Time For A Change?

timeforachange

As I approach my 2nd year blogging birthday, I can’t help but feel slightly content. I’ve managed to turn my passion for all things beauty into a full fledged platform with just over 6000 subscribers. How I’ve managed to get 6000 people to listen to my weekly ramblings I have no idea; but I’m forever grateful to say the least.

Blogging has been the best creative outlet I could have ever discovered for myself. I’m not musically inclined and I’m bordering on the edge of shit artistically. However, blogging has been a hidden gem of mine that, dare I say, I’m somewhat ok at.

Despite the fact that blogging has been a weekly occurrence for the past two years, I can’t help but feel like somewhat of a rookie in the blogging world. Sure, I found my niche and I’ve tried my best to put out quality content to the best of my ability, but have I really shown the world what I’m all about? The short answer to that is no and I’ll tell you why…

When I initially started this blog, I had every intention of sticking to beauty related content. Despite having a plethora of topics to talk about, as time rolled on, so did my interests and I struggled to incorporate non-beauty related ideas into, what is essentially, a beauty blog. I did, however, give it a go now and then, but it never felt cohesive. I quickly discovered that, alongside makeup, I have an array of passions that I wanted to share with my subscribers and the only way to do that is to start again.

Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting that ReenaJB-eauty will be no more. I’m just here to inform you that I will be taking a ‘break’ through the month of August and will return on my 2nd birthday (3rd September 2017) with a brand look. Rather than focussing on my passion for beauty, I will blogging about recipes, home decor, lifestyle hacks, motivational pieces, natural remedies, tips, tricks and a whole lot more. I will be incorporating a more ‘personalised’ approach to my blog posts and allowing into my life; including personal events and updates. I want this blog to grow as I do and encompass everything to do with my lifestyle.

I’ll still be very active on my social media accounts; which you can access from the home page at any time, but please bear with me for the next 4 weeks as I whip up a brand new platform for you to enjoy.

I hope you embrace this new change as much as I have done and although it will be very hard to not blog for the next few weeks, I hope it will all be worth it in the end. So with that said, I better get to work. See you in September Beauties (yes you’ll always be referred to as my Beauties).

xxx

 

 

Never Mind The Beeswax | 10 Beauty And Home Hacks

beeswax1

I’m every online retailer’s dream come true. I’ve lost count of the amount of ‘unknown’ packages that have turned up on my doorstep with no prior knowledge of where they’ve come from. It’s slightly embarrassing to be honest, I wish I could remember all the things that I purchase online or at least have a slightly more informed delivery man.

I’ve reminded myself time and time again not to Amazon-shop whilst having a glass (bottle) of vino, because I simply cannot be trusted around heavy retailing. This became very apparent when I mistakenly hit the ‘checkout’ button, one fateful evening, and ended up with a rather hefty supply of extra large catheter bags. Bar the fact that urine bags were not my intention during that purchase, I really do wonder how I ended up choosing the extra large size.  Anyhow, with that said, the silver lining was that they arrived at my doorstep 10am the next morning for no extra charge – gotta love Prime.

beeswax 2

Unfortunately, whilst trying to purchase my beloved organic Shea butter on Amazon, my fat fingers struck again and before I knew it I had a bulk supply of natural beeswax pellets and bars on my doorstep. So rather than going through the annoyance of having to return them, I thought it best fit to be resourceful and find a purpose for beeswax. Turns out – it’s pretty versatile and I’ve tried all of these hacks myself so I know they work.

So here it goes; my 10 beauty and lifestyle hacks using organic beeswax – possibly the strangest and least requested topic I’ve ever discussed on this blog, but I’m hoping if you like a good hack you’ll lap this up.

