#AtMyDesk with Claire Brayford

The latest hot-desker taking prime position at Push HQ? Claire Brayford, London Editor of The Grace Tales; a lifestyle website for super stylish mothers.

Claire swung by the showroom to work from the kikki.K desk and take some time to get through her to do list – after we’d tapped her for a few pointers on staying organised that is.

Here’s what Claire had to say on creativity and work set-up essentials.

Claire Brayford

1. What five things are a permanent feature on your desk?

My desk is a lovely antique bureau and before I even sit down to open my laptop I make a nice cup of coffee. I have a beautiful picture of my girls, a paper doll that my three-year-old Cecilia designed, and I like to have a plant or something green next to my computer. There’s also usually a piece of jewellery I’ve taken off as I can’t type if I have anything rattling.

2. Do you procrastinate and how do you stay focused?
Of course, I find I do my best work while staring out of the window – the trick is to give yourself enough time to procrastinate. You can’t always sit down and be creative or write something perfectly straight off. I like to work really early in the morning, sometimes even before the children wake up. I am freelance so I can’t miss deadlines and I love my work so I actually find it a pleasure.

I’m happy to leave things half done and work in short productive bursts that I can then come back to when my mind is fresh, but I hate it when I’m faced with nothing but a blank page.

3. Top tips for being organised and prioritising when you’ve got a crazy schedule?
I was never a list-maker until I became a mum, but now I have so many other things clouding my brain I rely heavily on lists of all kinds. I have the kikki.K Plan pad on my kitchen table and I write everything I need to do in it. I find it very motivating at the end of the day, when you feel you have achieved nothing, to look back at your to do list and see what, however small, you’ve managed to cross off. It gives you such a sense of accomplishment.

The secret to prioritising is to ask yourself what from the list of jobs you hate the most, then do that first.

Claire Brayford

4. When it comes to taking notes do you use: a actual notepad, iPhone, Post-It notes or your computer?
I try to write lists on my iPhone but I forget they are there or I seem to delete them by mistake. I don’t think anything beats writing everything down on a notepad, then you can smugly check everything off when it’s done.

5. Headphones – yes or no? If yes, what on your playlist makes you feel most productive?
Oh no definitely not music! My former newspaper colleagues will definitely testify to my need for no music – I’m really boring like that.

6. Do you moodboard?
I would love to if I had the office space. I file most inspirational images on my computer in various folders. I find my Instagram is a continuous moodboard of everything around me that I love to look at.

7. How do you stay creative and continue to push your professional self?
I love to look at beautiful things and I love to make things look beautiful – it’s that simple really. Regarding my professional self – I have a continuous feeling of dissatisfaction, it doesn’t matter who I write for or what I do I always want to do more.

My husband says I am like Mr Toad from ‘Toad of Toad Hall’ always onto the next shiny new thing.

Claire Brayford

8. Describe your work space at home.
My workspace is essentially my head and my computer. I sit at my bureau in the lounge because my office recently became my eldest daughter’s bedroom. There are shelves of books in practically every room at home so I can always look for inspiration. I would love to have a proper office again with a big pin board to add all of my favourite images.

9. How do you de-stress?
I interviewed the author of The Distraction Addiction who was fascinating and talked all about taking a ‘Digital Sabbath’. He said for one day a week, preferably Sunday, switch off your phone, computer, Netflix, and do something that you love. So I try to do that – we usually go out for a day trip as a family.

I also love pottering in the garden. I love making crafts with my daughter. I love having a glass of wine in the evening.

10. Do you still write (and post) letters or are you all about social media/ instant messaging/ email?
One of my favourite things in the world is to write or to receive a card or note.

I love everything about the whole process – the stationery, the beautiful pen, the physical act of sitting down and thinking about what to say – I even love popping the letter into the postbox (almost as much as my little girl does). Similarly, there is nothing like the pleasure of a gorgeous little envelope arriving on your doormat, it will never compare to an email.

Just like the comfort of opening a book or a newspaper will always beat reading online – they are one of life’s true pleasures that the digital world will never replace.

Claire Brayford

Push x

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