Inform. Inspire. Innovate

Sunday, 18 December 2016

UncommonGoods; A gift for literally everyone

I'm constantly on the look out for new, unique and innovative gifts for my friends and family, particularly at this time of year. As we get older, I've found it so much harder to buy for people (and write my own wishlists) because generally we're all old enough to be able to afford anything we need for ourselves which leads to the helpless feeling of 'what do I buy someone who has EVERYTHING'?! 

So I've currently been on the UncommonGoods website for 2 hours and 43 minutes, and counting. They offer a massive variety of creative and obviously 'uncommon' gifts for every type of person you could know. Not only is the company a great unique alternative to more standard gifts, but they are also steadily working to make UncommonGoods more environmentally friendly, socially responsible and an ever-more rewarding place to work.

They are commited to creating, A Positive Impact: In the Workplace, In the World, offering Handmade, Recycled and Organic Products, being more green and giving back. In 2001, UncommonGoods created the Better to Give Program, which allows customers to select a non-profit organization to receive a $1 donation from them at checkout. UncommonGoods has donated over $1,000,000 since they have created this initiative. 

Now I don't know about you, but all of those things make me really want to get behind this company. If everyone large retailer thought in the same way, I truly believe the world would be a better place.

Monday, 12 December 2016

#PartyAfterParty Christmas Dresses with Boohoo

If there's one fashion retailer that all of my friends and family would associate with me, it's Boohoo. I love the variety of everything they offer and that everything is at affordable prices - something that it really important to me right now having a mortgage and a zillion other outgoings. 

Every Christmas I buy a zillion Christmas dresses from Boohoo - most of which I unfortunately don't even end up wearing because I don't have enough occasions to wear them to, and this year yet again, my wardrobe is stocked with their party pieces. 

#PartyAfterParty Christmas Dresses with Boohoo

Thursday, 8 December 2016

How to be more productive

People often ask me how I manage to juggle so many things with a full time job which sends me flying around the world, a blog, freelance work and blogger events. Even I admit that reading it all back sounds a little crazy that I manage to do everything yet still have time for a life outside all of that!

Someone once told me I need to be working smarter, not harder, so I started to criticize how I spending my time to ensure I was being as productive as possible in as short amount of time as possible to ensure I still had more than enough time to relax and do everything I enjoy.

How to be more productive

Obviously productivity is a personal thing, but here’s my tips on how to be more productive.

  • Spend the first 15 minutes of every day planning for that day

  • Take a look at the list and identify two or three tasks that you NEED to do that day and accept that you may not complete everything but it’s fine for things to be carried over

  • Of all the tasks that are left, prioritise in order of importance

  • Spend the last 20 minutes of every week planning for the following week and repeat the steps above

  • Be flexible in your methods but stubborn with your goals. Sometimes things change and we need to be flexible to adapt to that. Being productive is about being able to change direction quickly when needed

  • Tick things off your to-do list – it’ll make you feel great!

  • Reward yourself. Create mini milestones throughout the day/week and reward yourself with something. Not only will it motivate you to reach your goal, but also it will re-energize you ready to get stuck in again.

  • Declutter your work space. This is a big one for me as I’m really really messy but I do feel much better with a tidy desk – when I get around to doing it…

  • Surround yourself with positive people who motivate you and want to see you do well. This is something I’ve really learnt this year. Negative people who aren’t happy to see you winning are so destructive, more so than you might think

  • Create a motivation quotes board on Pinterest and scroll through when you’re not feeling very productive. I have one and I can’t tell you how much it helps. You’re your biggest cheerleader remember!

  • Make a decision and don’t dwell on it. Hindsight may be a wonderful thing but once a decision is made, it’s made and there’s nothing you can do about it so dwelling on it won’t change anything, you’re only wasting your time. Allow yourself a short amount of time to reflect but do not dwell, there’s a difference

  • Split out your time per task. Don’t spend too long on one task and if it is taking too long, move on to something else and come back to it later with a fresh mind

  • Identify what is stopping you from being productive. For me, it’s my phone, scrolling and re-scrolling through social media all the time. I purposely put it away from me and use ‘phone time’ as a reward when I’ve ticked a few things off my to-do list. Who am I kidding?! When I’ve ticked one thing off my to-do list! But still, the theory is there..!

  • Work out when you’re most productive in the day. My time is definitely in the morning so I usually try and force myself to do all the bigger/harder tasks then and leave easier/smaller tasks to the afternoon

  • As well as writing a to-do list, keep a list of everything you are waiting on so that nothing slips through the net. This is a trick I’ve definitely learnt this year as my job heavily relies on working with a lot of different suppliers, I’m always waiting on something. Sometimes you can forget what you’re waiting for and then you realise months down the line that the task wasn’t done at all

  • Stop working overtime and be harsh on yourself about it. I’m not talking staying late on the odd days, I’m talking about every single day. No job should require you to stay for an extra couple of hours every single day. Either you’re not working hard enough during business hours, or your work load is way too high, in which case, don’t be afraid to talk to your manager

  • Say no. This is something I continue to have a problem with because I say yes to everything and try to please everyone when realistically I can’t do it all. I have got better, and now I don’t feel as guilty saying no but this is definitely something I need to practice.

  • Stop being a perfectionist. I think this one is also hard for a lot of us, especially bloggers who always want to ensure their content is perfect. But keep track of how long you are spending on tasks to ensure they are perfect. Could that time be spent more wisely? Is it worth spending all this time on one task potentially sacrificing others? Probably not most of the time…

  • Don’t try and multi-task, I don’t care what they say about women multi-tasking, it’s basically impossible in most situations and will most likely lead to mistakes.

  • Don’t be afraid to switch from one task to another. I personally need to do this to keep my productivity and motivation up. Spending short amount of time on each task and then going back to it after doing something else for a while really helps me come back with a fresh mind and fresh eyes. It also helps to stop me getting bored of one task and ultimately helps my productivity. I would probably say this tip is the key to my productivity personally.

I hope these tips help you become more productive, let me know if you try any of them out or if there's anything you could add!

Love Lauren xxx


Monday, 5 December 2016

Nightwear with Next

I would be more than happy if I could spend all my time in my pj's, and with winter well and truly here, all I want to do is cuddle up on the sofa in a comfy outfit watching a film.

With the increased popularity of loungewear, I think a lot of high street brands have really stepped up their game in the loungewear and nightwear department. One of these retailers is Next. With hundreds of choices, there’s a shape, style, colour and design for every taste, which means something for every wish list this Christmas. 

Nightwear by NEXT nightshirt
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