Organisation tips new year top tips fresh start new year

10 Organisational Tips for the New Year

1. Consider your goals for the new year. What do you want? Where do you want to be? What changes do you want to make in your life?

2. Pick 4 words to describe yourself in the new year! For example my words are: Calm, Motivated, Punctual and Healthy. I find that doing this helps narrow down your goals and gets you to the core things you will be aspiring to in the new year.

3. Get a planner. This may seem obvious, but after university I stopped having a planner system at all for a solid 2 years, and I was overwhelmed by all the things I had to remember. I had trouble keeping track of pretty much everything in my life. I did use the calendar on my phone, set alarms and such. But I found that I was still either ignoring them, or not planning towards the event, appointment or task. The other good thing about a physical planner is the tactile feeling of putting pen to paper. I’m personally a really kinetic and visual learner, so I need to see and physically do the thing I need to learn or remember. Not all planners are set, you can find a huge variety based on profession, study or even lifestyle. An Erin Condren is completely customisable but it can be expensive and it only lasts for the amount of time it’s been set for. I prefer Filofax and Kikki K because of the flexibility. The good thing about having a planner is the ability to see far in the future but also to see how far you’ve come.

4. De-clutter your life so you can start fresh next year. Look around your house and take note of all the things you either haven’t used or worn in the last 6 months. Sometimes I find items that I don’t even remember buying. When this happens I reevaluate the need for said item. Either I throw it out, or if it’s in good condition I give it away or donate it.

5. Clean up your social media. In the new year I like to go through Facebook and comb through my friends list. And I ask myself: Who am I hiding or not following. Do I need to be friends with them for some reason? Who on my friend list is toxic and detracts from my life? I consider all of these things and cut them out. Do you really need those high-school friends on there? Probably not. You haven’t talked in over 8 years. Not just friends but family can also be toxic. On professional sites like LinkeIn, I make sure that my information is updated. I upload a new CV, post up an updated portfolio or showreel. I also clean up my connections. Not all connections are good connections. Sometimes they aren’t relevant or perhaps they are a hangover from Uni days when you connected with all your mates independent of their profession.

6. Inactive accounts. Living in this modern world, sometimes we accumulate a vast number of internet subscriptions, accounts, emails and so on. A good way to help with spam, and clean up that digital footprint is to deactivate and detach your email from these platforms. What I do every year is check through my bank account and see what items come out every month. Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, CruncyRoll, website hosting, app subscriptions, magazine subscriptions and so on. I evaluate if I need these services and consider the financial implications.

7. Do a backwards bucket list. A good way to start the new year and stay motivated is to look back at what went well. What have you already done that you consider to be a success? Acknowledging the positives in your life really aids in future planning, and maintaining moral.

8. Create a financial plan. It doesn’t have to be detailed. Make it more about general savings. What I like to do is take note of any debts and make a payment plan. I also create a saving plan. Sometimes this can be tough when you work freelance like I currently do. So you may never be sure 100% how much you can and cannot save. In this case I tend to focus on a minimum sum and a maximum sum to save every week or month.

9. Organise a thought dump. You can do this by scrap-booking, journalling or even having a sketchbook. Find a notebook or a journal that you probably have laying around the house. If you’re anything like me you probably buy notebooks and journals that you honestly don’t need. So open up that cupboard that you throw all your random crap in, and dust off that book with the blank pages. If you get intimidated by the blankness of books I have an easy 5 step post about how to overcome that fear here. I use notebooks and journals to jot down any negative or positive thoughts to help me work through them. Being able to see those thoughts can really help de-clutter your mind and keep focused on more important things than self loathing.

10. Finally make a list of important people in your life. Consider if you have been absent in any of those relationships and want to rekindle or improve those relationships. Make a plan on how you can do so. Perhaps you should call your parents more, or see a friend once a week. A way to reduce stress and anxiety when it comes to maintaining a social life is to prioritise it and actually plan that in! Sure it’s not as spontaneous as most of us would like, but adult life is all about the balancing act.

dad wrote a porno

My Dad Wrote A Porno – Podcast Review

So your dad writes an erotic novel and self published it online. What do you do? You read it with your mates of course! Explore with the trio the eroticism that ‘Belinda Blinked’ isn’t. Not really safe for work yet not actually sexy, so you could probably get away with it. If you don’t mind spitting your morning commute coffee on fellow passengers and staining that nice Monday work shirt than this is for you.

