Not just any New Year! Personal and professional plans for 2016 from our co-founder

Wednesday, 13 January 2016, 17:15 | Category : General
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You can’t open a website or a magazine without reading those three dirty words – New Year’s Resolution. Every January they are bandied around at home, work and let’s be honest in every newsroom and PR room in the country; after all it’s not like us PR folk to miss a good milestone to hang our client’s hat on.

This year I thought long and hard about it. I’ve done all sorts with varying degrees of success; started yoga (moderately successful if you can call once a month a success), quit smoking (successful to a point – that point being usually at 10pm on a Saturday after a particularly stressful week of school runs, work and one too many spritzers), quit alcohol (not at all successful – who was I kidding?). This year with children who are 10 and 9 as an audience – there’s nothing like a gobby tween to keep a check on my fickle behaviour – I decided to do some resolutions that would actually a) mean something, b) achieve something and c) be attainable. So, naturally I crossed alcohol off the list straight away and started thinking differently.

Putting myself first:

As a working mother of 3 (not counting a geriatric pair of dogs and two guinea pigs), I’ve decided to give some time back to myself. Now both Nicky and I work part time, but when you run a company, part-time very quickly becomes all-time. If you aren’t checking your email on your day off, you are worrying about your clients, your team and what’s happening next with the economy. In short, running your own business – even with the stellar management team we have at The PR Network – is no picnic and not for the faint-hearted.

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Finding time for ‘me’ is about working smarter. I am now fitting in a 30 minute run on Mondays, a yoga class on Thursdays and using former PRN client MyFitnessPal to track it all. Every day I am trying to spend ten minutes meditating using the fantastic Headspace app. They suggest you do this every morning, but that doesn’t work for me – I have 3 kids to get up and out for school and nursery before I can turn my laptop on at 8.30. Even a week in, Headspace is helping me breathe, relax and focus on the now. 10 minutes felt like a long time to start with, but now I am relishing every second. If you haven’t tried it, download it from the App Store and give it a go. It might mean I am checking email a bit later into the evening, but because I am awake, motivated and better organised, it’s not taking over my evenings either!

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Positivity:
It’s very easy to get melancholy in January. It’s suddenly colder than cosy Christmas, everything seems much harder and just downright miserable. It’s very easy for that to seep into every part of your life. So, what did team PR Network decide to do? Throw a party! We are celebrating everything about The PR Network in January. It’s our 10th birthday and there is no better time than to get glitzed up and get our friends, family, colleagues and clients together for a good old knees up. If you haven’t received your invite, drop us a line.

We’ve decided to turn a rather boring, low month into the best month of the year. We are using January as the time to start lots of great initiatives. Watch this space for our new PR Club which will be another innovating first for the industry, and – we believe – the answer to lots of our senior associates’ prayers. January for The PR Network is going to be the month of action, progress and buckets of optimism.

At home I am using Gratitude App to try and feel positive about every single day, and I’ve noticed that much of that is also flowing into work. By just writing down three things I am grateful for each day really helps me get up the next day feeling great and for me, work is at the heart of a lot of it!

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Giving something back:
I’ve lost count of the time I’ve met associates who have had great PR careers and feel they now want to use their experience to give something back. Over Christmas I’ve had the same epiphany and have spent some time trying to find something that fits with my skillset and bandwidth.

Nicky and I are now in our second year as volunteer co-chairs of the PRCA Independent Consultants Group for the PRCA. We are both looking forward to what we can achieve with the group in 2016, with the main priority being to put our sector (senior freelance consultants) on the PR map. We are helping senior PR folk get access to the best tools to do their jobs, placing them in the best roles and giving them the chance to run the best PR campaigns. 2016 is all about doing all we can to take the group forward. If you want to get involved, take a look at our Group page.

 

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Secondly, I’m starting to get personally involved with Only Connect  – a charity that helps rehabilitate female offenders in the UK. Last year they succeeded into getting 65% into education and employment as they left prison. Their mantra of “hand shake not hand out” really resonates with me. They are looking for people to help mentor their growing client base. I’m hoping to work with my local women’s prison to help ready some of their offenders for life on the outside. I’ll be sure to blog about this again, so if you want to are interested in hearing more, I’d love to hear from you.

So far, on my third week in I’m still sticking to everything and strangely, it’s starting to feel like a habit and not one of my “latest phases and crazes” my husband calls the many activities I’ve taken up and dropped (cycling, life-drawing, horse-riding… the list goes on). Feel free to hold me to it!

Bring on 2016!

George

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