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biancabass

In Lists on
April 23, 2017

How to Balance Career Success with Self-Care

Self-care. You’ve heard of it, but are you actually practicing it? 

If you’re skeptical, I get it. In a world of non-stop emails, endless opportunity and other people’s ‘hustle’ all over Instagram, it’s easier said than done.

And let’s face it… many of the people who preach about self-care seem to be yoga bunnies without bills to pay.

But self-care isn’t just another social media trend. It’s a mindset. Trust me when I say self-care is key to building a successful career you love, no matter what your situation. 

And you don’t even have to quit your job, or move to an eco-farm to get started. Here’s how…


Set an email curfew (and stick to it)

My boyfriend and I recently instated a rule that I love: An email curfew. From 8pm onwards, we don’t check or reply to ANY work emails. No excuses. No exceptions. Instead, we actually talk to each other! At first, it wasn’t easy. I’m ambitious, and the struggle to not reply and seem productive at all hours is real. But having an email curfew has helped me sleep better and given me a point of distinction from my working day, my commute and my own personal time. At 8pm, my working life ends and my personal time commences. Try it. And if you want to take it to a whole new level? Try a nightly technology curfew, too. 

Limit work talk to weekdays 

How much unpaid overtime are you doing? And I don’t just mean getting to work early and leaving late, but MENTAL overtime? How much time do you spend thinking and talking and worrying about your day job? Because, real talk, you’re not being paid a cent for that time. Not a single cent. My rule is simple: I don’t talk about my day job on the weekends. If my mind goes there, fine, but I don’t bring it up in my weekend conversations. Instead, I talk about ideas. Articles I’ve read. Things that are inspiring me. Not only does banning work talk allow you to take back some control, but it leaves you motivated and refreshed come Monday. Yay!

Work on your identity outside of work

This is a lesson I recently learned and can’t preach enough: to have a healthy approach to your work, you need to work on your identity outside of work. (FYI, the same rules apply to romantic relationships, and your career is no different.) But HOW, I hear you ask?

Start by paying attention to what you pay attention to. You know, outside of work. Think about what you loved doing when you were a kid and work back from there.

Being Brazilian, I’m a huge samba lover — singing and dancing badly to it. It may sound simple, but my time spent enjoying samba is mine and mine alone. It’s so far removed from my work, and it reminds me that there’s a whole world out there. A world away from the constraints of my desk.

Be less harsh on yourself

Girl, I see you freaking out about that comment you made to a co-worker. But if you want to make it (without burning out) you need to let shit go. Why? Because nobody (and I mean nobody!) is watching anywhere near as closely as you think. They’re just not. They’re way too busy worrying about themselves.

Pep talk: Be less harsh on yourself. Start talking to yourself as a coach, not a commentator. Replace your thoughts of “wait, is that comment I just made really stupid?” to “well done for speaking up in that meeting”.

A healthy career requires self-kindness. Lots of it.  


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In Guest Posts on
April 18, 2017

How Consuming Less is Making Me More Content

By Sasha from one of my favourite blogs, The Life Notes.


“It’s nice, but not necessary.” These are the words that have kept me on track with money lately.

That top? Nice, but not necessary.

That thing you spotted in M&S when you were in there buying stuff for the office? Put it back. That’s not what you came in here for.

Last-minute invite to go out when it wasn’t in the budget? Guys, I’ll have to catch up with you another time.

Boring it may be, but right now, boring is necessary. It’s what is going to get me where I want to be, so I can truly enjoy the wants, while feeling assured that I’m meeting the needs.

And this month, more than any other, I’ve felt so in control of my finances and it feels gooooood. There’s clearly a substantial link for me between spending and the knock on effect it has on my sleep and anxious thoughts. It has a deep emotional stronghold.

But the unexpected by-product of applying this mantra to my money life, has also proved to be invaluable life advice overall.

When you strip back the fluff and the things that we actually fill our time with, how much of that is necessary, and how much of it is nice, but not really getting us anywhere. Or worse, distracting and delaying progress in other areas?

It made me contemplate how well I was using my time:

Forty five minutes on a Tuesday at my favourite gym class, away from a screen, getting them endorphins in and stresses out? Necessary.

