Posts tagged WORKSPACES
Spring Flowers

Blossoms blooming, sun shining, and finally being able to ditch the heavy jumpers and ankle boots – there’s a reason why spring is my favourite season of them all. If the warmer weather and longer days have given you a fresh burst of energy, why not channel some of that energy into spring cleaning your life, and set yourself up for a new phase of mental clarity and productive working?

Read on for some easy ways to streamline your life inside and outside of the office.



Pay attention to the environments you’re in, and the spaces you create.




It’s no secret that the human brain responds well to aesthetically pleasing visuals - if your surroundings are looking tired or drab, that’s bound to have an impact on your day-to-day mood. To refocus your aesthetic in a way that's conducive to clarity, try creating a moodboard full of the sorts of visuals that reflect the vibe you want to recreate in your everyday life. If you're pressed for time (or space) then Pinterest is obviously perfect for creating virtual moodboards, but if you can, hang up a corkboard somewhere you’ll see it every day for maximum impact. Then get creative!



I'm all about the easy wins, and I guarantee you tidying up your desk is a quick and easy task with a disproportionately powerful gains when it comes to improving your mental clarity. That giant stack of papers you haven’t picked up in months? Go through it right now, filing the important things, and chucking the rest (preferably in a recycling bin). Feel better? Thought so.



At this time of year everything’s in bloom, and there’s no reason why your indoor spaces shouldn’t be too. Add some greenery to your work and living spaces to give them – and you – an instant boost: snake plants, bromeliads, and rubber plants are all aesthetically pleasing choices that also thrive indoors. Or (if you’re feeling fancy) treat yourself to some fresh flowers for your desktop once a week – I’m currently obsessed with ranunculus blooms, pictured above.



If you dress like a slob, you’ll feel like one too – and that way unproductivity lies, so treat yourself to one or two key pieces to refresh your look for the months ahead. Never underestimate the power of the clothes you wear on a day-to-day basis to impact your mindset, and the way you feel about your work.



The most important piece of the puzzle.




Why not check in with the New Year’s resolutions you made back in January, to remind yourself of the goals you’ve set yourself for 2017 and renew your efforts on any you’ve let slip by the wayside? Here’s a reminder of how to set yourself up for success when it comes to making (and keeping) resolutions.



With the warmer weather and longer days, now’s the perfect time to take your workout outdoors, so swap the fluorescent gym lights for fresh air and sunshine for an instant mood boost. Why not keep things interesting by taking up a sport instead of exercising solo – join a local netball or football team, and enjoy the added bonus of keeping your mind stimulated at the same time as getting fit.



Warmer weather also means lighter, fresher meals, so try to incorporate more fresh fruit and vegetables into your diet to keep your energy levels up. Chef and food writer Anna Jones is an excellent source of delicious veg-based recipes that steer clear of Ottolenghi-esque levels of complication.



Get your affairs in order.




If you’re self-employed, now's the time to assess your clients and projects carefully to determine which ones are the money-makers - and which ones are the money pits.Which clients, projects, or strategies are profitable, and which ones require you to spend more time on them than really makes sense? Examine and evaluate where you’ve been expending your energies thus far this year, and think about what you need to do more – and less – of to grow your income as the year progresses.



There’s a lot of talk about the benefits of ‘digital detoxing’ these days – but how do you actually do that? Start by unfollowing any social media accounts that don’t actually add any value to your life (you know the ones), and unsubscribing from all those newsletters and email alerts you don’t even remember signing up for – Unroll.Me is hands-down the quickest and easiest way out there to streamline your inbox.



Review your bank statement for subscriptions or accounts you’d forgotten you’re signed up for. Chances are there’ll be at least one or two you never actually use, which means you can make some easy savings with minimal effort.


Happy spring cleaning!

From the poetry of  Nayyirah Waheed

From the poetry of Nayyirah Waheed

I'm not sure whether it's down to the change in the seasons, or simply because of my heavier-than-normal workload – but the past few weeks have seen my afternoon energy levels at an all-time low. I’ve even found myself succumbing to the temptation of an afternoon nap (which I'll be honest, is more like a full-blown siesta) on more than one occasion… the pleasures and the perils of working from home, right?

Whilst the freedom to nap at will is something I dreamt of on a near daily basis when I worked in an office, the reality of it leaves me feeling groggy, disrupts my night-time sleep patterns and – worst of all – means I end up having to make up the hours lost by working late into the night. Not ideal, so I've decided to take the necessary steps to counteract my postprandial desire to crawl into bed. If like me you regularly find yourself experiencing that familiar afternoon crash, read on for a few natural ways to boost your energy levels right now.



