The Journey Blog

Manage Your Email & Self-Employment 🧰

There are SO MANY tips out there on the best ways to manage your email. Believe me, I’ve found them, and read them, and can report that they mainly revolve around creating email rules (such as filtering out CCs), skim reading techniques, creating templates, etc. – you get the drift.

This wasn’t really what I was looking for though…

A history of managing my email.

Let me tell you about why this topic is important to me.

I’ve long found email a source of stress – every morning, I’d wake up to an inbox full of a bunch of things I didn’t really want to read but I’d never do anything about the stuff I could control (subscription lists mainly!). Then I’d feel unsuccessful if I finished work for the day and there were still things sitting in my inbox as I knew that I’d just have to deal with it the next day. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Couple this with the fact that I used to have two phones (a work one and a personal one) and I had notifications for emails, texts, and a bunch of other stuff coming at from all directions, all the time. I also had this stupid need to check any notification as soon as I could – stress city! In fact, I still have the problem with checking alerts so I’ve basically turned off all notifications on my phone.

Protip: you'll still check Facebook and Instagram regardless of whether you get notifications. You only need to keep alerts on for the important stuff.

Because of this ridiculous combination of things, I found that I was nearly always wired and stressed. This was my impetus for change – I knew something had to give.

Now, I’ve leveled up again and did it pretty simply. My email inbox is basically a glorious place full of interesting and timely information – I genuinely look forward to checking my emails each day!

Sidebar: On the whole ‘two phones’ thing… it was nice putting the work phone down at the end of the day but it’s nicer just having one phone in my opinion, particularly in the world of self-employment.

So, here’s how you can manage your email (and enjoy it).

I think it’s worthwhile doing the email rules and creating the email templates. That stuff does work. I just don’t think that’s where you should start.

A good place to start is filtering out all of the crap. The beautiful thing is that you don’t even need to go through and unsubscribe from each crappy email one-by-one, you can just sign up to a service like Unroll and they’ll sort it for you.

Bonus: I found I had a bunch of emails that I didn't want clogging up my inbox but I also didn't want to unsubscribe from - using Unroll, you can put these emails in a daily digest. Too easy. Don't be afraid to straight-up unsubscribe though!

Once you’ve sorted out all of the bad, the boring, and the blatantly terrible stuff, it’s time to seek out good information!

Of course, there’s no formula for finding good information, it’s going to depend on your interests.

Fortunately for you…

Here are a few of my favourites – I’m thinking we probably share a few of the same interests since you’re here reading this blog:

  • The Hustle – my #1 all-time favourite. Quality business, tech, and global news, 5-6 days a week in bite-sized chunks. Highly recommend!
  • Visual Capitalist – I love VC’s content! I share it all the time on LinkedIn. It’s topical news presented in beautiful diagrams and images.
  • My Money Wizard – Have you heard of FIRE (Financial-Independence, Retire-Early)? This blog is from an American perspective but it’s seriously entertaining.
  • Daily Climate News – Self-explanatory by the name. It’s a good reminder that we need to be doing more to manage our environmental impact (and, of course, it’s well-written and interesting.)
  • And one last one for the designers & developers: Check out The Futur for freelance design/business tips. They also have this seriously cool (and simple) concept where all subscribers are given their number, mine’s 3826.

Once you’ve followed these steps, you’ll receive your mini-goldmine of awesome information each and every day. If you find you’re not reading something (i.e. it just gets deleted every day or sits there waiting to be read for days) then you should unsubscribe from it. Actively manage your inbox, stay on top of it, and make sure everything that passes through it is stuff that you want there. Easy.

Quick summary (4 TL:DRers).

Let’s take it back and make it simple, here’s my recipe to help you manage your email:

  1. Clean out the crap – use Unroll.
  2. Fill your goldmine with high-quality, useful information – like The Hustle
  3. Maintain, maintain, maintain. Stay in control.


Billie’s about 4 months old now. She’s pretty good on the leash though gets distracted easily (can’t blame her, she’s just discovering the world!) – we took her to the beach the other day and she met a bunch of other dogs while we kept a safe distance from other people. I can tell there are a lot of beach visits in our near future 😎


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The Journey Blog

Helping Others & Self-Employment

Helping others is cool 😎 there’s no doubt about it – it’s basically the coolest thing you can do. Well, I think so anyway.

