Habits, Goal Setting, Self Care, Weight Lifting, Singing and Mindfulness with Faye Watts of FUSE Accountants LLP.
What We Recommended:
Tools & Apps
- Salesforce, a CRM and Sales Platform – “In the office we use a thing called Salesforce, which is an on-line platform. All of our software is on-line based, web based, so that we can have access anywhere. That means that it gives me and the rest of the staff the opportunity to work from home or elsewhere at any time with instant access.”
- Rightmove – for inspiration “is my other favourite app because that gives me the inspiration. I love property and I love architecture and it just gives me the inspiration to want to achieve more and get a bigger house. It helps me focus … It’s almost like looking at my dream houses and that helps wire me and gets me working towards goals.”
- Country Music – “For me, I’d rather turn the music up loud in my downtime. I like country music so I turn that up as loud as I can and just get into my zone.”
- Really important to stick to a routine “Well, I have to stick to a routine because I’m rubbish otherwise. If I don’t, I don’t keep my day on track. I schedule everything I do. I have a routine in the mornings, I catch up on emails. Then, I always make sure before lunch I work on one job to get it out the door. That might be a client’s tax return, some accounting, some advice, whatever that might be.”
- Schedule telephone calls including with clients – “I tend to schedule phone calls with clients for half an hour, an hour, if I know that they want to discuss something in detail rather than get into the habit of allowing phone calls to interrupt the day and then you lose momentum.”
- Minimise distractions, especially when working at home – “I don’t like distractions in terms of when I’m at work. I think when you’re working it’s important not to use the time to put washing on in between or decide to do an hour of ironing. I think it’s key that when you’re working you’re working, no matter what environment you’re in, that you still have dedicated time slots.”
- Being clear about what’s work and what isn’t and how to switch between the two – “When I go home I go home. That’s it. Time out. I have a personal trainer that I train with twice a week and I do that within working hours. I have a 9am on a Friday morning and a 5pm on a Monday evening. The point of that is they’re in working hours because they really are a disciplined time of my day. They’re an appointment that I can’t reschedule so that my evening time is my evening time. I have a very clear line between what is work and what is life.”
- Planning and goal setting is essential – “I diarise everything wherever I can and I’ve got to-do lists in every part of my life. I’ve got to-do lists personally. I even have a list of all the restaurants I want to go to, and all the things I want to do, and the countries I want to go to, and the hotel I want to stay in. Also, from a daily point of view, I break my task list down into today’s to-do list and maybe this month’s or this year’s so I have clear goals. Though using the word ‘to-do list’ I think is a little bit harsh and it can be a bit draining. You think, “I’ve got to do that.” Whereas, perhaps having a year’s goal list or a goal plan or having today’s priorities, try and avoid the to-do list because I think that’s really onerous.”
- Self Care is key to business success – “ I looked at my health, my diet, my weight, managed to lose some weight, and really focused this year on mindfulness and stepping back from work and saying, ‘Okay, my health is just as important as my work because it effectively has a knock on effect on what I do and how I work.’ My job’s very taxing, for want of a better cliché.”
- Eating healthily is really important and it’s about working out what works for you – “Mentally, I used to suffer with a lot of brain fog and confusion if my diet was poor. I found that if I changed my way of eating, and my patterns of eating, my diet, and my whole exercise routine, that I managed to eliminate the negatives of that. I’m a bit of a low carb girl, a bit of a high protein and veg. I know what works for me. I know what doesn’t work for me and my weakness right now is coffee gelato. Then, I’m in real trouble.
- Work on improving your habits – “You lose habits really quickly if you have the right mindset. It’s just forming habits. I think you just have to be really conscious of habits that you’ve formed and the ones that make you feel positive and the ones that make you feel negative. It’s strange to me to have such discipline, but it’s discipline that forms a habit and then once you’ve got the habit it just becomes part of your life.”
- Comment from Jo “I was reading something the other day. I think it’s from the book, “The One Thing.” It was talking about how habits are formed through little pockets of self-discipline. People think that successful people are really disciplined 24/7 sort of thing. It was making the point that that isn’t necessarily the case. It’s just about having enough discipline to do that one thing and to do that one thing on a regular basis to the point it then becomes a habit. Then, you don’t need the self-discipline because you just do it. Then, you use that discipline for something else, which I thought was really interesting.”