You probably already know that you should be aiming to drink 1.5 - 2 litres of water per day for clearer skin and all that other good stuff – but did you also know that drinking plenty of water is crucial for keeping your concentration levels up? Being dehydrated can make you feel sleepier than usual, so if you find yourself feeling sluggish, grab a glass of ice-cold water for an instant pick-me-up.



A work environment creates work, a home environment creates… naps. I’ve begun eliminating the temptation of a mid-afternoon snooze by avoiding working from home in the afternoons as much as possible. If you’re a freelancer or regularly work from home, I’d highly recommend decamping to a local coffee shop or library after lunch.



One of the most common factors determining your energy levels is – surprise surprise – the fuel you put into your body. It’s natural to feel sleepy mid-afternoon due to the way our internal body clocks operate, but a heavy lunch will make you feel even more lethargic, so avoid carb-heavy lunches and aim for a protein-based meal instead. Stick to low-GI sides such as leafy vegetables, chickpeas or quinoa, and opt for brown rice and bread, not white. If you’re looking for something a little more filling for the colder months ahead, try baked sweet potatoes topped with baked beans, and lentil-based soups. Low-GI foods release energy slowly over time, as opposed to giving you a quick sugar-induced burst of energy followed by a slump that leaves you feeling tired and hungry all over again!



When the mid-afternoon hunger pangs come knocking, make sure you’ve got the right kind of snacks to hand. That means out with the chocolate and sugary junk food (sorry), and in with low-GI snacks such as popcorn, nuts, and rice cakes topped with hummus or peanut butter.



This one's a bit of a no-brainer – if you’re not sleeping properly, it’s going to seriously affect your daytime energy levels. Duh. Find out how you can improve your sleeping habits here.



Take a break. Stretch your legs. A bit of fresh air can do wonders for your energy levels, so if you feel yourself flagging, take five minutes to do a lap of the office or – even better – a lap of the block.



Now’s the perfect time to address all those smaller admin tasks on your to-do list, like filing or clearing your inbox. Constantly switching tasks and doing those little jobs that have a quick payoff is a great way to keep yourself stimulated.



Whether you work on your own or in an office, try organising meetings and work that involves talking to other people for this time of day. A bit of social interaction is a sure-fire way to perk you up.


Alright - now let's power on!


Although the balmy temperatures we’re currently experiencing in London make it hard to believe we’re actually heading into Autumn, as I wrote last week this time of year always feels like the perfect time to make a few changes and get back on track, work-wise. With that in mind, here are four simple ways to prepare yourself for your autumn rentrée.



In the market for a new job? Recruitment season tends to pick up again after the end of summer, so dust off your CV if you’ve got your mind set on greener pastures. Likewise if it’s a payrise or promotion you’re after – start laying the groundwork now. Getting a payrise or promotion isn’t something that happens overnight – to make that jump, you need to be putting in a consistent effort over time. Take five minutes today to figure out what sort of contributions you need to be making and what achievements you need under your belt to make that happen, then make sure you’re ticking the right boxes (and exceeding expectations) over the months ahead. Why now? Well, when it comes to asking for payrises, timing is everything – and January is statistically the top month for payrises (most companies operate on the calendar year, and have a fresh budget to allocate). So putting in the legwork over the next 4 – 5 months means come January, you’ll be in a great position to make your case.



Whether it’s a question of cleaning out your desk, upgrading your workspace with some new stationery, or finding a new workspace altogether – now’s the time to declutter, re-organise, and generally re-evaluate how your work environment is impacting your day-to-day productivity. Take the time to make the small changes that make your workspace a more pleasant and productive place to be, and free up thinking space for the important stuff.



If you’ve been putting off checking your bank balance after a summer of unfettered indulgence (guilty), there’s no time like the present to do a quick recce of your finances, and start getting your affairs in order. Don’t put pressure on yourself to tackle it all at once – pick one thing you’ve been putting off, whether it’s cancelling that subscription you never use, or finally filing your wretched expenses (nul points for guessing what I’ve been avoiding), and resolve to complete it by the end of this week. Recently, I’ve been using new banking service Monzo to try and help me get my day-to-day spending in check – it comes with a helpful app that alerts you to your spending in real time and breaks down your spending by category, making keeping track of where your money’s going as easy as scrolling through Instagram.



