

Ask Marianne / 5

In this series, Her Lovely Heart founder Marianne Taylor will be answering some of the burning questions submitted by photographers, business owners and blog readers, spanning everything from technical questions to personal mantras. Read on to find out what people are longing to know about…

What is your favourite moment to photograph during a wedding?

I really love shooting the bride getting ready, all the nervous energy and excitement is so catching. When the festivities get on the way, I love to catch moments of utter happiness on the faces of the bride and groom, when they’re not aware of me. Also, catching moments of  joy between the guests. What is my favourite moment? All the moments that tug at my heart, due to people showing their real emotions.

Where do you look for inspiration with regards to your wedding work?

Everywhere really… any sort of visually pleasing scene, picture or detail inspires me. Photography-wise mostly photography outside of the wedding scene. Also, movies – beautiful cinematography always results in my mind bursting with ideas.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned about wedding photography in your career so far?

That you have to be confident and comfortable in your own style and not worry so much about what others are doing. When you make the kind of pictures you love yourself, the right clients will come.

Marianne-Taylor-creative-fine-art-wedding-reportage-photography-Aynhoe-Park_0062

Do you have a question about photography or running a photography business for Marianne? You can email your questions to submissions@herlovelyheart.com with the subject like ‘Ask Marianne’. The best questions will be answered on the blog throughout this series. 

 

September 12, 2014

PROfile / 4 / Niki Strbian

her-lovely-heart-profile-niki-strbianPROfile is a series of interviews with artists and creative souls who have built businesses around their craft and passion. We’ll dig deeper to try and find out everything you could want to know from seasoned pros who have experienced the full gamut of highs and lows that come from running a creative business.

Niki Strbian is a portrait photographer based in Finland, who specialises in children and families. Here she shares her journey from a background in engineering to becoming a professional photographer.

What was your first ‘proper’ job and how did you land it? Was it what you intended to do as a career?

My first job was an after-wedding couple shoot, kind of ‘delayed wedding portraits’. It was quite precisely what I wanted to do as a career.

Has photography always been in your blood?

Nope. I picked up a camera when the kiddos were born. I am a classic MWAC (mum with a camera).

Her Lovely Heart PRO File Niki Strbian

How did you know you were ready to have your own business?

I decided I was ready when I was accepted into the ‘Just Beginning with Business’ level at ILP. They organised a portfolio review, which was judged by volunteering professional family photographers from around the globe, and I thought the judgment was fair. I thought that if I am good enough for them, I am good enough to open my business.

How did you go about starting your own business?

I did my research, found out all licensing that needed to be done and paid. I made myself a website and started writing a blog. I read everything on the ILP forum related to a photography business. And didn’t underestimate the power of a good accountant.

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September 11, 2014

Guest Blog: Everyone has been a beginner at something

http://herlovelyheart.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/her-lovely-heart-guest-blogger-joie-takaki.pngPhotographer Joie Takaki is pursuing her dream of building her own business. In this guest blog series, she shares her journey from beginner to expert with us.

I love seeking secret messages from the universe. Call it what you want, but I do believe that life sends you messages in the most indirect, non-obvious ways. You just have to open your eyes, ears and heart in order to notice the messages.

Back in March, I was thinking about pursuing a business in photography. In fact, I had been thinking about pursuing my dreams for a good while. There was a burning desire haunting me to take the next step, and yet, the other half of me was filled with endless fears and self-doubt. Mostly, all I could visualise was that I was here (at the very bottom), and they (the pro photographers) were up there (twinkling with the stars). And it seemed impossible. Just a dream… Like a human dreaming of someday walking on the moon…

I was petrified of taking that next step, so I decided to do something a bit ‘gutsy’ to shake myself out of my comfort zone.

I felt like I had to get away, and see the world from a different respective. So, I went to Bulgaria and spent a week snowboarding. Turns out, it was just what I needed!

Joie Takaki guest blog importance of being beginner

The entire time I was in Bulgaria, the weather was mostly blizzard-like conditions, making the visibility non-existent, the terrain extremely challenging, and the experience adrenaline pumping, even for more experienced riders. Mr Frost was definitely setting up an eery atmosphere and an epic experience I won’t ever forget…

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September 10, 2014

Quote of the Week / 4

jorica glen for her lovely heart hand lettered Paul Gauguin quote

Imagination is the most precious thing we possess. Everything we think or feel about the world, is filtered through our imagination, and it’s the one thing that can help us create the kind of life we want.

