I will start by painting you a picture of when I wrote this. I’m in Delhi, waiting for my flight to Bangkok. It’s 9 something in the morning and I’ve just spent the past 7 hours on a red-eye from Paris. I have a few options: A) Circle the stores in the departures area over and over again B) drink a million and one coffees or chai teas, then have to go to the toilet a million and one times C) Sit around, watch the planes in taxi, and have a curry D) Get to work on the backlog of emails to answer, Q’s to A, articles to write, and photos to edit E) All of the above. I choose option E, with an extra helping of option D.
I am reluctantly putting into practice the skill of time management, only by necessity really. In my world, there is always a pile of things to do quietly growing taller and more monstrous by the day. I’ve learnt that putting these things off can make an even scarier monster, where as setting aside time each day to fight the beast in small bursts seem to tame it, somewhat. In this case, the beast also breathes a kind of stress-inducing fire that really doesn’t do anything good for me. (Man, is this that moment of realisation when a big cloud of smoke appears and suddenly I officially turn into a grown-up?) Can’t be right… but I would like to share with you some of my thoughts on being productive, because there’s nothing worse than learning the hard way and losing out on something potentially important.
The first thing you have to do is work out the time of day (or night for some) when your brain is most alert for the sake of ‘getting stuff done’. There’s no point working on anything if your brain is drifting off into la-la-land and you end up sending an email to someone with the most terrible, embarrassing excuse for English. For me, my brain is freshest once I have had my breakfast. I do sometimes work late at night but if it’s writing, I usually write the draft then look at it again in the morning before posting or sending, because usually I have written a few sentences of gibberish.
Second would be to keep a ‘to do’ list of the daily things that need to be addressed, as well as the things you are aiming to get done by the end of the week. I know this is a really ‘mum-sy’ thing to do, but if you don’t have mental points to tick off in your head, you can miss critical details, or feel a constant weight of never-ending tasks baring their heavy burden on your shoulders. That feeling of knowing you’ve completed something on your list is enough to release some feel-good endorphins into your body… it’s uplifting to say the least and you’ll breathe easier.
Make some time for physical activity each day. Im not trying to tell you to run a marathon, but the tiniest bit of daily exercise does wonders for productivity: Getting that O2 to the brain, getting your blood pumping, using your muscles, all that stuff. I know I’m sounding like women’s health magazine right now, but I speak from experience! I just want to share this productivity goodness with y’all! While I’m on the healthy band-wangon, keeping an eye on your sugar intake also does wonders for getting-stuff-done… It prevents those inevitable sugar crashes that’s also responsible for making me write gibberish (or just plain doze off mid sentence).
Each day I have my morning ‘me’ time at breakfast (usually while watching Spongebob Squarepants). After that I leave some room to reply to emails, then on my walk or run I think about creative stuff and my PTJ projects. Meetings or field work happens after I’ve come home (red-faced & sweaty) and showered… Which brings me to the early evening: After a (usually home-cooked) dinner, you’ll find me putting together the Ponytail Journal post for that day – editing photos and pouring my thoughts onto screen via keyboard. I also put aside a few hours each week for things like laundry, while the groceries happen a few times per week because I really love to play with fresh produce. Any spare moments at home, I’m working on the external projects that PTJ brings me. In between these things I’m all thumb-tapping-eye-scanning on social media, keeping myself up to date with the world and sharing windows into my own world with you guys. My phone is definitely one of my most important tools. It goes everywhere with me to store ideas, names, sounds, and images, as well as doing all the other communicative functions a phone usually does. I do however try to force myself to stop using it when I have my ‘me time’ in the day, otherwise my brain (and thumb) will burn out. More often than not, switching off your brain is as (if not more) important as working. It’s the yang.
So there you have it, a tiny little window into my world – It doesn’t even go into my schedule when I’m on jobs, shooting work, cooking & writing new recipes, or adventuring, but I thought it would be interesting to share my ‘everyday’ with you… the small stuff that makes up the in-between.