Sunday, 11 March 2018

Tips For When You're Lacking Inspiration

Well hello!

Feeling uninspired? 

Don't worry. Everyone hits a slump sometimes, it's one of the inevitable bug bears of my life. Everything seems to be going great and then all of a sudden... slump. You have no energy, no motivation and you find yourself moping around on your phone because you can't be bothered to do anything else. I always find myself constantly refreshing my social media feeds immediately after I literally just already did. If you are currently guilty of this, I feel you. 

It used to drive me crazy whenever I'd hit one of these 'slumps' as I refer to them. Whether it be during my A Levels when I'd had enough of revising; or during my day when I'm tired from having worked from 9am and then having to commute an hour home & then go to an hour dance class after that. However I think from experiencing these momentary lacks of inspiration, I've realised that whilst they're annoying, they're actually quite important. 

I think this because I really believe that a lack of inspiration leads to motivation. Eventually you become so tired of being uninspired that you acquire this sense of get-up-and-go in order to try and break from this monotonous cycle of feeling rubbish and uninspired. So don't worry - slumps can be a good thing!!!!

So! If you are feeling a bit uninspired at the minute, you have come to the right place - because for this week's post I have written out a few of my best tips that help me when I'm lacking in motivation. 

1. Make lists. This might sound really random, but I personally find that making lists is the best way to organise your life and clarify things in your mind. Whether these be to-do lists, pro & con lists or even just lists of things that are bothering you at the moment, I really think it's helpful to write everything down so you can actually see what you're dealing with, and work on meeting goals / eliminating problems one-by-one. 

2. Get out and actually do something. When you're feeling uninspired it becomes so easy to get into a routine of lounging around at home & doing nothing. Stop. Get up and get out of the house immediately. When you break free from your usual surroundings you will feel so much better. If you're lacking motivation at work, take a day off or go out and do something for the weekend. If you're struggling to finish a long essay, leave it for a bit and go and do something totally different to take your mind off of it. Sometimes, if you are struggling to get things done, it's because you need a bit of time away from them so your mind can reset and recenter. Some of my favourite places to go when I'm lacking in inspiration include the cinema or going to do something active like a dance class or going for a walk. (Mainly the cinema... in all honesty exercise has never been my thing). In my opinion, the cinema is a great one because you are completely encompassed in the moment, so it's pretty hard to focus on anything other than the film. 

3. Go for a drive. (Obviously this one only applies if you have a licence) but if I'm in a slump, nothing gives me energy like belting all the old Hannah Montana albums on the way to get myself ice cream. You should try it. One day I will scientifically prove that Disney channel soundtracks genuinely release endorphins or some other great sciency shiz like that. Watch this space. It's real. 

4. Have a shower / get dressed. I never used to believe this one, but recently I have started to realise that staying in your pyjamas all weekend (whilst it's comfy) makes you feel even more unproductive. Taking a shower and changing clothes sometimes makes me feel a bit less 'meh' which helps give me more motivation to actually get stuff done. One of my best friend's Mum always tells her to 'just put some mascara on' if she's having an off day. We used to think this was funny but now I totally agree with her. If you feel better in yourself, you're likely to feel more motivated. 

5. Remind yourself why you're doing this. Everything we do in life has an end point, right? There's something at the other side that makes all the hard work worth it, and there's always a reason that we set out to achieve our goals. If you are struggling, remind yourself of this. Remind yourself why you need to get a good grade on your exam, or why you need to complete the tasks on your to-do list. Thinking about your end goal should give you the drive to push on. 

6. Have a clear out. For some weird reason, there is something so  therapeutic about sorting through the crap you through into your drawers when you can't be bothered to actually put it away.