- Doing meditative things for mindfulness
- Faye is improving her weight dead lifting “it’s also really amazing on your mind because you cannot think of anything else. You’re in the zone where you’re just pushing your body to its limit. Even though it’s not physically relaxing, it’s mentally relaxing because your brain can’t think about anything else and you just switch off”.
- And Faye also sings “There’s a lot of focus, and you’re thinking about the words, you’re thinking about the sounds, you’re thinking about the vowels, and everything when you’re singing. Again, there’s no place to think of anything else. Also, it’s so deeply relaxing and enjoyable if you make a nice sound.”
- I want to learn anything new. I like the idea of stretching my brain, not in terms of more education, but more knowledge and power and more … I think it helps you improve strength of character and your own emotional intelligence. That’s probably more important.
- Turning your phone off – “when I do get home the phone goes upside down on the hall room table. I mean, I check it occasionally because my work and my personal phone are the same. I couldn’t deal with two phones. I do just come and look at it, but I won’t look at my emails because my emails will only ever be work related, but I’ll check my texts or whatever.”
- Pets – “I’ve also got a kitten so I love to come home to my little kitten. He gives me a lot of pleasure.”
- “I have certain rules. I won’t put my mobile phone on charge in my bedroom and I don’t have a TV in my bedroom because I think the bedroom and sleeping is … It’s for two things, the bedroom. We’ll leave it at that. I like that to be a zen. It’s a very, very neutral zen.”
- Pinterest – “I love Pinterest. It’s my obsession actually because I create a mood board and all the things that inspire me. Actually, I learn from that as well. Visually I’m learning things. I think everything you learn from if you just open your mind to it.”
To Contact Faye
Jo: Today I'm interviewing Faye Watts from FUSE Accountants. Hi, Faye. Thanks for joining me.
Faye: Hi, Jo.
Jo: Great to have you here.
Faye: Thank you.
Jo: Start by telling me a bit about you, what you do, and where you do it.
Faye: Sure. I'm a tax specialist. I run my own accountancy practice. I've been in the profession for about 15 years, left the corporate world completely about five years ago to set up on my own. Initially, it was to have a bit more work-life balance but, of course, as time's progressed and I've got the practice up, brought on another staff, got another partner on board, I've been inevitably grown the practice and found it harder to have a bit more work-life balance and ended up working full-time again. At least I don't have that corporate-ness behind me and I very much enjoy what I do.
I'm a very dedicated worker so I've always found it hard to slow down and take a breather. The work-life balance didn't come very easy to me. My instinct was to go back to work and work full-time. At least working for myself there's lots of room for fun, personality, and able for me to live a normal life. As corporate as it sounds being in tax, it's actually very fun and energetic and enjoyable.
Jo: Lovely. Great. Where do you do it? Where are you based or what ...
Faye: Based up in Highgate Village full-time, but I often work from home. I spend at least one day a week working from home and I'm just a little bit outside of North London. I have a very nice easy commute. I gave up the life in Central London to work very much in leafy North London. Again, just so work-life could become a bit more enjoyable.
Jo: Yeah. Tell a bit about your morning routine. I guess it'll be different depending on whether you're in the office or at home or maybe it won't. Tell us a bit about how that runs.
Faye: Yeah. Well, I have to stick to a routine because I'm rubbish otherwise. If I don't, I don't keep my day on track. Fortunately, my husband will just give me a nudge in the morning because I'm absolutely useless at getting ready and getting myself out the door. That's my biggest weakness. Once I'm up and I'm ready and I'm out, I have quite a lot of self-discipline to get my day going. I schedule everything I do so I tend to schedule. I have a routine in the mornings, I catch up on emails. Then, I always make sure before lunch I work on one job to get it out the door. That might be a client's tax return, some accounting, some advice, whatever that might be.
I make sure my days are productive. Then, ensure that I've stuck to my goals. It doesn't always go like that. Imagine that graph that just goes nice and steady, but actually there's loads of pitfalls and loads of things that happen on the way. There's always a phone call, there's always something urgent that comes along so things don't always go as planned, but I'm very much about the discipline and scheduling things in your diary. As long as it's booked in the diary, then it has to get done. I also schedule my calls.
Jo: I was going to say, I really like the idea of getting the one job before lunch done out of the door as you put it.
Jo: That's your big things or the things that are earning you money, I guess, particularly the fee earning side of things.
Faye: Yes. Exactly. It's fee earning things, work that I make sure that I get done. Whether it produces a fee at that point in time, but the thing is that it's going towards the fee earning for that client and it's actual work rather than perhaps other stuff that I think easily ...