In the past few months, I’ve come across a bunch of businesses and business people who are going out of their way to ensure they are helping others. One business owner even told me that the only reason he is in business is to help people – he doesn’t see the point otherwise. How cool is that!?

I need to do more..

I’ve aligned myself with socially-minded, impact-driven people and businesses. My goal and guiding principle is that if I can do a good job of supporting these people and organisations, they can then multiply the impact they create – it’s basically a synthetic option on impact-driven actions… And that’s all well and good! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I just know I can definitely do more.

So that’s what I’m doing. I’ve partnered with some amazing people on projects that are aiming to deliver impact by helping others (more to come on this soon!) I’m also aiming to deliver some of Seedling’s services for free to businesses that could use my help. If you think you (or someone you know) might fit in that box, get in contact.

I’ve also restarted my old habit of putting money aside to donate to good causes. This is a good and easy thing to do. For me, it’s $10 a week. For you, it could be a bigger number or a smaller one – it really doesn’t matter as, over the long-term, I guarantee it’s a big number.

So, why not start today?

Yep – this is your challenge. Please, please, please – if you ever take up a challenge from this blog, make it this one.

Have a think about the ways that you can help others. Don’t do it because there’s something in it for you – just do it because it’s the right thing to do.

Here’s something you can do right now. Head on over to The Good Registry and either find a charity you’d like to donate to or buy a gift card for someone you know. Bonus points if you set-up a registry for your next birthday, anniversary or [other milestone].

Here’s another idea – can you bake positive impact into your business model? Build an impact model so that every time something in your business moves you forward, you can bring others forward with you.


To anyone who read last week’s post, this will be old news… BUT Billie got her final round of vaccines last week. We’re going walking and I can’t wait 🙌

Check out the photo below – they grow up so fast (7.5 weeks vs. 14 weeks).


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The Journey Blog

Passions & Self-Employment 🧰

Have you ever taken stock of the things that you are passionate about? And, have you ever thought about how you actually define a passion? It seems to me that passions are like interests on steroids! I feel a new definition of compound interest coming on…

Last week, I wrote about the effective use of time. Basically, if we can free up time or if we suddenly have access to a lot more time, how do we go about using it? I wanted to inspire readers to try something new or to change-up the way they’re doing things. I even included a (very) short-list of things that people could try with their new-found freedom… but, for some people that list would have been pretty uninspiring.

So, this week, I’m going to be expanding on the idea of ‘inspiration’ by writing about identifying and finding your passions. Essentially, the idea is to encourage people to work out what they want to do and feel inspired to do something about it!

Disclaimer: I think it’s important to state that I am not buying into the idea that people MUST use ‘lockdown time’ effectively. I’m very aware that these are stressful times for many people who are just trying to survive which makes it very difficult to thrive. Just do your best – that’s what I’m saying.

What am I passionate about?

Passions are distinctly different from interests. As an example, I’m interested in baking bread but I’m passionate about the environment.

Over the past few years, I have done a lot of thinking about what I’m passionate about. I’m an extremely values-driven person and my ultimate goal in life is to live in complete alignment. You might be wondering how I measure that goal? Very subjectively haha.

(I figure values and passions are pretty closely aligned too since your underlying values are a big driver of what you do and how you act.)

Anyway, enough of the waffle 🧇, here’s what I’m passionate about:

  • Protecting the environment & veganism 🌱
  • Self-employment
  • Social enterprise & business
  • Exercise
  • Investing & Personal Budgeting/Finance

Owing to the fact that I’ve identified these passions, I’ve been able to act on them. My consumption habits are influenced by my passion for the environment (and my penchant for budgeting!) and my livelihood revolves around self-employment and social enterprise. I’m sure that you get the idea.

Side note: My example about baking bread before wasn’t just a throw-away comment – there has been a massive surge in search engine results for ‘baking bread’, check out the graph below!

Search engine interest in NZ for ‘baking bread’ per Google Trends

What are you passionate about?

This is quite-literally the million-dollar question. I think the sky is the limit if you can successfully identify your passions. Once you’ve done the identifying, all you have to do is make the plans and take action. Easy-peasy. Not!

Believe me, I know there’s definitely more to it than that. At the very least, if you know the approach then you can make the plan to fill in the blanks. If you don’t know the approach then there’s no plan and no blanks to fill-in – you’ll just be flying blind.

