Monday, 20 October 2014

I'm productive 24/7...said no-one ever.

We are now delving into the depths of winter where I live. The darker evenings and chillier days tend to send my productivity levels to below sub zero. I can honestly say some days would be much rather spent staying under the duvet or closing my office door at work to the ward. I find staying productive a challenge at times, especially when there are so many things I would rather be doing. Whenever my productivity levels are slumped I find the sofa singing out to me more, the sun shining more brightly to invite me outside and the notifications on my phone lighting up more heavily to check my social networking sites - again. Is anybody else in the same boat here? 


 So I've been reflecting and thinking of ways as to how I can stay productive. So I have listed 5 ways in which I try to stay more focussed. 

#1 - Take a break. 
I find this to be the most effective thing to do but also the hardest. I work on a busy ward and most of the time I have the attitude of ' I'll just do it' or 'If I just do [such and such] before I take a break.' But then this just cascades into lots of tasks being done and the break being ignored. So I have to make a concerted effort to take myself off the floor, sit down with a drink and just take a break from the ward. 


#2 - Take a break from social sites.
This is a must do! Sometimes social networking sites are just a distraction. I now on purposely lock my phone away at work so I am not inclined to check it. I find if I am checking my phone then my focus is away from work, and that's not good.

#3 - Relax.
This is waaaay easier to type than it is to actually do. I think mainly because we all relax in different ways. I really like to listen to music and read. I also have a meditation app that I listen to when I am struggling to sleep. As much as it is to 'be on the ball' all the time - what's a good nurse that is tired from thinking and doing too much? So I make sure I have some me time when at home so I can at least try and have a good balance.


#4 - Shut the door.
I think this is a very powerful thing to do but hard as well. At work I have a little office space to do my administration/managerial work for the ward. I often keep the door open so I can listen out for patient call bells, phones and also to show my team that I am visible/available. However, there are some days that are manic and I can't be as productive as I want to be with all that there is going on. So what do I do? I walk into the office and close the door. The sound of silence can be so cathartic, and it allows myself the chance to collect my thoughts and head back out onto the ward a lot more focussed. 

#5 - Give myself credit. 
This sounds a bit absurd doesn't it? But sometimes I feel like I focus and question so much on what I should be doing or haven't achieved, which gets me down, that I forget about what I have done and who I have helped. So I try to tell myself frequently, when that negative lightbulb pops in my head, what I am doing well at. I think giving ourselves credit for what we are doing for others and ourselves helps increase our self esteem. This allows me to be way more productive and adds a little spring in my step.


So those are my tips to how I stay productive. I am sure you can find many other great tips over on Kabbage - a company that provide small business loans to increase productivity. At the end of the day we need to focus on being productive instead of just busy!

*All views are my own. I have not been compensated for this piece of writing.

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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Dad Tag

I was recently tagged by a you tuber to take part in a Father meme that has been circulating. I thought it would be fun to talk about my Dad for a change. We may not have the strongest of father-daughter bonds but it is special to share a little of him on here. Below is the video I filmed in my garden. Enjoy!



I tag all who are reading this- it be awesome to hear your answers!


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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Hiatus

I've decided to take a little break from social networking. As much as I love it, it can also act as a distraction.

In recent weeks I have noticed I have become a lot more lower than normal. I don't think it helps that things ended with a Jack, a guy I was seeing the past 6 months. i know heartbreak is a bugger at times and it has left me feeling very empty.

I have also noticed that I am not looking forward to things as much and I have been a lot more negative of late. I think I really need to go back and re-evaluate things before things spiral. I have had a chronic fear that I will 'relapse' back to how I was last summer.

I am trying so hard for that not to be the case.

But I am accepting that this could happen too.

So I think a break is in order so I can try and get back on track.

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Friday, 26 September 2014

Tobago

I returned home from Tobago two weeks ago and it still feels like a distant memory. It was my first time going to the Caribbean and I LOVED it.

I have never been to a place with blue waters and white sands. It was just idyllic to relax in. Tobago itself is such a lush country. It is green everywhere, not at all built up and the people are so kind. 

One of my favourite days was going snorkelling in the waters at Crowne Point. They have the Caribbean's largest coral reef there so it was so good to see it.

So pretty!

Our hotel was pretty basic. When choosing holidays I don't really feel the need to splash out on a hotel room since I hardly spend any time there. However, the hotel did the most amazing cocktails!

This was Pigeon Point beach. It was so picturesque! We were so lucky with the weather. It reached 35 degrees most days.

This was Nylon pool in the Caribbean sea. It is a place where 4 different currents meet in the middle. It forms like a little whirlpool at night and during the day it becomes 'No Mans Land'. This is where it forms a big sandy mound in the middle of the sea. It was so neat (and bizarre!) to just stand in the middle of the ocean!

I found the locals to be really friendly. We went to an event called The Sunday School Trip - it is a party in Buccoo and the locals invite the tourists to come along. They play steel drums, dance and have bbq's on the street. It was nice to take part in something local! We were only there for a week so we tried to do as much as we can but the main aim of the holiday was to relax, read and have some me time. If I was to return to Tobago I would try and visit the Atlantic side as we heard it is very different and it also has the rain forests that side too. Since going to the Caribbean I now have a huge desire to see more of the islands. It was such a nice way to spend the week!


