life

  • 8 Tips on Being Productive and not ‘Busy’!

    So isn’t it funny when all of your carefully planned cogs collide and cause chaos and mayhem? I’ve had that recently where I have been so caught up in one part of my life that all the other parts of it get all jumbled and you end up feeling a little chaotic and therefore you’re ‘busy’ but not necessarily productive?

    Here are 8 tips on being productive rather than busy:

    1. Make a list of all of the things you want to achieve and schedule your week, I always categorise my lists; admin, technical, marketing, life, projects so that it makes it really easy to identify what I need to achieve. You’ll regularly find me, on a Sunday afternoon, with a mug of coffee, a weekly planner, my calendar and my to do list and I will block and allocate a time to do each task so that my week is planned rather than mayhem. You end up achieving a lot more and being more focused about what you do rather than jumping from task to task.

    2. Automate tasks that you don’t need to necessarily do manually, I regularly have my grocery shopped delivered to my door rather than going out to the shops, book in the gardener to come over once a month and give the garden a good tidy up, put meal plans together to make life simpler – no umming and arring in this house!

    3. Don’t wile away your hours on social media, invest in an app that tracks your time on the socials to see how long you actually spend looking at ‘inspiration’ on Instagram. I recently heard about site blockers that you can install on your desktops which can and will purposefully not allow you to access certain websites for however long you specify. Imagine not being able to jump onto Facebook at the drop of a hat?! Scared? I dare you!

    4. Take a break! What do I mean? We all know that you can’t sit at your desk all day and actually get all of your work done in one fell swoop, taking regular breaks will allow you to let your mind wander, get some fresh air, stretch your legs and be back to your old self in as little as 10 minutes – so take the opportunity, then come back to your work with a clear head.

    5. Start your day with the hardest task or the task that you’ve been putting off, it’ll help to just get it done early on when you’re at your best, then you’ve got the rest of the day to finish off, not worrying about that big looming task.

    6. Close all your browser tabs – I checked this morning and I had a record number of 46 tabs open!! This meant I was jumping from one task to another as I came across the relevant tab – I had kept them open as reminders to complete something but it simply wasn’t happening – so now I have bookmarked and saved them to return when its time to complete said task… How many tabs do you have open, let me know in the comments?

    7. Have a natter – its so useful talking to another person, either pick up that phone or arrange to have an informal chat with a colleague or someone else. It could be to ask an opinion on something specific or just a little chat about the weather – it all helps to refocus your centre and think about something else – make sure you’re present though, its no good if you’re thinking about your client meeting later or what you’re having for lunch!

    8. We all want to be the expert at everything, but alas we are not – there are some things that we just aren’t wired for. The best thing to do is acknowledge it and find an expert to come in and take over. We all have our expertise so hiring in or getting a colleague to help out on something because they know more than you is perfectly acceptable.

    Sometimes its really difficult to accomplish what you need to, your to do list is ever growing and you’re setting your goals high, and you just need to perform. It can get too much and no matter how hard you try to list, categorise and get things done, sometimes productivity just stops, overwhelm happens. The key is to know how to wipe that slate clean, pick yourself up and start again. Do you have any other tips that you also think are relevant? What do you do to be productive rather than busy?

     

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  • Resolutions; Shall We?

    So how many of you have sat down and thought about putting together some resolutions for the new year? I said I wouldn’t because they’re always broken, but I did it anyway. The difference this year though, is that I decided that I wasn’t going to say I needed to stop doing this or that, or do more of this. Instead what I did was think about what I needed to ‘do’ to be happy, healthy and successful.

    Want to hear what those ‘do’s’ are? I won’t keep you waiting…

    TIME – Give myself more time with the people I love, that means being more ‘present’ so learning to put that phone away, air-plane or do not disturb mode so that I can actually be in the room with no notifications or buzz to indicate a new message. Leaving my phone and emails in another room and actually having a technology cut off point. We now have no phones after 10pm and no phones in the bedroom either. It has been hard to start off with but I already feel better for it.