So, have you been through the exercise of identifying your passions? Have you mapped out where the cross-sections of where your passions and your livelihoods lie?

I don’t think there is one way for people to do this but the logical way to me is to start by separating your interests from what you’re truly passionate about. Your passions are the things that you just can’t get enough of. You know, the things that you’re utterly addicted to.

Then move to the next step, are there parts of your life that move you further away from these passions. If so, why do you put up with that? You may have a really good reason OR you might not.

If you don’t have a good reason then you should make a plan for how you’re going to change things up. I’d love to hear your plans and help you on your way if I can. Hit me up!

If all of your actions are already pushing you in the direction of your passions then congrats, you’ve cracked it. I’d love to hear from you!


I’m so so happy that Billie is going to be getting her final round of vaccines on Friday 17th April (two days away at the time of writing). As a result, we will finally be able to take her out for walks – it’s going to be life-changing! I’m totally excited 🙌


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The Journey Blog

Spare Time & Self-Employment 🧰

Spare time – yep, right now you’re probably finding you’ve got more of it. But what are you doing with it? And, where’s all the time going?

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t even be asking ourselves these questions. There’d be no need to. The fact is we live in an imperfect world and we get to use the imperfections in our lives as opportunities for reflection and change. Use this time to create a new baseline. Get inspired!

What’s inspiring me right now?

My mum sent me a pretty outstanding Winston Churchill quote the other day, “never let a good crisis go to waste.” I’m fairly certain Churchill was meaning on a macro-scale but it made me question what wasting a crisis would look like on a personal level.

So, getting microscopic, what are the opportunities that are being presented to us right now and are we using our days as effectively as we could be? I’m asking myself whether I’m using my time and my spare time as well as I can be.

So, what can you do?

We can use our time effectively! This is going to look different for everyone. For some people, the new normal isn’t going to be a lot different from what they’re used to. They won’t have much more spare time (maybe just their commute time!) – for these people, I guess they can endeavour to use their time more effectively to create spare time.

Others will already have plenty of spare time right now. Has it been long enough now that you’ve recovered from the shock of the lockdown (#shockdown?) and your creative juices have begun to flow again? If not, consider this a nudge in the right direction.

How do you use your time effectively?

What would you like to do? What have you been trying to get done for the last few weeks, months, or years?

Write it down. Those are goals. Map them out. Everyday, do something that puts you closer to achieving your goals. I keep a to-do list, it’s with me on my phone and laptop and it’s frequently updated with notes and new goals as old goals get crossed off. It keeps me moving forward.

My personal and professional lives don’t get separate to-do lists either. It’s like this:

  • Have you written blog post yet? (this one recurs every Wednesday)
  • Water the house plants
  • Update financial forecast for [insert favourite client]
  • Mow the lawns
  • Stay at home (okay, that’s not actually on my list 😂)

It’s a great time for me to get ahead around the house but I recognise that I need to juggle this with work, that’s why I keep all of my tasks in one place. I’m also limited by what’s available to me right now – be realistic when breaking your goals down into achievable steps.

In the end, I reckon new skills and knowledge (amongst a bunch of other things like improved resilience and capacity for empathy) are going to come from people trying to live their new hybrid work/personal lives in this new normal. They’re going to overcome and adapt. Fundamentally, I think if people can accept and embrace change, the new skills are going to be learned naturally.

But, you’ve got to block out the noise.

My social media channels have recently been inundated with images like the following:

Are you really wasting your crisis if you’re not using your new-found spare time to specifically learn a new skill, side hustle or whatever? I don’t think look at it quite that simply. There’s definitely more to it than that – don’t put that pressure on yourself. Do your best. That’s all that matters. After all, we’re in a crisis!

If you’re that way inclined though…

If you are determined to use your spare time to learn a new skill, start-up a side hustle, or enhance your productivity but don’t know what to do… try these out for size:

  • Start a blog! (I’m biased, of course!)
  • Learn about digital marketing with Google Digital Garage
  • Improve your cooking skills (and document the journey!)
  • Take up walking, running, or cycling (with adequate social distance – oh, and document the journey!)
  • Learn the history of your suburb, city, and country.

You get the idea. You got this!