Handlettered for Her Lovely Heart by Jorica Glen. Download a desktop wallpaper of this Quote of the Week in today’s Goodie Bag.

Goodie Bag / 6

Jorica Glen hand-lettered our quote of the week by Paul Gauguin, and you can also download it as a three free desktop wallpapers.

Free wallpaper of Paul Gauguin quote hand lettered for Her Lovely Heart by Jorica Glen.

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September 9, 2014

10 traits of successful entrepreneurs

Running your own business isn’t anything to be scared about. Yes, there are things you need to learn, but then there are things you should always keep learning, no matter what it is you are doing with your life. Sometimes, especially when it all feels a bit overwhelming, it helps to look at what works for others, and what kind of common qualities can be seen among those with healthy businesses.

While what helps you succeed as a business owner is not about emulating how someone else has done things, we think there are definitely some qualities that those who run successful businesses have in common. Here, we’ve condensed the common threads we’ve identified into ‘10 traits of successful entrepreneurs’. Keeping on top of these things may just make the difference between your business struggling or striving. In the very least, I hope they’ll help to keep you inspired to always keep raising your own standards.

10 Traits of successful entrepreneurs

10 traits of successful entrepreneurs

Doing something you love
There is a reason the word ‘passion’ is bandied about so much. To be successful, and more importantly, feel like you’re successful, you have to be doing something you love, and you have to have the passion to keep pushing forward even when times get tough.

Having solid systems in place
The earlier you start implementing systems, from workflows to how you deal with emails or fulfil your orders, the better prepared you will be for when business does start picking up. One of the saddest things to witness is when new businesses with great potential fail, because they don’t have systems in place to handle future growth.

Staying on top of your cash-flow
This is hands down one of the biggest reasons news businesses fail. If you know you are bad at planning your finances, you need to have someone, such as an accountant, involved to keep you on top of things.

Respecting the power of word of mouth
Want to know what your biggest marketing avenue is? WOM is where it’s at. Don’t treat it lightly.

Getting comfortable with self promotion
This is a hard one, especially for us shy types. It is however something we have to get comfortable with if we are to run a small business. (Look out for a blog post on my own struggles with this topic later on.)

Leveraging the unique aspects of who you are
The thing that makes our business special is us. The more distinctive your voice, the better you’ll reach those who are in the market for what only you can offer.

Always being willing to learn new things
There is always more to learn. Always.

Surrounding yourself with passionate, motivated people
It’s crucial to have people around you who light a fire under you, and get you reaching further.

Being consistent with how you conduct your business
Leave surprise and unpredictability to the creative product. When it comes to other aspects of your business, consistency is what makes your clients feel taken care of.

Staying focused about what your goals are
It’s so easy to lose sight on what our goals for starting a business actually were. Review where you’re going often, and stay focused on what you want to achieve, and remember that ‘success’ looks different to each and everyone of us.

September 8, 2014

Ask Marianne / 4

In this series, Her Lovely Heart founder Marianne Taylor will be answering some of the burning questions submitted by photographers, business owners and blog readers, spanning everything from technical questions to personal mantras. Read on to find out what people are longing to know about…

I have photo skills but don’t know where to start in a business direction & don’t have money to buy better equipment or develop a nice brand image. HELP?

Starting a business is hard work, filled with a hell of a lot of sacrifices. I suggest you hold on to your day job while you figure out what kind of photography you want to do; draw up a business plan; research, research and research some more; start offering your services for cheap and saving any money coming in for gear; connect with people who can help you with design etc. The number one factor in succeeding is perseverance. The difference between survival, EVEN when you’re successful, is being prepared to work hard and stick. it. out.

Do you have any advice for someone starting out to get their name out and generate work….

Be prepared to work hard, develop your skills to make sure what you’re selling is up to scratch, be organised. Blog, interact, network, just be consistently out there and the work will come. Don’t waste money on paid advertising when you’re starting out, you have all the free tools (such as different social media platforms) you need online, you just need to find the time to utilise them properly.

marianne-taylor-photography-engagement

Do you have a question about photography or running a photography business for Marianne? You can email your questions to submissions@herlovelyheart.com with the subject like ‘Ask Marianne’. The best questions will be answered on the blog throughout this series. 

