• Sara Broadhurst

When we're in lockdown, it's too easy to sit all day at our (probably not ergonomic) WFH desk. This is a sure-fire technique to get aches and pains but more than that, to lead to feelings of stress, anxiety or feeling down. Movement is central not only to our physical wellbeing, but also our mental wellbeing.

The Pomodoro technique* is not new, you're probably familiar with it. So this is a reminder of a hugely effective way to travel well through lockdown but also be productive at the same time - boom!

The Pomodoro technique helps us work with the time we have, rather than constantly fighting against it or wishing we had more. Essentially, you set yourself an interval timer - 25-minutes work, followed by a 5-minute break. Each of these intervals is called a Pomodoro. In your break, make sure you get up, walk around the house, walk around the whenua, get some sunlight in your eyes. You're still being productive - your step count goes up, your vitamin D goes up, you unhunch those shoulders and clear your mind before going again. Consider yourself an athlete - they don't run the whole match, they need the moments to recover their breath so they can sprint again. After four pomodoros, take a longer break of 15-20 minutes.

As someone who tends to get lost in their work, I thought this technique would never work for me, it would make my days too "bitsy". But on the days that I'm disciplined to do this, even for part of the day, I get more done (I've only got 25 minutes, I want to achieve something in that time), feel less tired and more positive at the end of the day.

Give it a go - what have you got to lose except some sore shoulders?


Let's be real, this isn't going to work in a day where you have back to back zoom calls - but, hang on, what are you doing letting other people own your diary like that? Oh, that's for another post...

*Francesco Cirillo developed this technique in the 1980s, using a kitchen timer in the shape of a tomato - pomodoro in Italian.

  • Sara Broadhurst

Now that lockdown's back... let's get very conscious about what we're doing with that hour a day (or more) that we generally spend on buses, bikes, ferries or in cars or trains going to and from work.

That means lockdown offers us a moment of intervention - time to pause, step back and think about how we are spending that time we normally spend in traffic. If we don't take that opportunity, it will be all too easy to just be tap, tap, tapping away at our computers an extra hour (and the rest) a day.

Here's a super quick exercise to decide what you want to do with that extra hour in your day and to hold yourself to account. Grab a post-it note and ask yourself:

  1. What's one simple thing you would like to achieve in Lockdown? (Don't overcomplicate it, we gain momentum by seeing ourselves progress in small steps)

  2. What's your timeframe? (Is it daily, weekly, by the end of level 3...)

  3. What's one thing you will stop doing? (We've written this for you "I'll stop commuting for an hour a day").

  4. What's one thing you will start doing? (Again, keep it simple and achievable - we grow trust in ourselves by keeping our promises to ourselves).

  5. Write down the commitments you've made in the first four steps. On a post-it note is good as you can move it around the house with you.

  6. Repeat to yourself morning and night (and more frequently during the day too - it should become your little mantra).

Go on, give it a try. It's likely we will see more lockdowns, so it's worth finding a tool that means you can be high performing, no matter the circumstances!

(Adapted from the goal-setting work of Napolean Hill).

  • Sara Broadhurst

Since this is the first day of winter, we've decreed this is the month to sort out our sleep. Animals hibernate in the winter and we heart it!

Most of us, though, struggle to get decent sleep. Fall asleep, yes, stay asleep noooooo. Mind racing, too many thoughts, aches and pains... it's all going when we should be snoozing.

The problem is you can't be high performing at work (or in your life, really) if you're not getting enough sleep.


Neuroscientist Matt Walker has spent his career studying sleep and describes it as a the rising tide that raises all other health markers. Different things work for different people and it's important to keep trying different things until you find what works for you. However, Dr Walker suggests these two aspects as the foundations that seem to make a difference for everyone:

  1. Regularity - go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time (no sleeping in at the weekend, boo!); and

  2. Keep it cool - your body needs to drop its temperature to both get to sleep and to stay aslep (aim for 18 degrees in your bedroom).

Want more brilliant tips - check out Matt Walker's Ted Talk here or his three hour(!) interview on Rich Roll's podcast here. Don't let the length put you off, once you start you won't be able to stop (and if you're like us, you'll listen to it multiple times, as you drift off to niddy noddy land...)