Jo: The busyness.
Faye: Yeah. Busyness that could easily distract you. Also, with my phone calls. That might be a phone call as well. I tend to schedule phone calls with clients for half an hour, an hour, if I know that they want to discuss something in detail rather than get into the habit of allowing phone calls to interrupt the day and then you lose momentum. Again, I'll tend to book a phone call, whether it's in the morning or the afternoon, that I know that somebody wants to discuss something. Again, that's part of the fee earning work rather than the ad-hoc.
Jo: Does the routine differ when you're not actually leaving the house, those days when you do work from home?
Faye: No, it doesn't. Apart from the fact that I probably work first thing in my pyjamas.
Jo: Me too.
Faye: Other than that, I don't like distractions in terms of when I'm at work. I think when you're working it's important not to use the time to put washing on in between or decide to do an hour of ironing. I think it's key that when you're working you’re working, no matter what environment you're in, that you still have dedicated time slots so that I know that maybe I start work on Wednesday a little bit later because I'm working from home. I don't have to get up as early, but I still have that clear deadline that I want to get a piece of work done and that I clear my emails first thing. Nothing really changes in that sense. Again, home, I won't work with the TV on. I won't allow distractions of being at home. That's more a comfort and a silence rather than the idea of being at home as I can do other things. If that makes sense.
Jo: Yeah. You mentioned leaving the corporate world to have more flexibility and then ending up growing a business so you're working full-time again. Has that evolved? Were you less structured to begin with and realised that you needed to be?
Faye: Yes. Exactly that. I started very regimented. We have time sheets in the corporate world and you have to fulfil your seven hours a day and a lot more than that in real terms.
Faye: I went to do a little bit of consultancy and I was doing ad-hoc work. I thought this is great. I can see my mom, I can go shopping, I can do all the things I wanted to do and have a bit of down time. Actually, you find that the day just floats along and you don't get things done. I'm quite a workaholic and I needed that discipline. I needed to get back to going, "Okay, I've got diarized appointments. I've got things to do. I've got commitments to clients. I've got deadlines." I think I needed that and that's what drove me back.
Where the difference is now for my work-life balance, when I go home I go home. That's it. Time out. I have a personal trainer that I train with twice a week and I do that within working hours. I have a 9:00 AM on a Friday morning and a 5:00 PM on a Monday evening. The point of that is they're in working hours because they really are a disciplined time of my day. They're an appointment that I can't reschedule so that my evening time is my evening time. I have a very clear line between what is work and what is life.
Jo: I really need to listen to that. I don't have clear lines. I'm very poor at that, but then I justify it to myself the other way which is that I do get to do some of the things in the day that I want to do, but then I have to push things into the evening as a result.
Faye: Yeah. I think that's a fair compromise. Of course, I'm not perfect and I do the same. If there are things and other errands I need to run on my Wednesday, I will compensate that by doing something either later into the day or working ... Not so much, I won't push myself in the hours but I just make sure that the time spent is dedicated and I don't allow myself to pussyfoot around and do bits and pieces of nothing. I try to have that discipline that as a reward or a compensation for Wednesday afternoon ... I had to buy a sink a few weeks ago.
Jo: You know how to live, don't you?
Faye: Exactly. In that time, I booked it. That time I've got to go and buy this sink. Of course, I'm out of the office. Rather than going, "Okay, I've taken three hours off and I've got to make three hours up." It was what would I have done in that afternoon? I'll make sure I get that done on Thursday and then stick to realistic goals rather than it just being I've got to work myself to the ground because what's the point of owning your business if you're just going to work yourself to the ground?
Jo: Yeah. Tell us a bit more about how you manage your tasks and your to-do lists and your time. You've obviously talked about scheduling things being very important to you and that focus.
Jo: What else do you do?
Faye: Well, I diarise everything wherever I can and I've got to-do lists in every part of my life. I've got to-do lists personally. I even have a list of all the restaurants I want to go to, and all the things I want to do, and the countries I want to go to, and the hotel I want to stay in. Also, from a daily point of view, I break my task list down into today's to-do list and maybe this month's or this year's so I have clear goals. I mean, using the word to-do list I think is a little bit harsh and it can be a bit draining. You think, "I've got to do that." Whereas, perhaps having a year's goal list or a goal plan or having today's priorities, try and avoid the to-do list because I think that's really onerous.
