What 2014 has taught me…

It’s coming to the end of the year and Chat with Rellypops blog is going to take the time out to relax and refresh after an action packed year. I’ve been slightly more reflective than usual about the events of 2014 and thought it would be timely to consider what I have learnt from the various amazing brains I have interacted with this year. I’m going a personal and professional spin as between my institutions restructure and announcement of future visions, lots of travel, and writing I have also under taken major home renovations.

Photo: Keeping hydrated with tea while writing (N.Lemon, 2014)

Photo: Keeping hydrated with tea while writing (N.Lemon, 2014)


What I’ve learnt about writing….

  • It is hard to find good co-writers but when you do it is one amazing learning experience. Treasure these thinkers and doers!
  • Establish your own writing habits and stick to these no matter what else is happening.
  • Keep a balance between co-authorship and solo-authorship.
  • Mentoring colleagues with their writing is very invigorating.
  • Don’t juggle too many different ideas at once but keep a balance to allow for thinking and action to remain in your space.
  • Keep reading while you are writing. It is amazing how many stylistic ideas and approaches begin to shape your writing.
  • Bad posture at the laptop is not sustainable long term.
  • Feed your brain while writing.
  • Write everyday.
  • Stop on the weekend.
  • #Circleofniceness
Photo: Wee Jeanie is power point heaven (N.Lemon, 2014)

Photo: Wee Jeanie is power point heaven (N.Lemon, 2014)

What I’ve learnt about a flexible work office and work travel

  • Before you settle into a café in the location where ever you are working (whether it be near home, work or while you are travelling) check that there is a power point so you can keep charged. There is nothing worse than being in the moment of writing and finding that your laptop’s power cuts your thoughts.
  • A tiny notebook is a must for capturing thoughts on the move. This year I changed the size of my notebooks for hand writing ideas to a tiny A6 (half of an A5 which is half again of A4). Best move ever especially space wise in bags (can sneak it into travel bags no problem) but most importantly it shifted the majority of my note taking to digital.
  • Travelling for work means staying in different locations. Learn to travel light, especially in regards to the toilet bag and shoes! This was a challenge for me but after about 20+ trips this year in various locations I am happy to say I can travel light now and this can only assist with time to pack, ease of movement, and giving a little breathing space for that funky must have item discovered while travelling!
  • If you can travel with hand luggage only then this will be one of the best decisions you can ever make especially when it comes to the airport, queues, and crowds.
  • Hotel pens are the best as they are lightweight and when you misplace them on the road (which we all do) then it is not as worrying as the lovely weighted pen that was gifted to you by someone close to you.
  • Ask for a weak green tea everywhere you go…I don’t need to really say anymore!

What I’ve learnt about renovating

  • Communication is the key but what communication type and style is important. It’s a challenge but worth figuring out as silence is not a great option!
  • Just don’t take the word of one person who claims to be an “expert”. Investigate!
  • Plan, plan and then plan some more as there can be options you never even thought of as you research, seek varying opinions and think outside of the square.
  • Be flexible and have a back up plan (or four) when it comes to dates and timelines.
  • Know where you can buy new underwear as never under estimate how difficult it is to keep on top of the laundry when you don’t have a working washing machine or access to water at home while working full time and living in a building site.
  • Laundromat’s like to eat your clothes. They are most fond of towels.
  • You meet the most interesting people at Laundromat’s.
  • You can get used to sleeping on a blow up mattress…it only takes 3 ½ months to become desensitized.

What I’ve learnt about work restructures

  • New vision can be exciting especially when you discover where you fit.
  • Stressed colleagues equals varied behaviours, some of which are generous, thoughtful, and inspiring.
  • Change is okay, as opportunity exists.
  • Just listen.
  • Some colleagues need to repeat the same stories while they are processing their thoughts and this is okay.
  • Advice from those who have been through a major restructure is priceless.
  • Some people make it all about them and forget it involves the entire workplace.
  • Admire those who take control of their own destiny.


What have you learnt in this past year? How have you been inspired and challenged?


3 thoughts on “What 2014 has taught me…

  1. Tseen Khoo says:

    Loved this, Narelle. Great round-up of wisdom from the year, and I hope that you – of all people – can look back and be proud/satisfied/squeeful of what you’ve achieved this year. It’s damn impressive + you are inspiring.

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