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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Do you need a digital cleanse? Here's how


Let's face it, in today's age, we are more connected to phones, tablets, and laptops than we are to each other in some instances. We're more likely to text, email or type than talk face-to-face or pick up the phone and I for one feel a little disconnected by all of this connectivity. I'm making a conscious effort to be digitally productive and am starting with a digital detox to rid me of some of the habits I've become attached to.

The New Year is a great time to have a digital cleanse and a little time out from a 24/7 world.

Here's how to digitally cleanse and the steps I've taken so far this year:


1. Streamline your email inbox.

Unsubscribing from all of that promotional and junk mail is so very SATISFYING! It's so time efficient too - now rather than trawling through heaps of junk mail, deleting, feeling overwhelmed by the fact I have taken a 30 minute break from my computer and returned to 46 emails, I now know I only receive genuine, actionable emails. This also means, that I don't have 'the fear' of being away from my emails for too long in case they build up. I can check my inbox periodically in the day and that leads nicely on to step number two...

2. Set clear time parameters.

I set clear time parameters as to when I check email, social media and my phone. Now I'm not going all regimented, but I make a conscious effort in the mornings to not check my phone until I am on the train on my commute. I use the time on my journey to catch up, get set up for the day, catch up with friends, and update my social media channels for the day. By the time I get to the office, my urgent emails have been dealt with and I can get started on my important tasks for the day and not get digitally side tracked! I'll check emails every few hours to keep on top of any urgent tasks, my phone at lunchtime, then do the same morning train routine on the commute home.

3. Sleep with your phone OUTSIDE your bedroom.

This might sound crazy - but the best thing you can invest in is an alarm clock! Leaving your phone outside your bedroom will stop the blue light disturbing your sleep and stop you checking your phone last thing at night and first thing in the morning. I've been getting the best night's sleep reading a paper book before bed and leaving my phone in another room!

4. Leave your devices indoors.

Once per day, I like to take a walk, go out to lunch, or just get out and about without my phone. That’s right I leave it indoors, in my bag or at my desk. I completely remove myself from all digital devices, my computer at my desk, phone is left indoors, tablets aren’t anywhere to be seen and for a good 10 minutes to half an hour at the very least, I am completely disconnected.

5. Track your screentime.
 
Download an app like Moment and it will track your screen time - it may well shock and surprise you! When you know how much time you are spending on your digital devices and you consider that you could take up a new hobby, spend time on a freelance project, or even just meditate and take some time out for a little mindfulness it might make you think twice.

Are you considering a digital detox or cleanse this New Year or have you thought about how much time you spend online?

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

HOW TO BEAT THE BACK TO WORK BLUES


It's that time of year, the festive season is over and new year spirits are high, but there's the thing that looms on the horizon.... going back to work. It's never the easiest thing to get back into the working routine after any break, so here's how to beat the back to work blues:

1. With bank holiday Monday, there's only four days of the working week left - be thankful it's not a full five and you can ease back into work with a shorter week.

2. Organise something to look forward to in the first few weeks back at work. I've booked a theatre trip to see Dream Girls as a little pick me up after a few weeks back at work.

3. Plan your holidays for the first half of the year. If you want to go away in the first half of the year, plan this now so you can look ahead to your next break - it'll really help. Book something for the first quarter, and then for the second quarter so you can always see another break upcoming on the horizon.

4. Use your first day back to organise and prepare - if you have cleared your diary for your first day back - great - if you haven't, remember to do this going forwards when you have a trip, clear your diary for the day you return to the office. You'll need a clear day to organise, prepare and clear a backlog of emails from your time off.

5. Don't get hung up on emails. Clear newsletters and spam first, then work through from high importance and then in date order, newest to oldest. You definitely don't want to start work on a task to find someone has covered it in your absence further up the email chain!

6. Leave on time. It's your first few days back, so no matter how much you feel you might need to catch up on, working until late is only going to compound your 'back to work blues'. Try to maintain a strong worklife balance for atleast the first few weeks back after a trip that'll help ease your post-holiday blues.

Good luck if you are back to work this week!


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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

HOW TO DEAL WITH A SUPER EARLY START


Once in a while, whether its for a flight or early morning event, you have to deal with a super early start - I'm talking a 4am wake up. Now I'm not an early bird, I like my eight hours or more and I definitely don't find those early mornings easy but here's how I've found to make them a little more pallatable:

1. PREPARE THE DAY BEFORE

If you are getting up early for a flight, pack the night before, plan your airport clothes the night before and leave yourself a checklist for the morning so there's no last minute panic. If it's for a work meeting or event, do the same. Get your outfit out the night before, leave yourself a checklist at the front door so you don't forget anything in the morning. Most importantly, plan ahead throughout the week so you can leave the office the day before at a decent time and fully prepared for the meeting or event the next morning.

2. PLAN YOUR ROUTE

Now hopefully you would have considered your route to the airport, event or meeting beforehand and this will impact on your wake up time. But it's critical to plan your route. Early in the morning public transport is less frequent and taxis will be few and far between. Book tickets or taxis in advance as it's one less thing to think about in the morning - this means more precious minutes in bed!

3. GET TO BED EARLY

Might seem simple right? I always need as near to eight hours as possible, so if I have to be up at 4am I am in bed by 9pm at the very latest. I'm so rock 'n' roll. Planning your evening so you can get to sleep at a decent time before an early wake up makes it a little easier in the morning.

4. SET ALARMS

Once again, not rocket science I hear you say. I'm a snoozer usually, but on these mornings where I can't snooze at all, I put my alarm on the other side of the room. I have to physically get up to turn it off and that helps me get out of bed on those super early starts.

If you've got an early start, face it head on and good luck. I've got a 4am-er tomorrow so I feel your pain!!


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