Faye: I use my tasks in my phone that links into my Outlook. I use my notes as well in my phone that then also links to Outlook. I use my diary to schedule times where I need to do a certain job. Everyone in my team as well knows that I'm busy doing something or other so that they can either divert calls or reschedule certain things around my time as well. It works. I think you've just got to be a bit strict with your time frame. That's the same with my personal training, because it's in my diary there's no flexibility there. I won't change it for meetings because that's so much an important part of my work as it is for my focus on my health. I leave that as an absolute important meeting.
Jo: Yeah. Tell me a bit more about the keeping healthy thing. I mean, scheduling in exercise tells me that you've got some focus on that already. Are there other things that you're doing around how you look after yourself, your sleep, your energy, your nutrition, that sort of thing?
Faye: Yes. Again, back in corporate world I think you just work in a very cut-throat environment where you eat to live and you work to live as well. There's not a lot of living in that situation.
Then, following on from that, when I went to a non-structured environment of being more consultancy and doing a little bit of work, I started to eat at ad-hoc times of the day. I was over-eating, put on weight, and neglected my health and my body. Then, now I've got to that full circle. I'm back to I work full-time, I'm disciplined, and dedicated, but something switched for me in the last year where I had to really, really look inside myself and deal with my own self before I could take my business any way further in any event. Looked at my health, my diet, my weight, managed to lose some weight, and really focused this year on mindfulness and stepping back from work and saying, "Okay, my health is just as important as my work because it effectively has a knock on effect on what I do and how I work." My job's very taxing, for want of a better cliché.
Jo: Pun intended.
Faye: Exactly. Definitely. Mentally, I used to suffer with a lot of brain fog and confusion if my diet was poor. I found that if I changed my way of eating, and my patterns of eating, my diet, and my whole exercise routine, that I managed to eliminate the negatives of that. I'm a bit of a low carb girl, a bit of a high protein and veg. I know what works for me. I know what doesn't work for me and my weakness right now is coffee gelato. Then, I'm in real trouble.
I'm certainly not perfect and I certainly have the odd bad day, but I've got to that stage now where I know what's working for me and I think it's key for me to get the best performance out of my job and my work that I have to eat sensibly. That's the difficulty when you work from home. You can end up eating erratically and not exercising because you've got up in your jimjams and you have a coffee, grab a bit of toast, and then you have something at 11:00, and then you eat at 3:00 instead of having a dedicated lunch.
Faye: I think you can be really in danger of slipping into it not being as productive as it could be.
Jo: It's that whole not getting out of the house thing as well. That's the one thing that I have to try and schedule things I need to do like go to the post office or go to the bank just to actually force myself to go for the walk, even though I love it when I'm out there, and I listen to my podcasts and everything else. I always have other things I could be doing and it makes it hard to tear myself away.
You said earlier on in that section something switched for you in the last year. Was there something that particularly made that happen and can you identify what that was?
Faye: Yeah. I can. For me, in tax it's a really very mentally demanding job. January is always inevitably our worst time of year. We get to the 31st of January and obviously trying to get to the filing deadline, it's almost like you hit a brick wall and your energy levels, everything. Mentally you're exhausted. For me, I'd really hit that brick wall where I think my relationship was starting to suffer. Everything was suffering because I was just working so hard and I realised that my health was suffering because of the stress levels of work. I knew that I couldn't really change my work, but what I could do was change myself and how I adapted to stress.
Something just switched and I got a personal trainer in February earlier this year who was a bit of a coach as well as a personal trainer. I need to get in shape. I need to change my mindset, but I wasn't sure how or what. I started to just teach myself techniques of just 10 minutes of calm a day, or more breathing, or all the things I knew at the back of my mind I should be doing. I actually started to implement them and I thought, "Okay, I need to change." Little by little, I am where I am now. I'm able to be fit and health and do my job. I'm a hell of a lot better. I won't say I'm looking forward to January, but I think I'll be able to cope with it better this year.
Jo: Yeah. As you say, it's that bit about once you start to see results, whatever those results may be, with the things that you're doing it's much easier to continue with them, isn't it?
