Paula Gardner on Show #2: Journaling, Books, Films, Notebooks and Paper Based Planning 

Journaling, Books, Films, Notebooks and Paper Based Planning with Paula Gardner, PR Consultant and Marketing Coach at Paula Gardner PR.

Listen to the Show Below and Here’s What We Recommended:

Apps

  • Insight Meditation – a meditation app (really!)
  • Zazen Meditation – another mediation app that Paula recommends
  • Monefy.me  – an app to enable you to manage your money via your smartphone
  • Duolingo – an app to enable you to learn a language via repetition and regular daily practise; also available via their website

Tools

  • Autofocus by Mark Forster – we mentioned this as a productivity process that Jo used in the past where you have just one paper list that you work through and update all the time

Books

  • The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self by Julia Cameron that was originally meant to be about ‘unblocking’ for creatives. She suggests an exercise called ‘Morning Pages’. You get up and first thing you do is handwrite write three pages of anything. Paula says “it works on a on a psychological level, it’s like a brain dump, can get rid of all the rubbish. It works on a creative level, because I find it just gets things flowing”.
  • Before than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life by Gretchen Rubin
  • Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen – a well-known and established productivity system, often referred to as GTD
  • Therese Raquin by Emile Zola – a clinically observed, sinister tale of adultery and murder among the lower classes in nineteenth-century Parisian society
  • Pollyanna by Eleanor H Porter – classic children’s literature
  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

Films

Tips

  • Routines – Routines are important: Paula really enjoys doing a bit of yoga and meditation in the morning
  • Notebooks – Paula says that she’s “quite old school and I like notebooks” for her to do lists. She uses a desk diary and a notebook for each client project and recommends buying them from Waterstones’ Stationery or Liberty’s
  • Mindfulness – Paula talked about how she swims to create an opportunity for mindfulness
  • We discussed how important sleep is for health and wellbeing
  • Paula said that “other people telling you how your business should be is not the way to go. You’ve got to look inside and see how you want it to be”, not do what somebody on a bookshelf says.
  • Paula talked about a concept she has heard of being able to “stop at the first arrow”, so letting things go rather than ‘replaying’ the issue over and again and feeling the pain each time.
  • Living More for Paula is all about ‘balance and actually being very content’

Podcasts

Websites

To Contact Paula

Tweet: “That stuck with me actually, that whole thing of ‘stop at the first arrow” @paulagardnerpr http://ctt.ec/81j1E+

Tweet: I’m a big fan of notebooks, I have a notebook for each individual client, a notebook for each individual project. http://ctt.ec/n696f+

Tweet: I’ve recently come across an app called ‘Duolingo’, which I’m really loving. I’m doing a bit of Italian every day. http://ctt.ec/zWx7n+

Read Full Transcript

Podcast Interview with Paula Gardner

Jo Dodds: I'm really pleased to be interviewing today Paula Gardner, of Paula Gardner PR. Welcome Paula. Thanks for joining me.

Paula Gardner: Thank you. Nice to be here.

Jo: I think we've got a bit of delay. There might be a little pause between questions and answers, but I'm sure it'll be fine [laughs]. You start by telling me about you, what you do, where you do it.

Paula: I do PR, marketing, social media. I've been doing the PR side for up to 20 years now. I'm based at home. I have a lovely little home office, with two kittens, that are generally lying about, or making a mess of my desk.
I work from home majority of the week, but I'll be going to central London a couple of times a week, and then you'll probably find me in a coffee shop in between meetings, working away there. It's a mixture of being at home and out and about.

Jo: If I remember rightly...

Paula: Basically I...

Jo: There's the pause coming in already, the delay. If I remember rightly, you posted a blog post a couple of weeks ago about great places to meet in London, which we'll have to put into the show notes because I thought it was a really good post with some great ideas.

Paula: I've been meeting clients for years. I've got my favourites, the ones that I know will impress clients or the ones that I know are very comfortable or ones I know where you can have quite confidential conversations.
These are the places I meet my clients, and we put together PR and marketing strategies there.

Jo: What about home? Do you have a particular office? Do you work in different places around the house depending on what you're doing?