    LEARN – they say that we are always learning new things and to be at the top of our game we should learn something new every month, that doesn’t mean learning has to be boring! You could learn how to tango or how to knit, or even how to play golf. I listen to podcasts on my commute which talk about all sorts of things, still pondering what I actually want to learn for leisure but for business there are whole heaps of things I need to learn.

    READ – You should be consuming at least one book a month, hah – who has time to read? But we have kindles, there are apps to aid the reading process and create short but compelling synopsis’ of books meaning less time spent and many of us have commutes where we can read instead of being glued to our phones. I’ve built mine into my bedtime routine – at least 10 pages before bed, OK it doesn’t always happen but its a start and one I want to become part of every day.

    ZEN – I do want to be healthy and happy and have lots of boundless energy and part of that comes from being rested within, so I have downloaded a couple of mindfulness apps and am going to test which works for me. Meditating or learning to calm my mind is a skill I definitely want to master this year. It means a clearer head and allowing myself time to make decisions with no clouded judgement. Fingers crossed!

    SELF-CARE – You’re probably thinking all of the above are self-care, but in fact they aren’t, not in their entirety. This year I have proclaimed to Mr P that at least once a week I am going to take myself off and do something for me; that could be a massage, a fitness class, a few hours in a coffee shop just reading. drawing or pondering life. Don’t ask which I’m doing, it will probably end up a combination of all of these things, but they’ll be just what the doctor ordered at that specific time in my life!

    So there you have it, my do’s are really simple, they don’t involve ‘must’ do this or ‘mustn’t’ do that, they’re more principles for living a better lifestyle and ensuring I look after myself and in turn look after those most important that are around me. What are you pro-claiming your resolutions/rules/principles to be? Have you started yet or broken any yet?

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  • Girl About Town: Time to Unwind

    Celebrations are one of those rare occasions where I stop and enjoy the moment, book something to indulge in and in this instance we took ourselves off to the spa for some rest and relaxation to celebrate 7 (feels like 170) years of wedded bliss. I find it extremely difficult to find a nice spa, one that isn’t just a Jacuzzi and a sauna and steam room so you can imagine my excitement at visiting the K West Spa in Shepherds Bush. They have some lovely facilities and it is such a nice spa that is part of the bigger overall hotel.

    We had decided to book a treatment package called ‘time for two’ which gave each of us access to the spa for a couple of hours, a dry flotation session and aromatherapy massage and use of the ‘sun room’ (no don’t read tan bed) which was a session of heat and light therapy using UV light. Now generally I’m not really a ‘massage’ person, especially when it states that the massage will soothe and relax you, for some people that totally works, but for me – I can’t stop my mind racing about everything I need to do! But the dry flotation – OHMYGOD, I think I have found the one!! This was total bliss, I was cocooned inside a huge pod and surrounded by water that I could feel holistically yet I wasn’t wet. Initially my mind was wandering, but the longer I stayed in this state the more relaxed I felt and even nodded off for a while. Honestly I felt so relaxed and came out of it focused and able to think more rationally and clearer than I had for a while!

    We also enjoyed a sumptuous lunch in their restaurant as part of the package and surprisingly they had a lot of choice for vegetarians. Overall I think the day was lovely and they did their best to accommodate special occasions which was nice I felt like I was in an elite bubble that no-one else had discovered. But I think they purposely make you feel like you are the only person using the place – my own personal spa with a service to match! Go on, book it… you know you want to!

    Have you been to any spa’s recently that you felt lived up to the job? Its a hard feat, but be great to hear your suggestions.

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  • Coffee with a Creative: Charul Bakhda of Gemhance

    Today on Coffee with a Creative we are meeting a crystal specialist, Charul, of Gemhance, she is one of the many like-minded creatives I have had the joy to interview, talking about her, her business and her favourite hot drink of choice!