Faye: Sure. Yeah. It's a roller coaster so to speak. You just start on healthy eating, and you start to feel good, you start to take your vitamin Bs, you feel amazing, you've got all this energy. Then, if you go and have a white bread sandwich you're like, "Oh, I feel rotten." You lose habits really quickly if you have the right mindset. If you have a positive mindset ... I think you have to have an end goal. My end goal was I've got to feel mentally healthy, I've got to feel good about myself, I've got to feel happy. All those things that were creating a little bit of an negative feeling I was like, "Uh-uh, they've got to go. A big line through." It's just forming habits. I don't think you need to work with a psychologist to do it. I think you just have to be really conscious of habits that you've formed and the ones that make you feel positive and the ones that make you feel negative. If that makes sense.
Jo: Yeah. I was reading something the other day. I think it's from the book, "The One Thing." It was talking about how habits are formed through little pockets of self-discipline. People think that successful people are really disciplined 24/7 sort of thing. It was making the point that that isn't necessarily the case. It's just about having enough discipline to do that one thing and to do that one thing on a regular basis to the point it then becomes a habit. Then, you don't need the self-discipline because you just do it. Then, you use the discipline for something else sort of thing, which I thought was really interesting.
Faye: I think that's really true because I'm a very creative person at heart and I'm not what people would assume of accountants as being left brain. I'm actually not. I'm a very flippant and flamboyant. It's strange to me to have such discipline, but it's a discipline that forms a habit and then once you've got the habit it just becomes part of your life. You can do things easier with more clarity. You can almost churn work out better because your brain's in the right place, you're in the right mindset, rather than it feeling like a chore. Whereas, I think if you're doing it without that mindset or without forming the habit, things can become a chore and effort. If that makes sense.
Jo: Yeah. Interesting you say that because people I think would quite often think that I don't do detail, for example, for very much the same reason you just said, which is that outgoing ... I can be quite flippant too, but that real smiley, happy, flippant, just enjoy yourself type of style, and yet I am very much about detail to the point of sadness, particularly around getting organised and things like that. As you say, that isn't the same as that personality that people would see. It's interesting that you say that because I think in some ways by creating those, as you say, that discipline, those habits, and that detail of stuff happening, it frees you up to have that more flamboyant lifestyle. It never quite sounds quite what I mean, but ...
Faye: Yeah. No, that's exactly the thing. It gives you the energy to be yourself and have your personality shine and be the person you want to be, rather than having to focus on things that don't come naturally to you. I won't lie, if I'm sitting with one of the guys in the office and they've read some legislation that they think is really exciting and they're reading it, it's like, "Yeah, yeah. Just tell me what it means. Just get to the chase. Tell me what you're trying to tell me. Tell me quickly. I don't have time in my brain to engage and listen to all the small bit." I'm a bit like that with tax legislation. It doesn't excite me reading all the small print and the different sections and so on.
Faye: What comes naturally to me is the let's get to the point. Can you, can't you? Can you do it this way? Can you do it that way? If not, great. Move on.
Faye: I won't divulge into the legislation and look at the small print. I think some people get off on that, but that's just not me.
Jo: I know exactly what you mean. My husband tries to explain things to me. He's a Oracle Developer so he's quite techie and that sort of thing. He'll start explaining things and I'll be going, "I don't need all the explanation. Just tell me what I need to do."
Faye: Just tell me. Yeah. My clients are like that with me. They don't want to know what piece of legislation that affects them. They don't care for it. They go, "Faye, just tell me what to do."
Faye: “Just give me the advice I need.” That's what they want to hear as well, which is probably why I get on quite well with most of my clients, I hope, is because I have that same mindset. I don't want to concentrate too much on the detail. I want to focus on what gets the results and what's important.
Jo: Yeah. Cool. You talked about mindfulness and you've already talked about spending some time thinking about breathing during the day to calm things down. What else do you do to relax? It's, I guess, something that you probably think about from what you've told me already.
Faye: Yeah. Sometimes I don't get to relax, but generally speaking weight training for me in my two personal training sessions, as much as it's really tough ... At the moment I'm dead lifting 80 kilos and I'm working towards 100. That's really tough and it's really tough on your body, but it's also really amazing on your mind because you cannot think of anything else. You're in the zone where you're just pushing your body to its limit. Even though it's not physically relaxing, it's mentally relaxing because your brain can't think about anything else and you just switch off and I just do as I'm told. He says to me, "Do this. Do this." I just do it. That's really relaxing. I also sing.
Jo: So I do.
Faye: Do you? Oh, great.
Jo: That's my relaxation. When you were saying switch off. I don't know what sort of singing you do. I do choral singing and I will say you can't think of anything other than what you're doing when you're doing it.