Paula: I have an office, which I tend to always work from there. It's quite nice. I can shut the door on it when work's finished, that metaphorical shutting the door on work. Occasionally I work in the back garden in the summer if I've got some creative work to do, some blog writing or that sort of thing.
That's quite weather dependent. I've been managing to do it quite a lot recently.

Jo: That's great. I always want to do that, and I never quite feel like I've got the environment right for it. I aspire to it, but I haven't quite made it outside yet. [laughs]

Paula: Actually, it works very well for me. The WiFi doesn't quite reach outside, so it means that I've either got to start doing some gardening or get on with some work. In that case, the work tends to win. [laughs]

Jo: I tend to actually sit on park benches next to the canal side sometimes and do some stuff there when I'm walking to and from town or having gone to the shops or something. I keep thinking I should do a bit more of that, because it's quite nice to do that.
It feels as well like that's why we work from home, so that we can have those opportunities.

Paula: Yeah. I agree, actually. It's very nice to be able to do that. I find actually if I'm having trouble in the office and something's not flowing if I go outside it quite often makes a difference.

Jo: What about the stuff that you do to set your day up? Do you have particular things that you have in a morning routine or is it just whatever happens on the day?

Paula: No, I'm a big, big person for routines. I really enjoy doing a bit of yoga and meditation in the morning. That sets me up. I also do something called ‘morning pages’. I don't know if you've ever come across that, Jo?

Jo: No, I haven't. That sounds great. Tell us more.

Paula: There's a book by a woman called Julia Cameron called, ‘The Artist's Way’. It was originally meant to be an unblocking for people who are creative and getting stuck. One of the exercises that she suggests is the morning pages. Now it's become this huge movement and people do it for writing novels or just creative thinking. The idea is that first thing you get up and you write three pages of nonsense.
I tend to do three sides or four, and it can be anything that's bothering you. It could be your dreams. It can be ideas, stories, or business and basically by the time you've got three pages worth of rubbish out of your head, that's when the good stuff starts flowing.

Jo: Must it be handwritten?

Paula: Yes. That's part of the process. I find it works on loads of levels. It works on a psychological level, it's like a brain dump, can get rid of all the rubbish. It works on a creative level, because I find it just gets things flowing.
When I'm thinking about clients and who I might approach on their behalf. When I sit down at the desk I've got a very organised way of looking at things and I think, "That person's writing about business" or "They’re building their profile as an expert in business," so I'll go to the business magazine. I've got them in my head and I know where to look on my computer.

When I'm sat there on my kitchen table writing by hand all these other different things come in, different, more creative ideas, off the wall ideas. Some of them work, some of them don't. But I think it's a very different process and brings very different results.

Jo: That sounds really interesting and obviously we'll put links in the show notes to that book and any other resource that links to it. It's interesting. We were debating recently Little Doddsy and her school report and whether her literacy was achieved or exceeding and the teacher wasn't sure which it was going to be.
One of the issues with her is that she doesn't like writing, so when you ask her to write a story you'll probably get three sentences rather three paragraphs because she just doesn't like writing. Whereas verbally, like me, [laughs] she'll talk for England.

It's interesting. Me podcasting, and doing this sort of thing, speaking on a stage, all of that stuff comes quite naturally, and doesn't daunt me at all. But the idea of actually sitting down and physically hand writing, and even writing on a computer for three pages daunts me, but handwriting even more so. It sounds like it could be something to at least try, to see what comes from it.

Paula: For me it's a great exercise. I think you need to do it for a few weeks to actually get into it. I think in the book she was talking about how some people don't know what to say, so she says just write in the same line over, and over again until something actually hits you, because it is a very physical thing. I think that's part of it, letting some part of the brain start to work.

Jo: Yes. You're doing your yoga, your meditation, and your writing, anything else?

Paula: Recently I've been going out in the garden with a cup of tea, and doing a little bit of a 10 minute potter. I am a very reluctant gardener, despite my surname!
[laughter]

Paula: I moved into this house about 18 months ago, which has a big garden. I haven't really done much with it until recently when a friend came over, helped me overhaul it. She just said, "Well, all you need to do is 10 minutes a day with your little cutters, and whatever, and a cup of tea, and potter about, and just do whatever you think needs doing then, or clear up some leaves."

