SIMPLICITY : Arianne Foulks
March 03, 2015
Hello, I’m Arianne! I run Aeolidia, a design studio that helps your little business become a “big little” business. Oh and hi, we created the Emily Ley site and just love working with her! We have been working with creative businesses since 2004, helping them put their best foot forward online and off. I’ve never lost interest in building online homes for fascinating people. I have a great boss (me!) and I’m unafraid to play hooky to head out on an adventure. Some day I’ll tell you about the time when, as a marine biology student, a baby elephant seal bit me.
How do you take care of yourself so that you’re physically and mentally prepared to be your best self for others?
I get by on optimism and not taking myself too seriously. I heard a great mindset-changer at one point that keeps me from feeling overwhelmed: instead of saying to myself (and others), “I don’t have time to do XYZ,” instead I phrase it as, “XYZ is not a priority for me right now.” Whether XYZ is agreeing to a favor for someone or keeping up with laundry, it feels much better to have agency in my life. It helps me realize I’m making decisions, not being swept along by an out of control whirlwind of responsibilities.
In your house, how do the mundane parts of life get done?
They don’t always! Our kids are four and six and we’re working on teaching them to do their fair share around the house (I’m guilty of doing their work myself sometimes because it’s just so much easier, but I know this will come back to bite me in the long run). When things get out of balance, I can bring them back in order by using the Pomodoro Method when I work (which is essentially setting blocks of time with an actual timer, and trading off Aeolidia work with housework throughout the day, so I don’t get absorbed in one or the other). Sometimes I will let the housework slide when I have something important happening in my business, or I will take time with my family and gratefully let our project coordinator, Sam, pick up the slack.
I don’t have one particular routine that’s important – can I pick all of them? Even when it’s a hassle getting out of the house, I like walking my 1st grader to his school bus stop, then strolling back with his little brother (smelling flowers, walking on low walls, and finding perfect sticks to brandish). I like cuddling in my bed with whichever boy wakes up first, and hearing about their dreams. I like our family meals around the table, where everyone is becoming responsible for their own tasks (filling the pitcher, chopping vegetables, gathering forks). I love that the disappointment of hearing that it’s bedtime is instantly soothed by finding out how many books they each get to pick that night, and clambering to the shelves to pull out a big pile of favorites. Some Sunday mornings I cook crepes, and the sweet buttery smell, sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, and fun of rolling them up and cutting them, “by myself, Mama!” is a joy.
Your PICK SIX: What 6 products can you absolutely not live without?
MacBook Air / iPad / iPhone trifecta: I have to give these top billing. I manage all my work tasks by going back and forth between these three. I’ve always had a PC, and switching to a MacBook this year was the best thing I’ve done for my work life! Now everything connects nearly seamlessly, even when I’m out and about.
Feedly: I use Feedly to keep track of blog posts I want to read, whether they’re for work or play. I can flip through the info I want to share on social media and follow along with blogs that I enjoy.
Evernote: Everything goes into Evernote – it’s like a corner of my brain. Anything digital that needs saving is tagged and categorized in Evernote. I use it to save travel info, start blog posts, track client info, store recipes, and make plans.
iRobot Roomba: Our little robot vacuum is placed down, and after 45 minutes of bumbling inefficiently around, the dust bunnies are up without me having to chase them around myself. My dad gave me my first one many years ago. I thought it was going to be a fun but impractical toy, but it is so nice to have around.
An inexpensive cotton tablecloth from IKEA: Two, actually. Once it has too many crumbs or spills on it, I snatch it up, shake it out and throw it in the wash, replacing it with the clean one from the drawer. With two little kids, it makes cleanup easy and takes away one annoying part of meal prep. I felt like I’d revolutionized dinner when I started using a tablecloth!
Dropbox: I use Dropbox to save all the files on my computer, and share all our work files with my team. With the mobile app, I can access files on my computer from anywhere, and it’s all backed up safely.
Anything else you think our readers would love to know? Any additional tips or systems that help you keep it all together?
Realizing that my business had grown so much that I couldn’t run it on my own was huge! I put off hiring help for longer than I should have, but it has been amazing to have someone capable, resourceful, and committed taking care of our clients every day. In this last year, I was able to go on what felt like my first real vacation since I started the business – one where I didn’t have to work each night or come back home to a huge landslide of emails. Bliss!
Similarly, accepting help from my family members and friends is important. Sometimes I feel like I know the “best way” to do something or other, and I try to remember that I can do everything all by myself the “best way,” or others can free up my time by helping me in their own (valid!) ways.
Follow along with Arianne:
The Simplicity Series features busy gals, in different stages of life, making what matters happen and tips and tricks they’ve found to be helpful. Simplicity is about building margin into your life and spending time on and with that which fuels your heart. While we love to share products and services that help us day to day, but simplicity is about HEART and intentionally choosing the thing that matters most (your TREASURE) more than anything money can buy. We wear many hats and we know you do too, so we’d love to hear your thoughts as well! For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34