Faye: Yeah. Exactly. Also, you're engaging your breathing. You've got to get deep into your breath.
Faye: There's a lot of focus, and you're thinking about the words, you're thinking about the sounds, you're thinking about the vowels, and everything when you're singing. Again, there's no place to think of anything else. Also, it's so deeply relaxing and enjoyable if you make a nice sound. It's a good feeling. Even if you're singing in the bath. I mean, I have lessons, but it's a good feeling, I think, to sing. I think that's incredibly relaxing. When I play my music in the house, it has to be full on. It will be so loud so I can sing along to it and not be heard. I find that relaxing.
Faye: Although the mindfulness is subconsciously there, I'm conscious that my mind has the power to make its choices. I don't like silence and I don't like quiet tranquillity and stillness. For me, my relaxation needs to be something where my brain switches off but where I'm still active.
Jo: Absolutely. That's why I am struggling with the concept of mediation and why I don't want to do yoga, even though I know they ought to be things that I'm doing.
Faye: Yeah. Those freak me out actually. Yoga I find I'm looking around the room, "Okay, what's next? Where do I put my leg now?" I can't concentrate. I can't get into the zone. I don't have a zen within me that wants to zen into the yoga. I find meditation a bit strange and a bit alien. Someone once said to me once, "Maybe you should meditate." That just freaked me out. I thought, "I've got to start singing phrases out. That's just going to freak me." Actually, meditation can be anything. I can be throwing a tennis ball against the wall and catching it repetitively and that's quite meditative. That would be more my meditation is doing something repetitively or a jigsaw puzzle where you're just focused on something small and something specific. I guess that's what meditation is.
Jo: Yes. Yeah, exactly. What about learning and improving yourself? You sound like you're on the lookout for these things. The things that you're telling me sound like the things that I research as well, so I guess you're probably reading and trying to find things out on a regular basis. What do you do to improve?
Faye: Yeah. I'm very open-minded so you can give me ... I want to learn anything new. I like the idea of stretching my brain, not in terms of more education, but more knowledge and power and more ... I think it helps you improve strength of character and your own emotional intelligence. That's probably more important. I don't read a book and go, "Right. That's it. I'm going to follow that rule." I tend to absorb things when I don't realise that. Then, amalgamate all my own different rules that I've created from all these different sources and learn from bits and piecemeal, if that makes any sense.
Inspiration-wise, if I'm inspired by somebody's story, whether it's a sports person, an artist, whatever it might be, I will take something from that, probably subconsciously, and develop off the back of that. For me, it's inspiration. If I'm inspired by something, someone, even Pinterest. I mean, I'm learning I love Pinterest. It's my obsession actually because I create a mood board and all the things that inspire me. Actually, I learn from that as well. Visually I'm learning things. I think everything you learn from if you just open your mind to it.
Jo: What about particular books or films or you mentioned music? Do you have any that you'd recommend to the listeners?
Faye: Well, I'm a bit of a fantasist so I don't read anything academic or intelligent. I'm a bit creative. For me, it's imaginative stories, or action, romance, comedy, and things like that. I very rarely read unless it's the occasional business book. One book I read not so long ago was ‘More Balls Than Most’
Jo: That's Laura Morgan, isn't it?
Faye: Laura Morgan. Brilliant. I loved her, loved her attitude. Not many books would I read. I've got the Sheryl Sandberg "Lean In" on my iPad. I keep threatening to read it, but it's a lot of effort to read a book but I've heard so many good things and I want to read that like. For me, I'd rather turn the music up loud in my downtime. I like country music so I turn that up as loud as I can and just get into my zone.
Faye: If I do go on holiday, that's the time when I read a book. I'll read a Grisham, some crime thriller, or something like that. I think there's a lot of learning to be done there. You learn about legal systems, albeit a lot of them in the US, but you learn a lot from books. Also, I might read business books, but I would say nothing springs to mind as being something I would recommend other than losing yourself in whatever it is that you enjoy.
Faye: Music and film. I mean, when I watch film it's very visual for me. I just sit and switch off and I get engrossed in something because I'm not having to think or do. Whereas, reading a book I'm thinking and doing and that strikes me as effort.
Jo: Yeah. I can see that. I do lots of reading and I do spend time making notes and thinking, "Oh, that'll be good for my newsletter" and going off to Evernote to make a note about what it was I read. As you say, that then creates a bit of work and not pleasure! I don't think that when I'm reading a story book though.