CONTENT:

This podcast is a read-along where Jamie Morton reads erotic literature written by his 60 year old father. So like any normal person who finds out something painfully uncomfortable about a parent, he gathers together a couple of his mates (James Cooper and Alice Levine) to read the book with him on a podcast. You might be thinking ‘Don’t know if I want to listen to 3 people read a sex book out loud’. Trust me. You really do.
As you listen to the podcast, you come to an understanding that there is nothing sexy or titillating about the book. The trio struggle through some strange sentences, unfortunate descriptive words and a large variety of under developed characters. The general gist of what few would consider a story is; Belinda Blumenthal gets hired (after a very strange interviewing process) as sales director within a Pots and Pans company. Where her main business tactic is having sex with a load of clients. The author Rocky Flintstone (a pseudonym) often has trouble with things like sentence structure and basic human anatomy. At times I would have assumed he was a virgin if Jamie Morton wasn’t living proof against this.

Jamie, James and Alice are hilarious. Sure the literary masterpiece that is ‘Belinda Blinked’ may be funny for all the wrong reasons, but the three really make it right. They are witty, quick and always on the ball with comedic theories and retorts. They really give you a feeling that you’re in their kitchen, cringing right along with them.

QUALITY:

The sound quality is great! No complaints what so ever. I find that with every episode it does improve slightly. Despite being fantastic anyway.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I adore this podcast. Every Monday a new episode (chapter of the book) comes out and I am actually overjoyed with the fact that it’s a Monday. Nothing in the history of the universe has ever made me this excited for the day created by Satan’s mistress that is the beginning of the week. I have never laughed out loud uncontrollably and obnoxiously in public by myself like this before. At times the levels of cringe are so high that I feel myself breaking out into a cold sweat of private embarrassment. I was going through a really rough patch with depression and anxiety and this podcast was just about the only thing that could make me smile. I really felt like Belinda had grabbed me by the tits and yanked me to a happy place of discomfort.

TLDR;

You should listen to this podcast without a doubt. Hilarious, vulgar, saucy, cringe worthy yet testing on your capacity to take embarrassment. Just a guy and his mates reading his dad’s erotic literature out loud for the world to hear.

MY RATING:

5grumpsOutof5

5 Grumpy faces out of 5

[Image Source]

netflix-making-a-murderer

Why You Should Watch Making a Murderer on Netflix

I’m a sucker for a documentary. About literally anything at all. However the docs that resonate with me the most tend to be the divisive ones. Where you’re never 100 percent sure what you feel. Or even if you believe something to be fact, the outcomes always keep you guessing.

Making a Murderer is a documentary series currently on Netflix that has got all of us armchair detectives in cold sweats. Don’t worry I won’t be giving anything away for those who have never come across the trial. My focus is feeling, film making and my personal response.

This isn’t the first documentary to shed light on police misconduct, tampering with evidence and the possible conviction of innocents. This documentary really reminded me of the HBO 3 episode  documentary ‘Paradise Lost’ based on the case of the Memphis Three. Due to both cases’ gross miscarriages of justice and unethical interrogation techniques used on adults and minors. Where people of low IQ get coerced into confessions.

Much like the Memphis three in ‘Paradise Lost’, the Avery family lived on the fringes of their community. Poor and uneducated in a middle class farming town they were pushed out socially. Considered by the rest of the community as trouble makers.

When Steven Avery was convicted for a crime no one in the town seamed surprised. Yet 18 years later he was released after new DNA evidence had surfaced proving his innocence. Sometime later he was found guilty for another crime. This documentary takes you on a journey through the minds of the convicted and their families.

From beginning to the end of the documentary series I felt like I was on a crazy ride. The Avery family from the onset do seam like trouble makers. Multiple arrests and charges for petty crimes. And a variety of issues with the law. Yet despite not being saints, the pattern of their crimes were always minor, or stupid offences.

So as the documentary series escalates into something bigger and bigger in every episode, I was roped in. A huge variety of twists, turns and things that make you want to shout at your viewing device.
It’s been a LONG time since Netflix has had quality new documentary content out there. There is a constant and unapologetic build up of tension that left me feeling exhausted.

The film making is brilliant. A wide range of footage from the 80s’ right up until recent years have been found and sampled. Clips of strange interrogation techniques will make you squirm and feel as uncomfortable as I definitely did. The cameras also follow a variety of family members of both the suspects and the victims. This really gives you the opportunity to understand the turmoil in these people’s lives. You watch them come together and fall apart over and over again.

Perhaps like me, you’ve watched the series already and find that you believe in the innocence of the two men. Where it can be challenging is the more the give and take of the emotional trauma that everyone participating in is going through. And there are times where I did sway back and forth from my final understanding of their innocence through out the documentary. It sometimes just felt too far-fetched to have been fabricated evidence. Yet practically everything points to said fabrication. The feeling of rage and pure injustice also increases as the episodes go on. You’re caught between so many emotions of anger, sadness, confusion and disgust for the justice system.