  1. Make your own candles – bit of an obvious one, but how many of us actually indulge in making our own candles? A bag of beeswax pellets will set you back around a fiver on Amazon and one bag is more than sufficient for a decent sized pillar candle. Simply melting the wax with some essential oil and placing a wick in the centre is all you need for a beautifully scented candle without having to fork out £60 + for a designer one. Natural beeswax candles are pretty pricey so you can certainly save a pretty penny by making your own.
  2. Prepare your bbq – rubbing a bar of beeswax over the grill of your bbq will ensure that clean-up is a swift process after you’ve finished chargrilling your burgers. Stuck on food, burnt coal and grease can all make for a painful task at removing, but the beeswax will not only help the dirt to slide off at the end of the night, it also acts as a cooking aid for meats without adding any additional flavour. No longer having to scrape off the remnants of your bbq will also preserve the longevity of your grill.
  3. Make your own Play dough/modelling clay – A little essential oil and some colourant is all you need to make your very own play dough/modelling clay. Definitely a safer alternative to the original stuff and much more cost effective to replace. Simply melt all of the ingredients together, allow for it to cool and knead into a pliable dough-like consistency.
  4. Make your own lotion bars – Much like a bar of beeswax on the bbq, lotion bars are super easy to use and very quick at adding much needed moisture. There are plenty of recipes online to choose from, but my personal favourite is lavender and mint. It makes moisturising a fun task and a little added oil in there can turn these into great massage bars. Melt together coconut oil, beeswax and cocoa butter in a double boiler, together with your chosen additives. Pour into a mould and allow to harden.
  5. Reusable food bags/wraps – I go through foil, cling film and disposable containers like they’re going out of fashion and to be honest, I know they’re not the healthiest thing I should have touch my food. I really liked this idea for things such as lunchtime sandwiches, covering leftover bread, transporting fruit or even using as a lid on top of casserole dishes containing left over food. All you need is a bit of cloth (I got a large cutting of material from a fabric shop and divided into equal squares), place on top of a parchment paper. Sprinkle beeswax beads on top of the material (use the backside if it has a pattern). Place a second piece of parchment on top of the beaded material and use an iron to seal in the beads. A similar procedure to iron-on transfers really and they’re easily washable in the machine.
  6. Refresh your wooden spoons (also known as wood butter) – Seems like a pretty mundane job, but how many of us hate the look of our wooden spoons once they begin to fade (all my OCD ladies put your hands up). Melting beeswax together with some mineral oil, then allowing for the mixture to emulsify creates a wonderful concoction called wood butter (yum, but please don’t attempt eating it). Rubbing this ‘butter’ into your wooden utensils adds a wonderful shine back into them as well as improving their usability.
  7. Condition and shape the beard – perhaps not my own, although I could do with some myself. For those ladies who struggle with their other halves’ prickly facial hair…or indeed the gentlemen who also read this blog who like to groom themselves – you need to get on this beard conditioner/wax. My husband is a little obsessed with the Tom Ford beard oil, for obvious reasons, but this makes a great (cheaper) alternative. All you need is equal parts of beeswax, coconut oil (use another carrier oil if you don’t like the smell of coconuts) and a few drops of vitamin E. Melt together and transfer into a container so it can harden.
  8. Polish your granite worktops – Similarly to polishing your wooden spoons, you can also use melted beeswax to polish your precious granite worktops. All you need is melted beeswax applied directly onto your worktop, allow to cool and wipe off to reveal a brand new surface.
  9. Create your own EOS lip balm – Like most great hacks in life, this one involves the wonderful combination of melted beeswax, coconut oil and a few drops of essential oil (scent of your choice). Once melted, pour into an empty EOS lip balm container, pop in the fridge to allow hardening and use till your heart’s content.
  10. ‘Seasoning’ your post and pans – beeswax is edible and perfectly safe to ingest; which makes it the perfect ingredient for ‘seasoning’ your pans. ‘Seasoning’ is just a fancy word for ‘treating’ your pots and pan, particularly heavy duty (and heavily priced) cast iron utensils. Rub a bar of beeswax over your pot/pan and heat gently over a low heat. This will add an element of ‘non-stickiness’ to your utensils and provide a permanent layer of wax which will protect them from rusting or getting damaged.

20 Weird And Wonderful Facts About Me

weird facts about me

Me, me, with a side of me. I deliberated the title of this post for quite some time. Let’s be honest – who really wants to know facts about me? I’m pretty boring…and quite clearly a little narcissistic, but I wanted to get a little personal this week. I’ve been thinking about an expansion of the blog into more lifestyle content, but in order to do that you’ll need to understand a little more about me. So without delay, here’s a few fun facts that will make you both chuckle and question my integrity as a human being….