7. Finally, if the above tips didn't work / you can't be bothered to try them (no hard feelings) here's one more. When I started at Google, I went to an event where they showed this Casey Neistat video in a big auditorium. I don't know if it was because it was played on a huge screen and the volume was really high but I found this video so inspiring. So if you're feeling flat (and you can't be bothered to try the other tips) you should definitely give this video a watch. Heres the link:

I really hope this post has been remotely useful! If anyone reading this has any other quick tips for inspiration, please comment them below. As a girl with a very short temper and very little patience, I need them! 

Hope you're having a great day!

Lauren xx


Friday, 16 February 2018

The Great Debate - Should You Go To University or Get A Job?


So this post isn't something I ever thought I would write about so openly. However, in truth, I was struggling for ideas this week (as per usual) and I really wish someone would have said this to me when I was making my choices when I left school. If you're reading this and you're currently deciding what to do with your life, I hope you find this even somewhat useful! (*Warning* this post is really really long so if you want to cut straight to the chase, start at paragraph 8)

In the modern society we live in today, I feel as though there is a suffocating amount of pressure put on teenagers. Whilst they don't yet have the stress of paying bills, running a family or the daily operations of a household, everything is relative, (stress levels included). Whilst teenagers most probably do not have it as hard as adults, teenage-hood and being 18 will undoubtedly be the hardest year that an 18 year old would have encountered so far.

It is without a doubt that teenagers face an entirely different realm of pressure. They must achieve good grades to get into University. To get those good grades they need to spend a good amount of their own time studying. No biggie right? If the average student goes to sixth form for 4 hours per day (not including free / study periods), and it is advised that each student must spend 4 hours per subject, per week revising (which a lot of students will most likely do more on top of this). Therefore, school alone removes 32 hours minimum of the week. Sounds like nothing, right? We still need to remember that students must also "get a good night's sleep" of at least 8 hours per night if they want to have the fuel to excel in all of this education. Upping the maths, this means that now 88 hours out of the 168 hour week are now gone down to study and sleep alone. Not to mention part time jobs which are "paramount to building your cv"; extra-curricular classes which are "an obligatory component in a winning personal statement" and the recommended daily exercise which is "crucial for your mental and physical well-being". Above all of this, remember, teenagers also have to think about maintaining friendships, maybe learning to drive (obviously this is optional), making time for family and perhaps even trying to balance a stable relationship on top. This is a lot to think about, especially when you've become accustomed to getting home from an easy day at secondary school, and sitting on the sofa all night pigging out in front of Disney Channel (which is exactly how I spent most of my days up until year 11 haha...I know this wasn’t just me, quit your judging, people).

I really felt the pressure of Year 13. Adults / teachers / parents all make out that every decision you make from here is so final, so permanent, and no one shys away from the good old phrase that 'These decisions are some of the biggest and most important you will make in your life'. But this is not necessarily all completely true… In my opinion anyway.

In my Sixth Form, I felt that the pressure of going to university was colossal, all of my teachers said that it was the best option and that they’d strongly suggest it, but for whatever reason, I could never really see myself there. My parents on the other hand suggested that I didn’t go, because in truth I hated all of the subjects I studied at A-Level and without the passion, they thought I would be extremely unmotivated to study one of them for another 4 years. They were probably right.

Don’t get me wrong, I think university looks like a blast (and all of my friends that went really love it), however, I think everyone has that gut instinct in their stomach that tells you what you really want to do. Mine was not university.

So I didn’t go. Instead, I got an apprenticeship (which I am absolutely loving) however I found this 'Apprenticeship VS University' choice to be the toughest decision I have ever made in my life, and I still find it difficult now. I think for me, I hate the fact you can never see a side-by-side comparison of how your life will pan out if you pick one option over another. Would my career prospects have been better if I had gone? Well, we’ll never know & I absolutely loathe that sort of uncertainty. But since being at Google, I’ve learned that this uncertainty of not knowing what the future will hold based on the decisions I make is in fact the best thing, because it means I make my decisions based on what I want at that moment, not based on what I know might not be ideal now but might be better for me later.

