How I Stay Organised

I’m feeling stressed today.

Here’s proof:

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I’ve got so much to do and so little time. Things my brain is trying to manage all at once:

  • Maintaining my video and blog upload schedule
  • About 4 different brand deals to work on over the next couple months
  • MOVING BLOODY HOUSE
  • Preparing content to upload whilst I’m in LA
  • Packing for LA
  • Writing speeches for a couple events I’m doing
  • Secret project thing (I wouldn’t be a YouTuber if I didn’t have a secret project)
  • Thinking about the EU Referendum
  • MOVING BLOODY HOUSE (this is causing everything to be more stressful because it means I have limited time)

Anyway, I’m planning on making a video on how to deal with stress and maybe I can take some of my own advice. One of my tips is get organised! and I love talking organisation so thought I’d write blog just about that. I realise that I’m a very organised person so a lot of this stuff comes naturally to me and I really enjoy it. But I’d thought I’d share with you how organise my life and maybe you can take just one thing from it that helps you.

  1. To-do Lists
    I love lists. Who doesn’t? Let’s be real, lists are amazing and give me such satisfaction. First of all, they help me organise my thoughts when I’ve got a million things to do and they’re all whizzing around my brain, writing them down helps me focus. And then of course there’s the delicious feeling of crossing something off when you’ve completed it. I personally use Google Docs for my lists, that way I have access to it on my laptop and my phone and I can edit and move things around easily. I write the days and then bullet point underneath things I need to do that day. Everything from ‘edit that video’ to ‘change bed sheets’. If it’s not on my list, it’s not getting done.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 12.58.38
  2. Inbox Zero
    If you haven’t heard of this, ‘inbox zero’ is basically a way of managing your emails so your inbox is empty or almost empty at all times. Seeing people with 13,475 unread emails makes me feel physically sick. That’s not my jam. I have folders for different things in my work and personal email and once an email is dealt with it goes in the corresponding folder. It brings me great joy having a tidy inbox and helps me keep on top of emails.
  3. Calendars
    I will admit that using technology to organise my life means that I have no idea what I’m doing until I look at my calendar or to-do list for the day. There’s not much stored up in my head anymore. If the internet ever breaks I’m screwed. But with that in mind, I love calendars! I use 3 calendars in iCal – personal, business and family – these tell me where to be and when. Then I use a google calendar to organise video uploads and blog posts. These often get moved around but I need an upload schedule otherwise I wouldn’t make anything. Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 13.19.15
  4. Brain splurge
    I realise my techniques so far are very digital and many people prefer the traditional pen and paper approach. And don’t get me wrong I own so many notebooks with various lists, scribbles and thoughts in them. One thing that helps me organise my work is doing a spider diagram of everything I’ve got going on at that time so I can see it all clearly in one place. It definitely helps to physically write things down.
  5. Tidy tidy
    I am not a clean person but I am tidy. Everything I own is in its place but covered with a layer of dust. Having a tidy work space really helps me be organised and productive. Then my brain isn’t thinking about how messy it is but instead focusing on the task at hand. And I tend to tidy up as I go along instead of waiting until there’s a massive mess and doing a big sort out. As soon as a little mess appears, I get stressed.

So that’s how I stay organised. Now you know the tricks behind all my magic! If you needed any help getting organised then I hope this has given you some inspiration. If you have any other techniques, please leave them in the comments – different things work for different people so I think it’d be useful for all!

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Dating in Your Twenties

As you know by now, because I mention it all the time, I have been single for over 5 years. But in my sordid past, I was one of those girls who had lots of lots of boyfriends (not at the same time but you could rely on me to have a constant stream of boyfriends one after the other between the age of 12 and 17). Then I had my super duper serious lovey dovey relationship and then that ended when I was 19 and now I’m 24. So there’s your context to how I ended up like this –

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Even though I haven’t had a serious relationship since then I have done a lot of dating and boy oh boy is dating in your twenties different from navigating love in the playground. Here are just some things that I’ve noticed:

Will you be my girlfriend? aka Labels WTF?!

In school it was simple. You had crushes, if it was reciprocated then one person would ask the other person out. The askee would then reply ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and if the answer was a yes you were officially “going out” until maybe a few months later when someone sends a “you’re dumped” text. Teenagers are brutal.

