If there´s one thing I´ve learned when it comes to getting things done it´s this: you need a plan!
If you fail to plan you plan to fail.
I´ve tried all kinds of planners over the years, from beautiful fancy planners with motivational quotes and pretty notebooks to whiteboards and post-its.
And I´ve learned two things:
1.) MAKE IT VISIBLE
I need something I can SEE. No matter how pretty that planner is, if it comes as a book, it doesn´t work for me. Truth be told, that book will stay closed, and if it stay closed, I forget what´s in it. And out of sight – out of mind. Before I designed my weekly planner, I loved using a whiteboard to keep track of my weekly goals. It works well because you just cannot ignore your goals when they are blown up on the wall. But my eyes just couldn’t stand the look of it; a whiteboard is just pure ugly, right.
2.) KEEP IT SIMPLE
Simplicity rocks! With my busy schedule and a mountain of goals, my monkey mind needs structure and simplicity to avoid overwhelm. That´s why I love the weekly planner so much. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. And that´s how my weekly planner works for me. I focus on one week at a time and get things done. I write down my most important tasks for the week – day by day + my top three business priorities for the week as well as my top three personal priorities for the week. Doing this gives me a razor sharp focus.
I print out the planner, so I have for 12 weeks at a time and place the current week on my desk next to my computer. Because it´s placed right next to me, I look at it so many times throughout the day. It helps me keep my focus and my motivation.
Using this weekly planner is my biggest secret to getting things done and reaching my goals. I hope that you´ll love it just as much as I do. All you have to do is print it and get started!
Can you believe it! 2017 has come to an end. I´ve had the most incredible year! For me, this has been the year of pure gratefulness and abundance. I feel so blessed to do what I do and work with so many amazing + talented women from all over the world.
Back in 2016, I spend most of the year being in extreme pain, being sick, going through surgery and a long recovery phase…so I really needed this, I needed 2017 to be one heck of a ride, and it truly has been!
I´ve travelled to amazing places like Cannes, Nice, Grasse, Antibes, Paris, Palma de Mallorca, Northern Germany, Skagen and the small Danish Island Samsø. I´ve stayed in some of the best 5-star hotels and had the chance to photograph the most fabulous locations. I Celebrated 25 years of love with my man. Created a brand new premium course, updated the design of my website, hired a small team + a personal trainer, sold my house, bought a new home AND a new car. Woah!
I guess when you spend a year being sick, as I did back in 2016, your perspective change on so many things in life. Suddenly your time becomes more valuable than ever. Every little minute becomes so precious, and you just want to enjoy life to the fullest.
The Year Of Systemizing and Organizing
I started 2017 by claiming that this would be my year of SYSTEMS. I wanted to organize my business as much as possible, and transform everyday tasks into automated systems. Systems that would help me be VERY productive + focused and at the same time give me more free time to spend with my loved ones.
The first thing I did was to organize my newsletter system. I created SOUL LETTERS, the FREE 5-Day Photography Course and Creative women entrepreneurs. I prepared one entire year of emails so I could focus on other things like creating content for my new program Optimize Your Creative Life. It took me all of January to build a year of emails – hard work but well worth it. So if you struggle to find time for that weekly newsletter, I can truly recommend you give batch creating a go. It leaves so much time and mental space to focus on other goals.
I also managed to create half a year of social media content. I prepared text and photos and hired my daughter to post for me. But when she travelled to Japan and moved on to explore other adventures than working for her mom, I took over my social media again. And during the year I found a peaceful flow of running my social media, focusing almost solely on Instagram which is my favourite platform. I no longer believe that you have to be on all platforms to be successful. Chose the one you love and the one where your ideal audience is present.
Creating A New Program
I knew from the beginning of the year that my main focus for 2017 would be to create and launch my brand new program Optimize Your Creative Life. And let me tell you, I´ve worked my butt off to make that happen.