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Monday, 22 September 2014

Virgin vs British Airways

Each year I go away I tend to fly to another country. I try to use budget airlines where possible but for long haul flights the companies I use to travel with use big budget airlines. Earlier this year I flew with Air Canada and found the service and comfort mediocre. However, I have flown with Virgin and British Airways a fair bit! These are the two big airlines that are based here in the UK. Whilst I was on the plane to Tobago I was trying to decide which I prefer and the decision was so hard.

N.B I had 9 hours to kill on a flight so there is always lots of thinking time! I would like to add that these opinions are solely my own and based on economy flights only.

Virgin

Comfort:

Each time I flew with Virgin I always felt kind of sandwiched. The seats were quite cramped and narrow. All three of the flights I have flown on there were two seats by the window, four in the middle and two seats the other side. Even the aisles were really narrow too. The leg room was sparse but enough room to cross your legs and fit your bag underneath. I did feel quite cramped on the journeys especially if I was seated in the middle of the row of 4 seats. The headrests were quite slimline, probably due to the narrow seats. So I often felt my head slip off when dozing! We were offered a pillow, toothbrush/paste, eye mask, socks and a blanket which was really nice to have! Especially on the overnight flights. The seats did flip back but not very far but for economy that's to be expected. 

One thing that did really bother me was how dry my mouth/throat was. I do not know if it was their air conditioning but on all my Virgin flights my mouth felt so dry. So I would begin the cycle of mouth being dry, drink something, try to sleep, need to pee and get up virtually every hour. Great for preventing DVT but not when I just wanted to close my eyes!

Entertainment:

I thought the entertainment was brilliant! The choice of films, shows, games and documentaries were so varied. I was never bored! I also loved that they had music and you could create your own playlist of songs. I never got round to watching all I wanted to watch because there was so much! I also really like the remote control it came with. It was dead easy to use and it was right in front of you. The screen was a really good size too and you could adjust the screen to a position that suited you - big bonus there!

Price:

I paid a fixed price as part of a package but I remember looking at the prices of the flights separately and they were very reasonable. I remember looking at my NYC flights with Virgin and the price for a return was around the £350-£400 mark. I think that's SO good! 

Customer service:

The staff were very attentive and very professional. They all had smiles on their faces, looked smart and nothing was too much trouble. On the overnight flights they came round with extra drinks for the people still awake which was a nice touch.

Inflight service:

I really liked that they came round with a menu to choose from. And it was really varied too! The food was hot, edible and a good portion size. I really remember the puddings being SO nice! The drinks were varied and they had a special in flight cocktail which was yummy. For economy I thought that was a nice touch and who doesn't love a cocktail?! On my Australia trip we were fed every 4 hours which was a good gap and they understood if we didn't want anything.

Aesthetics 

The cabin looked clean, no foul smells and I liked the Virgin colours of red. It made the cabin look smart and regal!


British Airways
Comfort

The cabin did not look cramped and had a lot more of a spacious feel to it. On both the flights the seats were wider (or felt it!) and I didn't feel like a squashed sardine compared to Virgin. The aisles were wider and the set up was two seats by the window, three in the middle and two on the other side. The seats flipped back but not very far. We were given a pillow and a blanket but nothing else. So compared to Virgin we weren't given many comfort items. I really liked the head supports, you could move them out to lie your head on. So when I dozed my head felt quite comfortable. I felt there was more leg room too. I could cross my legs and still have room.

On another note my mouth was never dry. I think I had half the amount of drinks compared to Virgin!

Entertainment

I will not lie. I was a little disappointed with the selection. There were some movies I liked the look of but there were only three movies that I actually watched. The music choice was very limited and some of the TV programmes I had never heard of. I think considering British Airways are meant to the flagship UK airline, their entertainment choices were quite rubbish compared to Virgin. Furthermore, the screen was so much smaller! I thought considering the seats were wider/bigger the screens would be a bit bigger. I did like that the screens were touch screen but sometimes they froze or if you pressed a second too long it would skip a page, which annoyed me.

Price

If I had to be honest I think the seats are way too pricey! I did a comparison on flights to Australia between the two and BA was so much more expensive! I still can't decide if they're worth the extra money.

Customer service

I thought the staff were really friendly! They dressed well and always had smiles on their faces. I felt like they tried to engage in more conversation with you. I can understand that some people don't want to chit-chat all the time. But it was nice to be asked if I had a nice holiday and what sweets I was sucking on. 

Inflight service

On the whole I thought the food was better and fresher. It was hot, a good portion size and just tasted a lot nicer. However, what did bug me was that we were only told the menu choices when the food trolley got to us. The cabin crew didn't even describe the food they just said 'chicken with potatoes' or 'tomato pasta'. I have a few food intolerances so a little bit more of a description (and time to choose!) would have been better so I could have made a more informed choice. The drink choices were varied too.

Aesthetics

I think the cabin looked a lot smarter and the navy blue seating looked really nice. It just felt more roomy.

So overall?

Argh! This is so hard but I think British Airways have a better overall service. I think that is only because comfort on a flight is paramount to me! I found BA a lot more comfortable so for long haul flights I would choose them. In saying that I think Virgin has a lot more attention to detail. Although the comfort level was not all that I found everything else to be a lot better. If Virgin improved their comfort levels then they would be my choice hands down!!! 

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