Monthly Archives

February 2017

In Lists on
February 25, 2017

5 Productivity Tips That Will Actually Make You Happy

Because your productivity has nothing to do with your value as a human.

 

I’ve always been fascinated by productivity. Who doesn’t want to get more done in less time?


But, with the Internet screaming at you about hustling and getting sh*t done, I’ll be the first to admit that the ~pressure~ to be productive can be overwhelming at times. That’s why I’ve been trying to take a more holistic approach to productivity and guess what? It works!


Here are five productivity tips that will help get you get things done *and* feel happy in the process. Because being frustrated behind a screen is so 2016.

 


Send one email a day to someone new

I’m all about this rule. One email a day sounds totally achievable, right? Right! Because it absolutely is. The idea is simple: reaching out to people creates contacts and contacts create opportunities. I’m also a firm believer in the law of attraction — the energy you put out there manifests itself. So start having some fun in your inbox — just one email a day pays dividends.


Create a ‘done’ list

There’s a time and a place for to-do lists, sure. But allow me to introduce you to a done list. The concept is simple: every time you do something — anything — useful, add it to your done list. Each addition will give you a little endorphin hit and, once you finish up for the day, you’ll be able to see everything you’ve done, rather than everything you haven’t. It’s pretty impossible to feel unproductive when all of your hard work is staring back at you. Positivity, found.


Stop complaining about time


“I wish I had more time!” “I’m way too busy” “I don’t have time for that”. Sound familiar? I thought so. Your relationship with time is like any other — you need to work on it. Challenge yourself to a whole day without once complaining about time — mentally or verbally. You’ll be amazed at the results. When you stop fretting over time, it starts working in your favour. Reminder: Time is on your side.

Go offline after 25 minutes

I never spend more than 25 minutes online at any given time. Even if I’m just chilling at home, my morning will be 25 minutes on the Internet, 25 minutes reading or moving my body, repeat. Why? Well, because my best ideas appear while I’m AWAY from the screen. Plus, it’s better to be itching to get back to my blog than sat in front of a blank page. Consider it a creative take on the Pomodoro Technique that actually works. Take my word for it.


Compile a productivity playlist and sing it. Loud.

If I told you that the La La Land Soundtrack has brought both courage and creativity into my life, would you believe me? If you mentally associate certain songs with getting sh*t done, you’ll be surprised by how music can make you more productive. Pick a few of your favourite songs (the louder and more energetic the better), work to them religiously and, after a few days, enjoy the mental stimulus that follows. Singing in public spaces optional.



 

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In Essays on
February 24, 2017

Step Away from the Screen for a While. I Dare You.

Bianca Bass | Step away from the screen | Take a break | Wellbeing

Step away from the screen for a while. Your next best idea depends on it.

 

I recently took a break. Not a 25-minute break. A proper break. I stopped posting on my blog. I stepped away from my screens. I was horrifically slow at replying at emails (sorry). I even stopped replying to WhatsApp messages from friends (double sorry).

 

I removed myself from my own life and my own mind for a while.

 

The first few days were nothing much at all. At first, I felt low. Getting off the treadmill can be disorientating. Then, I felt lost and slightly melancholy. I reached for my phone almost obsessively and felt odd when I realised it was nowhere to be found. 

 

And you know what? My followers went down a little. My page views suffered a little. Not being able to post a tweet or update my Instagram felt plain wrong. 

 

But then.

 

Oh, but THEN.

 

2017-02-20-PHOTO-00038037

 

I started having blog post ideas in the shower again.

 

My fingernails started growing again (between you and I, I didn’t even realise I bit them…).

 

I read with no intention other than reading, for hours on end.

 

I tried mindful eating and my whole digestive system started working like a dream.

 

I stopped wearing makeup altogether and got to know my face without it for the first time in years.

 

I swam in the sea and, as the waves crashed on my skin and the sea salt rinsed my hair, I had an idea for a book. A book. I’m excited. 


Go out and leave your phone at home. Step away from the screen for a while. A proper while. I dare you. 

 


 

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In Interviews on
February 12, 2017

A Conversation with Poet, Blogger and Author Nicole Gulotta

These days, it’s rare that a blog strikes you as being refreshingly different. But Nicole Gulotta’s is exactly that. As a voracious reader and writer, Nicole’s popular blog, Eat This Poem, invites you to bring poems to life on the plate, infusing recipes with personal stories, thoughtful commentary and simple ingredients. Her blog is also home to a selection of city literary guides, which just so happen to be one of my favourite corners of the Internet.

In this conversation, we discuss writing rituals, how to stay creative while working full-time, and her upcoming book (!!!).

 


Can you share a little bit about yourself, what you do and why you do what you do?

I’m a writer, author, tea drinker, and home cook. At the moment, I work for a food startup in Los Angeles, the city I’ve called home for nearly a decade. Because I’m a content editor, writing is the core component of my day job, but I always have several creative projects of my own going on, too.

I write because I can’t not write. Writing found me early in life (I have memories of family vacations where I scribbled songs, poems, and our daily adventures into notebooks), and in high school I started writing poetry very seriously (so seriously, in fact, I went on to study it in graduate school). Now I write more about food, but regardless of subject, the impulse to write has always been there.

This past year I’ve started connecting with fellow writers to encourage them on their journey. I absolutely love this work.

The writing life is hard, but I believe the more we’re empowered to embrace our desire to write, combined with practical tools to navigate balancing work and creativity, the easier it becomes.