Creating a huge premium program of 8 modules focusing on business strategies, marketing, money management and mindset training demands the ultimate FOCUS and extreme dedication! It has taken me ALL year to make it.
Some days I felt like I was climbing Mount Everest all by myself, and other days I was high from pure excitement getting to teach what I`m most passionate about. Seeing this BIG goal come to life has been a dream come true. I´m overly proud of myself.
To be able to create this course, I constantly needed to make sure my mind was in top shape for writing and producing high-quality content. And that was an on-going project. I created a mind-body health system that made it possible. Every morning I started early; stretching and going over my goals for the day, for the week and the month. The first half of the day I have been writing intensively and recording video/audios avoiding all distractions. No phone, no Facebook, no Snapchat, no Instagram allowed. Only producing great content.
I´m so super happy with my new program, and it has been such an exciting journey putting it together. I´ve taken everything I´ve learned from my 20 years of working with psychology and entrepreneurship and designed my own blueprint for business success.
My greatest passion of all is to help creative women make a profitable living doing what they love. Being a successful creative and artist is all about mindset; it´s about overcoming your mental blocks AND your money blocks. The rest is practical business strategies – a system that teaches you exactly how to turn your passion into profit. I see so many creatives undercharging, not believing in themselves that they have what it takes and it has become my mission to help them change that, so they can THRIVE and live their full potential.
Meditation & Pilates
I guess you can imagine, that creating so much content takes dedication and a whole lot of time on the computer. Yep, me and Mac have been besties this year. I´ve never typed so many words in my life! To make sure I would take extra good care of my body while sitting so much at the computer, I hired a personal trainer. Three times a week I go and do an intensive Pilates reformer session with my amazing trainer Charlotte.
A funny side note is that Charlotte and I used to dance in the same ensemble 25 years ago. Today she is super fit and I´m NOT, so I must admit I was a bit embarrassed to show up in her studio. But of course she welcomed me with nothing but kindness and support, and that has meant so much to me.
We have been working mostly on correcting my posture, which has suffered from being sick and laying in bed for most of 2016. Hiring a personal trainer has been the BEST thing I´ve done for myself this year, but it´s also been the hardest thing I´ve done! I can´t even begin to tell you how much pain I´ve gone through to get my body back on track after surgery, and I couldn´t have done it without professional help.
My excuse to skip workouts has always been, “but I got so much work to do!”. Now, that I have someone waiting for me, I show up every time. I´ve done 26 sessions as I´m writing this and I’ve decided to keep going ALL of 2018. Because I truly need it after everything I´ve been through and I´ve only just scratched the surface of getting back my shape and my health.
During all of 2017, I´ve also changed my evening routine. I´ve skipped Netflix and HBO and instead chosen to meditate and listen to podcasts. Doing so has ensured that I wake up rested, feeling inspired and super pumped to begin my day.
On a personal level, 2017 has truly been the year of finding a new home. My family and I have looked for a new home for a few years without any luck. But this year we promised each other to intensify the search and make it happen. Back in June, we found our new dream place, just a short bike ride from our current home. A beautiful old house from 1914. It was instant love, but we had to sell our own home first, and so the waiting game began. Luckily, we sold our home within a month, but because the family who bought our home also needed to sell their home, we had to wait even longer.
We are finally able to say; we are MOVING on February 1st! It´s unbelievable exciting and scary all at the same time. Most of the new house has been renovated carefully with respect for the original charm and style. When we move in we will begin the final renovation of the house, and if you´ve followed me for a while you know that renovating and designing homes is one of my hobbies.
In my new home, I will get a bigger workspace, a studio and room for individual coaching + space for hosting workshops – and that´s the main reason we wanted to find a home with more space. I´ve already set up my very first LIVE photography workshop in the new house. It´s at the end of May, and I can´t wait to welcome participants into the heart of my world.