I fear I’m getting a bit repetitive here.. but Billie just so damn good and cute! We love her. Look at that face <3 (her face, not mine!)


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P.S. About that cover photo..

That watch is a piece of work (in a good way!), it’s a Timex Weekender. They didn’t sponsor this post or anything (I wish!), I’m just a big fan. It’s reasonably priced, lasts forever, looks good, and has a backlight!

When COVID19 is all said and done, find a local watch retailer and pick yourself up a Weekender!

The Journey Blog

Loneliness & Self-Employment Toolkit 🧰

Loneliness. I’d been told it would be one of the hardest things I’d come up against in becoming a self-employed-one-man-band. Now, seemingly overnight, everyone is trying to come to grips with the iso-blues. Yep, we’re in the midst of a crash-course in dealing with near-complete isolation from our friends and family. Something that never would have crossed most people’s minds a few weeks back.

This is why loneliness and how to ‘deal with it’ are such important conversation topics right now.

Last week, I wrote about a few of my favourite tools for working from home like Zoom, Harvest, and Slack. The thing is it doesn’t really matter whether you’re working-from-home or isolating-at-home, tools like these are great enablers. I’ve never had so many video calls and messages (business or otherwise) as I have in these past couple of weeks. It barely feels like isolation sometimes!

I’m one of the lucky ones.

I know I’m in a fortunate position – I’m not oblivious to this. I have my wife, Lydia, we have our puppy, Billie (as always, #Pupdate is at the end of this post!) and the transition into working exclusively from home has been pretty easy as I was mainly working from home anyway!

Loneliness doesn’t discriminate

Even in my fortunate circumstances, I find myself occasionally missing the experience of a face-to-face meeting (even though it’s only been a week or so) and the variety of leaving the house! I realise that we need to be checking in with ourselves and our loved ones regularly and, generally, we need to be taking a bit more care with our actions and words.

I know it’s not quite this simple but, if I may take some liberties, I think there’s three parts (+ technology!) in building the foundation necessary to overcome the lonely iso-blues (not to be confused with the Higgs Boson Blues) during your working week:

  1. Communication
  2. Routine
  3. Exercise & Diet


I’ve been told that over-communication is essential to avoid the feelings of loneliness that inevitably come in times like these. The funny thing is that even if you feel like you are over-communicating, you probably aren’t. When you factor in all the small talk you day in a ‘normal day’, you will realise just how frequently you’re communicating with others.

So, line up those video calls (don’t just stick to the old fashioned telephone!) and get set-up on Slack, Whatsapp, Messenger or [your preferred messaging platform] asap! Keep talking and communicating with your friends and loved ones – it’s better for all of us.


It’s tough being cooped up on your own! It’s even tougher when you don’t have a clear direction on how you’re going to run your day. The best option here is to create some sort of routine, think about when you:

  • wake-up,
  • start work,
  • finish work,
  • take breaks

My opinion is that people should try to have a ‘normal’ day as if they were at the office. I’ll also go on record and say that there’s nothing wrong with doing a few chores around the house between tasks! Just try not to let the chores become your job for the day 😎

Tip: Appreciate your new, much shorter, commute to work! It’s my favourite part of working from home 🙌

Bonus Tip: You run the day, the day doesn’t run you.

Exercise & Diet

There is a clear link between physical and mental health. Make time to get some fresh air & exercise everyday. Firstly, it’s one of the few reasons to leave the house right now and, secondly, the endorphins from exercise will definitely improve your mood.

One of the more difficult things about working from home is the close proximity to the kitchen. I’m not going to preach on about meal planning or anything like that, I reckon just limit the snacking and try to eat the same amount of food you normally would (or, if you can, just eat when you’re hungry).

So, nothing to it then!

Unfortunately, that’s not true. These are just three things that you could be doing to help improve your mental and physical being. There is no cure-all to loneliness but you can definitely do things to help yourself and those around you. Keep safe and stay positive.

Tip: Whether you’re working from the home office or the dining table, get up and move around at least once an hour. It’s a good opportunity to make a cup of tea or coffee too.


Billie is quite possibly the cuddliest and sleepiest dog I’ve ever met. Her training is going well on all counts and we are so pleased that we put the effort into socialising her pre-isolation. She gets her final vaccines in mid-April and then we can finally take her for walks!


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Billies the pup helps keep the loneliness at bay.