I’ve become one of those annoyingly irritating dickheads as of late. One of those “SORRY I haven’t replied I’ve been SoOoOoOoO BUSY” people. There’s a very high chance you are one of these people too. So I’m not having a go and making no judgement – I just have a serious point to make. Now I am not bragging either. I promise. Because I don’t think being busy is anything to shout about. People act as if their busyness is a bragging right, however, because there’s this perceived notion that to be busy means that you are in demand. And being in demand means you’re successful. And being successful, well, don’t we all want to be successful?
Plus, can I just say, we are ALL busy. So it doesn’t make anybody special. As soon as someone says how busy they are I hear another person pipe up to say how much busier they have been as if it’s turned into a dick-swinging contest about who is the most important, popular, in-demand and busy person there is.
Busy can feel great: after three weeks of absolutely zero work whilst in Bali and Australia over Christmas and New Year, I have thrown myself back in the deep end in January. But being busy can leads to burnout.
I’ve had to adapt and work a little differently since getting into a long distance relationship. As my boyfriend and I meet up every 3-4 weeks for 2-3 weeks at a time (usually in a country mid-way between London and where he lives in Australia) it’s taking constant holiday out of my work life. Yeah, I could work when I’m away with him, and I will do some work, but I’d rather be able to make the most of the time I have with him. It means that during the 3.5 weeks I’m back in the UK, I have to work damn hard. I wouldn’t say I work harder though: it’s about working smarter. If I smash out a few weeks solid work, I’m rewarded by a chill and a holiday. That’s essentially how it works for me – but you have to find what works best for you. Here’s some things I’ve found have really helped me work smarter, not harder.
I keep telling everyone about this as if I’ve discovered the secret of eternal youth. I can’t pretend it is my own original idea as I’m sure loads of other people do this but I just named it something super lame that sounds like it was made up at one of them trendy media start ups. Basically, you get up a whole hour earlier than you usually would to just work on stuff. Ideally from your bed with your electric blanket on because it makes it so nice and cosy and warm that you don’t mind being up early and working from an environment so snug. This is especially ideal for freelancers, creatives, and students. I’ll do anything – from sending/ chasing invoices, my accounts, some IG story content (like swipe-up shopping content), edit YouTube/ IGTV content, reply to emails, look for inspiration on Pinterest for new content ideas, edit photos for Instagram, scour the websites for new trends/ items to share with you guys. To be honest, I usually try to do something which involves minimal active creativity – like writing – because I’m usually still pretty sleepy and my brain hasn’t always got the capacity to just let my writing flow. Even if you don’t do a creative, more fluid role, getting up that extra hour means you can sometimes work on personal admin.
Yeah. That’s literally it. I remember my masters tutor suggesting I did this and I remember thinking “as if, Roger. My sleep is more important!” but my god, it helps get your head cleared and ready to go. You start your day feeling like you’ve already accomplished so much that it’s the ultimate head start, and your productivity levels are already skyrocketing (and usually before it hits 7am!) – this mean I can usually just chill the fuck out in the evenings when it hits 7pm and give myself some much-needed unwind time.
Smarter To-Do Lists
I have a few Knock-Knock notepads – one of my favourites is this “get your shit together” notepad that categorises stuff into “tough shit” and “easy shit” – and the “reality checklist” pad which has “tasks I will accomplish” and “things I hope I can finish”. These are great because whilst a to-do list can help, if there is too much on it, it can seem totally overwhelming and actually, productivity goes to crap. Limit the most important things to around 3 items and put them in the most critical section of your to-do list, and put everything else in the other sections. It’ll make everything seem far more manageable and approachable.
Disconnect and Rest
My whole life is on my phone. I’m on it all day everyday. And you know what? That’s super annoying. But I find the more I use it the more I go to pick it up to check what exactly? Well, nothing. A proper nights sleep is also so important. Those who say “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” or “sleep is for the weak” were clearly either vampires or actually are probably rarely performing at their highest standard because they are tired af. Get a good nights sleep and operate on a no screens for 30 minutes before bedtime – honestly, switching off, shutting down and reading a book instead just gets your mind to calm itself and prepare for rest before a new start to the day.
Anyway! I hope this was a little bit helpful for you guys. I have literally just thrown together this post super last minute whilst sitting in bed editing videos. A bit of inspiration came to my head so I thought why not just run with it?
Share your tips for working smarter not harder below!