The Day I Survived Without My Laptop

If you were ever a ‘Sex and the City’ fan, you’ll no doubt remember when Carrie’s computer went to heaven and she spectacularly lost everything. Those were pre-cloud days, and she lived life on the edge, without backing up. Now, that was a huge technological fail. So, mine? Not in this league, but still enough to throw a spanner in the works.

I didn’t need to log on to Xero on Tuesday last week and, thankfully, I’m not an accountant. Xero - my reliable, trusty accounting software - was down for the day. Eeep! But just the following day, I went into panic mode as I realised with horror that my laptop had gone into work with my husband. I had inadvertently left it in the boot while doing childcare pick up and general toddler wrangling. After letting out plenty of initial frustration, I took stock.

I had three precious work hours ahead of me, courtesy of my little one’s grandma and grandpa, and I was not going to waste them. Here’s what I did, and what I suggest you try if ever you find yourself in the same boat.

1. Go old-school!

I put pen to paper, the old-fashioned way. With a newsletter due in the next 24 hours, I had no choice but to go old school. What did I discover? How much I love the feeling of my pen running along the page. The break from staring at a screen was also pretty refreshing. Sure, I had to skip formatting, links and image placement for now. But, I quickly finished a draft that would take very little time to type up later. Dare I say, perhaps the copy flowed even quicker by hand?!

2. Prioritise

I went in to my Trello app via my phone and got my priorities in order. Yes, it meant juggling a few things around, but it also meant I used my time productively. Funnily enough, it also gave me time to focus on the tasks I’d been avoiding…

3. Go big

...Such as big picture dreaming. I’ve long had ideas brewing that I rarely make time to ‘work on’, such is the daily grind. Today, rather than see them as big day-long tasks, I spent some bite-size chunks on the big picture and goal stuff. And, you know what? It didn’t take long to get some serious clarity.

So, am I glad I left my laptop in the boot of the car? Would I do it again? Not purposefully of course, but it’s great to know there are ways I can be productive without it.

Obviously, I'm back online now! So, if you've been meaning to get in touch, you can do that here. I'd love to see if we're a good fit.

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Andrea Drake - Fitness & Wellness Superstar

Andrea Drake is a real dynamo. Not only is she an accomplished Physical Education secondary teacher who leads a department, she is the inspiration behind Melbourne Fitness Diaries (MFD). Ange runs this group to empower women to take control of their fitness, strength and wellbeing. She operates with passion and infectious enthusiasm, and genuine joie de vivre. I should know - she's my trainer and, my oh my, she's good! 

I admire Ange as a businesswoman and wanted to know more about what makes her tick and how words factor in to her work. I know you will enjoy getting to know Ange and MFD.

How important are the right words?

The right words are incredibly important when trying to engage, motivate and support members of my community to be the best versions of themselves.

Nutrition science can also be so complicated. My role is to make this information accessible, simple to understand and easy to follow for my clients. There is so much content on the internet, particularly in social media feeds, that promotes fitness and nutrition advice. Unfortunately not all of this content is credible, which can create confusion for the girls I work with.

When counselling clients through sticky points in their lives or writing health and lifestyle articles, I can’t go on faith alone. My words reflect proven systems and science because my clients’ success and happiness depends on me doing my job properly.

What gets you up in the morning?

Passion. I feel so blessed to have found a career that enables me to have such a positive impact on other people's lives. From a personal perspective, I see the start of each day as an opportunity to be challenged, to grow, learn and become the best version of myself.

What led you to your current career choice?

I have always been active. Growing up in country Victoria, I played a lot of sport and spent a lot of time outside. I have always had a passion for human movement, which led me to complete my Bachelor of Education, specialising in Physical Education.

After a few years in teaching, I realised that many of my friends and family were looking to me for fitness or health advice. Getting my certification in Fitness was the best decision I could have made. As soon as I began working in the fitness industry, I fell in love with exercise programming, creating and sharing nutritional plans, and working specifically with women.

What are the most effective ways you market your business?

Word of mouth and client referrals continue to be the best way to market myself. I am incredibly fortunate that my community of girls are so supportive of Melbourne Fitness Diaries and of me.

Facebook has revolutionised the marketing world. I use Facebook advertising to find girls outside my training community who have similar interests. I have been really successful in using this method to recruit girls into my 28-Day Intro Challenge.

How has the landscape of your industry changed since you began?

Technology, social media and the plethora of apps available has transformed the fitness industry over the last 5 years. You don't have to look very far to find a cheap online gym program that will be sent to your inbox faster than it takes to put your gym clothes on. While this could be seen to be putting fitness professionals out of business, nothing could be further from the truth.

People will always value the ability to connect with a professional and a community, with research suggesting this supports individuals reaching their health and fitness goals. Apps, such as MyFitnessPal, Fitbit and RunKeeper, help to increase client accountability to set behavioural goals.

I use technology every day to help me stay connected with my community, via Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and blogging (Wordpress). I also use the online training system Trainerize for online clients and Hootsuite to help me schedule posts.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to other freelancers/small business owners?

Be patient. It takes time to develop systems and learn new things. It can become overwhelming when you look at individuals who have 'made it', have a great website, loads of followers and testimonials. It takes time to build a great brand. You are running your own race, so take your time, know what you are about and trust your gut instinct.

Why should people working in any industry prioritise their health and fitness? How does it help you to work smarter?

For a long time, I thought exercise was about helping you to 'look better'. As I have grown in the industry, my training style has changed based on what works for me and letting go of ego. You don't need to be a maniac and train every day to get results.

Training and eating well gives me clarity and a sense of calm. When my body feels good, so does my mind. In a world where we are all so busy, taking time out for yourself is the best form of self care you can commit to.

To learn more about MFD and Ange's approach to training, visit Melbourne Fitness Diaries.

To give yourself more time for fitness and wellness, consider outsourcing your copywriting!

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