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In Lists on
February 5, 2017

Hey, Your Page Views Obsession Is Holding You Back

Blogging | Blogging tips | Blogger | Success | Motivation | Wellbeing | Health | Career tips | Entrepreneurship | Online success

Page views.

 

I’m obsessed with them.

 

It all started when my blog started gaining a little traction. A few hundred here, a few hundred there.

 

Suddenly, a project I didn’t have any plans for became a possibility. An exciting possibility.

 

My page views went up and I liked the way it felt.

 

Validation for my efforts. Attention. Recognition.

 

But what goes up, must come down. (Or so the saying goes…)

 

As I saw my WordPress bar chart go from looking like a New York skyline to straight-up suburban, I felt, well… anxious.

 

Perhaps I’m not meant to admit it, but page views and vanity metrics and Google Analytics and unique visitors are making me miserable. Instead of focusing on the positives, I find myself obsessing over my next milestone.

 

“How many newsletter subscribers should I have? Why did Instagram have to change their algorithm? Will I ever become a “big” blogger?”

 

If you put yourself and your work out there on the Internet, I applaud you. Because this shit is hard. Hitting publish takes courage. Promoting your work takes courage. Building something from nothing takes courage. 

 

It doesn’t help that the amount of noise around growing your blog is deafening. Everywhere you click, there’s a friendly-looking blogger with an online course to sell you. More page views! More subscribers! More! More! More!

 

Damn.

 

But that isn’t why I started blogging.

 

I started because I love to write and, for the first time in my life, felt like I had something to share.

 

Maybe you dream of being a full-time blogger. Maybe you’re already one. Either way, my point is this:

 

Obsessing over your follower count isn’t going to change anything. It’s only going to STOP you from coming up with the ideas that can actually grow your audience.

 

So! The next time you start obsessing over your page views, here are some more productive and positive things you can do instead:

 

1. Write your truth

Authenticity may be the buzzword du jour, but it’s true. Writing honesty and candidly for yourself, rather than purely for page views, will help you attract your tribe over time. Repeat after me: Your tribe is out there. Make sure they find your best, truest self when they visit your blog.

 

2. Get to know your audience better

If you haven’t already heard the term “micro influencer”, you soon will. Many brands are shifting towards wanting to work with bloggers who have a strong and loyal audience. Quality not quantity, basically. Instead of spending ten minutes checking your stats, use the time to ask your audience’s opinion. What do they love about your content? What do they want to see more of? Invest time in building your engagement.

 

3. Support other bloggers

Go read another blogger’s work, leave a comment, share it and support each other. Building your online audience is all about building a community. How can you build your future audience when you’re too engrossed in your current metrics?

 

4. Trust your timing

If you’re consistent and continually producing high quality content, your blog and social media networks *will* grow over time.

 

Your value as a content creator isn’t based on your page views, or your follower count, or any other online numbers. It’s based on your engagement. With your audience and yourself.

 

5. Focus on your wins

Start keeping a blogging journal. This will get you away from the screen (hallelujah!) and be a positive outlet for you to reflect on all you’ve achieved so far, without looking at a graph for validation. Write down a monthly win. Document the posts that have done well. Identify any trends. My best ideas always take place away from my laptop. Writing everything down in pencil is proven to help you think more creatively.

 

6. Remember your intention

Disclaimer: it’s totally ok to want to grow your blog. Running a blog is time-consuming and you deserve to make money from your efforts. Just don’t lose sight of why you started in the first place

 

From now on, I’ll be following these steps religiously. 

 

And if my page views go up in the process? Well, that’s just great 🙂

 


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In Guest Posts on
February 4, 2017

Why Being A “Mature Student” Might Be The Best Decision You’ll Ever Make

As Rebecca Hunter becomes a “mature student” at 30, she wonders: is being a lifelong learner the key to fulfilment?

 

I’m sitting in a classroom, next to a guy who’s ten years my junior. We’re discussing the merits of two film reviews we’ve been asked to analyse – comparing their stylistic components and their content. We’re reflecting on what we’ve learnt in previous weeks about sub-editing and crafting the most engaging of headlines and standfirsts.

Conversation turns to why we’re both here, on this Tuesday night, learning about the world of journalism. He has no A-levels so he’s here on an alternative path to university. “History and politics” are what he tells me he’ll be studying. “Boring, I know.”

I beg to differ. If I could, I’d be a professional student fo’ life, of politics and all.

Tonight though, I’m here to satiate more than an unquenchable curiosity and a peculiar love of writing essays.

I want to switch career paths, you see. When I tell the guy this, as well as the fact that I’m turning 30 this year, his reaction is one of mild shock. (*congratulates self on not visibly aging since 2005*)

I’m breaking one of the golden rules of storytelling here and definitely not starting at the beginning, so let’s rewind three weeks. I’m sitting on my bed, savouring the last of Sunday and eating the best fish and chips in London (I’m from Yorkshire, so I dare you to challenge me on this). I’m fresh from a conversation over wine and cake – AKA the very best kind of conversation – with a friend who’s one of my biggest cheerleaders. I always feel fired up following a chat with her, and tonight was no exception. I’m licking the grease from the fingers of one hand as I use the other to Google ‘part-time journalism courses in London.’ I land on one that looks decent and affordable and takes place weekly at a time that suits my schedule. And it kicks off just two days from now. Perfect.

That’s how I end up sitting next to a teenager on a Tuesday night in Lambeth, discussing the merits of being a film reviewer, playing critic myself (“‘I, Daniel Blake’ is a scathing attack on systemic injustice and a gut-punching MUST-SEE,” FYI) and taking the role of student for the first time in nine years.
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