But when you’re in your twenties things are bit more complicated. There are so many different kinds of romantic/sexual relationships you can have with people and not everyone is always on the same page. Dating, seeing each other, casual, friends with benefits, one-night stand, in a relationship, exclusive, open etc. And different people place different meanings on the same description – language is cool, right? I told a friend I was dating someone, which to me meant that we’d been on a few dates and I liked them and wanted to see where things would go but I was still open to other people. But to my friend ‘dating someone’ meant they were my boyfriend and so he thought I couldn’t be dating someone and also still looking elsewhere. Throw into the mix if your partner has a different idea of what you are then things might get a bit messy. Not really sure what my point here is except that it’s a confusing, beautiful mess in your twenties and communication is good!

Making out for hours

Do you remember in relationships when you were 14 that you could be perfectly satisfied from just kissing and making out forever. No pressure to go any further, no burning desire in your crotch to get physical, just complete bliss. And it may have been months between kissing and a boob feel and then another month between a boob feel and a hand job. Slow and steady.

But then… once you have sex and as you get older you just want to have sex all the time (is this just me?). People talk about hormones during puberty making teenagers super horny but what about us twenty-somethings who are horny and frustrated? I would also like a scientific explanation for it so I can feel more normal please. Relationships move much faster now. Making out for hours just isn’t enough – before you know it someone is naked. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that but sometimes I do think that everyone feels rushed, like sex is something to get over and done with. But actually waiting and taking your time can be just as exciting, sensual and satisfying. So I’d like to take this moment to come out in support of adults-making-out-for-hours. It’s a wonderful cause and I hope that you get behind it too.

Meeting the parents

Basically every teenage relationship you have, the meeting of the parents happens very early on and isn’t a big deal (this does not apply to people who have parents with very strict rules when it comes to dating due to things like culture or religion). But when you’re a teenager you live with your parents so there is really no avoiding everyone meeting. Even parents meeting parents is fairly likely. When I was 15, my parents met the parents of my boyfriend and my mum had a crush on his dad and my dad had a crush on his mum so I don’t think it could get weirder than that!

For most people in their twenties, you’re no longer living at home which means you can literally tell your parents nothing about your relationships. I tell my parents things about my love life somewhere between nothing and enough to satisfy their curiosity. But if you do introduce someone to your parents then it is A BIG DEAL. Okay, I’m saying this as someone who has not gone through this rite of passage yet so maybe it’s not as big a deal as I’m making it out to be in my head. But the idea of bringing a hypothetical boyfriend up to Manchester to meet my parents and stay in my family house for a couple days scares the living daylight out of me.

I think we should just be friends aka BREAKING UP

Again, everything was simpler when you were a teenager but at the time it really did not feel simple. It felt like your whole world was about to implode. And heartbreak was and still is one of the worst feelings in the world. That combo of emotional and physical pain really gets ya. When I was a teenager, breaking up with someone or being dumped was horrible but it was over fairly quickly. Someone would just say, ‘I don’t want to go out anymore, I think we should just be friends’ and the other person will just say ‘okay’ and then everyone will go on their merry way. Maybe some tears.

In your twenties, not only are  break ups more intense and complicated but if you’ve only been casually seeing someone then it’s hard to even tell if you have to break up with them in the first place. A very popular break up style at the moment is ghosting – you don’t say anything, just start ignoring calls and texts and eventually they’ll get the message. And even though this is annoying it has kind of become socially acceptable in more casual relationships. Sometimes it’s just as simple as not fancying someone which shouldn’t be taken personally. And then there’s the real full on break ups of serious relationships but we’re not going there because I have been single for 5 years. Have I mentioned that yet?

Even though it may have been simpler in my teens, I love a good bit of drama, anxiety and adventures in my dating life so I’m very happy to be single and dating in my twenties. This was very much based off my experiences now and when I was younger so I’d love to hear some of your stories in the comments!

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What is love?

Baby don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me. No more.

If you watched my November Favourites video you’ll know I’m having a bit of a crisis, specifically a crisis about love. I mostly blame Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari, Essays in Love by Alain de Botton and Ansari’s Netflix Show, Master of None. 

But this isn’t something that has just happened recently because of two books and one TV show. There were TED Talks and films that set my brain cogs into chaos trying to understand love and more specifically how I feel about love.