I think amongst all of this waffle I am trying to say that if you are struggling now to make your decision, PLEASE don’t feel panicked or pressured about making the wrong choice, because in reality, there are no wrong choices; there are just choices. The thing that infuriates me the most about schools is that they ask students 'So, what do you want to do for the rest of your life?' instead of 'So, where do you want to make a start?' when quite honestly, no one has it all figured out at 18 (at least I definitely do not).

If you have no idea what you want to do, my best suggestion is to have a long think about it YOURSELF. Don’t allow others to sway you, and if you still really don’t know, just try and think about something you would quite like to do for a start. Believe me, unless you’re a criminal offender (in which case this probably won’t apply to you) nothing you do at 18 will majorly impact your future all that much to the point that you can’t change careers. Being happy is THE most important thing, so do whatever it is that makes YOU happy and you really can’t lose. My BIGGEST pet peeve is when individuals look down on other people’s choices just because they aren’t the same as their own, and sadly, I’ve seen a lot of this especially after leaving school. (Not aimed towards me but between people). If you are happy with your choices, this is completely irrelevant and you shouldn’t let it bother you. Usually it’s just the case that that certain individual isn’t happy with their decision, and they feel the need to criticise other people’s to re-boost their psyche. My manager told me that ‘Comparison is the thief of all joy’ and I totally agree with that on this front.

I know this is a really random (and reallly long) waffley post however I thought it might be even a smidge useful for anyone that is currently going through Year 13, changing careers, or for anyone that doesn’t know what to do with their life. However, just as one last quick tip,
that one job that you’ve always dreamed of doing but you’re too scared to go for is probably the one meant for you. (The one that comes to mind right after I said that! See?? Yeah that one!!!)

If you’ve made it this far, I’m impressed. You’re the real MVP.
If you want more in-depth posts on why I chose not to go, or why I chose an apprenticeship instead, please leave me a comment and I will definitely write one! 

Or even if you want more info / my opinion on apprenticeships, please feel free to reach out via email - my email address is in the header of this blog! I'd be more than happy to help!

Thank you so much for reading & hopefully I’ll type out some more random thoughts soon!

Lauren x

p.s. If you enjoy reading my random thoughts about certain aspects of life you should follow my social media profiles ;)

Instagram: laurenevephillips
Twitter: laurenevephil

(I promise I'm a lot more concise on these platforms hahaha).

Friday, 9 February 2018

The BEST and WORST things about working in London


First of all before I launch off into this post, I just wanted to say a huge apology for not posting for a whole month. January was a very busy month for me this year, however I know this is not an excuse and I promise I will be posting a whole lot more going ahead into 2018!

With that out the way, this post is going to be 5 things I love about working in London, and 5 things I don’t love so much about working in the big city. If you’ve read my 'About' section, you’ll know that I recently started an apprenticeship in London, so these are a few things I have discovered when it comes to working there!

What I LOVE about working in London-

1. All the amazing places nearby. London is home to so many amazing sights and pretty destinations, and being able to work there means that I can head out and see them in my lunch break, or go and hang out in cool bars and restaurants after work. I work pretty much on Oxford Street which is AMAZING for the soul.. but terrible for the bank balance. Being nearby to Oxford Street makes it such a pleasure to come to work because I can quite literally nip into the huge Topshop at lunch, or myself and the other apprentices can run to Covent Garden just to have a wander. I think having grown up outside of London, I’m used to only visiting these areas as a day out for someone’s birthday or another special occasion, however, now that I work so nearby I can really appreciate being surrounded by such cool places everyday. I’m sure this novelty will soon wear off, however for now, I am LOVING the proximity of the retail opportunities. 

2. The people. I think London is such a diverse place and it’s so interesting to see the street art / fashion that fills the city. Especially where I work, which is in a very creative sector area, you can literally gain fashion inspiration everywhere. From the tube station to the office, everyone has such cool outfits and so far, everyone I have come across have all been sooooo nice which is definitely a HUGE bonus.

