I started February 2017 thinking I was doing so well. Decent productivity levels, no sickness at all... And then the latter end of the month was like AHAHAHAHAHAHA, PSYCHE!
BUT I did have a very exciting collaboration with one of my idols, and I was approached about being a guest on TV, so it wasn't all bad.
On The Site — February 2017
You all know I love me some Sarah Knight, so when she suggested doing a Q&A, I was tickled. I invited questions from you, and you didn't let me down! Everything from whether she's a cat or dog person, to what she'd choose if she could only eat one food for the rest of her life, to how she managed to write 2 books in such a short space of time. It's all in there. Was it one of your questions she answered?
All through the month of January, I'd been trying to reflect on 2016. I think one of the greatest lessons I've learned in my life is that there's no such thing as failure. Everything is a learning opportunity, a chance to grow and improve. It's all knowledge and experience, no matter what the outcome. With that in mind, I shared what I think are the 16 best things 2016 taught me, from the serious to the frivolous.
Click the pic to be taken to the post.
After that I tackled a topic I see discussed frequently and which frustrates me a lot -- people freaking out because they were doing great and now they're having a bad day. Or even a bad week. They're in a funk and they feel worthless, like all their hard work is wasted. Honestly, I want to give these people a good shake and ask them what they were expecting. You can't be top of your game all the time, so if things start heading south, chill out. Life is full of ups and downs, swings and roundabouts, good days and bad. There are times to knuckle down and times to rest up. Taking a step back doesn't mean you're going the wrong direction, it just means you're getting a better view of the bigger picture.
Then, blithely unaware of the shitstorm that was heading my way, I shared my top tips for keeping your home clean in less than 5 minutes a day. These are the simple things I do most days to keep my house looking tidy... and so I never lose my keys. (My husband and daughter, on the other hand... Well, let's just say they're still in training.)
And then the shit hit the fan (more on that later) and I started focusing my attention on the little things. Because sometimes the size of the task is inversely proportional to how much headspace it takes up. In other words, it doesn't have to be big to bug the crap out of you. So I started my "Nix The Nigglers" challenge to take on all those tiny tasks that trip me up on a regular basis.
On YouTube — February 2017
Things slowed down a little on YouTube this month, which is to be expected. There's always a big increase while people are off on their Christmas holidays, and then it starts to return to normal. Still, the slump is always hard to see.
I kicked off the month with Sarah Knight here too. While she'd answered standard Q&A-style questions on the blog, over on YouTube she was doling out life advice to 3 lucky viewers. And let me tell you, this lady knows her stuff. Whatever the problem, she has a clear, practical solution for it. I need to shrink her down and carry her around in my pocket.
After that, given that the New Year magic has worn off and a lot of us are slipping up with our resolutions, I discussed a great way to stop backsliding on goals. I know all too well how easy it is to go gung-ho at something, only to end up back where you started, so I've learned a few tricks along the way that keep me moving forward.
Click the pic to be taken to the video.
Speaking of goals, I shared an update on my "17 Before 2017" challenge. I didn't complete everything on the list but, as usual, a learned a few lessons along the way.
And then the highlight of my YouTube career to date came in the form of a collab with none other than planner queen, Carie Harling. Carie's is the first channel I subscribed to on YouTube, and I can't even begin to tell you how much I look up to her. So when I casually suggested a collab and she agreed, I just about lost my shit. After you watch my video on the 10 benefits to digital planning, go watch Carie's on the 10 benefits of paper planning. Hers made me want to curl up in a ball with my planners and spend the day sniffing them.
And, y'know, I finally threw a channel trailer out there too. I've only talking about it for the past bajillion years. At 2 and a half minutes, it's a little long for a trailer, but some personalities are too crazy to condense. 😉 Have a watch of it below and let me know what you think.
It was the first video I edited on new software Final Cut Pro and it was a very steep learning curve, let me tell you. More than once I wanted to fling my laptop out the window. But I sucked it up, watched some tutorials (on YouTube, naturally) and now I've got the basics down pat. No stopping me!
We also hit a huge milestone this month (yes, "we", 'cause we're in this together, folks) -- 1 MILLION VIEWS! Even my husband was impressed, and that's no easy feat!
And did you hear I'm aiming for 50,000 subscribers by the end of 2017? Help me make it happen by clicking that big ol' subscribe button below!
Social Media Stats — February 2017
- Facebook: almost 2,600 'likes'. I never advertise or boost posts (Facebook won't let me because of the profanity) so any gains here are all organic. I'm proud of that.
- Twitter: almost 800 followers. As usual, minimal time spent over here, so growth is always snail's pace.
- Instagram: over 1,200 followers. A lot of these were down to Carie tagging me in a post, for which I'm very grateful. Check her out at clfharling.