Forty five minutes repeatedly entering and exiting the same four social media apps, because it feels like my thumb has been subconsciously trained to do so whenever I pick up my phone? Certainly not necessary. And sometimes, mood dependent, not even nice.

My main question is this: With your time, your money, your attention, your work, are you spending enough on the necessary and getting the things you need to do, done?

I think the trouble is, is that often what is necessary takes time and effort. And largely, the nice things, the things that can derail us from what we really want, we can have instantly. It takes time to draft and edit a piece of writing or get through a chunky work task, but I know that I can effortlessly procrastinate with various feeds or the lesser important tasks on a to-do list.

It takes an age to build up savings, but the way that mobile app and 1-click shopping is set up, I can spend my money five times faster than I make it.

Remember when your mum used to tell you to do your homework before you went out to play? Apply that to adult life. Pay off your debts, create before you consume, put priority before pleasure.

And it’s not that I always need to be constantly on the go, pushing and striving. Sometimes when life gets overwhelming, what’s necessary is stripped back to the absolute basics of getting up, getting dressed and eating. In part, what can get us to that state of overwhelm in the first place, is trying to do everything without order, balance or priority. Applying the nice or necessary filter to parts of my life has proved to be an excellent editing tool, promoting focus, even if only to get me through the day.

So if that means a day without social media, so be it. If the TV needs to stay off so I can actually concentrate on something else, well that’s just how it is. If I need to hit the sack at 9pm and lie in silence or say no to the event, then that’s what I’m gonna do.

Whatever is necessary, and can’t be lived without: focus on that. Make those things larger. Those things, whatever they may be, matter in your life. Everything else is nice, but not necessary.


Check out Sasha’s brilliant blog, thelifenotes.co.uk, and follow her on Instagram @thelifenotes_

In Essays on
April 16, 2017

A Reminder That You *Already* Have It All

What does it really mean to “have it all”?


It’s a debate that’s been raging since former Cosmopolitan editor, Helen Gurley Brown claimed we could have it all back in 1962. (Her definition of ‘all’ being love, sex and money.)

Some still agree, of course, like Deloitte boss Cathy Engelbert. Others aren’t so sure. “It’s time to stop fooling ourselves that we can have it all in this economic climate” stated Anne-Marie Slaughter in a viral piece for The Atlantic.


I ask because, minus the kids, I have it all. The mortgage (a millennial with a mortgage… I know). The love. The great day job. The side hustle. The social life. The goals.


I’ve got my shit together and I’m completely burnt out.


Why? Well…

It’s not enough to simply do your 9-6 job well and go home to vegetate on the sofa any more, amiright? You need to do yoga, and meditate, and be mindful, too. The hustle isn’t sexy without self-care. Self-care isn’t sexy without the hustle.


Us millennials don’t want to be seen as total workaholics, either. The Marissa Mayer vibe is no longer #goals. Killing it at your day job isn’t enough for our generation. We’re millennials, y’all. We’re meant to be entrepreneurial and creative and the right amount of “f*ck the system” without totally disregarding the system.


The Internet seems to have decided that being a #girlboss is, in fact, a hybrid of Sheryl Sandberg and a Bali-based yoga instructor. You’ve got to be successful, Instagrammable AND zen.



But I’ve tried desperately hard to have it all and be it all and it’s left me… well, kind of miserable. Creatively depleted. Unbalanced. (Hey, I never said I didn’t like the yoga way of life).


I’ve been the boss. I’ve done the sun salutations. I’ve ran the side hustles. I’ve worked hard. (Seriously hard. The unglamorous kind of hard.). I’ve flown business. I’ve saved a lot of money. I’ve spent a lot of money. I’ve travelled around the world. I’ve Instagram’ed the world. I’ve designed my life based on what I thought I wanted. I’ve been the boss of my own life.


And honestly? Experiencing it all and being it all is, in many ways, incredible. But here’s the secret I’ve learned:


“Having it all” isn’t about the monumental life events — the promotion, the wedding, the mortgage — but, instead, the moments. The pizza shared with your best friend, the laughter on the phone with your mum, the song sung at the top of your lungs. That’s the stuff that’s truly worth chasing and having. That’s all any of us ever truly have.