  1. I hate being told what to do – Being told what to do or being told that I’m expected to do something is one of my biggest pet peeves of life. This is probably due to the fact that I’m a an over-bearing control freak. If it’s not my idea, or I can’t pretend it is – I’m not interested.
  2. I don’t like chocolate – Considering that I’ve spent the last 9 years of my life running a chocolate fondue hire company, it’s pretty shocking that I’m not a fan of chocolate. In fact – I’m not a fan of sweet things at all. I’ll have a bite every now and then, but in my world it’s all about the salty!
  3. I’m a boy’s girl – There are girl’s girls, tomboys and somewhere in between – I’m that in between. I love girlie things and everything that’s associated with being a woman, but truth be told I get along better with guys than with girls. Not my fault really; I’ve been raised in a family full of boys. In fact, my Dad would often call me ‘son’ growing up and once you get to know me, you’ll realise I have the habits of a guy and not afraid to show them. Although I’m a girlie girl at heart, you’ll often find me with the boys rather than the women – we just have more to talk about!
  4. Although I’m a spring baby, winter is my favourite time of the year – Christmas to be specific, because I’m a complete crimbo freak! I do like a BIT of heat, but nothing feels nicer than a cozy evening, in front of the fire, whilst it’s bitter outside. There is, of course, the comfort of covering up in cozy layers and Uggs, but that’s just a bonus.
  5. My biggest fear in life is not feeling accomplished – When I get to the finish line of life, I DO NOT want to look back and wish I did more. Travelling, education, experiences – these are all things that I want to achieve whilst I still can. My biggest goal would have to be travel. How sad would it be to get to an age where you can no longer travel, but wish you had seen more of the world?! There’s more to this world than just the bubble that we create for ourselves so I plan to see as much of it as possible. I have a map of the world in my Filofax that I often refer to when booking my holiday destinations. Once a place has been visited, I cross it off the map and note how much of the world I have seen.
  6. Speaking of travelling; I went backpacking along the east coast of Africa for 5 months – When I was young, stupid and unaware of the joys of a 5 star hotel. I took time out between my first and second year of university to travel along the east coast of Africa, completely on my own, with no previous experience of travel other than with my family. Now that I look back on it; I can’t believe I had the balls to do it, but 10 years on and it’s still one of the best experiences of my life! I experienced foreign cultures, met people from all corners of the earth, travelled down the Nile in what can only be described as a plank of wood, climbed Mount Sinai (with great difficulty), saw places that I wouldn’t ordinarily visit and got a taste of teaching in a foreign school.
  7. I can’t iron – I haven’t quite added that to my list of life goals, mostly because my husband does my ironing for me. My Mum is completely disgusted by that fact, but it works well for me!
  8. I love trash tv – Life and work can get pretty stressful so when I come home I want nothing more than to turn on the telly to some rubbish, reality-based, trash tv which requires zero thinking power. I watch the news all day long and spend hours calculating figures so sue me if I want a little ‘brain coma’ time! My brother often mocks me by saying that I wish I was a Kardashian with my own reality show…he’s not wrong…
  9. I’m not flexible at all – I can’t cross my legs and I can’t do a rolly polly – two very fundamental skills of life. I’m literally as stiff as an ironing board.
  10. I love cooking and learning new dishes – I might be pretty shit at ironing, but I’m a dab hand in the kitchen. I can pull off a 5 course meal for 100 people without breaking a sweat, but don’t expect any Indian dishes from me. In fact, my speciality is Greek food. I make a mean Spanakopita
  11. I may have the biggest voice in the room, but I’m pretty shy and actually enjoy my own company – probably because I’ve grown up on my own. My brothers are a whole decade older than me so I spent a big portion of my childhood playing on my own. Don’t break out the violins, I actually prefer it that way. I’m a pretty private person and only have a few good people in my circle. However, I’m a complete contradiction of myself. In social situations, I’m usually the one who initiates the conversation and gets in the mix of things. I’m pretty sarcastic too and love a good banter, but when I’m not in the mood I’m a complete lone wolf.
  12. I have a phobia of ketchup and baked beans – I don’t know why, I really don’t, but the smell, look, feel and even the mere sight of them make me heave. Much to the delight of my loved ones, I freak out if either of them come near me. I realise it’s weird, but I think we’re past that point now…
  13. I have curly toes – Imagine spider legs; that’s what my toes look like. I’ve had the piss taken out of me my whole life. I honestly believe it’s a bit of a problem now, because at the end of the day I’m craving for a toe massage. Yup – that statement got weirder with every word. It’s kinda like my toes cling on to dear life in my shoes. Don’t worry…I’m one sentence away from taking the piss out of myself.
  14. I have OCD, but it should be called EOCD (Extreme Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) – I’m VERY particular about the way I live and the things around me. I like a clean, organised environment, but everything from my furniture to my toothbrush has been carefully selected. I’m obsessed with details so if it’s not perfect (in my eyes) it’s not good enough.
  15. I love being different – Another one of my pet peeves is being ‘common’. This probably ties in with my initial point about being told what to do. I like to stand out, however narcissistic that makes me sound. I’m just not a ‘crowd’ kinda girl.
  16. I’m obsessed with middle eastern culture – From the food, to the music, to the language. After my travels through Egypt (see no.6) I became obsessed with middle Eastern culture. So much so that I learnt to belly dance and cook a fair number of middle eastern dishes. Not forgetting my ‘learning to speak Arabic’ stage in life. In fact, I know more about middle eastern culture than I do of my own!
  17. I wake up early no matter what day of the week – We all know that I’m an early riser. In fact, I dedicated a whole blog post to my love of early morning starts. Even on a Sunday morning, with a dirty hangover – you can find me potting around at 6am. I just love the serenity of an early morning.
  18. I’m a tech geek – With a degree in Computer Engineering, I’m pretty nifty around a computer. In fact, I created my entire blog and all the artwork myself despite the fact that I had no previous knowledge of WordPress!
  19. I played with Barbies till I was 16 – I love Barbie and would still play with them if I didn’t share a room with my husband.
  20. I’m allergic to most fruit – Probably just an excuse, but fruit just doesn’t seem to agree with me. Particularly apples, they seem to leave me itching all over. Pizza on the other hand is my best friend.