- Pinterest: over 4,300 followers. I haven't posted much over here lately, which is insane seeing as it's my top referrer.
- Newsletter: over 1,500 subscribers now. Since I launched the new homepage, I've seen a significant increase here. Hurray!
HowToGYST HQ (AKA home) — February 2017
Lots happened, so let's just hit the highlights and lowlights, shall we?
I started a diploma in photography. It's my first online course and, unfortunately, the live sessions always seem to run into problems with video and sound so I've just been watching the recorded versions. I signed up as a way of up-skilling, but I'm actually really enjoying it. The nerd in me loves learning something new. Student for life!
Speaking of the student life, it's 10 years since I qualified as a lawyer (*faints*) so an unofficial reunion was organised. A handful of us had dinner and then went on to a nearby pub. (Then they went to a club while I snuck home to my bed.) It was lovely to catch up with them and I'm glad I went, even though my introvert side tried to talk me out of it.
Fuck I feel old.
(That's me, middle right.)
And then it hit. Norovirus. While Scout was on mid-term, all 3 of us were knocked out with the vomiting bug and it was pure hell on earth. For about 3 days all I had to eat was a handful of wine gums and a slice of toast. We're all over it now, thankfully, but it basically wiped out a full week for us.
I was doubly devastated because, as many of you know, I was sick for a lot of 2016 and I was really hoping to get back to full health this year. So far, my body has other ideas. 🙁
And, just to keep the good times rolling, our second visa application was denied. We've appealed but I'm officially fed up with the whole process. WHY DON'T YOU WANT US, AMERICA?! WE'RE GOOD PEOPLE!
The month rounded out on a note that was equally exciting and disappointing -- I was asked to be on TV! TG4 is a national broadcaster here in Ireland, with one thing that no other channel has -- it's all in the Irish language. And, while my level of Irish means I can tell you I have one brother and ask where the bathroom is, it's not enough to see me through a whole TV segment so, with great regret, I had to turn down the opportunity.
BUT it's the first time I've been asked to appear on TV, which is obviously an exciting prospect, so fingers crossed it's not the last!
What I read in February 2017:
(Contains Amazon affiliate links which means that if you buy through my link, I'll earn a small commission on the sale... and use it to buy more books. Hurray! For more info, read my disclosure.)
I stepped up my reading game this month because, to be honest, I needed it. I was in pursuit of a great book and, sadly, had to plough through a lot of crap to get to one. I'm not normally a very fussy reader, but the more I read, the less time I'm willing to dedicate to something sub-standard.
- "Stolen Child" by Laura Elliot. I started this last month, and bemoaned its lack of tension. As I suspected, it continued throughout the book and I didn't really feel any sense of satisfaction once it was done. Telling the tale of a woman who abducts a baby, it follows both her, as she tries to cover her tracks, and the mother as she fights to uncover the truth. A storyline with a lot of potential that, though reasonably well written, could've done with a bit of a kick up the arse at times.
- "Why Not Me?" by Mindy Kaling. I'll admit I know nothing about the woman -- I've never seen her on TV or read anything else of hers. I'm guessing that this book would have been a lot more appealing if I had. As it was, I found it very scattered, like someone had taken a bunch of letters and just lumped them all together. It starts the same way it ends -- abruptly -- and there's no real storyline to tie the whole thing together. The random, rambling musings of an admittedly funny woman. I've heard her other book, "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?" is much better, so I might give that a bash if I come across it. But I won't be beating down the door of the local bookshop to get my hands on it.
- "Reckless Magic" by Rachel Higginson. An impulse purchase a while ago because it was heavily discounted on Amazon. I can sum it up in three words: poor man's "Twilight".
- "Girl Online" by Zoe Sugg. Y'know what? Zoe's done incredibly well for herself so I'm not even gonna rag on her for this. She's taking her (well deserved) 15 minutes and running with it. Fair play. But avoid if you're not a young teenager or huge Zoella fan.
- "The Rosie Project" by Graeme Simsion. Lordy how I'm loving this! (Finally!) I'm not quite finished but I was hooked from the very beginning. Maybe I'm just bitter and cynical in my old age relatively young years, but there seems to be a significant lack of originality in modern novels. This story of a Type-A professor on a quest to find a wife by having potential partners first fill out questionnaires is a hilarious breath of fresh air.
So overall a few knock-backs this month but it's only made me even more determined than ever. Strap yourselves in tight, folks, 'cause I plan on making the next few weeks a bit of a wild ride. I'm sick of quietly plodding along; I'm ready to TAKE OVER. I'll be significantly increasing my output across all channels, and clawing my way to the top of the pile to stake my claim on the productivity and personal development pedestal.
There'll be a few fuck-ups along the way but that's all part of the fun, right?
Next up: St. Patrick's Day!