It is incredible that we are already in February, and even if are only a few weeks past the start of the new year (well Chinese new year is still to come) our resolutions and dreams are already waiting to become plans.
It is personally taking a lot of time for me to get started this year, or at least it feels like that. However, the reality is that to start a business is not something you put together in few weeks, nor is immediate to get the organization in the right way. Especially as blogger and parent, the hours are never enough and I sometimes wouldn't mind a week of 8 days for some rest!
So as Valentine was approaching in my planner, I realized I really did need that extra time for myself. I cannot add hours to my days or make my week longer of course, so I thought I was better organizing my tasks and make sure I finally could carve some personal time as well as make the most of my working hours. As slow-living is one of my core goals, and I know I want to work towards it, I started to use this technique of making batches of my work.
I thought it may help you to know how I am making my life a little easier when it comes to business organization.
Wait! What all this have to do with some pink paleo tarts? Well, a lot. If I decide to have a treat I also want to figure when to enjoy it, and I came to a point were that I did not have that time, so I decided that before St Valentine I would make it happen!
Batching basically means that I am grouping together tasks that are similar and recurrent. Those in the near past would have hunted me every week, making me feel like on a hamster wheel, never getting to a resting point OR to a sense of accomplishment. I was always last minute, and one task after the other one I couldn't see the big picture. I never had "blank time" to mentally recharge my ideas and I struggled to be present to the other part of my life that matter. So I started to search for a solution to build a roadmap that could resonate with me. This method I apply is basically a fusion of few I have encountered. Maybe a good fit for you too, or a possibly a good start!
I divide my year in trimesters ( as quarters feel too long and overwhelming) which means circa 13 weeks goal plan.
Then I make a list of the 5 goals I want to achieve at the end of the year (doesn't matter when your year starts, January is only a concept) I call them the BIG 5.
Then I set the 3 smaller goals I can achieve in the first 13 weeks, 3 smaller goals for the second 13 weeks... you get it. These smaller goals are the ones that will lead me to my BIG 5.
I try to have goals set in all areas of my life, so, for example, I won't set goals only for my business or my health. Then I write 3 practical steps I need to take to get to each goal and I break down each of the 3 steps into 3 mini steps. Those mini steps and mid steps are batched during the 13 weeks.
So let's say one very simple of those mini steps for me, is to post new contents every week on my blog. Basically I set few days were I batch the posts writing. I do not batch the shootings together, I like to focus on one photo shoot at the time and give to my creativity enough space to breath. It is my work but also my passion and I want to keep that feeling of excitement when I pick up the camera. So for me batching photography sessions together would take away my creative mojo.
But writing is a big hassle for me as takes time to write in a language that is not mine. So I need to be super efficient or I will hate the process (and I nearly got there!).
So this is how it works. My days are about 4 hours long, as then I need to pick up my children from nursery and school. Not all days are for blogging, I teach cooking and I work as a photographer so my time is restricted.
Day ONE I will dedicate my 4 hours to search Pinterest, magazines and other bogs for inspo (oh, it sounds so hard right?! ;P), set all the titles and backbone concept of each blog post, I write also kind of emotions related to each post, what I want to pass to my readers: how can I help them, what kind of inspiration is behind the article, and so on. These take a full 4 hours of head down work. Then I will spend one day writing 3 to 4 blog posts in one go, I won't have anything distracting during that day, internet, emails, apps ...will be all off, except Google Translate and basic Grammarly. I write the recipe when I make it for the shooting so I just need to paste and copy that into the article.
And the last day to proofread them all. The whole process will be spread over 10 days, so I can be flexible on which day I can focus on the blog posts but still with a 10 days deadline, so I do not get lost. As I otherwise would. A similar process is applied to the editing and any task I have. So if for instance I have a random client coming for a lesson I can move things around and not be delayed ( as I always was).
I hope this little glimpse in my process will help you to have more time, enjoy your Valentine and get to eat these pink tarts of mine! So let's bake!
These ingredients make 3 tarts of 6 cm diameter and 1 large tart of 20 cm diameter.
You need a powerful food processor such as Vitamix, a mixing bowl and few tart tins.
To be prepared ahead:
Soaking the cashew 1 night or 4 hours in hot water
Refrigerate 1 can of milk
Whole hands-on process 30 min
Cooking 10-15 min
Freezing 30 min
2 cups coconut flour
½ teaspoon unredìfined sea salt
5-6 tablespoons rice malt (room temperature)
3/4 cup coconut oil, soft but not melted
1 cup cashew soaked overnight or for 4 hours in hot water
5 Tbsp+ of xylitol or your favourite sweetener
1 can coconut milk (refrigerated) only the cream
2 Tbsp vegan white chocolate melted (I use LovingEarth)
4-5 blood oranges the juice only
A squeeze of lemon
pinch of salt
pinch of vanilla
Preheat the oven to 180°C, set your rack at the lowest level.
Melt the chocolate placing a ramekin in a saucepan with hot water on a low flame. Let it cool down.
To a mixing bowl add the coconut flour the coconut oil and the salt. Mix with a fork until you have a coarse consistency. Add the rice malt and work until you have a dough.
Add to a Vitamix or similar your filling ingredients, no specific order required. Take care the melted chocolate is room temperature before mixing with the other ingredients.
Pass the liquid to an airtight container and refrigerate for 2 hours, or like I do, freeze for 30-35 min. Until is creamy and set.
While the filling cools down.
Press the dough into your tart tins, around 4 mm thick and cook for 10-15 min, if the borders start to become too dark before the base is properly cooked, cover with some baking paper for the last few min. When cooked let them cool down to room temperature, they will become harder and easy to handle. You can put in the fridge before filling with the cream.
Fill your crusts with the cream, decor and serve immediately. The filling tends to oxidize and discolour after a day. Keep in the fridge.