We live in a brave new world of multitasking and 24-7 connectivity and it’s changing the face of our working life forever. Bel Trew investigates the world of Giganomics to what being busy and fabulous is all about …
to the office, instead of waiting for a bus. I eat whilst I work… I’ll often download podcasts from blogs that are relevant to my work onto my iPod to listen to.’
With that in mind I’ve discovered lots of magical time loop-holes to elongate my day. The commute to work is just one example, why waste your time doing your make-up at home, when you could do it on the train? My tip is take cotton wool buds to help get rid of any unfortunate train motion related eyeliner smudges and use a stylish sparkling hand mirror, to distract nosey commuters from staring at your mascara-face (best ones I’ve found are from Susanna Freud, www.susannafreud.co.uk ). And never attempt liquid-liner on a moving train or worse, separating your eyelashes with a pin (I’ve seen someone try!). The walk from the train station to the office or when you’re in the queue for lunch are great 5 minute opportunities, so line up the calls you need to make when you’re on the tube.
BEL TREW MAKES EFFICIENCY HER NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION ’m writing this whilst I sit on the tube on my way to my other job. In fact I have three jobs, which I juggle through a seven-day week and I’m not alone. Thanks to the combination of the banking crisis and new communication technology, we are all now working longer and less restricted hours. Welcome to the new world of work, where every second is sacred. Introducing the theory of ‘Giganomics’ a brand new way of approaching the realm of employment. The term itself was coined by former New Yorker Editor, Tina Brown, who wrote on her Daily Beast blog ‘No one I know has a job anymore. They’ve got gigs: a bunch of free-floating projects, consultancies and bits and pieces they try to stitch together.’ And statistically true, 1 in MAGAZINE
many of us who were made redundant in the recession have accepted several part-time positions or multi-role jobs. Combine this with the presence of smartphones, laptops and tablets, meaning we are totally portable and contactable 24 hours a day, and hey presto: the 9-to-5 is dead. I am myself a gig-ger. I’m a freelance writer, I help run a designer shoe label and manage the UK branch of an international charity. My office is my Macbook Pro, my Blackberry and my entourage of email addresses. For me, my day starts with a chorus of pings from my Blackberry and I’ve normally done over an hour’s worth of work before I even see a desk. But, as I nod off, dribbling on my neighbour’s shoulder, my screen now lined with the letter ‘eeeeeeee’, it’s clear I’m not being as efficient as I could be. Margaret Thatcher survived on just 4 hours of sleep and ran a country. How
can the rest of us make the most of the day?
Back to Margaret (McCabe not Thatcher), ‘The key is to really love what you do,’ she adds. ‘If you’re clock-watching, you have got to ask yourself why?’ What about procrastination, I venture, as I look at my eight browsers open on eBay, Facebook, Wikipedia and BBC news pages? ‘I just don’t do that any more, I’ve ironed out all the wrinkles.’
‘You have to constantly prioritise’, says Margaret McCabe, who juggles being both a pin-up for the busy and fabulous lifestyle and being a mother. Margaret is an ex-barrister who set up Debate Mate, a peer-to-peer debate programme with a focus on underprivileged schools. Debate Mate has made such an impact that Margaret is now working closely with PM David Cameron on one of his big society initiatives, the National Citizens Service. ‘Every day you have to prioritise what is important to you’ , she continues, ‘Look over your performance and ask yourself, am I using my time efficiently?’ Constant self-regulation, she says, is the only way.
Procrastination is society’s Achilles heel. Honestly, hands up anyone who has procrastinated today? You’re probably procrastinating right now by reading this. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, roughly 95% of us procrastinate with 26% of the population admitting to being a chronic sufferer. In fact this kind of time-wasting behaviour has more than quadrupled in the last 30 years.
I ask her what she does with the ‘dead time’ during the day. ‘I don’t have any dead time – I’m multitasking all the time. I walk or cycle
But what’s the worst form procrastination? Curious, I ask the experts at Moorhouse, a management consulting firm whose job it is to
Main Photo: Ewan Cameron
Words by Bel Trew
work with companies to iron out these sort of ‘wrinkles’.
