Nana Hannah's top tips for workplace success

Hannah Woodward

Move over Mrs Hinch. There’s a new guru in town when it comes to keeping things shipshape. Here, in her first ever blog, our Office Manager Hannah Woodward (aka Nana Hannah) offers up her top tips on how to reign in the chaos and make sure your day runs smooth as clockwork.


I’ve worked in management for a decade and during that time I’ve had to learn how to achieve an assortment of different tasks in varying timeframes. In my move to the lovely HQ of Prominent PR I’ve brought with me everything I’ve learnt over the last 10 years, including my top organisation hacks. Here are a few of my favourites:

1. Get a good night sleep

Not long after arriving at Prominent I made the mistake of revealing the details of my bedtime routine to my colleagues – who have teased me mercilessly ever since. The truth is, I’m not much of a party animal and I’m very content with a cuppa in bed at about 8.30pm – which has resulted in the nickname Nana Hannah. While I don’t expect you all to tuck yourselves in at dusk, I do think there’s merit in allowing yourself time to switch off before going to bed. I find a hot bath and a cup of herbal tea is the perfect remedy. Find what works for you to help relax. After all, you deserve it after a long day!

2. Join Robin Sharma’s #The5amClub

Now, you may have chuckled at my early bedtime but it pays off come sunrise. I’ve always been a morning person - even when I was at school. I’d get up an hour early in order to complete homework. My friends thought I was crazy but my best work was always produced in the morning, rather than at the end of the day. This is something I have tried to take through my adult life and has been reignited recently by reading Robin Sharma’s book The 5am Club. If you find you produce your best work at another time of the day, be mindful of this and try to find a dedicated hour to work on your goals. If you can make it the same time every day, it will become easier to integrate it into your regular routine.

3. Put your phone in a drawer

There are so many distractions these days!  I only have a few select apps where the notifications are switched on as this helps me be more decisive when it comes to looking at my phone during a working day. That said, when I really need to focus, I put my phone in a drawer or on aeroplane mode. I appreciate this isn’t possible for everyone but it’s amazing how much can be achieved without technology drawing you in. 

4. Write lots down

Before I started my managerial career I had a small stint at university training to be a nurse.  Clear, concise notes are such an important part of nursing and it was drilled into me that if you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen.  Making notes are essential for me to stay organised and remember key information.  

5. Know your learning style

I’m a visual learner so I’ve learnt that the best way for me to organise myself is to limit visual distractions and write lots of notes (as above!)  There are lots of learning style questionnaires online so if you don’t know yours, why not take one and find out?  I’ve found it really useful in learning how to organise and prioritise my workload.

6. Set reminders until a task is done

As well as having a live to do list, I also put a reminder on emails I need to follow up on.  I’d rather have reminders appear for things I have already completed than forget something completely, plus it’s a great mood booster knowing an item has been successfully ticked off the list!

7. Think ahead!

When I started high school, I was taught to pack my bag the night before.  If you’re not a morning person, be kind to your future self and get everything you need for the next day ready the night before.  It will make your morning easier and you’re less likely to forget something.

8. Walking and water

Sometimes the best thing to do is to get outside.  A few of us in the office have got into the habit of going for a lunchtime stroll.  It isn’t always far but I find it helps clear my mind.  As well as getting my daily dose of fresh air, I also drink lots of water.  It helps me to concentrate and stay alert so that’s why you’ll always find a bottle of water on my desk.

9. Key aims and realistic deadlines

I have the year broken down into quarters for my main aims and I attempt to set myself realistic deadlines (not always an easy task!). This helps me to be as proactive as possible and means that I have time to deal with any reactive tasks that come along.

10. Spreadsheets and stationery

Folders, post it notes and spreadsheets are essential items for me to locate information easily. It also makes for a very colourful desk.

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