Because I´ve prioritised making Optimize Your Creative Life, I´ve not been able to take on as many photography assignments as I normally do. Luckily that will change in the new year. I plan to make a brand new online photography workshop which will launch fall 2018. It will be a video-based course, even though I´m not so keen on being on video I´ll try and leave my comfort zone and do it. My son, who just turned 19, will finish high school this summer, and then we will work on this project together. He will record me doing my thing and then edit the whole shebang. And hopefully, I will also do one more live photography workshop beside the one I have already planned for May.
If you would like to learn precisely how to turn your creative passion into a profitable online course, I share how to do that in my program Optimize Your Creative Life. Each year I make $200k – $300k just from my online courses alone. Its a fantastic way to uplevel your income and combine with other offerings like coaching, live courses, photography sessions and selling art work. You can read more about Optimize Your Creative Life here >>
Alright, as you can read from everything above, I have a busy year coming up. I´m already in love with 2018 and cannot wait to get started! But first I need to throw a BIG New Years party for my kids and their friends. It´s a tradition that they come and eat with my husband and I. And I can ensure you that I will dance the night away with my little crown on my head. (the kids have claimed the theme of this party to be “alter ego” so I´m going to be a dancing queen 🙂 )
In 2018 I hope to get started on my book. I´ve been pregnant all year with a book, that I haven´t had time to write yet (but it´s in my head taking up space). My goal is to spend some time in Mallorca at the end of this year working on the book and hopefully get it published in 2019. That would be a dream!
And remember, if you wish to join my program Optimize Your Creative Life 2018, it´s time to sign up. We begin January 15. And seats are VERY limited because I want to be able to get personal with every student.
Finally, I want to say a BIG thank you for reading along. My life isn´t all that glamorous, it´s mostly work and family time, but it´s my life, and I LOVE it.
What I also love, is ALL the daily emails I get from readers, followers and members sharing their stories, struggles, and dreams. Getting thank you notes from my audience means the world to me. It´s what keeps me going. I save each and every one of those emails in a special folder, and when I have a bad day – because that does happen sometimes, I go into that folder to connect with my WHY and my motivation. And that is YOU!
Every year, at the beginning of December, I unplug for three days in a 5-star spa hotel to uncover my path for the new year. It´s not just about spoiling myself. Yes, I do celebrate the ending of a marvellous year, and champagne sure is included. BUT, having worked with psychology and mindset training for 20 years, I know that the brain needs rest in order to think BIG. And that´s where the spa-pampering lifestyle comes in.
Going to the sauna, getting a massage and swimming outdoors in the midst of the freezing winter helps me relax and connect with my body and soul. I might get my creative business ideas with my mind, but I´m always checking in with my body (my gut-feeling) to make sure I´m on the right track.
Taking some time away from work, family, pets and chores are, in my opinion, one of the best ways to connect with my soul, check in on my values and plan a rich + abundant new year.
Today I´m sharing a few of my favourite tips on how to improve your creative life in the new year.
Are you ready? Here we go…
9 Things To Do In 2018 To Improve Your Creative Life
1. PLAN Your Dream Year
If there´s ONE THING I´ve learned from my many years as a creative entrepreneur, as well as from coaching thousands of clients, it´s this;
If you struggle with growing your business, it does not mean that you are incompetent or incapable. Not at all! It simply means that you are an entrepreneur without a clear plan. It´s that simple.
Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Chase your dream and set clear + small step-by-step goals to make it happen.
Going from struggling artist/creator to running a profitable business isn´t so much about hard work, talent or luck as it is about PLANNING and taking ACTION. With the right plan in place, there ain´t nothing you can´t do!
Keep chasing your dream. Don´t give up! It doesn’t matter if you are moving fast or slow, only that you keep moving AND that you STOP criticizing yourself!
Because the truth is; every time you criticise yourself you take a step back – away from your desired destination called your dream life.
