Productivity (Or Lack Thereof)


A couple weeks ago, as part of the “Are We Relevant Yet?” series, I described a typical day in my life as a small business owner / blogger / #whateveryouwannacallit. Apparently you guys are really into time management and productivity recipes because I received a few requests for more on that topic, including some questions from friends. So here goes nothing… I tried to sum up the most pressing questions below.

How do you organise your time?

My day to day is pretty much like I highlighted it in this post, I am a creature of habit, I think it works for me / my life. When it comes to writing, it is a little more experimental. I like to plan my posts in advance, so on the days I feel more inspired, I will generally try to write a few posts in one go. At the moment for example, pretty much all my posts (apart from the AWRY series + the podcast) are ready and scheduled up to the end of May. This is the first time it happened, but I suddenly feel very free.

How do you deal with gifts/products to be reviewed (storage but also post planning etc)?

Firstly, I only accept products that I know will fit on the blog at some point. So when someone emails me about something, I say “no thank you” most of the time. If something is right, I file it in a box which lives under my bed. I have three boxes for beauty products (one for hair, one for skincare and one for make-up) – I refer to this as “the pharmacy“. For clothing, I have a special shelf in my closet where I put clothes waiting to be shot for clients. Where possible, I ask if I can borrow rather than keep, it reduces the physical clutter!

As far as featuring the products goes, I prioritise by date, whether things are time sensitive or not. A mascara will still be a mascara in six months, but a limited edition bag might sell out, so the limited edition bag takes priority. Same for editorial collaborations, when clients ask for specific dates, I slot that content in first as it generally revolves around a launch date or similar.

Do you have an editorial calendar? Do you plan content in advance? Or is it more of a spur of the moment thing?

I use an editorial calendar, I actually use a great wordpress plug in called “Editorial Calendar” which replaces the traditional posts page and allows me to place my posts in advance and move them around if necessary.

My content is mostly experiential, so while I don’t plan it in advance, I always know what I am going to write about because I know what I have just been doing, where I just travelled to etc. Again, I slot the posts in based on how time sensitive they are.

How do you manage to keep your blog active while travelling?

I just schedule my posts in advance if I want a proper holiday. Otherwise if I go on press trips and I don’t have time to schedule the posts in advance, I usually excuse myself early after dinner and go back to my hotel room to write.

It is much easier to keep it all going these days with supporting social networks like Instagram.

How do you balance the blog as a creative outlet vs the blog as a business?

The blog is my full-time job, so it is both a creative outlet and a business at the same time, all the time.

Time management with a full-time job?

This is a tricky topic and one that I talk about a lot with people who want to start a blog or a business while being employed full-time. My answer is always the same I was given when I first said I wanted to write: “If you want to do something you are really passionate about, you will find the time to do it, even it that means sleeping only 5hours per night and working weekends”.  That’s what I did when I started working as a journalist and I am sure that’s what you will have to do to get your business off the ground at the beginning. Then there will come a time when you are ready to ditch the 9 to 5 and fly solo. This is something Emily might be better equipped than me to talk about as it is what she did!

Main image taken during the Photography workshop I hosted for Topshop x Olympus last Summer.