Everything else is just filler.  

 


 


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In Essays on
April 14, 2017

A Simple Way to Have a Better Relationship with Yourself

Relationship with self | Self-care | Self-development

Daily practices to help you feel better, sleep better and, most importantly, strengthen your relationship with yourself. 

As soon as you get up:

Sit still for a few minutes

Take a few breaths. Box breathing is always good: breathe in for four counts, breathe out for four, and relax for four. Do this a few times.

Then ask yourself: How am I feeling physically? Acknowledge any aches and pains.

Then ask yourself: How am I feeling mentally? Acknowledge how you are in your mind. Acknowledge your mind

Then ask yourself: How am I feeling emotionally? Acknowledge the emotions that arise.

Set your mind, body and emotions good intentions for the day ahead.

Before you go to bed:

Repeat the same before going to bed and set your mind, body and emotions good intentions for a restful night

Congratulate yourself on one thing you felt you did well today.

Be grateful for 3 things in your day. They don’t have to be big things.

If you had a bad day or bad situations in your day, ask: What can I learn from that? What can I do differently next time? Always with kindness to yourself.

 


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In Lists on
April 8, 2017

20 Side Hustles You Can Start ASAP

Originally posted on girlboss.com 

Are people done calling millennials lazy yet? Whether it’s taking part in the gig economy or being an entrepreneur on top of your 9 to 5, there’s some serious career juggling going on amongst the ambitious set nowadays, and it seems to me that we’re actually a generation of side hustlers.

I should know. At 19, I started my first side hustle: a copywriting agency. What began as some extra cash on the side turned into a profitable pursuit and, after a year, I was hiring several freelancers to meet the demand. It increased my confidence, gave me work experience and helped me build my network. And of course, the extra cash doesn’t hurt.

So, where does one get started rustling up a side hustle? And with only so many hours in the day, how do you even find the time to get started? With a day job and social life in tow, side jobs can seem like a stretch, but they don’t have to be a huge time commitment. Here are 21 low-hustle side hustle ideas that are worth considering no matter your skillset. All you need is a little motivation and WiFi to get started:

1. Pick up work as a freelance copywriter or designer.


I’ve worked on various projects, from major marketing campaigns to filing financial copy, all without leaving my apartment. Same rules apply if you’re a designer. Companies all over the world are looking for logos, websites, apps and more, right now. Sign up for freelance job alerts from platforms like Upwork and People Per Hour and get applying.

2. Launch an online course.

Demand for e-learning courses is growing quickly. If you’ve got a skill to share, there’s a high chance people will pay for it. Check out e-learning platform Udemy.

3. Try Amazon Affiliates.


Sure, affiliate marketing may sound scammy, but it’s a great side earner that requires almost zero effort. Amazon Affiliates is my favorite. Link it up to your blog and you’ll earn money every time someone clicks on one of your links and purchases anything on Amazon within 24 hours.

4. Become a coach.

After IT, coaching is the second-fastest growing profession in the world. Right now, there’s huge demand for all kinds of coaches, from career coaches to dating coaches. If you’re an expert in something, all you need is a Skype account. Helping people and getting paid in the process? Sign me up.

5. Write an eBook.


Whether you want to ghostwrite for someone else or pen your own title, eBooks are worth exploring if you love to write. Upwork, Funds for Writers and The Write Life all post eBook jobs on the regular.

6. Walk a dog.

Arguably the most fun side hustle on the list, on-demand dog walking apps like Wag! can hook you up with busy dog owners in all major U.S. cities.

7. Sell physical products.


If you love illustrating or graphic design, you can sell your creations without any of the production costs. Simply upload your designs and virtually create iPhone cases, cushions and more via sites like Society6 and CafePress.

8. Review resumes.


This is not a drill: you can make money from helping strangers update their resumes and cover letters. Search for jobs on platforms including Indeed and Upwork as well as professional resume writing companies.

9. Thrift and eBay.

It’s how Sophia Amoruso started her empire (duh). Pro tip: it’s all about the photography.

10. Spend time on Fiverr.


Want to turn your time into cash? Enter Fiverr. Data entry, quick Photoshop jobs, proofreading… it’s all here and more.