3. The scenery. This might sound a bit weird, but I really love the image of London. I don’t come from a big city myself, so being in London everyday makes me feel so inspired because it is filled with amazing architecture, beautiful parks and (in the winter especially) pretty lights. I think it always helps to love the look of your surroundings where you work, and it makes me so happy that I get to see the stunning scenes of the city everyday. Also, there is always something going on; whether this be a street act or a band playing, there is always something to stop and look at. I think it definitely makes going to work all the more enjoyable if you enjoy walking through the surroundings to get there each day. 

4. The food. Okay so obviously this one had to make it in. London is also home to a lot of amazing restaurants, cafes and patisseries. I could honestly spend my life just eating around the city, however sadly I would never get anything done haha. But seriously, if you love food as much as me, London is the place you want to visit. There are so many different restaurants that offer so many different types of food, there is something for everyone.

5. Finally, I think London is such a great place when it comes to opportunities. Even though I have only worked in the city for 6 months now, I feel as though my confidence and independence have grown so much as a result. Also, I feel that London holds so many opportunities job wise that I could never take if I worked more local to where I live. This is obviously a huge plus also. 

What I DON’T LOVE about working in London-
Okay so every lifestyle has it’s downsides… here are a few that I have encountered. 

1. The commute. This is THE BIGGEST problem for me when it comes to working in the city. I. Hate. The. Commute. I’m quite lucky because my journey is fairly short (at averagely an hour and 10 minutes each way) however this for me is still too much time out of my day to spend on the train. To get into the office, I have to take one train and then also get the central line (which is a whole other story) but I cannot stand the commute by train because it is A) insanely crowded and B) insanely early (in my books anyway). I think I wouldn’t mind commuting at all if I could drive in, however this just isn’t feasible. Secondly, in regards to the central line (AKA living Hell), this makes commuting all the more unbearable. The people are SO rude (if I go a day without being pushed or forcefully whacked by someones bag, it's a good day) and forget even having the human right of personal space. I would absolutely love to live in London just to avoid the commute, however sadly this is not going to happen for a long time. Ah well, back to the hot, crammed trains I go. Ugh.

2. The prices. Everything in London is SO EXPENSIVE and for someone on an apprentice wage, this is not ideal. Also, don’t even get me started on train fare prices. That is a whole other rant that you don’t want to unleash haha.

3. Winter time. This might sound really obscure, but I am the type of person whereby the weather outside really  impacts my general mood. If it is dark and rainy, I cannot help but feel miserable. In British winter… this is not uncommon. I despise how short the days feel when you leave the house in total darkness and then leave the office in the same state of pitch black. Also, in the winter, outfit choices are made so much harder! It’s so difficult to find the balance between trying to keep warm for the 20 minutes I spend outside but then not wanting to be sweating in the office. Winter just brings a whole host of difficulties. With that being said, I cannot WAIT until summer. 

4. Not seeing my family. This is a random one, however because I leave my house the earliest out of everyone in my family, and get home the latest, I rarely have time to sit and chat to them which I think is really sad. I guess this is part of getting any job but I think if I worked a bit closer to my dad and my brother we could all go for lunch together and it wouldn’t be as distant between my family? Does that even make sense? I hope so haha.  

5. Last but not least, whilst the amazing food is great, my waistline definitely does not appreciate it haha. In London it is so hard to resist eating all the delicious, mortifyingly calorific foods and drinking the complimentary wine when taken out for lunch, however this (from a health perspective) is obviously not the greatest. That being said, I would never change it haha - pass me the tasty food any day! Keep it coming!

So that’s everything! I know this post is a little different to the content I would usually post on here however I thought it might be a fun one to do. Please let me know in a comment if you liked this change in post style?

For those of you that work in London, have I missed anything? Those of you that don’t work in London, what are the things you LOVE / DON’T LOVE about where you work / go to school? I’d genuinely love to know so please leave them in the comments!

Thanks for reading. Speak to you soon!

Lauren xo

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