 

September 5, 2014

PROfile / 3 / Christina Gressianu

her-lovely-heart-profile-christina-gressianuPROfile is a series of interviews with artists and creative souls who have built businesses around their craft and passion. We’ll dig deeper to try and find out everything you could want to know from seasoned pros who have experienced the full gamut of highs and lows that come from running a creative business.

Photographer Christina Gressianu has built a business that not only shows her subjects how beautiful and loved they are, but makes them feel it, too. She’s a champion of female empowerment and draws her inspiration from her fascination in people.

What was your first ‘proper’ job and how did you land it? Was it what you intended to do as a career?

My first proper job was a production artist in an ad agency when I was 17. I lived in a regular little town, so I was excited when I learned we had an agency in town. I called them and asked if I could work for them. Oddly enough, they asked me in for an interview and said they’d try me out. I had no clue what I wanted to do as a career, so it was fun to try it out.

Has photography always been in your blood?

I guess so. I’ve always treasured photographs. As a kid, I thought the coolest thing in the world would be to get paid to travel and take photographs.

How did you know you were ready to have your own business?

I’ve never been ready! It was totally by accident and then necessity.

How did you go about starting your own business? How did you secure your first clients?

My very first portrait client was my boss at my college work-study job. She had a baby and we went to the park to photograph her. After our session, I handed her the roll of film. People liked those photos, so it kinda rolled.

her-lovely-heart-profile-christina-gressianu_0001

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September 4, 2014

Quote Contest / 1 / Win a place at Live What You Love Workshop

Welcome to the first ever Her Lovely Heart Quote Contest! To kick things off with a bang, the winner of this contest will receive a place at Live What You Love workshop with Marianne Taylor on 27 October 2014* (worth £395)!

Her Lovely Heart Quote Contest

To be in with a chance to win, post an Instagram of your favourite inspiring quote. In the description tell us why you find it so inspiring, and why you would like to attend the workshop. Use hashtags #hlhquotecontest and #herlovelyheart and make sure you are following us on Instagram and on Facebook, and are subscribed to our newsletter. What we are looking for are quotes that inspire creative entrepreneurs, and which are presented in a beautiful way. We will also be regramming our favourites on the Her Lovely Heart Instagram feed.

Her Lovely Heart Quote Contest

Our runner up will receive a selection of Instagram prints by Marianne.

The deadline for submissions is 15th September, the winner/s will be announced by the end of the following week.

We can’t wait to see your submissions! Good luck!

*All prizes are non-transferable, the winner is responsible for their own travel and must be available to attend the specified workshop, or the prize will pass on to the runner up. 

September 3, 2014

Inspiration Board / 2 / DIY Packaging

I love thinking of new ways of presenting my products to my clients. I’m a great believer in building perceived value, and adding a personal twist with DIY packaging. I think DIY works for many different kind of businesses, but it’s especially effective for those of us who are selling our artistic vision in the first place. Compiling your own packaging can also be very cost effective when you are starting out, but even if you are further down the line and serving the higher end of clientele, your customers will appreciate the effort and vision you’ve put in, which instantly adds value in their eyes. But the biggest reason I love DIY packaging is the way it keeps me excited and inspired to look for new ways of presenting my work. I switch things up at least annually (sometimes I even personalise for individual clients), so I never get the feeling of my brand being stuck in a rut.

Her Lovely Heart Inspiration Board DIY Packaging

Adorable ‘You are loved’ stamp by Inspire Lovely.
Beautiful timber presentation boxes for photographers by Lovable Photo Packaging.
‘Handmade with love’ stamp by Stationery Boutique.
Very simple, but effective DIY branded packaging by Alyse French Photography.
Colourful ribbon from Paperchase.
Shredded paper in pink from Paperchase.
Cute packaging stickers by Julie Ann Art.
Mini bunting by A Cottage Life.
Gorgeous hand stamped cotton bags from Inspire Lovely.

Follow us on Pinterest for more inspiration!
 

Quote of the Week / 3

Gioia De Antoniis George Burnes quote handlettered for Her Lovely Heart

This quote by George Burns really hits home with me. When ever I feel myself hesitating, or fearing failure, I remind myself that ‘failing’ while doing something I love is not really failing at all, but rather an opportunity to learn, grow, and adjust my direction. Real failure would be spending my life doing something I hate because it appeared ‘safer’.