Faye: Yeah. I used to write music when I was younger and there was something really exciting about that. You're inspired by something and you just write words down or poems. I mean, they're all rubbish, but again it's that you learn from things, you absorb things, and then you get it on paper, or you sing it, or hum it, whatever it is. I guess that's how I learn.
Jo: Yeah. On the topic of recommendations, we talked about some of the tools that you used, Outlook, and the notes, and the tasks. Are there any other tools or apps that you'd recommend?
Faye: Yeah. In the office we use a thing called Salesforce, which is an on-line platform. It's actually a CRM platform.
Faye: We use it as our central database. It is on-line based. All of our software is on-line based, web based, so that we can have access anywhere. That means that it gives me and the rest of the staff the opportunity to work from home or elsewhere at any time with instant access. Now, Salesforce I can get on my phone. I've got instant data on it. I really love it as an app. Whether it's Salesforce or something equally similar that has your business data at fingertip because there's nothing worse than you're out and about and you need something really quickly on the phone and you can't get access to it about a client.
Pinterest is my other one, as I said, because there's a lot of visual release there and it gives me a lot of inspiration of goals, even down to recipes. I think, "Oh, God. That looks really good. I want to cook that."
Faye: Pictures of people in the gym and I think, "I want to do those. I want to do that" or something. Pinterest is a very good app for me because it clears my mind and gets all my ideas out there visually. We have a tax app that we use and we've got our own one which gives us all the tax rates. For me in my job I need that always. If I'm out with a client and we want to look at different rates of tax for different things, at least I can refer back to that. That's pretty essential for what I do.
Rightmove is my other favorite app because that gives me the inspiration. I love property and I love architecture and it just gives me the inspiration to want to achieve more and get a bigger house. It helps me focus in my ... It's almost like looking at my dream houses and that helps wire me and gets me working towards goals.
Jo: It's interesting people do share houses on Rightmove sometimes on Facebook and I haven't really thought about it before because people who I know aren't looking to move or they're sharing houses that aren't anywhere near where they are based. Now you say that, I guess they must be looking at it, as you say, for inspiration and just sometimes nosiness.
Jo: That's where it's coming from. I hadn't even thought about that. You're opening up a whole new realm for me.
Faye: Well, I think there's a fine line between what could be perceived as being envious of somebody else's home, which I would say I'm not, but it's more about I love that. Right, that's it. I want to work really hard because I love that home. I love the idea of that fountain in the hallway or whatever it might be. My mind goes into this, "Okay, well what do you have to achieve in life to get a fountain in the hallway?" Rather than, "I want what they've got" and feeling bitter about it. It's really about gets me quite excited to think, "Okay, I really want something like that. I want a garden that size". It's not just because it's ... Therefore, work is not driving me or money's not driving me to work so much. There is still a goal of I want a bigger house, a nicer house, I want something. I'm quite tactile. I want things. I want touchable things. I want tangible things. I'm a bit of a child like that. I'm a bit of a dreamer as well. I think there's no harm in that, providing it's healthy.
Jo: Yeah. I'll have to check out that site myself. We talked at the beginning about some morning routines. Do you have an evening routine? You talk about work finishes, full stop, which clearly is the beginning of the evening.
Jo: Do you then do certain things as far as calming down for ready to sleep and that sort of thing or is it just whatever happens that evening?
Faye: Slightly. I'm slightly a bit mish mash in my evenings. If I want to eat out, I'll eat out. If I want to eat in, I'll eat in. If I don't want to eat, I won't eat. It's very much how I feel, but when I do get home the phone goes upside down on the hall room table. I mean, I check it occasionally because my work and my personal phone are the same. I couldn't deal with two phones. I do just come and look at it, but I won't look at my emails because my emails will only ever be work related, but I'll check my texts or whatever.
I've also got a kitten so I love to come home to my little kitten. He gives me a lot of pleasure. I guess home for me is downtime. Whatever that might be. Whether that's a bath or whether that's watching TV to a point where I go to a zombie. I have certain rules. I won't put my mobile phone on charge in my bedroom and I don't have a TV in my bedroom because I think the bedroom and sleeping is ... It's for two things, the bedroom. We'll leave it at that. I like that to be a zen. It's a very, very neutral zen. I even have the majority of my clothes in another room. It's a very tranquil space so that when I go to bed I'm in that zone. Then, when I'm in the lounge it's the TV room. We don't eat in the lounge, for example. I prefer to eat at the table.
