This time next week, I’ll have finished my dreaded, life stealing CII Personal Finance exams, trying to forget about the impending results as I attempt to become a Chartered Financial Planner (funnily enough the results are due on the day of the firm’s Christmas party). I’ve been working on these exams for 5 years now, alongside my full-time job, though I’ve been qualified as a Financial Adviser for 3 of those. Now it’s time to try to secure the holy grail “Chartered” title by completing the Advanced Diploma, even though I’m going to stay well and truly behind my desk in the back office, there’s more and more pressure on us technical kids to be as qualified as we possibly can. And if you want to get anywhere, you have to work at it, right?
It’s boring. It’s unexciting. And it’s not easy. The course materials are dry. The text is quite literally grey. And they make it as difficult as they can for you to pass because the materials and exam sittings go for over £100 a pop for each module. Because it’s so dry and so difficult, the process has been stealing a lot of my free time. And, finally, after two 3-hour exams next week, I should be free. Unless I fail.
When I struggle to concentrate, I find my mind drifting to all the things I could be doing with my time, so I thought I’d share some of my autumn/winter plans with you, even if it’s just to stop them swimming around my mind! It’s quite therapeutic to think about all the things you’re looking forward to!
1. Cook more! At the beginning of the year, I started this blog to give me the motivation to keep trying new recipes. And it was going really really well, until my evenings became too squashed up to really let me think about my grocery list and take the time to approach things in a chilled and creative way. So back to the kitchen!
2. Have a clear out. I’ve been trying to systematically tidy my flat every few months or so, this drawer one evening, that cupboard on a Sunday afternoon, and so on, but I just haven’t had the time over the last few months, so I’ve really just been keeping the place clean and tidy in plain sight. If I pass these exams, my study materials are hitting the recycling, my clothes are going to be thinned out and my junk is going in the bin. It’s going to take some work, but I’m really looking forward to the calmness of the results.
3. Take up Yoga. I used to take yoga classes when I was but a girl, but it fizzled out fairly quickly when my auntie got bored of taking me and I’ve had a mild inclination to start again ever since. I’ve never really been one for exercise, so yoga suited me down to the ground, but now I’m a bit fitter and into regularly pushing myself, I think it might be time to start again, especially as my Blogilates routines and leaving me a little stiff in the late evenings and mornings. I’ve been doing Blogilates for about 2 months now and I really think it’s doing wonders for my strength…we’ll see if it survives the long-term! Anyway, I’ve discovered Yoga with Adriene, a YouTuber who offers free Yoga “practice” (as she calls it). There are beginners tutorials, foundations to the trickier moves and also a 30 day series which I think I might try. She also has a couple of early morning routines as well as a bedtime routine, which is where I might start. I think there are other classes you can pay for, but you can’t really go wrong with this taster, which looks to require about 30 minutes a day.
4. Read. I love reading. Adore it. Especially in the autumn and winter when it’s so cold outside, but so snug and cosy inside. Sadly, there just isn’t the time when you have two tricky exams to cram for. I actually got so excited about the prospect of the pile of books waiting for me that I came vey close to a Busted style jump looking in the window of WH Smith the other day when I remembered I’d get my hobby back. Bliss, bliss, bliss.
7. Give more time to friends and family. While the positive result of frantic studying is that I really don’t have time to watch Strictly with my Nan, I really need to be less miserable about giving up my time… It’s just so precious when you work full-time and have lots of other things going on.
8. Go on holiday! Hopefully with a blog to follow. Don’t worry; I plan to schedule a few to fill the gap!