To be honest, I’ve never been scarred by love. My parents are still together after 30 years and I was brought up in a stable loving family. My grandparents are also still together after over 50 years and they still like each other enough to travel the world together! I have had my own share of heartache and heartbreak (giving and receiving) but my last serious relationship and the last person I said “I love you” to was 5 years ago now. Also, Facebook just informed me he got married, so cool. I’ve not been in love since but I have been in infatuation (which isn’t healthy fyi) so I’ve had a lot of time to think about love whilst being out of it. Not sure if that makes me more of less qualified.

First of all, Esther Perel… 
I think watching her first TED Talk is what fuelled my desire to know more about love and understand relationships. This talk is about long-term relationships but even if you’re not in one it’s so interesting! It’s about that balance between stability and security and mystery and novelty.

Esther’s more recent TED Talk, Why Happy People Cheat, is also fascinating. I’ve never really thought about cheating this way before and I like how she doesn’t shame people who cheat. She just talks very intelligently about the topic and is a straight-forward-no-bullshitter.

Helen Fisher
I watched her TED talk ages ago. It didn’t have the same epiphany/revelation that I had after watching Esther Perel’s first one but it must have stuck somewhere in my brain because I recognised her name when Aziz Ansari cited her research in his book. Helen Fisher looks at the brain and studies the madness of love.

Romantic love is an obsession, it possesses you, you lose your sense of self, you can’t stop thinking about another human being… And the obsession can get worse when you’ve been rejected.

She talks about her new research into why we fall in love with one person and not another. Then two years ago she did this talk about just that research. She splits people into 4 categories of a driving hormone: dopamine (explorers), serotonin (builders), oestrogen (negotiators) and testosterone (directors). According to her research, explorers and builders are attracted to people like themselves but negotiators and directors are attracted to the opposite. I’m pretty sure I’m an explorer and when I think about the people I’m attracted to they also have explorer tendencies so it makes sense to me. But then I am a sucker for a personality quiz.

Late Night Drunk Texts
Last night I was texting an old university friend and I think he’s also having an existential crisis about love so it’s nice to know I’m not alone. For #relatability I thought I would share with you some of our messages.

I mean I love having freedom right now to do whatever I want, whenever I want. And I think that’s what I crave right now. But at the same time, I love having someone I want to hang out with and so forth.

Deep.

I want someone to go and see a film with, and someone to go for a meal with. All of the relationship bits but without the deeply romantic notion.

Fucking millennials, am I right?

I would describe myself as a fickle, hopeless romantic commitmentphobe.

See kids, we really can have it all.

500 Days of Summer

I love this film. I think it’s a wonderful deconstruction of the manic pixie dream girl and brilliantly shows how it’s not healthy to base your affections on the idea of someone rather than the actual person. This is something that has particularly been rattling my brain recently. Why is it that when we’re not in love with someone we can see them for who they truly are? But when we’re in love with someone we see them for who we want them to be? WHY?!

And on that note, before I start rocking slowly back and forth, I leave you. What do you think about love? What are you favourite books/films/TV shows/TED talks that get you questioning love? Let me know in the comments.

Signature hannah journal

Heteronormativity in Everyday Life #heteronorms

Earlier this week I posted a video called ‘What is Heteronormativity?’ where I discussed gender roles, gender identity and sexuality and how in society we often assume that everyone is heterosexual and cis gender. And actually this assumption can be quite harmful.

Over the last week I asked you to share examples of heteronormativity that you’ve seen or experienced on twitter using #heteronorms and I wanted to reflect on them now. There were SO MANY, I really wasn’t expecting such a huge response so thank you very much for getting involved in this little project.

You should be able to wear what you want to prom regardless of your gender.

This is so awfully old fashioned.

This message actually really makes me angry because it’s one of the ways that heteronormativity and the patriarchy work most subtly. By telling boys to go off and have adventures and telling girls to nod and smile from such an early age it really puts the gears into motion into creating seemingly passive women.

It’s like even just the possibility of the dog being gay doesn’t even cross their minds.

Urrrrghhhhhhh no.

Actually, there’s a whole ton of different ways to make a baby now that don’t involve a penis going inside a vagina. Yay science!

This is such a great example because it’s still projecting heteronormativity on to a homosexual relationship by trying to categorise them into male/female roles.

I LOVE MARVEL TOO!

