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Sunday with Vinnie Jones: ‘I put the kettle on and watch the deer and foxes’ | Sunday with…

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Are you an early riser? I get up at 5.30am with the larks every day, mate. I put the kettle on and watch the deer and the foxes to keep an eye on what’s going on. First light is the best time of the day in the countryside.

Are Sundays busy? If I’m in West Sussex I’ll check the football results then drive to a mate’s house. One’s a farmer, the other a gamekeeper – their wives cook up a mean full English. If I’m in Los Angeles I’d be at the golf club at 7am for breakfast, before the boys turn up to tee off at 8.

What makes a Sunday special? It’s still a day of rest to me – it feels a little calmer. I lost my wife last year, so if I’m in the UK I might go to the local church for 20 minutes to have a little chat with her. When I’m in LA, I’ll go to the grave and sit by her side.

Sundays growing up… They were full of football: two games on a Saturday and two on Sunday. Each match felt like a cup final. I absolutely loved it. As soon as I started walking I knew it was what I wanted to do. Then I’d go and eat my nan and grandad out of house and home.

A special Sunday? The morning after winning the [1988] FA Cup final. I woke up horribly hungover to a mate asking what time I was picking him up. I had no idea the whole of Wimbledon had descended on the town hall to celebrate, so I nearly missed it. After that I showed the boys my winner’s medal down the pub.

And Sunday night? I might make a few phone calls and then just chill out, really, sitting back and watching sport. In LA, we used to entertain. Then there’s burping, farting and turning off the telly before checking the league tables again. What else is there to do before bed?

Vinnie Jones has teamed up with Brut (bruteurope.com)


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‘People are more in control of their working day’: how lockdown changed the way we use our time | Fast master

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Female student studying and listening to music at home






People perform better when they have control of their working day.
Photograph: damircudic/Getty Images

Lockdown changed our sense of space as our worlds shrunk to the confines of our homes. But it also messed with our sense of time, with the monotony of our days making them feel longer.

Even our most basic units of time sometimes seemed to change. Where we’d once typically divided our days into one-hour or half-hour blocks, some of us instead found ourselves scheduling in shorter snippets of time. Instead of sitting through drawn-out, boring boardroom meetings or labouring over lengthy tasks in our manager’s line of sight, many of us found ourselves working more flexibly, flipping between tasks at a faster rate thanks to the sudden merging of our work and home lives and the increased autonomy it affords us.

In short, many people have shifted to a new normal that involves filling bite-size units of time with bite-size tasks and activities.

Studies have indicated that during periods of ongoing stress and anxiety, the brain’s prefrontal cortex (responsible for our ability to focus on tasks) is significantly weakened. But a recent report from the American management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group found that 75% of employees reported being able to maintain or even improve productivity levels in certain tasks during the first months of the pandemic.

So could the shifts in our scheduling patterns mean we’re becoming more efficient in our work and in our day-to-day lives? Jane Piper, an organisational psychologist and business coach, thinks there are significant benefits to our new way of doing things. “People are more in control of their working day now, and we perform better when we have autonomy. Our days are more flexible to better integrate work and home lives, which leads to an increase in productivity and reduction in stress,” she says.

Taking responsibility for our own schedules also means there is likely to be a reduction in presenteeism, with employees no longer putting in unnecessary “face time” just to show that they’re working. “Working from home means managers have to trust people to do the work, even when they can’t see them,” says Piper. “It changes the question from: ‘Were they present at their desk?’ to ‘Did they produce what was required by the deadline?’ A real upside of the new working landscape is what we deliver, rather than when we deliver.” Of course, it won’t be the case for everyone, she says. “For some, it has been replaced by a digital version, with managers scheduling constant meetings in a bid to force staff to be ‘present’.”

David Ogilvie, who runs The Resilience Development Company, which trains and coaches organisations to optimise performance and productivity, says: “Humans just aren’t meant to focus for long periods – brains are most productive in ‘focused sprints’ compared with ‘marathons’.”

In the programmes Ogilvie runs, clients are advised to work for no more than 90 minutes and then rest for 20 minutes. “That might mean setting 90-minute chunks in your diary before breaking or switching to an easier task for the next 20,” Ogilvie says. “There are many variations out there, but the principle is always the same: watch for signs of energy flagging and then reset and start again.”

However, working in shorter bursts doesn’t mean multitasking. “Switching between tasks and multitasking is a feature of modern life, amplified by the pandemic,” says Ogilvie. “But this behaviour could be working against you – studies show that we can lose productivity if we multitask because our brain is switching focus.”

This distinction is key – and arguably explains why we can feel more productive when engaging in activity in short bursts, but less productive if we’re flitting between wildly different short-burst activities. It’s worth bearing this in mind whenever you want to make the most of handy, short-burst formats, such as the wealth of instructional videos on social media platforms. Short is good, but if you’re looking to learn a new skill or knowhow, focusing on that one subject or topic is also important. You could call it scrolling with intent.

