Career, Lifestyle

Productivity Hacks 101

I love a good hack (and not the wiki-leaks kind of hack, I assure you; scouts honour)…financial hacks, beauty hacks – you name it, I’m a sucker for it. Anything that is a cheat sheet for helping me to do something more effectively, count me in! However, I do have one personal favourite, which trumps all others, and of course you guessed it – productivity hacks.

During my short but well lived years on earth, I have learnt two very important things: 1) Oreo ice cream fixes almost everything and 2) time is a respecter of no man or woman. And whilst I would much rather spend my days eating Oreo ice-cream and watching the Good Wife (am I the last person to latch on to how great this show is???), I know that these goals won’t achieve themselves and this beast that is my career won’t evolve without my help or input.

And with that being said, I have searched far and wide (well google crawls across every corner of the globe so I think that counts) to find the best productivity hacks. However, I think this would be an appropriate time to insert a disclaimer (drumroll please) these are productivity hacks that I have found to work personally for me, of course you may have other ideas which I would love to hear.

Anyhoo, I present my favourite productivity hacks of all time; go wild with it 🙂

Be realistic about your to do list

Limit yourself to 3 things that you must absolutely, critically do that day. That way, you don’t feel deflated at the end of the day when that unwieldy to do list is still looking back at you with nearly half of the things still as they were in the morning – undone.

Block out specific times for tasks

Scheduling is probably one of the best habits I have cultivated after cooking in bulk. Allocate specific time slots to complete each task such as writing this post. It helps you to be more focused especially for the tasks that you really DON’T want to do.

Turn off alerts!

Switch off ALL notifications and this is really difficult. I mean who doesn’t enjoy a cheeky text from the Lover or a video of the niece/nephew to brighten up your day?? But needs must; you have to be ruthless. Switch off email and phone alerts! They are distracting and waste a considerable amount of time.

Say no?

I think this is probably one of my favourite words EVER. Its not everyday say yes…sometimes just say no and then revel in how good it feels.

Work on Sunday

Spend an hour or so getting some key things done to relieve yourself of some of the pressure in the week ahead. And in addition to this, complete a forward look. Write a list of key meetings and actions that you must get done that week – this includes calling your mum on the daily commute and following up with that friend to see if they are feeling better.

Keep a diary for heaven’s sake

At your age, you shouldn’t be forgetting your best friend’s birthday. There are a wealth of resources out there – either get a hard copy diary or use one of the many electronic tools that exist. No excuses!

Drink water

I know water is dull but it really is great brain food. It hydrates the body, which is needed in order to get the most out it. Get yourself a water bottle and just leave it in your pedestal and/or bag. It allows you to drink water in much more manageable quantities.

Use productivity tools!

I have recently discovered Wunderlist and can I just say it really does deserve a standing ovation. It is a great way for staying abreast of your many different to do lists and it has a beautiful interface which will always be a winner for me.

The genius Kofo, swears by One Note; it allows you to tabularise absolutely everything and of course it syncs across all your devices (what was life like before Steve Jobs?)

All else failing, I LOVE good ol’ pen and paper including the following:

  • Desk pads (nobel peace prize award please for the inventor)
  • Filofax – as a former moleskine user, I am a believer people and have joined the online filofax community *descends into heap of paper; exhilarating!*
  • List book – my lovely friend Titi bought me a list book *throws paper in the air*  it is fab because it comes pre-packed with post it notes of different sizes which are great for inserting into my filofax.

The trusted filofaxe and sheet from deskpad!

The trusted filofax and sheet from deskpad at the top!

SO…go ahead and maximise your day and I hope that these tools will help you to be more productive in the process. I am off to watch the Good Wife with the Lover minus the Oreo ice cream. Two out of three isn’t that bad…

Don’t miss me too much…

Ola

xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book reviews

Book Reviews – The May Edition!!