2. FOCUS On NOW
To make the most of time, lose track of it. Life unfolds in the present. But so often, we let the present slip away, allowing time to rush past unobserved and unseen. When we’re at work, we fantasize about being on vacation; on vacation, we worry about the work piling up on our desks. We dwell on the past or fret about what may or may not happen in the future.
In order to feel more in control of your mind, your life, and to find the sense of balance, you need to pause, and allow yourself to rest in stillness. We need to live more in the moment cultivating a nonjudgmental awareness of the present.
Focusing on the present moment also forces you to stop overthinking. Instead of getting stuck in your head and worrying, you get to connect with your body and soul. Living in the moment makes you happier – why? Because most negative thoughts concern the past or the future.
You can become present at any moment just by paying attention to your immediate experience. You can do it right now. Become aware of being alive. Focus on NOW. Focus on your breathing and you’re already there.
3. Declutter Your Space
Take a quick, intuitive look at your life and decide what “toxic” to get rid off. Do you need to change something in your diet? Perhaps drink water instead of diet coke? Maybe less junk food and more fresh food? And how about your living space and your workspace.
Creating a comfortable + beautiful environment in your home and creative workspace is fundamental for you to start thriving, being happier, more focused and relaxed.
It is a fact that our environment has a huge impact on our mood, our productivity and our creativity. Working in aesthetically pleasing surroundings is important, very important. It simply makes us happier, more creative and more productive.
Clean out your closet, your kitchen cabinets, and your bathroom drawers. Out with old papers, things never used and everything that is clutter to your eyes and mind. You need a free, clean space to work and think creatively in.
And more importantly, you need to surround yourself with things you love, things that give you energy and put a happy smile on your pretty face.
It´s a hassle to get it done – but so incredibly energizing when done. The best way to start a new year! And remember it´s not about perfection, it´s about reducing clutter to release energy.
4. Learn A New Creative Skill
If you want to be good at something you must practice. If you wish to be the best you must practice a whole lot. You can´t become a great photographer, stylist, designer, creator by spending time on Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook looking at other people’s photos. You must set time aside to explore, investigate and experiment to learn something new.
To help yourself succeed, plan to learn a few new skills this year – but never try to do it all at once. One step at a time is the best way to go. Dive deep into just one area of a topic and keep working on it until you are really good at it.
And don´t put pressure on yourself to perform in any specific way, or imitate someone else work – just play and have fun and see how much better you will become. It will with out a doubt improve your style and help you fine-tune your creative voice.
5. Let Go Of Negative People In Your Life
Consider if it´s time to end a relationship or a friendship that drain you more than it energizes you. Rule number one in life is NEVER to let another person put you down. You are so precious and you deserve compassion and love.
The people you surround yourself with will influence you tremendously. You are more or less the sum of the five people you interact with the most. Therefore, if you surround yourself with negative, nagging and judgemental people, you might end up feeling awful and unhappy – and it will reduce your ability to be creative.
Surround yourself with positive – amazing people who will support you, cheer on you and lift your spirit up. If you have successful, creative and joyful people around you, chances are you will be inspired, feel free and alive.
In the past I´ve phased out friendships with people and family members who invite too much drama and negativity into their life and mine. I want to protect myself from people who obsess about problems and all the negative things in the world.
Honestly, it´s okay to say NO and ban people from your life who aren´t adding to it in a positive way. You have permission to say no to demands on your time that don´t light you up and don´t give energy back to you.
You have the permission to let go of people who make you feel like shit. You have permission to enrich your life by surrounding yourself with people who are good, and loving and nurturing to you.
6. Uplevel Your Marketing
Are you SUPER proud of your work and your offerings? Are you jumping with excitement to tell people about your work and show your website, service and creative projects to the world? Or are your website always a work in progress, and has your blog been silent for months?
For so many creatives promotion and marketing feel scary. It feels like ego. It feels salesy. But the truth is; creatives who release their fear of self-promotion are the same ones who grow a successful business fast and make more revenue than they ever dream of.
