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ELLE Canada editors share how they get stuff done
“I make sure to do the thing on my to-do list that I’m absolutely dreading first — i.e. invoicing and emails before I write a juicy feature story. That way everything that comes after it seems super easy.”
—Carli Whitwell, special projects editor
“I employ old carrot/donkey approach: I promise myself little rewards (cookies! 5 mins on Insta!) if I finish certain tasks. Also: Country music helps the words come like nothing else when I’m writing.”
—Sarah Laing, culture editor
“This is something I’ve done since the days of high-school book reports: I procrastinate a tiny bit in between bursts of productivity. At home, I pace the room in between writing paragraphs, or get up and get a glass of water if I’m at the office. These small brain breaks help keep me going (and extremely well hydrated!), and that’s worth any curious stares from neighbouring cubicles.”
–Liz Guber, associate fashion editor
“A few years ago I read a transcript of a Harvard Business Review podcast with psychologist Ron Friedman who said not only do we tend to be mentally sharper in the morning, we only have about three hours in the day when we’re truly productive. As someone who can’t focus past 2 p.m. to save my life, this spoke to me. I now value and prioritize the hours between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., when I get most of my work done before I’m swamped with emails and meetings. I use noise-cancelling headphones (not ear buds) in our open-plan office space to drown out distractions.”
—Victoria DiPlacido, associate beauty editor
“I set multiple labelled alarms on my iPhone to remind me to do anything from book a manicure to file a story to bring a product into the office that I’ve been testing at home, or take a multivitamin. I used to email myself these things, but I found they ended up getting bogged down with my busy inbox. The only downside to this is striking fear in the hearts of my colleagues when the alarm is the same one that they use to wake up in the morning!
–Katherine Flemming, health and beauty editor
“I find that having a capsule wardrobe really cuts down on getting ready in the morning. It’s not as rigid as uniform dressing; it allows me to have a bit more fun, but my clothes are all in the same colour palette and style. At work, when I need to buckle down, I listen to Bjork. I find her music inspiring and soothing.”
– Jed Tallo, art director