Pink Spaghetti PA Services Newbury owner gives organisation advice ahead of the new school year
Want to know how to organise your business, family life and everything else in between before the new school year starts?
Listen to Clare Farley, owner of Pink Spaghetti PA Services Newbury, who uses organisation skills honed over years of industry experience to help others with her lifestyle management service.
Clare is a full-time business owner, wife, mother to two children at two different schools, and a self-confessed organiser and planner who could never have enough planning apps.
We met with Clare to ask her how she copes with getting organised for the new school year while running a business at the same time.
“I want to share some of my formulas to becoming an organised business owner who also must organise a family with back to school on the horizon,” she said.
“I would start by saying don’t self-sabotage your start to the new school year.
“Don’t leave all of the organisation and planning until the week before and then become so rushed off your feet that the negative committee in your head begins to take over.”
Clare studied hotel management at Cardiff University in the 1990s where she learnt a lot of her planning and organising skills which, after graduating, she took into the hospitality industry to work in events and marketing.
Last year she launched Pink Spaghetti PA Services, her virtual PA service, here in Newbury where she uses all of her key skills to help to run many local businesses with business support and consulting.
Key things Clare advises include being realistic and kind to yourself.
“If your day starts in a rush, taking just 10 minutes out to breathe deeply really does help.”
She also believes exercise is key to staying focused and feeling healthier both physically and mentally.
“I hardly exercised before I set up my business but I noticed that those who were super successful all had a fitness routine that they stuck to. Now I make sure I work out three times a week.”
Starting to get that solid bedtime routine for the kids back before school starts is also another great way to get them in the mood for the new year.
“We all let it slide, and in our house it can take a good two weeks to get back into the routine, so we start a few weeks before the holidays end to gradually pull them back.”
Clare also uses a variety of different technological aids to help her organise her busy life.
Amazon’s Alexa device proved a godsend during the pandemic: “It helped us survive lockdown.
“I purchased one for each of my children’s bedrooms so that I could set it to tell them when to log on to their online learning, and when to hand in their homework.
“This worked really well as I needed that extra hand whilst I was working and to be honest, they listened to it.”
Clare also believes having a good planner is key, and she suggests Google Calendar as a great option.
“I calendar block my entire day. All of my home management tasks, children’s socials, when to ask my husband what shifts he’s on, plus all of my business tasks.”
Clare also uses the Todoist app to make lists of tasks she needs to do throughout the day, and Evernote, which she calls “the home management go to”.
She provided a list of things to do now in preparation for the new school year: Get uniforms out and check if they fit; get haircuts booked in; check school bags and lunchboxes; if you have a printer, make sure it’s stocked with ink and paper; make sure all school items are name labelled; and check if any school holiday projects still need doing.
Clare also named a number of ideas that could be used around the house to help life when the kids are back at school.
She suggested creating a message centre, which involves having a folder for each of your children to keep up with messages sent home from school.
She also believes having a regimented morning routine personalised to you is key to getting your day started.
Clare’s includes doing a 20-minute yoga session, having a protein/vitamin shake, and taking her daily collagen shot.
“One thing I like to do is keep a book in my car to read when I’m waiting for school to open.
“I personally choose books by female entrepreneur authors which motivate me for the day ahead.”
She also recommends creating a backpack station which has hooks for bags and coats, and a box for shoes.
Clare also believes organising one’s wardrobe is a great way to save time in the future, and it is a service she offers as part of Pink Spaghetti PA Services.
She also described her decision to have her children make their own lunches every morning as a “light bulb moment”.
The family fridge contains labelled containers that Clare’s kids use to easily make food for themselves, saving her valuable time to focus on her business.
Speaking of labels, Clare also advised labelling everything, from bags and coats to lunchboxes and even school ties.
Making sure uniforms and homework are ready to go the night before is also a great way to make mornings flow smoothly, says Clare.
If you would like to learn more organisation tips from Clare, sign up to her monthly newsletter.
The link is on her social media bio @clare_pinkspag