 

This Month’s Obsessions | May 2017

monthly favourites

Not only does OCD take over the way I conduct my life, but it also gets involved in my likes and dislikes. I have an obsessive personality; which means I can get pretty attached, real quick. When I like something, I LOVE it. I have no concept of quantity or control (in all aspects of my life); which would work pretty damn well if I was obsessed with working out. Unfortunately, I’m not…BUT…I am obsessed with my monthly favourites.

If you’re a YouTube fanatic, like me, you will have seen an array of monthly favourites videos – a round up of what they’ve been loving the past month and why. I’ve decided to let you into my monthly favourites in this week’s blog post. Some are great, others a little whacky, but these are genuinely what I’ve been loving in the month of May.

Tangle Teezer Blow-Styling Smoothing Tool (Full Size) £20.00

I’ve been using Tangle Teezers for as long as I can remember. My hair is very heavy, very long and can often get very knotted. Tangle Teezers have thus far been the only tool that I can use on my hair to detangle without ripping out half of it out. My sister in law had recommended the Blow-Styling Smoothing Tool as a great alternative to the traditional Compact Styler; which in all honesty isn’t large enough for my hair. I use this brush for everything (mostly because I love paddle brushes). Detangling, straightening, and in particular, when I’m blow-drying my hair. It cuts my blow-drying time in half; which usually feels like several hours and it works great at separating the hair when I’m straightening. The wide-set plastic teeth allow for air to flow freely when blowdrying and it actually works pretty great at smoothing away fly aways. There’s a half-size available for those with shorter hair, but if you have thin hair you may find this brush a little harsh and clunky against the scalp.

NASA Live Stream YouTube ChannelsSpace & Universe and Space Videos

O-M-G why have I not discovered this before?! I’m obsessed with Astronomy and as you can imagine, the obsession is real. There’s something about the unknown wonder of space that gets my inquisitive mind going; which is why I squealed with joy when I discovered the YouTube channels Space & Universe and Space Videos. Both equally as amazing as the other and both offer live streams of Earth from the International Space Station (provided by NASA). To say that I’m obsessed is truly an understatement. I watch it morning, noon and night. In fact – I find it quite soothing and incredibly addictive to watch (particularly when my anxiety is through the roof).

Marc Jacobs Highliner in Blacquer £20.00

I spoke about this gel-based eye pencil in a previous blog post and raved about its long-lasting power. I won’t go into too much detail as you can read all about it in the post, but my God is this eyeliner amazing. I totally forgot I had it until I saw its shiny silver lid poking out of my makeup bag one glorious day. It doesn’t irritate my eyes (I’m a contact lens wearer), nor does it fade through out the day. There’s no need for sharpening and it glides on like butter. It literally is the best eye pencil I’ve ever used.

