Start the day right
Setting your alarm at least half an hour earlier than you normally would means you’re not chasing the day. ‘Give yourself — and your brain — the chance to move into the working day naturally,’ says business coach Claire Stansfield. ‘You may be used to looking at your phone first thing, even before getting up out of bed, but this is one of the worst working sins. Not only can it send stress levels soaring but your clarity for the day ahead becomes clouded. Make a drink, eat breakfast and just start mentally tuning in to your to-do list. When you begin your day calmly, you have clarity and focus on what needs to be done.’
State your objectives
Write down your work goals for the day, week and long term. Not only does it feel satisfying to tick them off but it’s a great motivator too. ‘If you aren’t clear at the start of the day as to what you want to accomplish, then how can you achieve your goals?’ asks business coach Tracey Livingston. ‘You can save yourself so much lost time and energy by getting clear with how you want to tackle the day.’
Try implementing a structured to-do list to help you prioritise. ‘Put every appointment, task and goal into your diary, note how urgent it is or whether it can be delegated,’ says business mentor Anna Parker-Naples. ‘And visualise bigger goals too. Where are you headed? What three actions [that week] will take you there?’
Work in short bursts
Treat your working day as short sprints, rather than a marathon, by breaking it down into manageable segments using methods like the Pomodoro Technique. This involves working for 25 minutes then having a five-minute break, and Laura Phillips, a digital marketing coach, is one of those who swears by it.
‘After four Pomodoros, you can take a longer 15- to 30-minute break to totally reset,’ she says. ‘I find it makes me much more productive because of the focus.’
Jonathan Birch, creative director at marketing agency Glass Digital agrees.
‘I’ve found working in shorter bursts allows me to maintain concentration,’ he says. ‘Equally, it prevents me from overworking and burning out as the breaks give my brain the opportunity to rest and reset.’
Take time out
Procrastination gets a bad rap but according to Caroline Britton, a life and business coach, it’s often the best way for us to gain clarity.
‘It’s in the moments of stillness that we can connect to ourselves on an instinctive level, so there is no coincidence that our best ideas often come then,’ she says.
Ruth Kudzi, a business mentor and mindset coach, adds: ‘Going for a walk, having a coffee or speaking to a friend allows us to process what’s going on and helps us solve problems so we can come back with a different perspective. We aren’t machines so being productive the whole time is a myth.’
Cut out the noise
Learn how to reduce the din, whether it’s your inner dialogue or external factors.
‘If you’re overthinking, identify the problem as either a hypothetical or a real worry, work out what you need to do and just do it,’ says Dr Vanessa Moulton, a psychologist and founder of Mindflex. ‘Focusing on your breathing also calms the physical self, as well as the mind.
‘We’re less effective when trying to multitask so give yourself set times where you’re focusing on one thing. Mute social media chats, close internet search windows and switch off email alerts. Classical music has been shown to increase productivity levels so stick some headphones on and, if possible, get yourself outside for a short walk.’
Find a mentor
Mentoring is often overlooked but ‘finding a mentor in your organisation or through platforms can help increase motivation and ultimately progression,’ says Ed Johnson, CEO of mentoring network PushFar. ‘There are no rules to it, it’s simply the act of one individual sharing their knowledge, skills and experience to help someone else to grow.’
And don’t see it as a weakness, says JoJo Graham, a business owner and mentor: ‘It shows you’re smart enough and dedicated enough to succeed. Mentors can see things you cannot. They can call out your BS, show you where you’re falling down and will usually be brutally honest and tell you how it is.’
Reflect on your experiences
‘There are valuable lessons to be learned from your achievements as well as those situations which didn’t go to plan,’ says Yvonne Smyth, head of Hays human resources. ‘Being reflective about your work can revolutionise how you think about your job.’
It also gives you space to acknowledge when to move on.
‘If your work isn’t enjoyable because you’re unhappy, in a toxic work environment or not stimulated, start exploring what’s next,’ adds Tracey Livingston. ‘Even a few hours on a Saturday to start thinking of what you want to do next is a proactive way to take back control of your career.’
IS your face and body in need of a touch of magic? Forget checking in to a pricey hotel spa, simply take yourself along to Urban Retreat, which has left Harrods and recently opened its first standalone space at the White House on Hans Crescent, Knightsbridge. It’s billing it as the capital’s ‘ultimate’ beauty and wellness destination.
Filled with 15 resident ‘magicians’ from facialists to meditation experts, gynaecologists to osteopaths, it’s a one-stop wellness shop.
On the bottom floor of the grand historic building, you’ll find everything from colonic irrigation treatments to nutritionists, infrared saunas, a cleanse clinic and inch-loss body wraps by cult contouring brand Guam.
On the three other floors, there’s a piercer on hand to adorn your bod with pieces by Lark & Berry and a resident tattooist available for tasteful chic inkings in the utmost comfort. Hi-tech facialist Clare Peters is here once a week, there’s a team from SumanBrows and as the space is the sole European stockist of the famed Frederic Fekkai hair brand, the man himself is flying over from New York for appointments.
If treatments aren’t your thing, the store sells cult beauty products from around the world and the ground-floor Flavour restaurant is a haven of calm among the craziness of Knightsbridge, serving healthy yet delicious food to all for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Really, you never have to leave. If only they had rooms.