I need both accountability AND deadlines to get stuff done (and relationship)

I need both accountability AND deadlines to get stuff done (and relationship)

I need both accountability AND deadlines to get stuff done (and relationship)

I get stuff done on deadline.

But only when the deadline involves other people.

Deadlines work for me because I care about other people. Sometimes to the exclusion of myself, which i’m working on, but I really hate letting people down. 

If I say I’ll send something Friday, it may be midnight, but I’ll get it sent. On the odd occasion I don’t, you’ll see me texting or emailing to apologise and promise a new deadline.

I’ve been like that since I was young. I remember in high school my mum saying “you know if you started it now, you wouldn’t be up til midnight the night before finishing it”. “Yea, yea, i know mum, i will next time….” I never did. The paper was due on Friday morning, so I’d be finishing it late Thursday or even really early on Friday morning before school. 

I used to think that was a weakness, and I’d be more successful or less stressed or more organised or whatever if I sorted it out. 

Now I know it’s my superpower. 

You want something done? Give me a deadline. 

But don’t just give me a random deadline. It doesn’t work to say “yea, send it to me tuesday if you can”. I can see right through your vagueness and I know you’ll let me off if I text you to say … whatever. I got busy, I didn’t do it, life happened. 

I have to know that someone is waiting on me, and they’re going to be put out or their life made more difficult when I don’t hit that deadline. 

A few deadlines I hit recently were: 

  • Content for a collaborative document between PF and Karbon and GoProposal. Heather asked us to make comments to the document by Wednesday 15th August. We are all crazy busy people, and all the cool stuff we’re looking at doing is dependent on the input from all, so I had to make my comments by the 15th. And I did. 
  • These Karen’s Notes. In order for them to be drafted, scheduled, and posted by Saturday morning (email, blog post, and socials), I need to have them written and sent to the PF team by Wednesday. Sometimes I stretch this a bit (I’m thinking of the time I didn’t finish it til 7.30am on Saturday! ahem!) but the fact that my delay is only adding pressure to the team does motivate me to get it done sooner rather than later.
  • Building a Story Brand”: I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages. I’ve carried it round and picked it up and set it on the table whilst on a train journey…but I finally read the first three chapters last week because I’m in a book club. Everyone in it reads an agreed selection each week, and records a video to share their thoughts. I was literally the very last person on the very last day to submit my video…but I did it. Didn’t feel like it, but didn’t want to let down my team. (I even did it live on insta so I could have it for content on my IGTV channel: https://www.instagram.com/tv/B1D-FIggZQa/?igshid=6aongvkhwa4n

Finally, the person or company I’m doing it for has to matter. 

There has to be purpose. 

If someone randomly asked me to do something and threw out a deadline, and said everyone was waiting on me, that on its own isn’t enough because there’s no relationship. (I’m imagining those salesy self focused LinkedIn messages I get, where people want to “have a coffee” or “chat to see where we can mutually support each other”.) 

I did the content for GoProposal and Karbon because I respect their companies and appreciate the good relationship we have.

I write these Notes because I appreciate every person who signs up to them (you feel very real to me because I draw a custom welcome sketchnote for each person who signs up). The replies I get are real human replies, about hard things, challenges, victories, insights. It inspires me.

I read the book because I care about the other members of the Content Marketing Academy, who are in the book club. They’re also business owners who create their own content and ask great questions and take deadlines seriously. 

What I’d love to hear from you today is…

What are a few things you really want to do (literally sitting on your to-do list) but they’re just not getting done? 

I’m always fascinated by what others’ undone to-do’s are! 

Follow me


Morning walk. I stood and watched the ferry come in and the sun lighten this little edge of the world.
Been going through old photos and letters - the last of the boxes i had stored at my sister’s house in america. 

When I first moved to Scotland, I only planned to live here for a few years and then go back. Then after a few years I wasn’t ready yet…then I got my residency…still not quite ready….then started a business…then Scottish citizenship…bought a house …finally accepted this is my home and I wasn’t moving back. 

And with every visit back to the states I would go through more boxes, more photos and letters and memories. I’d keep some and throw others away; take photos out of frames and give away the frames; and as time went on I was able to distinguish between the ones I definitely wanted and needed to keep, and those which were lovely at the time but didn’t need to be saved anymore.

Over twenty years on and this past trip I went through the very last of the boxes. I joked to my sister that I’ve now officially settled into Scotland 😆 

This photo of me and my Gramps is a fave and definitely a keeper. Most of the photos and letters I’ve kept are those of family - parents, grandparents, sisters, nieces and nephews. And as much as I love taking landscape photos, I noticed that 20 years later it’s the people photos I am more likely to keep. Thankful for the traditions and patterns of seeing family every year or so since moving to Scotland. They’re small things - baking Christmas cookies and going for walks and going for road trips - but it’s the time together and the continuing family jokes and the memories which remain. And a few photos.

My grandfather (and all my grandparents) have now passed on, but I remember with fondness sitting around at their kitchen table, eating fresh vegetables from the garden, playing scrabble, laughing and talking and drinking coffee.

It’s the small things, and the rhythms of family, which last. ❤️ 
#family #memories #grandparents #oldphotos
Made fresh mince pies for the first time ever. Over twenty years in Scotland and I’d never tried to make them from scratch, so I figured…now is the time! I’m doing lots of thanksgiving baking (yes, we stretch it out here so I’m still prepping!) and decided to buy the ingredients. 

Dried fruit…mixed peel…lots of spices…and Venezuelan rum :) I made up the mincemeat last night, and then today put it in the little pastries and even cut out the wee stars to go on top!

I think I can safely say they’re the best mince pies I’ve ever had. Fresh out of the oven sprinkled with icing sugar and with a glass of said rum alongside :) 

Now we are curled up with a Harry Potter marathon, with plenty of mince pies AND a thanksgiving feast still to come. Happiness! 

#mincepies #homebaking #maryberry #maryberryrecipe #happythanksgiving #happychristmas #harrypotter #hpmarathon
Oh hey, it’s me. 

And a new updated KLR brand and website! 

For the past six months or so, while I was finishing my book content and the final edits from my side, we have also been working on an updated KLR brand and website, to distinguish from the PF brand and site. 

It’s a tough job, when you’re the business owner and have been for ten years. And the book you’ve written is for the kind of clients your business serves, so it feels like a PF project.

But I’ve also been working for years to figure out (and help others see) that PF is far more than me. I’m the owner and MD, and I’m involved in sales and speaking and writing, and yet our clients primarily work with the team. There are 18 beautiful humans delivering great creative work every day from PF (soon to be 19!) and as I always say to potential clients, you definitely want all of them working on your creative projects. They’re structured and organised and talented - 19x more talented than just me. 

I’ve still got my own skills. And my own identity. It took us weeks to dig into how we represent “Karen L Reyburn” as a personal brand, with an audience of clients and friends and accountants and non-accountants and witches and wizards and family members and creative humans. 

We settled on “Leader, writer, creative, coach”, because those are the areas I love the most and want to lean into more as PF grows. And as I write more books and keep being my own self. 

If you’d like to be on the list to get “Karen’s notes” by email every Saturday, or to be on the waiting list for the book (coming May 2023), the link is in my bio. 

And I’d love for you to head over to my new site (karenlreyburn.com) and let me know what you love or anything you notice and wonder about! 

Stay strong, stay creative, and keep going. 

#karensnotes #staycreative #justkeepgoing