Hoorah! I return after what feels like an eternity; thank you for staying loyal (I revoke any credit to Chris Brown) and choosing to bear with me. Right. Onto the good stuff…

School is out for the summer (just 3 more months until I am released from the shackles of study!) so I have had more time to indulge in the next best thing after sliced bread – reading 🙂 I bring to you, a review on three books I have read over the past couple of months and as always let me know if you have read any and/or if you have any recommendations.

miniaturist

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton 

This was 100% worth the wait. Written by 28 year old Jessie Burton (I frickin love millennials!) it is a tale about young 18 year old Petronella who leaves home to join her husband – a well to do successful merchant. It is a story of mystery and misfortune as Petronella’s wedding gift – a beautiful doll house starts to bear startling resemblance to her reality.

Verdict: A little slow to start but it is literally an exceptional book. Extremely well written with the necessary injects of twists and turns; I honestly get why it generated so much hype last year. 

white teeth

White Teeth by Zadie Smith 

I know this a cult classic so I will refrain from going into detail about this book as I am sure many of you are familiar with it but it was disappointing for me; I just couldn’t get into it! Sad to say because one of my favourite books EVER WRITTEN period is On Beauty by Zadie so I was very disappointed to say the least.

Verdict: Zadie is a heavyweight within the literary world but this did not keep me up at night at all. I don’t actually know what else to say to be honest so I think I should just leave it there. *Awkward*

confidence code

The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman 

Katty and Claire discuss why women lack self-confidence within the workplace and often hold themselves back by being bridled with self-doubt. They look at why women often operate in the workplace as they do at school – study hard and think that they will get rewarded; this approach is just not sustainable in the workplace.

Verdict: I think because I read Lean In first (book review found here), it is quite similar BUT I really liked this book and I could identify with a lot of things that was relayed. I think the main takeaway is: confidence can be created; you don’t have to be born confident in order to become confident within the workplace. 

Hope you found that useful! The next books on my list are:

  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • Secret History by Donna Tartt
  • Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso

I will be sure to keep you posted 🙂

Until we speak again…I’m out. xx

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Short stories

Short story excerpt: ‘Comfort from God’

Hello guys!

I am back after a long hiatus and I will explain better in a separate post as to why I have been absent; my apologies! In the meantime, I have included an excerpt from a short story that I penned. I am posting it before it’s too late to change my mind haha.

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Things Fall Apart – that was the name of her favourite book as a child. Things Fall Apart…Roisha enunciated each word slowly, her voice almost an inaudible whisper like she was being forced to give a sordid account of a dirty little secret. How could the name of the book escape her? It was critical that she included this significant detail in her mother’s eulogy so that they would see that behind that beguiling exterior, lived an intelligence that had the power to astound, a wisdom that transcended anything humanly possible. Instead she choked; her memory letting her down as so many had done before.

 The eulogy would be rendered useless of course, the degradation of her mother’s reputation now complete. What should have been an opportunity for vindication, exonerating her mother’s name of the shameful words that had become synonymous with it – Itunuoluwa, had certainly gone amiss. Itunuoluwa – ‘consolation or comfort from God. Roisha scoffed at the mere thought of it. She certainly didn’t feel comforted, the gravity of all that had occurred bringing a premature weariness to her face.

They had called her mother all kinds of names before she died and Roisha doubted that they would relinquish themselves of this duty now that she was no more. She had to hand it to them however; they had put on quite the performance this afternoon. Wailing and screaming at the top of their lungs, faltering at the sound of her name. Roisha had barely said two words before Aunty Mercy collapsed haphazardly into her husband’s arms, their arms and legs an entangled mess. Mummy Toba, the eldest of her mother’s two sisters let out a shrill cry that neither resembled human nor animal.

 ‘God knows best Remi; God knows best.’ Mummy Toba was the first to approach her as Roisha descended from the stage, Aunty Mercy following closely behind. Mummy Toba brushed her corrugated palm across Roisha’s cheek ensuring that she was in full view of the congregation. Roisha hated when she called her Remi and Mummy Toba knew this and played on it like an experienced pianist. ‘Thank you’ was all Roisha could muster.

