Holly Scott Donaldson: Trello, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Podcasts, Pen and Paper and Mindfulness 

Trello, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Podcasts, Pen and Paper and Mindfulness with Holly Scott Donaldson of Back 2 Biz magazine and the Back to Life programme, back in 2016.

What We Recommended:

Tools & Apps

Trello – “Trello I’m using for my big picture, what are those higher level tasks? Trello is very interactive. You’re making your little blocks of projects, but you can actually move them around your board depending on how you’ve arranged a column. If you have planning, doing, done, or to do, you can pull that task with your mouse and drag it into the relevant column. It’s very easy and interactive.

Slack – “Slack is something that I’ve been introduced to, and I’ve been loving. It’s a sort of project management communication tool. Apparently it’s one of the fastest growing pieces of software around at the minute. It’s very good if you are part of a team of people that are all virtual. It helps you not just instant message each other, but the whole group can share documents and see each other notes, or you can do them as private notes.”

Achievr – “There is a mobile app called Achievr which helps me with routine, ironically. What are the routines of the most successful people around? What do they do every day? And what do I need to do every day? Like the daily walk, spending twelve minutes doing mindfulness. Some of those non-work related, but success related activities I track on this app. That’s making me keep aware of the things that I often forget, such as mindfulness, which is a key part to success.”

Other Resources

Jin Shin Jyutsu – “Astrid Kauffman is a friend of mine, and she’s also a practitioner of something called Jin Shin Jyutsu, which is an ancient Japanese therapy I think, which deals with your own body’s energy levels. If you’ve got pain, you hold yourself a certain way and you will relieve the pain. For example, you hold the outsides of your ankles if you’ve got a headache, and the headache will go away.

I never gave myself into the therapy until my diagnosis. Actually, while I going through the diagnosis she said, “Okay, come and see me. I’m going to put you on the couch and I’m going to do these treatments on you.” I started to drift off into … I really understand what giving yourself over to peace and tranquility is, stopped thinking about everything. I think it’s such a big monster sitting in my head, I completely blocked it and thought of nothing.

Her treatments brought such a calmness and understanding and ease with it. It saved my sanity, it allowed me to get rid of that adrenaline junkie fix and to look at life through a completely different lens. Everybody who knows me before, during, and after said I’m a completely different person now.”

Influential People in the Entrepreneurial World – “I stay very close to a few people that I think are massively influential. That’s Simon Coulson here in the UK, and Ed Dale I mentioned in Australia. Through Simon Coulson there’s quite a good network of entrepreneurs, like Andy Harrington and Nick James


Key Person of Influence by Daniel Priestley – “I found his book amazing”


African Music – “I’m South African by birth, and I have African music in my bones as it were, and I’ve put on my African deep music and just lay there and think of nothing.”


Radio 4 – “I listen to Radio 4 driving around, because there will be topics that are completely out of my normal sphere and make my mind think.

Podcasts in General – “There are so many brilliant inspirational podcasts out there that when I’m doing the school commute or back from the school commute, I will listen to podcasts to get in the right head zone.”


Time Management – “I manage my day based off a spreadsheet, literally giving myself half-hour slots from 6AM to about 9-10PM. The first thing I do every week is block out where that children time is so that I’m not trying to be two people, I am one hundred percent with them. I’m pretty flexible in how I manage the day so long as I pre-planned it on my spreadsheet. Meaning, I’ve looked at the tasks that are mandatory through the week, I look at my spreadsheet and find the blocks of time that are open. Are not with the children, or I’m not having to go to the dentist, or I don’t have a work call scheduled. I literally look for pockets of time where I can fill in the tasks. That gives me my structure for the rest of the week.”

Starting the Day Well – “My aim is to be up an hour before they’re usually stirring. I do have about an hour to gather my thoughts, have a cup of coffee in the bath, think about my work day and plan my own agenda. That doesn’t always happen, but the definite thing is I am fully focused on them [children] until 9.”

Using Pen and Paper for Creativity – “When it comes down to being creative, I am a strong believer in stepping away from technology and using pen and paper. My brain operates differently when I’m looking at pen and paper and having to use my hand to write down than when I’m typing on a computer. I go into much more a mechanical mode at that point, and I lose the edge. I stop creative thinking, and I become functional.”

Writing Discipline – “Also being very disciplined about not stopping writing. Even if you can’t think of what to say, writing things like, “This is a stupid exercise” sort of keeps the brain ticking. Suddenly you’ll find something trips, and you’ll have a whole load of content you need to write down. Unless you keep going it doesn’t happen. It’s like this beautiful door that you step through. What most of us do is sit and think, not doing anything with our hands, and not do anything except try to force the thought, and it doesn’t come. This continuous writing plays a trick on you and helps bring that flow through. It really works.”