It’s like watching a train wreck. I couldn’t stop looking. I watched all 10 episodes in one day and I have no regrets. If you enjoy feeling like you’re on an emotional roller coaster where the seat belts are a bit dodgy, then you should definitely watch this.

creativeanxiety

5 Steps to Reduce Creative Anxiety

Like most creative people I have a debilitating fear and anxiety of that first blank page of a sketchbook. There is something inherently scary about making that first mark. Perhaps you’re scared that there are too many possibilities and have trouble making a choice. Or perhaps you’re afraid of failure. What ever you do on that page will be horrible, but tearing the page out would be a waste since the book was expensive! Or maybe only I think that because I can be quite cheap when it comes to sketchbooks.

I love to draw and always have since I was a kid. I do a lot of drawing and painting at my current day job so I’m used to doing it everyday. But there was a shift in my life when my anxiety and depression kicked in and suddenly I hated everything about drawing. I resented the large pile of empty sketchbooks collecting dust under my desk. I would always keep them out of sight because having them in view was a painful reminder of who I had become. A sad person unable to enjoy my passions.

Despite a creative job I’m mostly a problem solver. Finding and researching ways to fulfill someone else’s vision. Which is great. I love it! But it didn’t count. A client approved piece means the client is happy. Unlike working for myself and my own ideas where I always become too critical and never satisfied with my final product.

Perfectionism and anxiety usually go hand in hand. The all or nothing mentality of ‘if it’s not perfect it’s shit’ really held me back. And with all honesty this is still an issue for me. So after finding help for other issues as well as a crippling self hatred and fear, I was lucky enough to get CBT therapy. I was slowly able to come out of that self critical loop and see above the fog that was clouding my ability to see anything positive.

So here are my steps to breaking that anxiety:

1. Allocate 10 minutes every day to do the creative thing you’re afraid of non stop. Just let it all out, don’t over think it!

2. During those 10 minutes draw or write only on scrap pieces of paper or cheap notebook paper. Doing this makes the task low pressure!

3. When the time is up, pick items you like the best. What about the ones you don’t like? Throw them out, scrunch them up, do what ever feels cathartic! Doing this enforces that there is no pressure. If it’s not great, no big deal! Just chuck it. You might be thinking ‘But I hate everything!’. Keep the ones you don’t mind or hate the least.

4. Grab that intimidating sketchbook or notebook and stick in the pieces you’ve kept! I would give myself a day before sticking the work in because I hated everything, so I wanted to have fresh eyes when coming back to what I’d done. Sure sometimes you may smash out loads of stuff in 10 minutes and hate all of it. It doesn’t HAVE to be successful all the time. That is the beauty of it!

5. Don’t date your pages of the sketchbook/notebook that you’re sticking your stuff into. This can create pressure for future 10 minutes where it’s not a success. You might end up looking at the dates and thinking about the holes in time. So leave it out. No dates.

This is a small step, but I have found it really helps to reduce the anxiety that comes with being so self critical. Remember that at first those 10 minutes might be excruciating and difficult. I know they were for me. I was constantly cycling back to the critical thoughts. Yet when I would throw what I considered bad away and kept what I thought at least ok, it really started to make a shift in how I thought about putting the pencil to the paper. The stakes really aren’t that high!

Now when I set this time aside, I find myself liking most of my drawings from that session. I also tend to run over 10 minutes, often catching myself at the 30-40 minute mark. Take that pressure and anxiety away from your passion! Give it a go.

Here are some examples from my own journal:IMG_0391 IMG_0398 IMG_0400

Image from answermethis.wordpress.com

Answer Me This! – Podcast Review

On my commute into London I enjoy such delights as not making eye contact with fellow passengers, or engaging in any form of human interaction. Yet while I’m in the underground unable to reach and hold the bar on the ceiling,  squished in between loads of tall people, I suddenly get this really lonely (and a slightly sweaty) feeling. To fix this I listen to podcasts with as much humour and conversation compressed into an episode. ‘Answer Me This’ is usually my go to. Helen, Olly and Martin the sound man really make you feel like a member of their sarcastic little crew.

CONTENT:

The premise of the podcast is that listeners call, email and Skype in asking a huge variety of questions. These queries can range from the simple (and very google-able), to the complex questions of uncomfortable social situations. Sometimes the ludicrousness of the questions are almost as hilarious as the trio’s well researched and witty responses. I especially enjoy when they play the sound clips of the people who have called in. Most callers tend to be drunk lunatics slurring their way through their call. While others are grumpy people calling in a huff about an upsetting situation. This always keeps the content fresh and you are exposed to some really interesting characters as you listen to all their episodes.

I appreciate their dedication to the craft by creating their own jingles and having a new one every episode. On a rare occasion they have guests come onto the podcast who tend to be funny people themselves.

