Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Global Entrepreneurship Week: The Awesome Power of Stickers

In honour of GEW, I decided to release a free e-guide and write some juicy blog posts about my own business journey. I'm going to start in a pretty random place. Although I have a list of all the topics I want to cover, I couldn't resist the urge to write about stickers after my latest Paperchase haul came in the post yesterday. Call it the nagging insistence of the inner child..

Pretty much all heart-centred small business owners have a memorised list of the tools and resources they swear by. Quite often you'll hear entrepreneurs talking about the apps they use to keep them organised, set reminders or plan their sales, price changes and blog posts. These apps do look pretty splendid but they're just not for me.

There are two reasons for this.

The first is that I am a super visual person, especially when it comes to scheduling my time and prioritising things. I love stationery and nothing really seems real until it's written down somewhere. I've adored the sensation of writing by hand since I was knee-high and although I've managed to adopt the useful habit of committing creative text straight to the laptop these days, some things just need to be married to the page. I love to look through a diary at what's coming up in the next few days. I get a much better sense of the timescale when everything is divided into segments in front of me 'in the real world' rather than in digital format.

The second reason is that I worked in offices for ten years and always used some kind of calendar or scheduling software to book appointments or meetings. This has made the notion of keeping my 'important business stuff' on a computer kind of dull and oppressive. It just reminds me of working for someone else and using clever mindfulness techniques to avoid clock-watching or wishing for Friday afternoon to just get here already!

Stationery is joyful to  me. I have always loved that feeling of purchasing a new project book, even if I didn't yet know what it was for exactly. (I often dream up a new project in the middle of the night when the urgency to get started is serious and there are no stationery shops open. Having one or two 'spares' is therefore essential.) So many of my archetypes are switched on by stationery - my inner child, my inner artist, my inner teacher, my inner student, my inner sage, my inner scientist..

Like most people on planet Earth, I have my 'off' days. I have days which don't exactly lend themselves to knuckling down and getting things done. I have days when I need a little nudge in the right direction. I have days when I just want to pull the covers back over my head. Those are the days when I'm so glad that I use stickers. (No, seriously, I really love them.)

I use stickers to place next to my time-sensitive appointments and deadlines. I use stickers to mark any plans to meet up with friends and family. I use stickers to plan release dates for projects and highlight the beginning and end of sales - handy reminders to help me keep my intentions in mind. Sometimes I just stick a glittery unicorn on the segment for Monday and write, 'It's Monday, baby! Take it by the balls!' 

I used to get stickers from the teachers when I did some good work at school. I used to get a sticker from the dentist after my appointments as a kid. I know lots of people had 'chore sheets' in their homes which were filled in with stickers, or they received stickers from their parents for good behaviour. Stickers are just so loaded with awesome associations.

Stickers brighten up the terrain of the diary and make me feel bright and fuzzy when I open it up. They make me feel as though it's time to do something. If you use a paper planner or diary, don't let it become synonymous with pain or drudgery - get some stickers and go wild!