Since then I managed to keep it in reasonable shape just by doing that, and actually starting to admit I am actually starting to enjoy it.

Jo: [laughs] That's something we've talked on one of the other podcasts about, mindfulness. That strikes me as being one of those activities that can perhaps help you to be more mindful at that moment. Do you find yourself lost in it now? Are you getting into that, or are you too busy worrying about what's coming up in the day?

Paula: I don't really think ahead. It's funny how the cup of tea is almost like an egg timer. [laughs] By the time the tea's finished I'm ready to go back in. Actually what is nice is that I feel as though I've achieved something, because it's something I didn't used to enjoy doing. I really do feel as though I've achieved something before I even sit down, and start to work.

Jo: Brilliant. That's like me tidying the house up after [laughs] Doddsy and Little Doddsy have gone off to work. What then? How do you manage your work through the day? Have you got a to do list, or do you use particular tools? Have you got a big piece of paper, as one of my other interviewees has?

Paula: I'm quite old school and I like notebooks. I have a very big turquoise desk diary that I write down all the things I should be doing that day. I put this list together the night before, and just work my way through it. I put nice things on there so it's not just work things.

If I'm going to go off for a swim in the middle of the day I put that on there, or if I'm meeting someone for lunch or a coffee. The list doesn't look too daunting. One thing that I'm learning is to make the list a bit shorter because I'm very good at thinking "Oh, I should do that," and adding things to the list.
[laughter]

Paula: By the time I start work it's a whole page long, so I'm trying to keep it to about a third of a page now to actually give myself a realistic chance of actually keeping the things on it.

Jo: Otherwise it ends up being a bit depressing, doesn't it?

Paula: Yeah. I have my desk diary, and I work my way through it. I did try on the phone for a little while, but one reason I really like using the desk diary is that it’s one full day to a page, and I can look back and see what I did on specific days very, very quickly and make a note.

If I'm pitching one of my clients to editors, then I make a note who I sent to and what day. Whereas on a phone that's a bit more difficult. You're more likely to delete it as well if you don't need it anymore.

Jo: What do you do when you're out and about because presumably you're not carrying...Well, I say presumably. You might be carrying your big desk diary. What do you do when you're in London?

Paula: I have a little notebook that I carry with me. I’m a big fan of notebooks, I have a notebook for each individual client, a notebook for each individual project. [laughs] It's one of my...fetish is not the word, but one of my things that I love to do is to find unusual or pretty notebooks.

Put me in a stationer's, whether it's Liberty's, Waterstones' stationery section, I love it. I can find some lovely, pretty, interesting ones. You're not going to spend a lot of money that makes you feel good, cheaper than a pair of shoes, shall we say.

Jo: That's true. I was listening to a podcast with Gretchen Rubin today, who is the lady who wrote the ‘Better than Before’ book that Cathy Brown and I recommended before. She was saying exactly the same thing with her sister, whom she does a podcast with. They love notebooks, and they indulge themselves with their notebooks. That helps to get stuff done, because they just love using them.

Maybe I need to drop all this technology and start using paper again.
[laughter]

Jo: There was actually a to do, a productivity system, which I'm sure was a book. I can't remember what it is. I'll see if I can track it down and put it into the show notes. You wrote a list of the things that you had to do.
As you went through, you crossed them out. Every morning, I think, you'd go through the list again, and you'd cross things out and add them on the bottom if they were still important. You'd keep going through. I can't...
[crosstalk]

Paula: Peter Allen?

Jo: Say again?

Paula: Peter Allen, ‘Getting Things Done’. This may not be right, but it was something like Peter Allen, ‘Getting Things Done’, or, ‘Get Things Done’.
[crosstalk]

Jo: There is a ‘Getting Things Done’, which isn't that principle. Maybe it was Peter Somebody?

Paula: You start off by writing a list of absolutely everything you have to do, and then transferring that into a smaller list. I did actually try that for a while, about 10 years ago. Of course, actually transferring it to another list is something you have to remember to do.

Jo: Yeah, [laughs] exactly. I think we might be muddling up two systems there. I will check out both of them, and see if I can get them into the show notes. That's organising your time during the day. What about at the end of the day? You talked about having an office where you can shut the door and break off into being not at work.
Does that work for you, or how does that work for you? What do you do to wind down from work, and then wind down from the day?