The format of the podcast stays the same, but the variety is always there with the new questions coming in from all around the world. Not just their amazing personalities and comedic timing keeps you coming back. They often have a back and forth with their listeners which makes it all the more interesting. Many times you’ll have someone call back to talk about how their advice had been used in real life and it’s consequences.

QUALITY:

The quality of this podcast is fantastic. The sound is always crisp, clean and easy to hear. I love the effort that they have obviously put into making the jingles and ads on their show. The ads are never intrusive or jarring and don’t take away from the content. I find Martin’s omnipotent echo-God-voice delightful. The only critique I have is that the phone call sound quality can vary, but this is less of an issue for the podcasters and more of an issue with people calling in using what I imagine is a Candlestick Telephone near a window on a blustery day.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

My final say is that anyone who enjoys listening to banter, wit and sass will enjoy this podcast. It’s cheered me up on many days when I’ve been down, entertained me on long journeys and made me choke on my morning coffee from laughing in public on my way to work.

TLDR;

Helen, Olly and Martin the sound man answer questions from their listeners. You can pretty much ask them anything at all. Listen to them hilariously answer questions that people could have just googled or questions about uncomfortable social situations. The three of them play off of each other and have great comedic timing. I’m never disappointed with their content. If you want to have a listen to their podcast just search ‘Answer Me This’ on Google or in your podcast app of choice.

 

MY RATING:

5grumpsOutof5
5 Grumpy faces out of 5

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Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review Podcast

There are many film review podcasts out there in the web-o-sphere but there are few that have such a large and faithful demographic of listeners. From pipe smoking women to East London teens finishing their A-Levels, as well as reaching listeners all across the world. They engage in a delightful flow of conversation with their faithful church members (what their listeners are known as). I suppose this is mostly accredited to the podcast being a legitimate radio show on the BBC. However I think there is more to it than BBC money and time.

CONTENT:

Kermode and Mayo each have brilliant personalities, tastes and opinions that play off of each other amazingly. Their differences generate a lot of bickering and safe for work banter for your listening pleasure (no matter your age or what little ears may be listening). They are both relaxed, conversational and upbeat, from the first greeting of “Whassup whassup whassup,” to the DVD release of the week at the end of the show. Their ying-yang dynamic is very useful when it comes down to the actual film chat. Where Kermode holds more of the industry/film buff opinions, while Mayo is more of a ‘voice of the people’. This balance really creates variety in opinions since they so rarely agree with one another.

In every episode they hold an interview with an actor or a director who is working in a film coming out close to the date of release. This keeps the information fresh and definitely entices me into coming back. The listeners also send in a lot of interesting and funny correspondence which the dynamic duo plays with well.

QUALITY:

The quality of podcast production is as you would expect from any BBC product. Everything is crisp, edited well with all the radio bits cut out (weather, traffic, news). So if you don’t want to listen or watch their stream of flappy hands live, you can download the podcast since that has no stopping and starting of typical radio. I personally download it to listen on the move.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I would highly recommend this podcast for film buffs and film ‘casuals’ alike. Don’t be worried about or sceptical of the BBC nature of this podcast. Kermode and Mayo are open minded, modern middle aged men, who probably look way more conservative than they really are. I find this quite important in the content I consume. I don’t expect every piece of entertainment I consume to be ‘liberal’ but I will always be partial to open mindedness and a general social awareness and respect.

TLDR;

These guys are great. Always up to date, brilliant quality, great community of listeners. I’ve been listening for almost 3 years now and I can’t see that changing any time soon! You can find them by googling BBC Radio 5 Live Film Review.

My score:

5grumpsOutof55 Grumpy Faces out of 5

london grumpy life

Hello.

I never used to think I was a good writer. There has always been a barrier when it comes to my own personal belief in my written ability. After writing many short stories, reviews, fanfics (I know…) I felt like I needed to make the shift into something productive. Perhaps start my own blog and improve my writing in a different medium.

So here we are! I’m in my mid 20s’ living in London, married, working in a creative job and trying to navigate life as a functioning adult. While going through the motions of capital life I tend to drown out the city noise with mobile entertainment. This tends to consist of but is not limited to podcasts, youtube, audio books, music streaming services, video streaming services and many others.

You know, the usual millennial platforms of entertainment and social media that gets the previous generations complaining about society’s social decline.

Embracing that face to face decline of modern life, I’ll be working on reviews of digital content, social media, digital art and general lifestyle stuff. So you can waste as little of your precious screen time looking for interesting entertainment online.

I’ll also be discussing lifestyle and tips/tricks for staying creative, looking (at least moderately) good and what it means to be a young (and not so young) adult in the 2010s’. Look forwards to me talking about relationships and what that means in our modern lives. As well as planning, organising and journalling. I’m a stationary fanatic and love helping others find their way through all that.

So stay tuned for tips, reviews, musings on being a millennial and much more.

-TP