11. Use your voice.


Literally. Voiceover work is lucrative, and open to pretty much anyone with a distinctive tone or accent. Voice123 can help.

12. Sell your stock photos.


You’ve got great Instagram game and love taking photos. So why not start selling your work to websites such as Shutterstock and Dreamstime?

Read more

In Guest Posts on
April 5, 2017

How to Overcome Perfectionism in 4 Steps

By Wendy de Jong

Confession time: I quadruple-checked each and every single word in this blog post before declaring it finished. It’s a habit that’s difficult to break. You see, even as a recovering perfectionist, I still feel plagued by my perfectionism from time to time.

 

I’m not alone in my struggle with perfectionism. I know many of you face the same struggle every day. A difficult conversation with a loved one. An impending deadline for a passion project you’ve poured your heart and soul into. Receiving criticism from your boss about a report you’ve written. Cue perfectionism.

 

There are things you can do, though, when you’re stuck in perfectionism and feel the urge to perfect, perform, and please. I’ll share these four things in a little bit.

 

But first, let’s clear up a few misunderstandings and get clear about what perfectionism actually is.

 

The truth about perfectionism

 

You might think that being a perfectionist means you’re pursuing excellence, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Perfectionism is not the same as striving for excellence.

 

When you’re striving for excellence your focus is on personal growth and healthy achievement: ‘How can I improve?’ or ‘What are my goals?’.

 

Instead, being a perfectionist means you’re focused on the other and trying to win their approval: ‘What will they think? Will they like me? Will they think my effort is good enough?’

 

Healthy striving is internally motivated and perfectionism is externally motivated.

 

Another common misunderstanding is that perfectionism is a collection of personality traits, like being type A, having a keen eye for detail, and being very organized. This is how perfectionism is portrayed in popular culture (Monica Geller, anyone?), but again, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

Let’s do a little thought experiment: do you suddenly turn into a perfectionist once you start focusing on details or show your type A personality? The answer is no. Those things happen as a RESPONSE to your perfectionism.

 

Perfectionism is a dangerous and harmful way of thinking and behaving. Perfectionism is a coping mechanism that we use when we feel scared, insecure, uncertain, and/or not good enough.

 

Those moments when you feel insecure or uncertain, like when you meet your in-laws for the first time, trigger a fearful thought pattern within you that goes like this:

 

‘If I do this perfectly or have a perfect life or look perfect, I am in control and therefore people can’t hurt me or see me for who I really am.’

 

Sound familiar? This myth of perfectionism as a collection of personality traits is very pervasive. So many women think that to let go of perfectionism means having to let go of being type A or being organized and that causes anxiety.

 

The only way to overcome perfectionism is to slowly break down the coping mechanism you’ve been using for so long. And that’s difficult. It takes time, dedication, and a lot of soul searching. But it’s possible. Here’s how to get started.

Read more

In Essays on
April 2, 2017

5 Tricks to Help You Land a Well-Paid Job You Love

Career tips | Career advice | Work advice | Job | Life | Job tips | Success | Successful

This article was originally posted on girlboss.com

My upbringing wasn’t exactly exciting. I grew up in a sleepy seaside town, famous for having the oldest average age in the UK (71 years old, in case you’re wondering). My father worked as a mailman and my mother is an immigrant from an impoverished part of São Paulo, Brazil. When I wasn’t finding ways to skip class, I was daydreaming about how to move to the city; the only internship opportunities for miles were at a local newspaper and an accounting firm (both of which rejected me several times, FYI).

But I persevered. I sent out emails. Woke up at crazy hours. Commuted. Worked a telesales job selling solar panels. Saved up to move to the city. I sent out more emails, and then I sent out more emails. And sure enough, that tenacity eventually paid off: I landed my first internship at a small magazine.

It was here that I started learning the skills that would eventually take me from unpaid Vogue intern to Senior Manager at a top tech company in just four years. It wasn’t easy, of course, but this is the real takeaway: You don’t need family connections or an Ivy League education to build a well-paid career you love in your twenties. The road might look different (and difficult), but it is possible.

Whether you’re starting from the beginning or starting over, I’m sharing the LinkedIn tips that got me noticed, the interview skills that got me the job, and how I progressed once I got there:

MAKE YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE WORK FOR YOU

Even if you love your current job, your LinkedIn profile should always be updated.