VITASIA Chai Latte (Approx 69p)

I LOVE chai lattes. In fact, it’s my beverage of choice upon every trip to Starbucks. During the summer months I often swap out my traditional chai latte for an iced version. For obvious reasons, of course, but I find it so refreshing. A recent shopping trip to Lidl saw the discovery of the VITASIA Chai Lattes in the chilled beverage section. A little sweeter than what I’m used to, but this stuff is so addictive (not to mention a whole lot cheaper than my usual Starbucks Venti). I’ve been diluting mine with a little more milk and a ton of ice for my very own iced coffee cooler. Probably not the healthiest habit to have, but it’s stopped me from making a trip to Starbucks every day.

Original Source Mint & Tea Tree Shower £1.20

When the weather gets a little warmer, I swap out my usual choice of candy-scented shower gel for something with a little zest. For that, I turn to notes of mint and tea-tree. I’ve tried many brands, but nothing beats the old classic which is Original Source’s Mint & Tea Tree Shower. It’s cheap, it’s cheerful and it gives me that ‘pep in my step’ to start my day.

Audible (Subscription-based £7.99/pm)

After the big 31 I made a promise to myself that I was going to make more time for reading. Truth be told, I don’t have any time to read. I’m not one for giving into modern-day technology, but after discovering Audible, I found the best of both worlds. For a mere £7.99 I can download an audio book directly from my Amazon account and incorporate it into my every day life. I listen to it while I’m driving, while I’m getting ready and even while I’m cooking. In fact – I get to incorporate ‘reading’ into my normal day-to-day activities without having to actually read. Sounds a defeatist, but it’s the best way I’ve found at keeping up with literature. What’s even better is that Audible is offering a free 30-day trial to get your started. I’m totally loving The Crystal Therapy: Learn the Various Types of Crytals and Gemstones and Their Healing Benefits by Nathan Goldsmith at the moment.

Hawaiian Tropic Body Mist £7.50

I’ve been forever obsessed with the Victoria Secret Body Mists, however, I discovered that the brand Hawaiian Tropics had released their own range of tropical scents and I knew I had to get my hands on them. Imagine an island surrounded by coconuts – that’s basically what these smell like. They last a hell of a lot longer on the skin than the Victoria Secret ones do and they actually work out a little cheaper. They’re a little big in size so they don’t fit that easily into your handbag, but they are a good ‘everyday’ spritz before you head out the door. My favourite by far has been the Golden Paradise scent.

7 Morning Rituals For A Well-Balanced Lifestyle

morning routine

The claim of a well-balanced lifestyle seems slightly patronising doesn’t it? What does a well-balanced lifestyle even mean? For some it could mean a great work-life balance. For others it could mean maintaining a healthy diet. A well-balanced lifestyle has an array of definitions, but they all stem from the idea of productivity. If I’m pro-active, particularly in the morning, I can go forward with a positive day.

I’ve been a morning person for as long as I can remember. That may seem like an annoying characteristic to have but, as my Dad would say, ‘the early bird catches the worm’. So true it is. I’ve watched my parents start their day from as early as 5am. As a teenager, I never understood why. I now understand, more than ever, that those few hours in the morning can have a massive impact on the rest of your day and what you choose to do within that time is vital. Greg Adenauer’s 7 Mini-Habits To Success; is a great book to pick up for those who are a little unorganised as it teaches you to use the power of quantum habits to build a more successful future. Sounds a little ‘new-age’, but it’s changed my perception of how I utilise my time.

Below are a few habits which I like to incorporate into my daily morning routine. Granted, some people are pushed for time in the mornings and I appreciate that. However, everyone and I mean EVERYONE has 10 minutes to incorporate one or two of the habits below. All it takes is 10 minutes out of your day to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle; which isn’t a lot to ask for…

Wake up early – As I mentioned above, early rising is integral for a productive day. During my studying years, I would wake up at 6am to cram in several hours of revision. This was mostly because I enjoyed the peace and quiet around me, but also because by 12pm my day was done. Even up until today, I believe in 6am starts no matter what day of the week. Obviously that doesn’t quite happen all the time (being hungover and waking up at 6am is not much fun). However, waking up early gives you that time to ease your body and your mind into ‘active’ mode. It can also give you that all important time that you need to perform the habits below without having to rush.

Morning stretch – We’ve all seen those tv ads, movies or YouTube videos where someone arises from their crisp, clean bed – not a hair out of place, raising their arms into a stretch position before eventually carrying on with their seemingly perfect lives. That’s not me. I’m lucky to wake up without a puddle of drool surrounding my pillow and crazy hair. I do, however, like to stretch. Perhaps not a glamorously as you see on the tv, but one or two stretches (particularly of the neck) ensure that my body is liber and ready to start the ground off running (after a coffee that is).

