A Day in the Life
By Lorna Baldry
In 2014 I took a leap of faith. After 16 years teaching and managing within the FE sector I chose to leave all that I knew and really put my transferable skills to the test. I had spent my last two years at a large inner city college working across public, private and third sectors as well as with community groups, individuals, families and communities. The jump to being the owner of a private company with social aims has been a revelation in so many ways. Something I find hugely positive about the change I made is the freedom and variety. Each day can be completely different, here’s a small insight into just one.
I’m trying to practice at least 10 minutes of mindfulness each day, I’m still very new to it but I’m trying and it’s proving a help for focus and clarity. Sometimes I include a short bible verse or prayer reading in that time too. I have some mobility problems and can’t get up and run to energise and prepare for the day as my husband loves to. So these are my moments to myself to gather thoughts and plans for the day.
I always check emails and business social media before I get out of bed so I can be as responsive as possible and know if there’s anything that needs urgent attention. I look at my calendar for the day and check my daily greatness business planner for the tasks I’ve prioritised in my planning for that day https://dailygreatness.co/
I have to confess to still enjoying the novelty of being able to work in my pyjamas. So on this particular day each week beginning work simply means moving to another room and starting up the laptop or PC.
We are a remote team, working mostly from home offices in a variety of places including Wales, Bristol and Cyprus. We still communicate often, but we have to be more creative. We share a monthly newsletter, we email, we use Trello https://trello.com/ and once a week we hold a tutor meeting via video conferencing. We talk about our learners, their progress, updates to our site our work and business plans. Most importantly we check in with each other and put time into our working relationships so we can give our best to our learners and clients.
I’ll make the most of a home office base to catch up with family and spend some time reviewing and updating accounts and task lists.
Sadly it’s time to shed the pyjamas and get ready to venture into the big wide world.
When I made the jump in my career from long term employment in the public sector, one of my first contracts on a consultancy basis was helping to set up an amazing social enterprise called Wales Restorative Approaches Partnership (WRAP) www.restorativewales.org.uk They were kind enough to invite me to stay and now I am Vice Chair of their board and work as a member of their senior leadership team.
WRAP have been shortlisted as finalists for a Social Enterprise Award, Social Enterprise Start Up of the year, a very well deserved accolade for this team of incredible individuals. They do such good work, for which they are already beginning to be recognised, that it’s an honour and a huge pressure to represent them and do them justice. And that’s what I have to do when presenting on their behalf to the judging panel.
Travelling, not at distance but frequently, takes up a lot of time and so often the journey is thinking time and results in a mini to do list of phone calls. This particular journey feels a bit of a juggle. On the way from the presentation someone rear ends my car, then drives off. I have to stop at a supermarket for a family shop because I’m pretty sure that no one is going to want a pepper, whipped cream cheese and an egg for dinner.
I’m back at home for phone calls and emails. I seem to have lots of paperwork deadlines at the moment so there’s quite a bit of admin to do, some fiddly things that take time.
Spending time catching up with my daughter and husband is really important for me, it’s the reason for my need of freedom and flexibility, the whole purpose of unusual work hours. I was determined from the time my daughter was born to always take her to and pick her up from school and I doggedly protected that aim throughout any roles I held.
Now that she’s a young adult she needs me much less but it’s still great to catch up. So we chat and laugh and make dinner together and when my husband returns from work we all three spend time talking about our day over dinner.
Back to the laptop to meet those deadlines, funding applications, support applications for business advice and mentoring, tasking reviews. Everyone else at home has other things to do today and I have to confess to not being a huge fan of the Olympics which seems to be permanently on the TV, so I work until about 9. There’s a whole new day tomorrow to prepare for and it includes a consortium presentation at a Regional Collaborative Council and a supplier’s day with a large training provider. Lots of associated pre reading and reflection ends at about 9.30.
Although we’re getting a really early night there’ll be lots more chatting and plenty of reading and catching up with social media in bed before sleep. When my head does hit the pillow, it’s lights out pretty quickly though!