    What is your coffee (tea, infusions, hot chocolate) of choice?

    Hot Chocolate as i don’t drink coffee

    What inspired you to set up your Company?

    Personal experiences of when I was at a dark place in my life and the change crystal healing, Reiki and Yoga brought to make life worth living again

    Can you describe a typical workday (from wake up to lights out)?

    Yoga and meditation first thing. Then hello to friends and relatives, get ready, and meet the first client of the day for a consultation followed by admin. Lunch is then followed by another client, more admin, then to tackle the socials like Facebook, maybe Pinterest or Instagram. The late afternoon is dedicated to picking up the children and dinner, their activities, making the jewellery, reading for half an hour and then bed.

    Describe your signature style

    Wirework and Makrame style jewellery

    Describe the best project you could get if budget was a non-contender

    Painting silk scarfs and silversmithing

    What’s next for the Company?

    Organise Crystal Healing for groups and meditation classes in a studio and workshop environment

    How and why did you become a *said* designer/creative?

    I’ve had personal life changing experience and my aim is to help others benefit from the healing properties of crystals. Especially those who don’t see light at the end of tunnel. I learnt through experience and guidance from my master and so I started helping. I realised people would forget to keep their crystals with them and using my creative side I decided to design beautiful handmade bespoke crystal healing gemstone jewellery so that it looks fashionable to wear and wearers benefit from all the positive energy of the crystals too.

    What are your top 3 *creative* tips?

    – Believe in yourself
    – Map out what you want to achieve
    – Create what pleases you the most and it will definitely be liked by others

    What *creative* design trends do you wish would go away?

    Anything made unethically and leather goods

    Describe your life in 5 words

    Live life to your best

    What are you thankful for?

    Thankful to have great kids and family

    What is your perfect weekend in the City?

    Going to crystal shops and spending time learning more about the holistic way of living with like minded people

    What is your prefect weekend in the Countryside?

    Walking in nature with the kids, doing Yoga with them within nature, breathing in fresh air. Eating healthy meals. Relaxing and having therapies.

    Where in the World is your most favourite place to visit and why?

    Zanzibar in Africa, beautiful sea side, small roads, pure air, quiet life. Where my first few years were spent

    Charul and Gemhance can be found on social media on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest. They also have some fantastic products on their website, so take a look.

    AartiPopat Blog Signature bluewgold x

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  • What is Perfect Imperfection?

    Embed from Getty Images

    For those of you that know me know that my style is a fusion of the old and the new, of working with different genres and creating a look that tells a story and has layers of intricacy. Hello ‘wabi-sabi’ or as we may know it to be ‘perfect imperfection’ i think that this really sums up the look perfectly (ironically).

    What is wabi-sabi or the art of imperfect perfection?

    It stems from the Japanese ideology ‘beauty of things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete’. It is rooted in Buddhism and stemmed from a tea ritual  where masters celebrated bowls that were handmade and irregularly shaped, a metaphor for the imperfection of life.

    Is there beauty in something that will pass? Spring turns to summer to autumn to winter and then round again and each has their own beauty but yet they pass. Plants grow, some flower, then the petals fall and the whole process starts again. The idea of something that is not static and never stays the same but still beautiful in each state is part of wabi-sabi.

    Embed from Getty Images

    In the interiors realm that means mismatched patterns and prints, vintage, bespoke and off the shelf pieces, exposed beams and it values simplicity, uncluttered, underplayed, and modest surroundings. Authenticity is key to the philosophy and the presence of cracks and visible ageing is thought to be an intrinsic part of how an object came to be in its current state at the current time and plays a significant part in these interiors. You mustn’t think that this means busy and overcrowded spaces, far from it, it values simplicity, minimalism and embodies a way of life.

    What do you think of wabi-sabi? Is there beauty in imperfection?

    AartiPopat Blog Signature bluewgold x

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