One of the best things about autumn is the fresh crop of arts and culture events that seem to spring up all over the place – there’s a deluge of new films, exhibitions, and cultural goings-on happening over the coming weeks and months. I plan on paying a visit to the London Design Festival next week to check out the best of London’s design scene (handy list of highlights here). If your brain is in a state of atrophy after one too many Aperol spritzes, taking in new creative work is the best way of blowing out the cobwebs and getting your creative juices flowing again.


Happy Monday!


Sticking with last week's 'Back To School' theme today, because nothing says 'fresh start' like stocking up on new stationery - I could happily while away a few hours picking out new notebooks and pens. On a practical level, I find that having pretty stationery also helps boost my productivity - I'm far more inclined to sit down at my desk when it's looking stylish and well-organised, and kitting myself out with nice stationery can help make even the most tedious of tasks that little bit less painful. Here's where to go the next time your supplies are running low.



What happens when two brands known for their understated Scandi aesthetics team up? You get this: a collaboration full of sleek design classics, in colourways to suit every palette. The whole collection is brilliant, but I’m a particularly big fan of these golden gilt-edged notebooks (£5) which I have in pink and light grey – they're perfect for injecting a little luxury into your desk setup.

Available at selected COS stores and online.



The don dada of simple staples, it's not hard to see the Japanese influences in Muji's exhaustive range of minimal stationery. Get yourself organised with their vast range of storage solutions.

Available in-store and online.



Smythson stationery isn't exactly cheap, but I love their leather-bound Panama notebooks (£45), which are - comparatively - more affordable. These pocket-sized beauties are perfect for carrying around in your handbag so you can jot down ideas whenever they come to you. If you’re feeling particularly fancy you can get your initials embossed on the front in gold (very worth it).

Smythson of Bond Street

40 New Bond Street





This carefully arranged stationery shop in Clerkenwell sells a cool mix of new and vintage stationery, and retro influences abound. You're never too old for a pencil case I say, especially not one as chic as this vinyl Quitterie number (£14). Check out their beautifully styled Instagram for more desktop inspiration.

Present & Correct

23 Arlington Way





This cute Columbia Road shop is full of goodies, including this pretty little Koi Fish Celluloid Pen Tray (£35). Perfect for collecting all the various tchotchkes that tend to accumulate on your desk, it also comes in an equally pretty tortoiseshell colourway.

Choosing Keeping

128 Columbia Road


E2 7RG


If like me you're self-employed and regularly work from home, from time to time you'll find that your work environment can start to feel a little... stale. Staring at the same four walls day in day out has a tendency to make my mind stagnate, so when I feel that happening, I switch it up by working somewhere else for a bit. 

I covered some of my favourite London workspaces in the Little Black Book, but those were slightly weighted towards East London, where I lived and worked for years. So to even out the balance, here are a few of my favourite Central London spots for when I'm bored of working from home, or if I find myself with a bit of time to kill between meetings. Criteria for making the cut: must be reasonably quiet; have fast, free wi-fi (places offering BT Openzone/The Cloud hotspots need not apply); and a good supply of coffee and snacks.



Dotted with sofas and chairs tucked away off the beaten track, the often overlooked Barbican Centre is the stuff of freelancer dreams - try the higher levels or the Cinema Café for the best spots. There's also the bonus of being in the middle of a world-class cultural centre should you fancy taking a break with a stroll around an exhibition, or popping into their cinema to catch the latest arthouse releases. 

The Barbican Centre

Silk Street,

London EC2Y 8DS




Timberyard is everything you could want from a workspace, with delicious food and dedicated spaces downstairs for the laptop brigade. A great environment for when you really need to focus, they've also got branches in Soho and Old Street.

Timberyard Seven Dials

7 Upper St Martin's Lane

London WC2H 9DL




This gorgeous hotel lobby bar is bright, comfy and calm during the day - although it's definitely on the pricey side, so might not be an every day option (or maybe it is, I don't know your life). It's a good option if you've got a meeting with someone you seriously want to impress - or one where someone else is picking up the bill. 

London Edition Hotel

10 Berners Street

London W1T 3NP



Okay, so this last one is in East London, but it's such a gem it didn't feel right to leave it out. Like the Edition Hotel, the Ace has a dedicated workspace in its lobby, which is very popular with the freelance crowd (myself included). Get there early to bag yourself a seat at the library-esque communal long table, otherwise you'll have to settle for one of the (admittedly, very comfortable) sofas. The space is open to guests and non-guests alike, so you won’t feel out of place turning up with a laptop and notepad in tow.

Ace Hotel Shoreditch

100 Shoreditch High St

London E1 6JQ