Paula: I tend to shut the door on my office. Now and again, if I haven't got to rush off to cook or rush off to go out, when I finish work, I might play a computer game, a bit of Mahjong or something. It helps clear my mind, 15 minutes on that.
[crosstalk]

Jo: It sounded posher than saying Candy Crush, anyway.
[laughter]

Paula: I've never done that...either mahjong or spider solitaire, which is very mind numbing. That's the point, I suppose. Sometimes it's going off to cook. I have three children, and we all eat together when we can. Sometimes I'm heading off to meet friends.

My son is hoping to go to uni to study film this year. He's often got some unusual film that he wants me to watch with him. I'm there going, "Oh, look. There's a Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy film. You must look at this one. It's really good."
[laughter]

Paula: I'm trying to get him interested in these old black and white films. He's very good. He sits through them. Yeah, it tends to be a lot of film watching, eating together. I might well be off out to…sometimes it's a business network event, sometimes it's just meeting friends and go into town.

Jo: Before we move off on the day and the tasks, are there any other tools or apps that you use that you'd recommend that I might not have heard of even?

Paula: There's a really good meditation app that I use in the morning. It's called ‘Insight Meditation’. I don't know if you've heard of that.

Jo: No, I haven't.

Paula: I used to use a few different apps where you'd be able to set a meditation timer. It would time your meditation and it would stop any notifications or your phone ringing during the time that you're meditating. The one I used is called Zazen. That was great. I occasionally still do use that, but somebody else recommended Insight Meditation.
The reason why I like that is it has lots of guided meditations. If you want to be guided through a meditation, there are loads of different ones. There are loving kindness meditations, there are mindful meditations, breathing meditations.

There are some with some funky music, very new agey.
There are all different types. You can choose 3 minutes, 25 minutes, an hour. I'm working my way through those. Some of them I love, and some of them are fine, but I wouldn't do them again. I really like the fact that you can just say, "Well, what am I in the mood for today?" and then use one of them.
[crosstalk]

Jo: I found one recently called, 'My Daily Meditation’, or just ‘Daily Meditation’. I was listening to a podcast, as I keep mentioning, as I keep doing, and they recommended it. I subscribed to it, I get a new one come through every day, and I haven't done anything with it yet.
[laughter]

Jo: The Daily Meditation Podcast it's called, and she literally does them every day, different ones. She's recording them, and she's got a lovely voice. I think it's probably quite good. I will commit to listening to one soon. [laughs]

Paula: One thing I like about the Insight Meditation is it’s lots of different people doing it and lots of different voices. Even if you didn't like one, there was another teacher or meditation guide that you can meditate with that was different and has a different style. That's what I really like about it, the variety.
Another app I use quite a lot is ‘Monefy.me’. Have you come across that one?

Jo: No, I haven't.

Paula: It's basically managing your money. I tend to update that once a day. You just put the money in and the money out, and you can put it into categories. One thing I quite like about that is you can look at where you've been spending your money. It has little icons where if too much is going on the cocktail icon, then you can... [laughs]

Jo: You can increase the budget for it. [laughs]

Paula: Yes, indeed. I would find going online to check my bank...I do it, but it's really nice to have it all on an app, knowing what's happening with my money, how quickly it's coming in or going out, and adjusting things accordingly. I tend to do a quick update on that once a day.

I've probably spoken to you about this many times, but I've been learning Italian for the last few years. When I'm going to Italy, I'm very good and very diligent, but as soon as I've been, I slip back into doing it when I remember and every now and again.

I've recently come across an app called ‘Duolingo’, which I'm really loving. I'm doing a bit of Italian every day.
It's all short little games, and each game involves interaction in different ways. Sometimes you have to speak Italian into the phone. Sometimes you're translating into English. Sometimes you're translating into Italian. I'm actually finding, that's helping me learn far better than looking through a book, and completing exercises out of the book.