Handlettered for Her Lovely Heart by Gioia De Antoniis. You can also find her on Instagram. Download desktop wallpapers of this Quote of the Week in today’s Goodie Bag.

Goodie Bag / 5

Gioia De Antoniis handlettered our Quote of the Week, and now you can stay inspired by downloading these original desktop wallpapers for your computer.

Gioia De Antoniis George Burnes quote handlettered for Her Lovely Heart

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September 2, 2014

The freedom of going against what we ‘should’ be doing

Marianne Taylor Embrace Could Be Quote

All my life I’ve been allergic to words such as ‘should’, ‘must’, or ‘have to’, somehow these terms just instantly get my defences up. On the surface it sounds a very innocuous thing and a rather superficial annoyance, but I have often wondered why it rubs me the wrong way in such a fundamental way. To me it feels like a simple turn of phrase has the power of making what is being suggested sound like some kind of universal order. That simple switch from ‘could’ to ‘should’ has the power to strip life of all options.

The older I get, the better I understand what is at the root of these seemingly irrational feelings. Everything worthy I’ve ever accomplished in my life has come from a need to experience life as full of options, from rejecting the idea of there being a right or wrong answer, and from wanting to experience life as a series of decisions based on where my heart is leading me. Most of all, never ever wanting to conform to anything that sounds like a ‘should’.

Recently, I’ve done a lot of soul searching, the kind that shakes your foundations and corrects your path. When I founded Her Lovely Heart, I had two main motivations and desires. I wanted to build a team to do inspiring things with, and I wanted to find new talent whom I could mentor and help with making a living out of their passion. Somehow, because I was distracted with too many projects, pulled in too many directions, and lacked the necessary space to hear my heart properly, I began to listen to the ‘shoulds’ in my head. The logical route seemed to be to form a wedding agency. It seemed like a no brainer; my wedding photography business was getting way too many enquiries for me to handle, hence I ‘should’ have a team so that together we could serve more of those clients. Going ahead, I ignored a small voice from my heart saying that it wasn’t quite sure whether I wanted to be an agent for wedding photographers. Was this really the right solution for my yearning for a team and new people to mentor, it asked. Well, on paper, it should have been. Right?

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Goodie Bag / 4

In this goodie bag you’ll find a pretty Anemone desktop wallpaper set designed by Berinmade. Let’s hope it will extend the summer with it’s cheery flowery goodness!

goodie-bag-wallper-anemone-by-berinmade-for-her-lovely-heart

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September 1, 2014

Ask Marianne / 3

In this series, Her Lovely Heart founder Marianne Taylor will be answering some of the burning questions submitted by photographers, business owners and blog readers, spanning everything from technical questions to personal mantras. Read on to find out what people are longing to know about…

I’m a bride planning a wedding and I’m wondering if you have any advice about what we should be aware of and to take into consideration in regards to our photography during the day?

Well first of all, really think about the kind of style you would like, and what is important to you – are you keen on traditional images and formal group shots, or is it more important to you to catch the real moments – and choose your photographer accordingly.

While preparing for the actual day, think about your details and colours carefully and try to instil your personality in everything – the more individual the style of your wedding is, the more interesting the pictures will be. If you’re getting married outside, try to think about the time of day and check out in advance how the light falls at that time.

Expect everything to take a little longer than your initial instinct is, and then write down a schedule for the day – and remember to give this to your photographer. Also keep in mind that if you do want formal group shots, make a list of the groups and designate a person in your wedding party who will get these groups organised – and give this information to your photographer. Expect each group to take around 3-5 minutes (when you start adding the times up you realise how much time this takes away from actually capturing what’s happening on the day, which is why I limit the amount of group shots I take).

If creative portraits of the two of you are important to you, allow at least 30 minutes to be spent alone with your photographer, generally right after the ceremony is the best time for this. Sometimes, depending on the venue, we can do a couple of short 15 minute shoots instead, in order to catch the changing light on the day.

For me personally, the most important thing you can do is to ENJOY your day and let me capture your happiness in a relaxed environment.

Marianne-Taylor-creative-fine-art-wedding-reportage-photography-destination-Provence-France_0160

Do you have a question about photography or running a photography business for Marianne? You can email your questions to submissions@herlovelyheart.com with the subject like ‘Ask Marianne’. The best questions will be answered on the blog throughout this series.