So how do you retain the benefits of short bursts while avoiding the trap of multitasking?

Gemma Ray, a productivity expert and author of Self Discipline: A How-To Guide to Stop Procrastination and Achieve Your Goals in 10 Steps, suggests batching similar tasks to improve efficiency, and timing regular tasks to avoid falling prey to Parkinson’s law – the idea that work expands to fill the time available.

Minimising distractions is also key. “A study by the University of California states that it takes the average person 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back ‘in the zone’ once disrupted,” she says. “For some, working from home means less distractions in terms of colleagues or unnecessary meetings, which enables us to be much more productive.” Though, of course, others might fall into the unluckier bracket of domestic distractions, with children storming their 10am brainstorm or neighbours renovating their kitchen.

Explore the world of TikTok and discover the joy of learning new things in shorter bursts. What will you #LearnOnTikTok?


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TV style icons of 2020: Michael Jordan’s sartorial slam dunk | Television

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The Last Dance, the Netflix show about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, scored 24 million viewers around the world within a month of its April release. An audience held captive by lockdown almost certainly drove those numbers up, but still, that is a lot of eyeballs for a documentary about basketball games that happened 23 years ago.

Which makes sense when you realise that The Last Dance isn’t really a sports documentary at all, but a blockbuster superhero movie, spun out over 10 instalments, just like Marvel do them. The Last Dance turned Jordan from a sports icon into a superhero, and it did it in part by rebooting his pre-athleisure 90s look as a costume.

Superheroes have to look the part. Without the lurid 70s tricolour T-shirt, Superman is just Clark Kent with wings. Batman doesn’t even have any superpowers, but his look and accessories have always been so on point (the mask! the car!) that fans barely noticed that he couldn’t fly or walk through walls without a gadget to assist him.

‘The suits were there to make the point that Jordan was no sporting journeyman ...’ Jordan on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 1997.
‘The suits were there to make the point that Jordan was no sporting journeyman …’ Jordan on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 1997. Photograph: NBCUniversal/Getty

Jordan’s sneakers are his Batmobile. When Nike launched the Air Jordan 1s in 1984, it predicted sales of $3m; the shoes banked $126m. Brand Jordan was born, a Nike division in its own right, and with it the mythology of Jordan as not just a basketball court legend but a hero. With serendipitous timing, the Dior designer Kim Jones last year unveiled an ultra high-end luxury homage to the thinking sneakerhead’s favourite trainer, with his handmade-in-Italy limited edition Air Dior. The March 2020 launch date was postponed due to the pandemic; by the time they went on sale in July, The Last Dance had turbocharged the Jordan hype. Even with a £1,800 price tag, these shoes were harder to get hold of than Dorothy’s ruby slippers.

The original Nike Air Jordans were red, white and black, to match the Chicago Bulls uniform. But the resulting Jordan mythology soon soared way above the basketball court and slam-dunked their namesake into popular culture. Jordan became a larger-than-life character and a visual brand, mapping out a master plan that has been followed ever since, by athletes including Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Every great fashion brand is defined by a signature shape, and Jordan is no exception. Dior had the New Look, Chanel had the boxy skirt suit – and Jordan had the supersized silhouette. Basketball worships height – Jordan is 6ft 5in, and in his prime he could jump to bring his head level with the 10ft-high rim of the hoop. The aesthetic of the classic shorts-and-vest is oversized and airy. Jordan brought this height and volume into his spectacular off-duty wardrobe, which, in the 90s, revolved around oversized power tailoring and shiny leisurewear. The suits were there to make the point that Jordan was no sporting journeyman, but a bona fide business mogul. The quilted bomber jackets, the diamond hoop earring, the signature beret. This was the 90s and celebrities came larger than life.

Nike Air Jordan V, originally released in 1990.
Nike Air Jordan V, originally released in 1990. Photograph: Granger/Rex/Shutterstock

Jordan wore his suit jackets extra wide across the shoulder, and extra long. What fits as a jacket on Jordan would be an overcoat on almost everyone else – a neat reminder that he is no mere mortal. His trousers were pleated for extra fullness and worn belted and high-waisted for added length. It is not just the sporting footage that showcases his elongated frame in The Last Dance. When he is filmed sitting down, his knees rise into the foreground of every shot. Set against the popcorny palette of televised sports events, where every available angle flashes advertising in the national colours of Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, Jordan’s suits are notable for their muted colours. He wears taupe and stone-grey, tones that in the 90s helped him stand out against his environment – and which in 2020 make him look eerily contemporary, like a supersized Kanye West.

With his cartoonish swagger and a vintage leisurewear wardrobe that could unite irony-loving millennials and nostalgia-soaked generation X, in a year where big blockbusters were off the cards, Jordan was a stand-in superhero. And why not? After all, this man could fly.


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True gold: 40 years of Spandau Ballet style – in pictures

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It’s 40 years since Spandau Ballet signed their first record deal. Their signature dandy look played a key role in defining New Romantic and late 80s style, creating an enduring fashion legacy

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