Take time out to meditate – We’ve all heard about morning meditation and how useful it is for maintaining a healthy state of mind, but how many of us do it? Unfortunately, morning meditation sessions have a stigma attached. Many people believe it to be time consuming; requiring hours of trance-like mindfulness. This is NOT the case. I’m a firm believer in mediation, at any time of the day. Morning meditation is my particular favourite as I am able to clear my mind, allowing for new information of the day to absorb in. I know what you’re thinking – I sound a little crazy. Don’t knock it till you try it. I’m not talking hours and I’m not suggesting you need to sit cross-legged and chant. Even sitting at your kitchen table, eyes closed and clearing your mind is  considered meditation – and it can do more for your body than any kind of medication.

Find your cocktail – I obviously won’t argue against the fact that a tall glass of water in the morning (especially with a slice of lemon) does wonders for your digestive system, but what about other choices of beverage? I cannot start my day without a coffee. I cannot even hold a conversation without coffee. I’m not even slightly human without coffee. It’s clear that I love coffee, but would I swap it for something slightly ‘healthier’? No way! Coffee is what makes me function so if I need it to start my day then so be it. The point is – find your poison and use it as a treat in the morning.

Avoid tv/social media – I’m a little guilty of this as I use my mornings to catch up with my social media; which I don’t normally do through-out the day. However, putting down your phone (especially before you get out of bed) and avoiding the television is vital for your state of mind. We can all get washed up in the whirlwind of social media and polluting your mind (as soon as you wake up) is not going to start you off in the right way. Go outside, listen to the birds singing or spend time with your family. You’ll be much more entertained.

Play up-lifting music  – As I get ready for the day, I play energy-boosting meditation music (which I usually stream from YouTube). A far cry from my usual dowse of rap music, but I find that it puts me in a much happier mood. Whilst in the car, I either listen to an audio book or some more meditation music. Sounds a little strange when you’re used to bouncing to Beyonce in the mornings, but it’s amazing what subliminal messages meditation music can feed you. Energy boosting meditation music is my particular favourite…for obvious reasons.

Write a list and prepare for the day – I love a good list. I write lists wherever I go. Despite having a Filofax, I still write a ‘to-do’ lists for the day ahead. It gets me organised and it enables me to be prepared. Knowing exactly what needs to be done and in what order I need to do them helps me be more productive. I tend to get the more tasking jobs done first so that I can ease my way into a restful evening, but do what works best for you. The idea is that writing things down is more productive than remembering from the top of your head. You’re more likely to achieve everything you set out to do for the day (and then some) if you write it down.

What are your morning routines? Let me know below.

Train Yourself To Get Things Done

get things done

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has arguably become one of the most common mental health issues of this generation. Whilst it may appear as an overzealous excuse for perfection, it is indeed a mental health issue that, for many like myself, has become a way of life.

In the early stages of our marriage my husband struggled to understand my compulsive nature. I have OCD at its finest. I am extremely pedantic when it comes to detail and I am very particular about the way I live. Sounds like a nightmare for most men. More so for my husband whose strewn socks across the bedroom floor would work me up on a daily basis! Three years in and my OCD hasn’t decreased by a single degree. In fact, dare I say, my husband has developed a fair number of OCD habits himself; which makes life a lot less stressful!

Am I ashamed of having OCD? Not by any means. In fact, it’s helped me increase my productivity. There are days when I procrastinate on the things that I need to get done, but with the steps below I am able to pull myself out and use my time wisely to achieve most that I set out to do on a day-to-day basis. Here’s how I train myself on getting things done:-