Let’s start with the basics: you need keywords, stat. LinkedIn SEO is real, y’all. But rather than referencing the job you currently have, tailor your headline to the job you want e.g. “Sara Elliott | Copywriter | Copy Editor | Content Manager.”

Other important things to add to your LinkedIn to-do list: a concise, first-person summary and job descriptions filled with bulleted lists of achievements, not just responsibilities. It’s all about your achievements.

LEARN HOW TO INTERVIEW LIKE A PRO

No matter what industry you’re in, take a portfolio with you. It’ll help guide your thoughts and show you’re prepared. (Plus, let’s be honest; a prop is always helpful!). Eight to twelve great examples is the sweet spot.

Next step: When describing your achievements, reference your impact in numbers; for example: “My subject lines saw open rates increase by 40%.” To progress, you need to be both creative and commercially-minded.

Also, make sure you ask curious questions—not about company culture or working hours, but actually useful, considered questions that show you’ve done your research.

FYI, the best question you can ever ask a hiring manager is: “What is your biggest problem right now and how I can help solve it?” Thank me later.

KNOW YOUR WORTH AND LAND A SALARY YOU DESERVE

Pro tip: You don’t have to disclose your exact currently salary. Seriously, you don’t! Instead, play it like this: “For my recent roles, I’ve been paid in the $50,000–$60,000 range, and I’m looking for $60,000–$70,000 to move.” Think big. Their offer will often be lower, so make sure you’re starting somewhere high.

Always close with an actual, pre-rehearsed summary statement, too. An interview is like brokering a deal: you need to close it, girl.

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING

Enthusiasm, adaptability and emotional intelligence were the three traits that earned me my recent promotion.

A can-do attitude will have a major impact on the trajectory of your career. Why? Because times have changed. You don’t get ahead just by doing your job well; you progress by making things happen that are beyond your job description. Do, ask, do, ask. The same goes for constantly educating yourself and being collaborative, not competitive.

Never tell your boss you can’t do something. You can, trust me. Say you’ll figure it out and then do so.

SHOW UP TO YOUR LIFE BEFORE YOU’RE READY

High achievers do things before they’re ready.

When I applied for my first managerial job, I was entry-level and totally unprepared. The salary was almost double what I was earning at the time (yes, you read that correctly!), and yet I decided to take a chance.

You have a choice: you can either sit around waiting for something to happen or you can make it happen. Change your mantra from “Why would they choose me?” to “Why the f*ck not me?” Be the girl who decided to go for it. I promise you won’t regret it.

 

 

In Essays on
March 26, 2017

How to Hijack Your Social Media Habit and Get More Done

Social media | Productivity | Productivity tips | Motivation | Blogging | Blogger | Writing | Writer | Happiness | Wellbeing | Writing tips

Confession: I waste a shocking amount of time on social media.


Doing what exactly? I couldn’t tell you.


Throughout each and every day, I find myself on Facebook. It doesn’t matter that my timeline is filled with blurry selfies and numerous baby pics… I’m there.


I’ll then go on to Twitter, where endless scrolling ensues. And then Instagram, to watch countless Stories of other people’s dinners and green juices.


Call it my holy trinity of unproductively, if you will.


Sure, browsing social media on the regular can be fun. But fulfilling? Not exactly…


The fact is, social media is dumbing us all down. Overusing it impacts your short-term memory formation and ability to focus. Damn. 

So when I stumbled on David Kadvy’s Medium post, I had somewhat of an awakening.



It turns out that science to your social media addiction is simple and solvable. Hallelujah!

How social media addiction works:


Our bad habits all begin with a trigger, this trigger then leads to an action, which then leads to a reward. And, over time, you build your investment. The cycle repeats and repeats and repeats.



If you take Facebook, for example. At countless stages of the day, you feel the trigger (probably a tingle of anxiety or boredom), which leads you to check Facebook (which is the action). You’ll sometimes get likes or comments (which is the reward), and the photos, posts and friend updates are the investment that keeps you coming back.


So what if you decided to do something to expand your mind every time you felt that trigger, instead? Let’s take reading as an example.

