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Motivational Monday: lockdown tips

Alumna, author and journalist Jenny Kleeman shares her tips for staying motivated during the pandemic.

Reflecting on the past 12 months, the former South Hampstead pupil and Times Radio presenter commented: “The pandemic has had a massive effect on my career as a reporterI cover foreign affairs and normally do a lot of travelling. I’m used to being away from London and constantly meeting and interviewing people, so I’ve really had to adapt how I work. I now record audio and podcasts at home. I also published a book last July… it took five years to do all the reporting and writing, so I was really looking forward to putting that book into the world through speaker events, and I couldn’t do it. But I’ve adapted by doing different kinds of work and hopefully I’ll be back doing the work I love very soon.”

Jenny’s top tips for staying productive during lockdown include making lists, ensuring you take regular breaks, and writing down everything you think is interesting. “I’m a big fan of lists. I have about 500 notebooks and I write down everything that is interesting – lists of things to do this week, lists of things to do every day, breaking projects down into manageable little tasks to do that you can tick off… Taking proper breaks is your friend. In this climate, it is so important to have defined office hours. I make sure I stop work at a certain time every day and step away from my desk.”

My lifelong friends are from my time at school…

When she looks back on her time at South Hampstead, Jenny says: “My lifelong friends are from my time at school and it is these people that have certainly shaped me. I was quite loud at school and a natural extrovert. I did some quite naughty things that were very inventive… and have perhaps even ended up helping me in my career. South Hampstead was a place where I could explore – it was certainly good for my confidence.”

Jenny advises current students to keep creating their own opportunities. “When you’re younger, it quite often feels like the most important thing is to get really good exam results – and that actually isn’t the key to life. You need to have ideas, be imaginative or be a people person. There are all sorts of different skills you can develop, and you have to be constantly out there, making yourself discoverable.”

You have to roll out the red carpet for yourself.

Jenny is due to speak to South Hampstead students about her latest book on technology and its power to shape human life: ‘Sex Robots and Vegan Meat’.  She has reported for BBC One’s Panorama and Channel 4’s Dispatches, and currently presents on Times Radio Breakfast.


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