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Lifestyle: 5 Small Hacks for Staying Productive


Hooray – you’ve made it half way through January (plus a day or two!) – congratulations! *does a little dance*

The start of a shiny new year can go two ways: it’s either a slow moving, sluggish, dull couple of weeks trying to adjust to life after the holiday season and making new goals and aims. Or, it’s a real kick-starter, putting new plans into action, working on tasks around the house/work/yourself, and getting stuck in head first with all those resolutions (like working out, eating healthy, seeing old friends or applying for new opportunities)

For me, I’m supper happy to announce its been a positive starter of a year. I’m working on getting my boyfriends house all ready for my belongings to start permanently living there, I’ve been selling my old furniture and things I no longer need (earning me extra pennies and giving me an excuse for a huuuuge clear out!), I’ve got Thailand fast approaching, my blog and business are powering on (January is always quieter, but luckily no huge drops here) and I have lots of new super exciting things in the pipeline.

Productivity and positivity have both been slightly high, although like any one, I could improve…


I didn’t bury my head and go into hibernation when the new year kicked in. But, I have found myself actively chasing new work and new opportunities, because January just isn’t that type of month where everything comes flying your way. Although saying that, I have had a little stroke of luck, but it’s top secret at the moment and I can’t announce until later (ooooh keeping you all hanging there…)

So whether you’re struggling this January (which is understandable and completely normal by the way), feel stuck in a rut, or are completely girl-bossing it, I’ve put together some little hacks which have been helping me through so far. Lets see if they can lend some support your way too.

1. Keep your diet in tact with Instagram-able food 

January can either send you into a mist of comfort food indulging, or you’ll spiral into an obsession of healthy eating. I’m caught up in the middle. But one little hack I’ve been taking into consideration when it comes to staying on track with my diet and healthy eating is to ask myself a question at each eating time: is my food Instagram-able?

Don’t let this stress you out – it basically just encourages me to go back into my kitchen and make some healthy, pretty looking amendments. For example, when I make my breakfast, I might slice up some bananas and decorate my oats or add a spoonful of cacao to make it look super delicious for a photo opportunity.

Or, I’ll make my toasted rye bread, spread with avocado, and then think, oooh this might look a little yummier with some chopped spring onions on top, or sundried tomatoes. And then I get some added health benefit too! For me, keeping in mind how appealing my food can look is helping me to actually cook and create healthier food options. Try it if you’re feeling a little uninspired…


2. Have stationary as pretty as you are

I don’t care how old-fashioned I sound when I say this, but I’ll always be a paper person when it comes to organisation. Diaries, to-do lists, calendars, accounts, whatever the organisation task, I need everything recording on paper. And when I have the prettiest diary, notepad, pen and paper around me, I look forward to recording plans and tasks.

I can get a bit obsessive, for example, I have three hard back diaries/notebooks on my desk every day. One is my everyday to-do list, one is my notepad for makeup bookings, clients and earnings, and another is a day to day account of birthdays, events, bookings, important jobs, pretty much everything.



I do really find – as cliche as it sounds – that by having gorgeous planners and stationary around me at all times, I’m always much more enthusiastic about getting stuck in and making more tasks achievable. There’s just something about opening a lovely fresh page with lists, and scoring through one, and starting another. (the diary in these photos is from Ponderlily, which I reviewed here)

3. Work in the neatest, tidiest environment

Tidy room, tidy mind, or so the mantra goes. I have a few little niggles which interrupt me from focusing and being as productive as can be. One of them is mess – I can’t stand mess lying around. I can’t stand dusty surfaces and ‘bitty’ floors, you know when hair and thread and all sorts is just lying on the carpet.

We have cream carpets around our house, and one hugely annoying thing is the black fluff from the inside of my partners MyProtein jogging bottoms just falls out and embeds itself deep into the carpet. I’m finding the only way to get it up and give us a clean cream carpet back is to hoover numerous times a week!

I’ve recently heard about robot vacuums which are a new craze in the US, which I feel is potentially the only other answer for me. I mean, they are wifi connected and can be scheduled to hoover (I know right- imagine!?) and can also maneuver around the stairs. Where have these been all my life?!

Tidy floors, tidy walls, and bright, white spaces really clear my head and make me more productive. So I’ll switch the mantra up a bit and change it to ‘clear room, clear mind…’

4. Give yourself breaks – but useful ones

The worst thing you can do when you have hundreds of things to get through in a day is to continuously work straight through. I promise you at some point of your work marathon, the work you’ll be producing will be a little mish-mashy and not your strongest work. Everyone’s mind needs a break and to switch off from the job-in-hand, even if just for 10 minutes.

I find I tend to switch off the TV or remove any background noise, make myself a drink I genuinely look forward to consuming (like tea or coffee, if I get myself a water, I find my mind wandering as if its looking for something more exciting, but that’s because I’m not a water fan!) and just rest up and get lost in my thoughts.

Sometimes I’ll indulge in Whatsapp conversations, upload instagram stories, read blog posts or watch YouTube videos from my favourite influencers, and just generally take 10!


5. Surround yourself with your favourite things

Again, it sounds cliche, but when you’re working in an environment that you feel at home in, with all the things you like around you, designed to your taste, then you’re bound to work harder. You’re more comfortable, you’re familiar, and more importantly, you’re just plain old happier!

I find I’m most productive working in my living room, where I have a few inspirational items lying around, bright daylight coming through and white walls for photography, I have the comfiest corner sofa to lie on, and a TV facing me for when I need background noise! I also wrap myself in snugly heat holder blankets and work in my comfy boot slippers so I feel totally at comfort.

This is when I work on my blog, so it’s not the same for those office days or for those of you who can’t really change the location of your main work. Try to look at the things you can amend – can you bring and incense stick or leafy plant and put it on your desk? Can you drink your most stylish mug and plate set? What about a pin board with inspirational quotes, note cards, photographs and whatever makes you happy?

Try to think about yourself first and your ideal setup, and what makes you inspired to work harder. Think of that first, and then work backwards, ticking off each helping aspect as you go.

Good luck – January can be a pain in the backside. But I’m positive with the right mind frame you can kick this dreary month right in the ass bum!

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What Emma Did

What Emma Did