How to solve your social media addition:


  • Reduce friction. Ever wondered why you don’t open a book in the same way you browse social media? Well, opening a book feels like a big commitment. It’s easier to go on social media if you only have a few minutes to spare, right? But time is just a concept. You need to give yourself permission to read tiny chunks of books.
  • Hijack your trigger. Every time you feel your social media trigger, instead of reaching for your mobile device, grab a book. It’s best if it’s a physical book at first, because a mobile device is too tempting.
  • Replace your action. Now, start reading! Even if it’s just a page. Remember, you have to eliminate any friction that makes you think a book is too time-consuming. Because the reality is, reading a book (even a page a day) is an investment in your future. And let’s face it, I’d much rather be learning than seeing another one of Aunt Brenda’s dodgy selfies.



By hijacking your bad habits, you can build a life full of healthier, happier habits. The brain-growing kind of habits. Yes. Please.

Try it for a week and let me know how it goes.


If anyone needs me, I’ll be reading. One page at a time.

 

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In Interviews on
March 26, 2017

A Conversation with Poet and One-Woman Movement Melissa Tripp

Melissa Tripp is a Boston-based author, poet, entrepreneur and one-woman movement. Her work explores and expresses themes of love, vulnerability, empowerment, simplicity, personal narrative and hypothetical selves. Melissa’s words empower. They inspire. They intrigue. They heal. I’m so excited to be introducing you to her work. A few of my favourites include:

“you owe yourself: more care. more dialogue. more solitude. more reflection. more honesty. more room to be human. more healing. more love.”

“don’t waste your beautiful mind doing ugly things.”

“today, commit to nurturing the most important relationship you’ll ever have: you. enjoy your own company and explore your magic.”

Here, we discuss how to make money from your words (without losing your integrity), finding the courage to share your voice and more.


I’m curious about your writing journey so far. Where did it all begin for you and how has your relationship with writing changed over time?

Think about the vulnerability it takes to love someone. It’s not something you can forge in an instant, it happens over time. Writing, for me, has been relatively the same thing. The same investment, the same empowerment, the same discomfort. Gradually, then all at once. I think sometimes people have these preconceived notions about the life of a writer that are pure fantasy realm.

My personal journey as a writer, articulating my heart with no armor, is constantly shifting and shaping things in me. Things aren’t always in perfect sync. Words don’t automate closure and healing. But, they’ve made it easier for me to navigate the things I have yet to understand. The things I have yet to make peace with. 

 
Your words are so moving — simple yet so powerful. What is inspiration for you? Is it a particular book, a place, a mindset?

It’s not something I can pinpoint. Inspiration is this beautifully strange, complex, fragile thing that feels like travel. Inspiration is movement. Fleeting, mostly— there are no literal translations. Inspiration finds me in the brief moments, in the prolonged moments, in the moments I wish would stand still. Higher frequencies, secret structures, multidimensional escapes.

Sometimes i think we complicate inspiration trying to dissect it and confine it to one room. I’m learning to just let it be magic and mystery. 

 

Read more

In Lists on
March 19, 2017

52 Writing Prompts to Inspire Your Next Blog Post

Writing prompts | Blogging | Blog | Blogger | Blog tips | Writing inspiration | Blogging advice | Freelance Writing | Freelance writer | Blogging tips | Inspiration | Ideas |

Writing fatigue? You’re not alone. Here, I’ve gathered 52 writing prompts to inspire your future blog posts, personal essays and more.

 

Cheryl Strayed’s writing prompts (as featured in Tools of Titans)

Write about a time you realised you were mistaken.

Write about a lesson you learned the hard way.

Write about a time you were inappropriately dressed for the occasion.

Write about something you lost that you’ll never get back.

Write about a time when you knew you’d done the right thing.

Write about something you don’t remember.

Write about your darkest teacher.

Write about a memory of a physical injury.

Write about when you know when it was over.

Write about being loved.

Write about what you were really thinking.

Write about how you found your way back

Write about the kindness of strangers.

Write about why you could not do it.

Write about why you did.

And a few of my own…

Write about the woman who has had the greatest impact on your life.

Write about the man who has had the greatest impact on your life.

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