And that is just some of them! If you want to see all the submissions you can check out Wellcome Collection’s Storify. This has been quite a negative blog complaining a lot so I wanted to end of a positive note. One of the ways in which we can combat heteronormativity in society is calling it out when we see it. So don’t stop here. When you see something heteronormative tell people about it, spread the word, offer an alternative way that is less alienating to LGBTQ+ people. Even if you just change things little by little in your immediate world, you’re still making a difference.

Thank you for being a part of this project, I loved seeing how enthusiastically you were all getting involved!

Signature hannah journal

How To Be Confident #LiveFearless

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This post is sponsored by Bodyform

Bodyform are running a campaign called #LiveFearless about empowering women to be their best selves, live fearlessly, bravely and without inhibitions. Which is an idea I think we can all get behind!

For some reason, a lot of people online come to me for advice. Unfortunately, I can’t respond to everyone’s individual questions but I thought I would answer one that I get all the time. And I mean ALL THE TIME. You guys have noticed, and rightly so, that I am a confident person and you often ask me how I’m so confident and open and if I have any tricks and tips. When I first got these questions, I had literally no idea how to help because I always assumed that I was just a naturally confident person. I didn’t have any advice on how to go from being not confident to confident because it’s just who I am, I’ve always been confident.

 

But after getting this question over and over again, I thought more about it and had to confront something about myself that I had completely missed out. I had forgotten something entirely. Backstory: I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when I was 7 years old and had flare ups every couple of years until my last one when I was 15. Now, it’s a bit of a mystery illness, it affects everyone differently and doctors aren’t 100% what causes it or what can trigger symptoms but there’s a lot of theories. One of the theories that I was told when I was 12 years old was that it could be to do with stress. My doctor asked me if I was prone to bottling up my emotions and keeping secrets, I said yes (because I was) and he asked me to try and be more open because it might make me better. And so I did. I literally forced myself to be more open and become a sharer. I told my friends about boys I fancied, I spoke my mind and I put myself out there. All in the name of good health! After a while it started to become second nature and that’s the Hannah you see now. I’ve become a compulsive over-sharer! Being confident is such a part of me now that I had completely forgotten that there was ever a time that I wasn’t this way. And I think that’s pretty cool.

I realise that my story is very specific and will probably help no-one but there is a message in there that I now tell people when they ask me how to be confident. It’s not the only way and it might not work for everyone but it worked for me.

Fake it until you make it.

Just pretend. Think: What would a confident person do? How would a confident person behave? And then act like that person. That’s basically what I did. Confidence doesn’t only come from within yourself, it also comes from how people perceive you. If you act confident then people will treat you as if you’re a confident person, if people treat you like you’re a confident person you will act more confident. And it becomes a big positive happy confidence boosting cycle! But you are the one that has to start the cycle. If you just pretend for a while, you will eventually become it.

A great form of pretending and confidence building is doing improv which I made a video about and you can watch here:

I hope that this has helped in some way and will lead you on your journey to confidence! But remember, there’s nothing wrong with being shy and feeling insecure, I still get those feelings from time to time in certain scenarios so you shouldn’t feel ashamed if you’re not a naturally confident person. But maybe this will help you feel more comfortable and happy in some situations.

Bodyform are running a competition as part of their #LiveFearless campaign where you could win a trip around the world! All you have to do is go to www.livefearlesswithbodyform.co.uk and upload a photo or a video of a time that you lived fearlessly!

Let me know in the comments if you have any advice to add on how to be confident!

Signature hannah journal

Is it weird that I don’t like masturbating?

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First of all, you are normal. I really hate the word ‘normal’, it causes people so much stress about their identities, preferences and behaviour. But don’t worry, you’re fine.

Some people (like your friends) masturbate daily. Some people weekly. Others monthly. Some people never. You get it. Everyone is different. I understand your concern about feeling like you’re missing out, that sucks. But the more comfortable you become with yourself and your sexuality the less you’ll feel like that. If you still want to give it go, bullet vibrators are really good and simple and they’re not that expensive. Porn is also a thing.

You said that you don’t know if you’ve ever been turned on before. That is also completely normal. Maybe have a read about asexuality and demisexuality and see if either of these sexualities make sense to you or comfort you in any way. But also don’t worry about fitting into a box. You define the label, not the other way around. It’s great that you’re asking questions, keep exploring but just remember that your feelings and your body are completely normal and valid.

Hope this helps 🙂

Hannah x

P.S. If you have any advice for this person, leave them in the comments below.

This was an anonymous question taken from my Tumblr.