Many of clients at The Forge are in the health and wellness space, so we spend quite a bit of time thinking about cunning hacks to feel better and more productive. Being the kind people we are we thought we’d share some.

Here goes:

1. Put it on pause
It’s a small thing, but it makes a big difference. Pause your email for an hour or so and just take some time to finish the task you started but keep getting distracted from. Distraction is the number one evil of our time, we’ve all been there – you’re experiencing the fabled ‘flow’ getting on with a piece of work and then the phone rings, the email pings, your smartphone buzzes. Despite best intentions we succumb and before we know it we’ve lost an hour of our lives on something that could happily have waited. So hit pause on your email and put your phone on silent and give yourself the freedom to actually work productively.

2. Listen to the feedback and move on
Adam Grant is something of a hero of mine, having been fortunate enough to have met him when he was on the faculty of the Business course I did at Wharton College some years ago. He is an organisational psychologist and all his linkedin posts are worth reading, he has a podcast too. Recently I read something he wrote about dealing with negative client feedback. We’ve all written articles or releases or papers for our clients only to have them, seemingly out of the blue, decimate your work. After many years of doing this job I still find it upsetting (even though I know I am good at it and I’m not afraid to say it). He says we have to remember that the client is criticising a snapshot of our work in a moment in time. There could be multiple other factors going on at the time in that person’s life that affects their reaction to our work. It doesn’t mean it’s terrible. If it is we probably know it is anyway. It’s also down to us as professionals to hold our own. We don’t write rubbish, we write what we know will work, a client can’t have this skill or they woudldn’t need us would they? So when you get that negative feedback, just listen, take it on board and move quickly on.

Remember it’s not the mistake you make that matters it’s the way you recover from it.

3. Change your scenery
Psychologists say that pushing yourself outside your comfort zone causes multiple synapses in the brain to fire up. The very experience of being somewhere different or doing something different means we have to use new thought patterns and craft new reactions. It stands to reason then that this is going to refresh you. You don’t have to throw yourself out of an aircraft or tell a stranger you love them, save that for the self help gurus. You can go for a walk (or a run if you can), help someone in need, read an article about a subject you don’t know much about, ditto a podcast. It can be anything that isn’t what you normally do. Try it, it honestly works.

4. Pick up the phone
PR has become terrible at good old fashioned phone calls. Given the fact we are in communications its not just ironic it’s pretty tragic. Sometimes when you are struggling to get your thoughts in an email just make the call instead. You can follow up in email if you need to but just calling will make you, and whomever is on the other end, feel more enriched. (Unless it happens to be a) HMRC b) someone to whom you owe money or c) your child’s head mistress the day after an unapproved absence).


5. Think positive

This is hard actually. Someone’s just given you terrible news, your coverage didn’t land, a client is unhappy, your best person resigns – frankly it’s hard if not impossible to change your mindset. So experts say that you should spend time each day thinking about something that makes you happy, as you do so squeeze the fleshy bit of your thumb, then when you need to feel happy just squeeze that bit and voila! Either that or force yourself to think ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’

There are many more things you can do, but these 5 are quick and easy and will help make the day more productive and positive.