 She searched Mummy Toba’s eyes looking desperately for any sign of remorse but detected none; bar the tears, her eyes were as they had always been – steely and piercing. Mummy Toba drew Roisha close to her chest, the distinct smell of rob threatening to consume her. ‘What a child cannot see standing up, an adult can see sitting down. Stay in your lane my dear, stay in your lane.’ Mummy Toba whispered quietly enough for anyone within earshot not to hear but loudly enough for Roisha to understand the message loud and clear; the brutality of it settling in her spirit…

 

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General

2015. Let’s get it.

Happy New Year One and All!

I hope you had a fantastic break. I certainly did and I feel well rested and ready to run ahead full steam…

January is definitely synonymous with New Year’s Resolutions, goals and the like… I certainly have scribbled down a few things that I want to achieve this year as you do but this time, I am making a conscious effort to:

  • Do something little each day to work towards my goals… (God helping me lol).
  • Only do things that serve my purpose and passions. I will be very rigid this year with what I commit to; this seemed to work for me quite well last year…
  • Implement a life of minimalism – I have taken a cue from the Parisians and starting with my wardrobe, I have thrown out 85% of my clothes and will now opt for a minimalist palette. I will also keep my house clutter free – everything will be filed away or binned! A clear mind starts with a clear space…

Let me know what you have pledged to do this year? Whatever the deal let’s get it…2015 I am ready for you.

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Career

Confidence is King

In the past few weeks, I have literally been reminded again and again about the importance of confidence. Between the various blog posts I’ve read and the messages that I have heard in church, they all emphasise the importance of maintaining your confidence.

It is clear that those that actualise their goals and dreams and excel in life all have one thing in common – confidence. And that’s not to say that you won’t have moments of doubts, I too definitely have them but it’s about ensuring that they do not get the better of you.

And the Bible constantly discusses this very subject; I have been gathering scriptures pertaining to this in the hope that I would share it in one blog post. But to be honest, I think this scripture encapsulates it all:

 ‘Therefore do not cast away your confidence which has great reward.’ Hebrews 10:35.

Your confidence may have been tried and tested this year, but as 2015 beckons, be sure to cross over with your confidence in tact and leave self-doubt deeply buried in 2014…

On that note, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year in advance. Thank you for reading my blog and helping me to do something that really makes my soul happy – writing! To the new followers that have joined this year and to the ones that have been active followers from the very beginning – thank you.

P.s.Just in case you haven’t had enough of me, I now write in some other places! One of them in particular, is dear to my heart because it is a lifelong dream of my dear friend Tobi; she inspires me daily. Check out her amazing magazine, Black Ballad at http://www.blackballad.co.uk

With very warm wishes, 

Ola xxx

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Career, Faith, Womanhood

Be Kind To Yourself.

The past couple of weeks have been…revelatory? Is that the word? I am not quite sure that is even a word to be honest as the dictionary is refusing to accept it but lets just say I have been shifting between a plethora of emotions ranging from melancholy to happiness to ecstatic and right back down to melancholy.

I felt slightly worn out and not in the physical sense I assure you but more mentally. It is a multitude of things that has triggered its onset such as working out how to break into the international development sector without doing a blasted internship…how to balance a very demanding job alongside postgraduate study…the list goes on…

And after speaking to a few women that I have the privilege of knowing, I realised that I am not the only one. We are all going through one frustration or another in relation to ‘where we should be’ and what ‘we should be doing’. Don’t get me wrong, we are happy and we can indeed count our blessings but there are other things that we are struggling to balance and/or desire that just hasn’t materialised yet and it has caused us to be hyper-critical to say the least

But I just want to share one statement with you that my lovely friend Phyllis told me last week: Be kind to yourself.

Celebrate you. You may not have all your ducks in a row but you are enroute to where you need to be. You deserve to be treated well so start with how you treat you.

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