Kanban – “a Japanese task management system. Using yellow sticky notes on a big whiteboard in a set structure, it helps you to very clearly pick out the task that needs to be done by the value it’s going to add to your business going forward. That’s changed my life. It really does help me. Not just the things I like doing, but the things that are really going to add value to my week and to my business.

You have to make sure that every sticky note is at the most granular level of any task. We all tend to do our planning at quite a high level, like complete the website, or contact clients. Actually when you break that down as about six or seven mini-tasks underneath all of that. Ed Dale’s taught to me to really not just look at the big task, get down to that granular level and see how many of those I can physically, realistically, get through my week. They go into a holding column for the week. On a daily basis I only ever pick up one sticky note, but it in my actual doing box, do that box until I can move it to done. I pull one task at a time on a daily basis.”

Stopping the Chaotic Lifestyle – “About over a year ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At that moment everything stops. You go through surgery, you go through treatment, and you have to recover from the treatment. I made a massive promise to myself, to my family, to my children, that I would stop that chaotic lifestyle. Everything was run on adrenalin. Now relaxation and time are very important things to me. The first primary is special family time.”

Gardening for Relaxation – “I’m in a rented house, but it has a wonderful garden that I’m responsible for, which I’ve always found a burden because it had to be done, it had to be done, when actually now I’ve chosen to go back into it. Spring is here, and it’s such a wonderful stress reliever. I make sure I’m not really thinking work while I’m in there. Creative ideas come, you can never stop that. But I’m certainly not thinking about deadlines and all that horror.”

Mindfulness – “very definitely a big one. I continue with my Jin Shin Jyutsu with Astrid. She’s got a website called flowsforlife.com where she puts lots of self-help techniques. I don’t physically to see her, I can actually practise it at home.”

Sleep – “Sleep, Sleep, major thing. From the times of that adrenaline junkie day, I don’t even know how many hours I slept if I ever really properly slept. I’d wake up with ideas and have to write them down and never really switched off. If I need to go to sleep I will take a half an hour or an hour, and I make sure I’m getting at least eight hours every night. Otherwise I crumble and I get a stomach ache. It started to physically affect me, which I never thought I’d feel before. I never felt before. Maybe I did and I didn’t notice it. Those are my warning signals, my stomach starts to be sore, and I’m like, “Okay. That’s fatigue. Stop, take care.” I Listen to myself.

There are days when I can sit in a chair and fall asleep anywhere. I use some of Astrid’s techniques from the Flows For Life website. She has a special way you can hold … You put your right hand on your head, and your left hand on your sternum, in the middle of your breast, and just breathe while you’re gently holding onto those two places and you’ll be amazed. It’s like a curtain that comes down and just says, “Okay. Now you’re allowed to relax and go to sleep.”

Avoiding Newsletter Overwhelm – “One thing I did find is if I read something of someone I really liked I subscribe to what they had to say, and I ended up having fifty E-mails a day from really inspirational people, and I felt overwhelmed. I’m never going to achieve all of this because it’s too much to do. What I’ve tried to do now is I keep aware of the main thought streams that these people have, but I stick close to only a couple that really everything they have something to say, it’s worth sitting up and listening to.”

Sticking to Successful Models – “I have a wonderful client who he’s ex-military services and suffers from post-traumatic stress, and he called me up and said, “I really want to build a website for my new business. I want to get this up and running, but I can’t go to a physical class, I can’t read a textbook. I just need help in bite sized chunks.” We set up a plan of half an hour every week for about two months, and also because he’s ex-military if you tell him an order, give him an instruction, he follows it no question. We made more progress in the two to three months, I’ve got his website up and running, and he was earning money through it than any of my other clients who want to question why or find a thousand reasons why they can’t do X, Y, and Z. I’m not here to force them to do anything, but he proved the fact that if you just do things in a simple, logical order without questioning it until you’re up and running, you’re going to succeed. He showed me to remind myself about that was with the people I follow.”

Living More – “It’s usually the days I’ve cooked pancakes with my kids. Pancake and pajama day if we’re in this country. Just being together, or we will actually go out and do something. Go swimming. In the last three weeks on holiday I’ve had the benefit of packing a picnic for their tea or supper, and going to the beach and flying a kite, and getting completely full of sand before we go back and have a bath time. Those are things that you can’t buy, they’re things that if you’re seriously ill and you can’t get out of the door and go and do, and every single possible opportunity that I have to go and do that right now, I’m going to do because who knows one day I might not be able to get out of the chair and go and do it.”

To Contact Holly

Holly Scott Donaldson

Tweet: “Slack – It’s seamless, it’s beautiful. I like elegant tools, and it’s certainly elegant.” @hollyhsd https://ctt.ec/2f805+

Tweet: “Sleep, sleep, major thing. I make sure I’m getting at least eight hours every night” @hollyhsd https://ctt.ec/9ksb6+

Tweet: “The first thing I do every week is block out where that children time is so I’m 100% with them” @hollyhsd https://ctt.ec/0KZfe+

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