Monday Musings: We’ve hit a wall … but can you hack it?

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The little octopus that could! It was wonderful to wake up to the news this morning that the proudly-SA docci, My Octopus Teacher scooped the Bafta for Best Documentary. Congratulations to the entire team – and that acceptance speech brings all the feels!  

It’s now the middle of April, and we’ve got another crazy, busy week under our belts. One dominated by the exciting whirlwind that was Africa Travel Week Virtual. It was fantastic to engage with attendees, dynamic speakers and interesting panellists from the global tourism community – we definitely needed it! 

But we also discovered the joy (and balm) of hot-desking in a different environment with a brand-new view. Jordan Wine Farm provided the outdoor venue, Wi-Fi, bird calls, beautiful views and bottomless coffee for three members of the Big Ambitions team who got to (finally!) do a little work together in person. And we can highly recommend it. So, wherever you are in Mzansi, find a hot desk with a difference, breath in the fresh air and watch your productivity soar.      

The New York Times did a piece this week on late-stage pandemic burnout, which, to summarise, is what happens when you’ve sat in the same chair in the same room staring at the same computer for 12 straight months – a prolonged state that has left us “like burned-out husks, dimwitted approximations of our once-productive selves”. Yikes.  

Of course, readers were quick to share their coping mechanisms, which typically involved alcohol, baked goods, a social media detox and meditation. But it’s the secret ‘hacks’ – and the lengths that people will go to – that always fascinate me. 

A couple of weeks ago, Dorine Reinstein shared the Zoom Escaper tool with us, but on Tuesday, it was TikTok personality Vicky Waldrip, who had the Internet buzzing when she shared her sneaky trick for getting out of a phone call you really, really don’t want to be on: simply switch your phone to airplane mode mid-call. A cunning move that means the call is immediately disconnected while a message is sent to the other person saying “call failed” instead of “call ended”.  

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I’m far too conscientious (and cowardly) to avoid phone calls or Zoom meets (even in late-stage pandemic burnout), but I will be implementing Amanda Goetz’s productivity hack immediately: 

  1. Take call/meeting notes in an email 
  1. End call 5 mins early 
  1. Send follow-ups/recaps before you move to the next task 

Ending the call 5 (maybe even 10) minutes early is key. Not only will it give you time to tidy up your notes before sending, but you can add follow-up tasks in ASANA and wrap everything up in the time allocated for the initial call. Genius.   

James Clear remains my favourite productivity guru, and he reckons we should all try these simple ways to be more productive every day:  

  1. Manage your energy, not your time 
  1. Prepare the night before 
  1. Don’t open email until noon (which is a toughie) 
  1. Turn your phone off and leave it in another room 
  1. Work in a cool place (it makes a massive difference) 
  1. Sit up or stand up 
  1. Develop a “pre-game routine” to start your day 

Sometimes, though, we just have to cut ourselves a little slack and remember that, in Natalia’s words, done is better than perfect.  

Perfection, especially in late-stage pandemic burnout, is an impossible ask. In his latest blog, Seth Godin says that “few things outside of mathematics are ever truly perfect”. Godin believes that the “perfectionist desires an outcome that can never be achieved, and that holding out for our idea of perfection is another way to avoid contributing”. Instead of perfect? Better. Work for that. 


Mindful Musings 

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Marketing Musings 

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the most powerful. 

Google proved that this week with a beautiful ad encouraging everyone to get vaccinated so we can get back to what we love. The ad looks at evolving Google searches, changing virtual events to normal events and closed businesses to open businesses – as the world slowly gets back to normal. 

It might be the late-stage pandemic burnout talking, but it got me a little emotional.  

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Unfortunately, web-hosting company Wix scored an own goal this week with a negative, bizarre marketing campaign against WordPress.  

The strat used an initial teaser campaign plus videos to take pot shots at WordPress – leaving most people bewildered (at best) and unimpressed. Here, Sarah Gooding breaks down the campaign, which has been described as “shady” and “off-putting”. 

WordPress’ founder Matt Mullenweg took to his personal blog to respond to the campaign, saying: 

“I have a lot of empathy for whoever was forced to work on these ads, including the actors; it must have felt bad working on something that’s like Encyclopaedia Britannica attacking Wikipedia. WordPress is a global movement of hundreds of thousands of volunteers and community members coming together to make the web a better place. The code, and everything you put into it, belongs to you, and its open-source license ensures that you’re in complete control, now and forever.” 

Take that, Wix. 


What the world was musing over this past week: 

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Baby rhino finds its feet! 

In a video guaranteed to banish the Monday blues, this joyful baby rhino has a serious case of the zoomies. Awwww. 


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Cape Town Tourism launches new campaign for Ramadan 

Cape Town Tourism, Travelstart and Aquila Private Game Reserve are cementing the Mother City’s spot among the top Muslim-friendly destinations in the world with a new campaign over Ramadan, which begins on Tuesday or Wednesday this week.  


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SA fencer dreams of gold in Tokyo 

Soweto fencer, Nomvula Mbatha has her sights firmly set on the Tokyo Olympics (scheduled to be held from 23 July to 8 August 2021). First step? The zonal qualifiers in Cairo towards the end of April. Go Nomvula! 


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Kayaker performs ‘world first’ flip off waterfall

In the craziest video you’ll watch this week, Spanish kayaker Aniol Serrasolses just descended a snowy mountain in his kayak before performing the world’s first flip off a waterfall.  


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The top richest women in the world 

Forbes has just released its Top Richest Women in The World In 2021 list – and let’s just say it’s impressive. The usual suspects are there (from Loreal to Walmart), but with a brand-new contender: Founder of the women-friendly dating app Bumble, Whitney Wolfe Herd, has become the world’s youngest self-made woman billionaire – now worth a cool $1.3 billion. 

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