Marketing is not sleazy or false. Marketing is about serving, inspiring and helping your ideal clients. In fact, it’s a relief when you realize that the problems in your business are not the Universe telling you that you’re not good enough. You just got “marketing problems.”
Sometimes rebranding is the best way to kick-start and uplevel your marketing game. Rebranding is a great way to symbolize your evolution; it can energize your brand, both internally and externally. Developing a new brand identity send a message that your business is taking it to the next level and it can boost your willingness to self-promote.
If you´re not ready to fully rebrand, just do visual clean-up. Sometimes your website could do with a little TLC. Clean up broken links, remove old photos and allow for more white space. Declutter your site so your messages, story and offerings stand out clearly.
Prioritize how you visually present your portfolio and your brand. It must be 100% YOU. Make it personal. Show the world who you are. Be proud of your work and most of all be proud of the way you work.
Take good care of your clients, be a helpful networker and ask for what you are worth. Don´t work too much, but work efficiently and with focus when you work.
It´s all about the art of slowing down and making time to re-connect with yourself. Think of your soul as a small child that needs time to play, relax, laugh, touch, hug, feel, create and explore.
The first step in slowing down and making more stress-free time for yourself is to start saying NO. Say no to all unwanted stuff. Stop pleasing everybody but yourself and practice to say the word “no” out loud.
Yes, there´s a risk of becoming unpopular, and disappointing people – but remember that this is your life, and if you wish to be happy, you must not live it on other people’s terms. Follow your own agenda in a calm rhythm with plenty of room to relax and do what you love. Say no to a hectic lifestyle.
It´s your job to nurture your soul and fulfil its needs. No one else can do it for you! A stressful life in the fast lane often makes for a sad and lonely soul.
Slow down your tempo and make time to breathe, walk barefoot, listen to the silence, take a long warm bath/shower, get a massage, meditate, sleep more, write your thoughts down in a journal and so on. A happy soul ensures a clear and focused mind.
8. Spend Less – Save More
Many creative entrepreneurs tend to spend too much on equipment in their first years of business. And if you are a beginner in your field, chances are that you might be buying the wrong things.
Focus on what you really need to grow your business. Most of the time you need to learn a new skill more than you need new equipment.
Some questions I ask myself every time I consider spending money are:
“Is this nice to have or need to have?
“How can I use my creativity to manage without it?”
“Will my business struggle if I don’t get it?”
“If I buy this will it help me make more money?”
These are very helpful questions. If I think it’s just nice, I will let it go and put it on my wish list. You can absolutely grow your business BIG without buying unnecessary things. So really think about where you put your money.
Creative entrepreneurs who save money automatically each month end up with more money. They are living a balance between having a life today and making a life in the future. They forget about what is automatically deducted and therefore tend to live below their means.
If you´re thinking; “But I don´t earn enough money to be able to save money”, I get you – I´ve been there.
And that´s why I love “The Latte Factor,” This is the idea of eliminating your $5 daily latte, and instead put those $5 towards your savings. A $5 daily coffee amounts to about $35 a week, $150 a month and $1.800 a year.
If you kept doing that for 10 years, you’d end up with $18.000, from just leaving out your daily Starbuck coffee. I think that´s so amazing and it proves that a little saving goes a long way if you stick to it and stay consistent.
9. Accept and love yourself – let go of anger, worry and resentment
Last but not least; forgive yourself for everything and anything! You can´t change your past, and if you keep looking at the past, and regretting things you´ve done or not done – you will reduce your chances of happiness TODAY.
Feelings of anger, resentment and worries will always steal your ability to stay focused and be present in the now. If you hold on to negative emotions and thoughts, you will only harm yourself, and slow down your chances of inner peace and joy.
Let go! Your well-being is too important for you to hold on to any form of negativity – imagine how much better you´ll feel without it. Let go darling.
Much Love and all the best wishes for the new year!