Jo: That's sounds amazing. I heard they've got a French version. I'm going to download it this afternoon. [laughs]

Paula: They’ve got lots of different ones. They’ve got a Turkish version that somebody found the other day. It's free as well. You can decide what level you want. You can be a casual user, or you can go at it very seriously. What I like about it is that it sends a little update to you every day at lunch time saying, "Don't forget to do your practice." I find it very handy actually.

Jo: I can say thank you in Turkish by the way, anyway. Teşekkürler apparently. Little Doddsy's best friend’s family are living over there at the moment, and they said, "Think about tea, sugar, la."

Paula: I was going to say it sounds a bit like tea, sugar, la.

Jo: Apart from, her granny got it the wrong way around, and kept saying, "Sugar, tea, la, to everybody", so they didn't know what she was talking about.
[laughter]

Jo: That's brilliant. Those are really good. I'm definitely off to download that Duolingo one, so thank you for that. What about relaxing? We've talked about yoga and meditation already. Is there anything else that you do? You talked a bit about cooking as well. Anything else that calms you down?

Paula: Yeah. Swimming. I really enjoy swimming. I think that's a mental thing as much as a physical thing. It's not mindful. It's almost mindless because you're going back, and up, and back again. I try to go swimming a couple of times a week. I usually do that in my lunch times, which is a nice break from work. Swimming is big thing for me.
[crosstalk]

Jo: Are you one of those ladies that doesn't get your hair wet, and goes on talking to people?

Paula: How did you know? Yeah.
[laughter]

Paula: I'm not keen on putting my face in the water. I do the breast stroke with my nose above the water. I don't think I'm particularly effective that way.

Jo: [laughs] What about other stuff to keep you healthy? What about diet and nutrition, that sort of thing, sleep? Any tips there?

Paula: Sleep, I adore my sleep, and sometimes I can go to bed as early as nine o'clock.
[laughter]

Paula: If I've done the swimming for a long time, then I'm actually exhausted. I like sleeping. I can sleep through, and don't like waking up. I'm a long, lazy ‘waker upper’, hence the meditation and the yoga in the morning. Nutrition wise I've been playing around with lots of the new...There's a new fad at the moment, isn't it? Sugarless cooking. I've been playing around with Deliciously Ella recipes.

Jo: I like Deliciously Ella.

Paula: I very much like the chocolate cookies.

Jo: What do they have instead of chocolate? Not chocolate. What do they have instead of sugar?

Paula: That thing, they have real cacao, they have maple syrup. Even though I'm enjoying all these recipes, I'm actually finding that they still have quite a lot of sweet stuff in them, which is interesting. Perhaps not quite as lovely for you as I thought they might be. Nevertheless, they're delicious.

Jo: There's some research that says that if you keep giving your body sugary tasting things, like fruit, and dates and, as you say, maple syrup that you don't, even though some of the options are better than the refined sugar that actually you don't stop your body craving it, so you tend to eat it more, or overeat it.

We use xylitol, which isn't sugar, but does add that sweet flavor to it but, I don't know if that is the same as the others, that it still keeps you wanting sweet stuff. I don't know.

Paula: Interesting. What else do I do nutrition wise? My diet has changed a lot in the last couple of years. I try and avoid gluten wherever possible. At home I have gluten free bread, gluten free fish fingers. I'm not so hung up on it if I go out to Costa or wherever, I won't have normal cake, or someone serves me up gluten, normal cake or biscuits. I don't hold myself back, put it that way.

Jo: You're not awkward like me.
[laughter]

Paula: When I'm at home, and I have the choice and the opportunity then I'll opt for the gluten free stuff. Dairy wise, I have the soy or almond milk. The one thing I'm not good at is drinking water. For some reason I tend to always forget, which is weird. I drink a lot of tea. Drinking water is probably one thing I do need to work on.
I have a friend who we have a call every Monday, just for a health call, stuff like this, drinking water and exercise. It's quite good for keeping each other on track. She's a member of a running club, and occasionally if she has to go through a really busy week and doesn't go, and I can call her up and say, "You haven't been for a few weeks, have you?" That'll get her going.

She'll do the same to me about something else. It's only about, we schedule in two o'clock on a Monday. It's only about five minutes, but it really helps.