I guess it's slightly disciplined, but they're subconscious disciplines and they're just the way I live my life and the way I like to live. Things become quite separate. Eating, is a meal time we sit and have dinner at the dining table. Watching TV, watching a film is in the lounge in comfort, lights down, candles on. Bed is bed. I do try to not look at the internet, the computer, the phone too close to bedtime. I think it's quite distracting. I used to have a Sudoku habit and also the other one with Candy Crush on the phone and I used to do that before bed.
Jo: Yeah. I went through that phase.
Faye: Oh, it's awful because in the middle of the night you find your head's moving red bits, yellow bits, and you're moving these pieces around in your head lying in bed and thinking, "Oh my God. This has got to stop." I went through real cold turkey having to get rid of the Candy Crush phase and so now it's ...
Jo: …counting sheep.
Faye: Yeah. Now, it's a total computer, light-free zone.
Jo: Lovely. What about if things don't go right for you during the day? What happens then? How do you deal with those less good times?
Faye: I think simply I would just start the next day as a separate one, as a new day. I tend to not dwell on what's happened yesterday. I tend to just deal with that. That was yesterday. There's nothing I can do about that. Tomorrow's a new day. Tomorrow I'll be great. It might be diet. It might be I haven't got stuff done. Whatever it might be, there's always things at the end of the day I think, "Today was really not a great day, so just make the next day count. Make the next day a better day."
Faye: I tend to live by that.
Jo: Yeah, I like that. I think because sometimes as well it's just acknowledging that it was a bit rubbish and that that isn't going to carry on so it's in the past sort of thing.
Faye: Yeah. That's okay. It doesn't mean that the rest of your life is going to be rubbish. It's just a bad day and you just have to go, "It's fine. I'm like everybody else that's just having a bad day. It's perfectly acceptable that this went wrong. I cried or this happened or whatever it might be." Just move on the next day. Just a fresh pair of eyes will see things. Sleep always helps.
Faye: Sleep it off and then the next day you see things with clarity. Same as when you're working on a project. If it's not going right, just stop. Walk away from it and then come back to it later or the next day because you'll make yourself ill trying to do something that your brain's not in the mindset of. I used to do it. I used to get in a panic and get very stressed out and very almost hyperventilating about a job that I need to get done. It's very urgent. It has to be done right now. Then, that was, again, when my mindfulness came in. I thought, "This is ridiculous. I'm punishing myself. Nobody else is doing this to me. It's me doing it to myself." I think you just have to learn to go, "I don't want to do that anymore. Okay, I can't deal with it now or it's gone wrong. Okay, tomorrow I'll crack down and sort it out." It's quite pragmatic.
Jo: Yeah. On a day when you do end the day knowing you've had the chance to live more, and that's when I talk about you doing the things you want to do, not the things that you have to do or that you feel that you should do, what have you done? What does that day look like?
Faye: I've probably ticked off something on my to-do list. On one of them, whether it's my goal list or my dream list. If I've punched the air and it's one of those, "Yes, I've just done it today", I've probably finished something practical. It might have been we've ended an HMRC inquiry. It might be work related. I've got a closing letter from an inquiry and I feel really good about that from the point of view of the client so there's no more hassle. Or, it may be that I have just seen or done something that I really wanted to do and that I've enjoyed it. Or, it could be I've painted the lounge that I said I've been wanting to do for weeks. It's normally a tick in the box. If I know that I can almost cross something out, tick the box, or delete it, then that's been a good day.
Jo: Yeah. Excellent. Well, we've come to the end of the interview. It's been really enjoyable and interesting how many things we have similar views and experiences with.
Faye: Thank you.
Jo: It's been really enjoyable speaking to you, Faye. How can people find out more about you and connect with you?
Faye: Well, I'm on Twitter. That's another one of my favorite apps, which I do actually dip in and out of, but I am there, @taxandtea. Strangely enough, I don't like tea so I don't know how that came about. I have a huge collection of vintage china tea cups so that's where the tea element came in.
Faye: My firm is FUSE Accountants and I'm a partner there. I'm now building my own website, which is FayeWatts.com and that will feature lots of different articles that I'm writing. I've just interviewed an IFA trying to do a bit of a profile on women in finance as well. I can be found also on LinkedIn.
Faye: Yeah. Anyone's welcome to connect with me.
Jo: That's great. Thank you so much.
Faye: Thank you, Jo.