Work Smarter not Harder – Notes from Retailfest 2019

A few months ago I was asked to speak for the second time at Retailfest at London’s Olympia exhibition centre. Part of the Top Drawer trade show, which attracts over 21,000 of the most successful retailers, contract buyers and press from the UK and beyond to 1,500 exhibitors, Retailfest presents inspiring and engaging panel discussions, insightful interviews and practical masterclasses.

This year’s topic was Work Smarter, Not Harder – Discover A New Approach To Getting Things Done and joining me on the sofa was a delightful panel including Shahroo Izadi, Kerry Lyons and Laura Payne-Stanley.

We talked through topics such as how our businesses have evolved over the years, creating a work-life balance and the strategies we have put in place help us to avoid burnout and overwhelm.

Sharing the stage with such a varied group of women made for an incredibly interesting discussion. Particularly when we shared how we cope when things go wrong. We all had our own approaches to this but all agreed on one area – sometimes thing will go pear shaped. With the best will in the world there will be times when it’s just not going our way. We need to try and learn from these occasions. Think about what we could have done differently, chalk it up to experience, dust ourselves off and start the next day afresh.

For me, I always go back to nature. If I’m feeling uninspired or have just had a crap day, a walk by the sea never fails to make me feel better and realise just how insignificant my problem is in the grand scheme of the world. We talked about the importance of having a plan just like this for when things do go wrong. Think about what works for you, and know that you can tune into whatever that is if the worst happens.

We shared our thoughts around imposter syndrome. Something every one of us suffers with from time to time, and how we need to minimise those little voices in our heads telling us we’re not good enough, talented enough or experienced enough to do what we really want to. By acknowledging that those voices are trying to be kind, to save us from failure and prevent us potentially getting hurt, we can shrink their impact on us and power through whatever it is that we’re reticent about.

I love contributing to discussions like this, and love seeing a little flicker of a lightbulb moment in some of the audience’s faces!

When you next have five minutes maybe take some time to think about what you could do to work smarter, not harder.


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