Jo: I read an article a few months ago by ‘Primal Blueprint’, Mark Sisson. It was about water, and it was about actually we don't need as much water as everyone leads us to believe. You know that thing about if you have a wee, and it's really yellow that you need to drink more water? It blows a lot of that stuff out of the water, pun intended.
[laughter]

Jo: Maybe pun not intended. I found it quite interesting because I'm not so good at drinking water through the day, although I do drink. I drink green tea. I tend to make a big pot of it in the morning, and then as it gets cold, I just drink it cold, which is fine. I tend to do that rather than actually drinking water.
As I say, he says that actually some of that stuff, like drinking a lot of water, is actually a bit of a myth. I'll see if I can track down that article and put that on the show notes, and pop that through to you. Make you feel better anyway.

Paula: That would be interesting.
[laughter]

Jo: On the other recommendation side of things, what about some things that inspire you, and you enjoy? What about learning and so on? Are there some book, films, music that you like? You've talked about films with your son already I guess, your black and white films that you like.

Paula: It's not so much films. It's more travel. Travel inspires me a lot. I really love reading travel magazines, travel books, hearing about other peoples travels. As you may know, I have a travel blog called soothedinthecity.com. I follow a lot of other travel bloggers, and where they've been, and their approach to travel. I find that very inspiring. I think if I have one big passion in my life, it's traveling.

A lot of my reading, and stuff is around that. It tends to be about European countries, France, Spain, Italy. I'm very interested in reading about the Spanish civil war actually. I find that a fascinating subject. The actual amount of...it's a very sad, sad subject, the whole devastation that hit the country.

You can still see it affects people even now. I met somebody who was telling me that even in the villages in Spain now a whole one half of the community won't talk to the other because they were on different sides in the civil war. It's still there. It still has a presence there.

I find stuff like that really, really interesting. I do love reading around that. Also, I did English at uni, so I'm really keen to continue, and keep up my classics. I do a reread of Hardy, and Lawrence, and all those sort of things on a rolling basis, and recently got into Zola.

I read, probably pronouncing this terribly, 'Therese Raquin', which I found really dark and moody. It was about that time in the nineteenth century when the Parisian morgue was open, and people used to go to the morgues as a fun thing to do.
[laughter]

Paula: Not much going on at home. I find that as dark and gothic, really interesting. I'm very much getting into the French writers, and their style, that era. I read a lot of that stuff. Now and again I read the odd business book, inspiring business book.

I went through, I think probably in the early days...I used to read all these business books, motivational stuff. I became quite disillusioned about them in the end. There are things like ‘The E myth’ where everyone rushed that to try and automate their business, or franchise their business, and then ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ and everybody's trying to automate their business. It's quite interesting how these things come in waves.

I do read them because obviously it's linked to what I do, and I've got to know about it. I think I've got a little bit cynical in my old age, and think other people telling you how your business should be is not the way to go. You've got to look inside and see how you want it to be, not what somebody on a bookshelf says.

Jo: I do read quite a lot for business - part of where Power to Live More.com, I don't know why I keep adding the .com, Power to Live More came from, is because I found that whilst I kept thinking I should be reading the business books and the articles relating to HR, and employee engagement, and social media and things like that, I actually was reading the books to do with productivity, and organisation, and wellbeing, which is the stuff that I enjoy. It takes me away from work, although obviously productivity and organisation can be both things for me. I particularly like reading with Ellie, little Doddsy.

We're going through things like ‘Pollyanna’, and ‘Anne of Green Gables’, and ‘Swallows and Amazons’ and really a lot of them I didn't actually read when I was young, so really enjoying that. I'm hoping I can continue enjoy doing that with her for a long time because it's something that is a shared story that we're listening to, as opposed to reading to her because her reading is very good.

Sometimes she reads to me instead. It's not about the reading bit. It's about being able to discuss stories, and so on together. A bit like sitting down watching a film together. It's just like an older version of that, [laughs] when telly didn't exist.

Paula: I know what you mean about discovering something. I've seen all the big films, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, and ‘The Godfather’, and all the Woody Allen films. My first time of seeing those is obviously gone. My son is seeing them for the first time, and it's really interesting seeing somebody's reactions to these films that I know are classics. It's lovely sharing that with somebody.