  1. Write it down – My life consists of lists, spreadsheets, notes and personal diary entries. My husband often pokes fun at the fact that I am unable to start my day without referring to my Filofax. Writing things down is my way of ensuring that I don’t miss a single thing. From dinner dates to post office visits, everything and I mean EVERYTHING goes in my Filofax. Along with my personal organiser I have spreadsheets for my finances, which includes monthly outgoings and credit card balances. I make it a point each month to update my spreadsheet so that I know exactly where my money is and how it’s being spent. I also write daily to-do lists; which I take a lot of pride in ticking off as I complete a task. Although this all sounds very labour intensive and somewhat uninspiring, writing things down is a sure fired way of ensuring that nothing gets missed. If you’re not in the habit of writing lists, try something simple such as a grocery list before your next food shop. You’ll soon realise the effect that a good list can have on your stress levels.
  2. Time management – Those who know me well will have a good ol’ chuckle about this rule, because I have possibly the worst time management that any human could ever have. If you invite me somewhere, chances are I’ll be two hours late. I don’t know why it happens, but it does; which is probably why I don’t get many invitations!  However, in my defence, I don’t adopt that awful habit into my daily tasks. I somehow manage to arrange my time well, whereby I allocate time slots for each task at hand. For example, if I know that I have to clean, blog, do my accounts, organise my wardrobe and do a truck load of washing all in one day then I’ll allocate time slots for each. Two hours for my blog, one hour of organising and so forth. If I haven’t completed a task within the allocated time slot, then so be it. There’s always another day, but being the competitive freak that I am, I’ll always challenge myself to finish them!
  3. Reward yourself – I’m no stranger to a good treat. I love to treat myself, more than I care to admit. When I’m feeling particularly productive, I’ll treat myself to something that I enjoy once I have completed the task at hand. For example, if I’ve cleaned the house top to toe before my allocated time slot is up then I’ll reward myself with a spot of online shopping. Not to say that I go mad with purchases, but that simple feeling of window shopping for 15 minutes is enough to put a smile on my face. The trick here is to find what makes you happy. Even if it’s a bit of chocolate after tackling your mountain of laundry, do it! Rewards should be incentives to make you work harder.
  4. Change your surroundings – Sometimes, taking yourself out of your normal environment can make the world of difference. If I find myself having writer’s block, I’ll often pick up my laptop and sit in the garden or my local Starbucks. The change in surroundings allows my mind to flow freely and therefore increase my productivity levels. This works well for most tasks that include the extensive use of a laptop. Changing your environment gives you a new lease of motivation.
  5. Use the 20 min rule – This slightly contradicts my previous point about time management, but it’s mostly for those who tend to work from home. Studies show that short bursts of work increases productivity. The average human has the attention span of no longer than 20 minutes for any given task. Therefore, condensing your work into 20 minute sections can vastly improve the quality of your work. Imagine HITT training for the brain – push yourself for 20 minutes and rest for 5 minutes in between.
  6. Wake up early – I have been an early riser for as long as I can remember. Nothing makes me more happy than the peaceful tranquillity of an early morning. Waking up early gives you the freedom to work at your own pace without many other distractions. My alarm clock goes off at 6am no matter what time of the week. I enjoy the prospect of having most of my day done before midday, leaving me with the rest of the afternoon to spend as I please. My dad would often tell me that “the early bird catches the worm” and that rule has stuck with me throughout my life.
  7. Have some quiet time – Coinciding with my early morning routine, I ensure that I spend at least 10 minutes in the morning having ‘me’ time. I’ll make myself a coffee, burn some incense and listen to meditation music with no distractions such as social media around me. Serenity is so important for avoiding procrastination. Having those 10 minutes in the morning gives me the natural boost that I need to start my day on a positive note. If I began my day stumbling out of bed, rushing to get ready and consistently checking my phone, my brain would be in overdrive before I even get to work! Everyone, and I mean everyone, has the opportunity to grab 10 minutes for themselves (hopefully in the mornings) so there’s no excuse for a lack of ‘me’ time.
  8. Set realistic goals and break tasks into chunks – I could easily sit here and say that I want to be a millionaire by this time next year. Is that realistic? Probably not. After all, how am I going to be a millionaire? What steps am I going to take to become a millionaire? Do I know what it entails to be a millionaire? The answer is no to all accounts. Breaking your goal into miniature and realistic steps/goals allows you to climb the ladder of success much more effectively. An ultimate goal can be more daunting than several miniature goals, therefore increasing the risk of failure. Enlist the help of a good old list and write down the sub-goals which you need to achieve in order to reach your ultimate goal.
  9. Remove clutter and distractions – We’ve already established that I’m an OCD freak so mess and clutter are not really a part of my vocabulary. However, if you tend to work in a slightly chaotic environment, clean! Clutter causes distractions and therefore reduces productivity. Tidy away your kid’s toys, old papers, rubbish and old socks – you can’t possibly have a clear mind with so many distractions around you.

Remember: “Failure to plan is a plan to fail”