I am a few weeks into my new job elfin’ around at Harrods, it has been full of chuckles, wise chats with FC’s (Father Christmas’) and general festive fun ‘n’ games. Although I’m having a whale of I time, I’ve found hardly anytime to sit down and have a chinwag with you (I’m currently writing this whilst sat in the changing rooms).
As I mentioned back when I graduated, when attempting to carve a career in the creative industries it is typical to have to balance a day job with your creative work – even if that means a little extra planning and preparation, you gotta put a roof over your head and food on the table yo’.
Keeping on top of 10000 and 1 things, writing blogs, keeping up with emails, updating your social media (and make it vaguely interesting) when what you’re really doing is working from 9-5 can be tough. Weather you’re in the same boat as me or you’re trying to stay in control of your uni/college work, or anything for that matter – I have come up with a few tricks and tips to get the most out of your time and also find time for yourself, as that is just as important (if not more) as keeping to your career/college/work goals.
Also – this is a very text heavy post so grab yourself a big mug of tea and toast before you read any further.
Heeeerre we go!
Trevor Blackman, one my laaavley mentors that I’ve worked with over the past few years always says that ‘preparation creates opportunities’. Ever since he pointed this out, I will always do ma best to stick by it. Making sure you’re prepared and organised (even if you need another hour in bed) will make a hauuge change in your productivity. Being mindful and aware of what your doing and where ya wanna be will lead you to more opportunities and connections. If you loose sight of those goals and get wrapped up in other bits and bobs, you’ll end up missing these little opportunities that jump out at you! Staying prepared will also give you more headspace to be creative and really develop. It shows initiative, it will make you feel 100x better, truuuust.
2. Diarise your life
This is probably the most obvious one, but it really is one of the best ways to divide your time and see an overview of your week/month. It will keep you aware of all your plans so you dont get into that ‘orrible mess of forgetting where your going, what time, where etc. I LIVE by my wall planner, especially when I was at uni, absolute life saver! Gwaaarn, get yourself down to WHSmith and invest in one.
3. Wake up at a decent time
I had a job a few months a go which started and 6AM, note: STARTED at 6am. I had to be up and out my house at 5. But then I finished work by 10am, so when most people where just waking up and I had already squeezed in my days work with the whole day ahead of me. This was an extreme case but it make me realise that seizing the day and getting up and about even on your day off will make you feel amazing and you will end up fitting so much into that 24 hours. It is waaay better to get up early and start work rather than stay up to silly o’clock trying to get stuff done and end up snoozing over your laptop. Right?
Sometimes it feels overwhelming when you have SO much to do, you end up having no idea where to start so you end up not doing anything and having a nap instead. YUP. The best thing to do in these situations is write everything down, work out what you can do right now and get going. Once you have done got thing out the way it is so much easier to work your way through everything else. This leads me to the next point…
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a good list. There is something deeply satisfying about sitting down with a big cuppa T and popping one together. They are such a good way to clear and organise your mind, whats even better is crossing em’ out when you’ve completed them, yeaaaah.
6. Social media
I’m not gonna lie – I waste SO much time scrolling through various news feeds and I don’t even realise it until an hour has passed and I’m like WHAT the beejebus have I been doing for the past 60 minutes of ma liiife?! It’s the worst feeling. If you really need to get stuff done, leave your phone elsewhere and get down to it – you will be surprised at how refreshing it is not to be distracted by constant beeping ‘n’ buzzing, and at how much you will get done!
7. Break it down
When I was at writing my dissertation, breaking my work into manageable sections was the best way to put things into perspective and gain control over the situation. If you have a HUGE amount to get done (holla to all the 3rd year uni students out there), sit down and break it whatever it is down into chunks that you can see yourself getting done easily.
8. Use albums and playlists
So this is a bit of an odd one, but I find that it works really well for me. If you can work with music, pick out an album or a playlist, sit down and press play – work without any other distractions right to the end of the album. I find it a really good focus and time frame to finish what you’re working on, once the album has finished, shut your laptop and have a break.
9. Make time for yourself
The most important one of em’ all is to keep time free for yourself. So many people (including myself) forget how important it is to just do nothing for a while. Try to keep some time aside every day just for you, even if that’s only half an hour. Getting some headspace and a bit of time to unwind and recuperate does wonders. If you fancy baking, running a bath, watching a film, doing your nails or all of them – then actually make some time to do just that!
I haven’t got a number 10, can you think of one?