Jo: Most definitely. You've painted a lovely picture of a very calm, learning, enjoyable environment. What about if things don't go quite as planned? How does that go?
[laughter]

Paula: You’re not supposed to ask me about that bit! I have two kittens, and...They're very therapeutic if things aren't going quite so well. Getting down on the floor and playing with them is quite fun. It takes my mind off it.
Going back to exercise, gym, I don't particularly relish going to the gym or doing a run. I try and do a run once a week. I actually do feel quite empowered after it. I feel quite energised. That's quite good for getting rid of negativity, because you have to focus so much. I find that helps a lot, and it also gives me a sense of achievement.
I am a big...What's the word? Not worrier, but if something has gone wrong, I will replay the event again and again, or dwell on it.

Until I read, in a blog recently, someone quoting somebody else, saying, ‘Stop at the first arrow’. I think they were using the metaphor of some warrior running and getting shot by an arrow. In his head, he keeps replaying that pain over and over again, when actually he only had to experience once, and then he could let it go.
That stuck with me, actually, that whole thing of, "Just stop at the first arrow." It happened. Maybe think about it a little bit, about what you could have done wrong, if there was anything. Then let it go. I'm trying to live by that at the moment.

Jo: I really love that. I'm a bit of a dweller, as well. When you keep replaying stuff, sometimes you can wake up the next morning and think, "Hang on, there's something that I'm worrying about. What is it?" Just having forgotten about it overnight, bring it back up again, and getting all the same feelings again.
I really love that concept, so I will write that down myself. Thank you. I really appreciate that.

So, when you've had the chance to do the stuff that you really want to do, rather than the stuff that you have to do, what have you done? What's that perfect day for you?

Paula: I know how I'm feeling actually...Years ago, I would have felt very elated, and I would have done something really exciting. But now, I don't know if it's because I'm a little bit older, or if it's because I just feel a lot more content it would be that feeling of contentment, that I've fitted in what I needed to have done.
I would have got my clients something. For instance, the day before yesterday, I'd sent out a press release. Somebody phoned me yesterday in response to that release and said, "Would one of your clients like to write a piece for me?" He was asking for a three page piece in a prestigious journal.

It was great, that feeling. On a personal level it's lovely. On a business level, it's great because I know that she's going to be really happy when I tell her when she's back from her holiday. And, he actually called me so we had a really nice conversation. That gave me a nice glow.

It's lovely when things go really well like that. Getting stuff for my clients, know that I've fitted in some form of exercise, had some time with my kids, maybe had coffee with a friend or connected over a phone call.
Plus, it's all that I think about being in balance. I don't have to be out there doing mad, wild things at the moment. For me at this current moment, it's all about balance. When my kids leave home, it will be back to the wild things, I suppose.
[laughter]

Paula: But for the moment, it's all about balance and actually just being very content.

Jo: I know what you mean. As you say, you have a tendency to think, Is it because I'm a bit older? Maybe it's just because we've worked it out a bit more, and it doesn't feel like we need to do any of that stuff or be so frenetic. It's actually appreciating some of the stuff that didn't seem that exciting when we were younger, but actually it just makes you feel good.

Paula: Yeah. I do know people in business, who seem to be bundles of energy, and they're going from one event to another. They do spend a lot of time rushing about on the road and having meetings. I can see that they really thrive on that, but actually, I tend to prefer a much more relaxed, thoughtful pace, I think is the word.

Jo: We have come to the end of the interview. I've really enjoyed it, and it's reminded me why we get together for lunch every so often. We must do that again soon. Thank you for all the things that you've shared, some really good stuff that we'll be putting into the show notes.

Lastly, how can people find out more about you, and connect with you, and see what you're up to?

Paula: My website is paulagardnerpr.com LINK. I also have a little free e course that you can sign up to there called ‘Start Your Love Affair with the Press’. That's quite a nice little intro, if you're either thinking about PR or you do PR already, and you want bit of inspiration and motivation. That's available on the website.

Jo: The travel website, again?

Paula: The travel website is called soothedinthecity.com. LINK

Jo: Lovely. Thank you. Thanks a lot for joining me, Paula.

Paula: Thank you, Jo. It's been lovely. Thank you. Bye bye.

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