‘Email’, says Marketing Manager Paula Allerton and we’re not talking about personal emails here. ‘People use email as a way of not taking responsibility. They email a whole load of people, so probably 80% of the emails you get are not really important or necessary.’ The problems get worse as Paula explains, because we have an ‘Inbuilt response mode’ . Co-worker, Management Consultant Ewan Cameron agrees. ‘Our knee jerk reaction is to drop everything and open the new email. You might prioritise it after you’ve read it but you’ve completely distracted yourself from what you’re doing’. I nod sagely, whilst realising I’m reading an email at the same time. Whoops. Another resounding grievance from the consultants is unsurprisingly meetings. ‘Badly managed meetings are the worst’ say both Head of HR Andrea Gawn and Manager Anna Chatfield ‘particularly when the meeting is just a general moaning session’. There is another side to being efficient and fabulous and that’s taking care of yourself. I’m your classic basket case. I have coffee for breakfast, lots of bread for lunch and the entire contents of my fridge/cupboard for supper at about midnight. Exercise used to feature, but now doesn’t. Sleep is snatched were I can. After four months of this hell I feel like a narcoleptic walrus.
‘You’ve got to exercise regularly – it’s essential’ , Margaret says emphatically, who both swims, cycles and does Bikram Yoga (yoga essentially done in a sauna), ‘body mind and spirit, you’ve got to keep that all together’. There are beauty products, which can help cover the cracks as well. ‘Clarins Beauty Flash Balm’ is a great primer to perk you up first things (£26.50)’ explains Natasha Rathour, Beauty Journalist and Editor-at-Large of iFAshion Magazine. ‘MAC Strobe Cream’ (£21) adds a healthy glow to even the dullest faces. ‘I always use it if I’m going out after a long day’, Natasha adds. She also recommends Chlorophyll drops (approx £10 from any health food shop) to keep your energy levels up, ‘You add it to water. It’s a brilliant blood builder. It makes me feel vibrant and energised. Lots of celebs swear by it.’ After Googling Chlorophyll drops for the last half an hour, I realise I’m being inefficient again. And my copy is late. So as I finish this article from my bed in my pyjamas, I think it might be time to put all I’ve learnt into action.
BUSY & FABULOUS BEAUTY BOX By Natasha Rathour, Beauty Journalist and Editor. 1) Eat as much raw or living food as possible, such as sprouted beans. 2) If you’re a sugar addict, look for healthylow GI alternatives such as manuka honey, agave syrup or fructose. 3) Eat as early as possible during the day. Try and eat breakfast within 15 minutes of waking and avoid eating carbs after lunch 4) Avoid - Caffeine, it causes slumping throughout the day. Coffee is particularly dehydrating which can lead to fatigue lows. 5) Avoid, not chewing properly. Guzzling down your lunch can also tire out your body as it has to work overtime to digest it. Hastily consumed meals can also cause excess bloating.
BEN’S BEST GADGET BOX By Ben Sillis, Reviews Editor electricpig.co.uk 1) Best organizational Apps - Evernote and Dropbox. Evernote lets you jot down notes, audio recordings, photos and video and save them in the cloud for easy sorting; while Dropbox other lets you keep all your documents online and get them from anywhere. Think of it as a very large USB memory stick on your phone. 2) Best Organisational gadget - Definitely a smartphone. They really are mini PCs these days. You work on it in your down time too, so you don't have to hunch over a laptop on the train. Get a good calendar going - a Google or Exchange one is best. You can use tasks and can get reminders of what you need to do. 3) Best for Commuting - A tablet is good, the best is the iPad but smartphones can be better. Make sure it yours has a good keyboard (buttons or on-screen - not all touchscreens are born equal) and you'll be surprised at what you can get done at speed. I've written whole features on the tube before! Eye strain's less of a problem these days too, since screens are getting larger and higher resolution. 4) I can’t live without - My smartphone, unquestionably, followed by my MacBook Pro. You can't go wrong with an iPhone or well-rated Android handset. in MAGAZINE 2
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