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  • Katie Ford

5 Things that have *already* boosted my productivity in 2024 as a vet and entrepreneur

Who else is still writing 2023? I literally just had to correct this blog title.

As a veterinary surgeon, I'm sure I'd spent the first two months scribbling out and re-writing dates when I signed vaccination cards.... perpetually a year behind...until June.

So, FIVE THINGS that I'm loving already in 2024 - and maybe you'll love them too. I use the term productivity lightly; in fact, I use it purely for SEO purposes. Rather than it being a way to add more value to myself, I think of it as life hacks to give myself more freedom and spare time.

1. A standing desk boosted my productivity...

I love being able to add variety to the positions in which I work. Sitting down all day and staying in the same position is a physiotherapist's nightmare (or, so mine tells me anyway).

I bought a standing desk in October 2023 and I love it. It has a little control pad meaning I can raise or lower the height, and I can take breaks and sit for a little while too.

Things I have noticed and love about it:

  • When I do virtual public speaking, I feel that I can express myself far better when stood up.

  • It can remember optimum height settings (upto 4 of them) so I can easily return to the right sitting level with one click of a button.

  • I can use it with my walking pad (see below).

This desk is the same make and very similar to what I have: click to view.

Bonus top tip(s)!

  • Buy a headphone extender - if you use a desktop like me, and the main console stays on the ground, then you'll soon feel as if you're restricted by the length of your head phones. Be freeeee, by a headphone extender.

  • I LOVE this standing mat more than words can say. It is SO comfortable, I feel as if I'm on a cloud.

2. This headphone headband is the comfiest thing ever (and boosted my productivity...)

Katie wearing the headphones
Unflattering and ridiculous face, see my headphones.

I know it looks ridiculous, but bear with me....

This was a freebie from Event Tech Live, but you can get them here too.

No, I don't use this on calls or I'd look like I was getting ready to audition for Fame, BUT I do use it for:

  • Listening to podcasts and voicenotes on walks. An added bonus is that my years stay warm and my airpods don't fall out.

  • Listening to brown noise, white noise or binaural beats when working; it really helps me get into the zone.

  • If I ever find it tricky to fall asleep, I'll pop it on before bed and listen to a sleep story, or meditation. If they stay on, it doesn't matter.

The headphones pop out so that you can wash the band. I love it. It might not be for you, but check it out...

3. A walking pad - my best thing so far this year to free up my time and boost my productivity...

I need to move during the day. I am a fidget. Walking is one of my favourite things - if I could find a way to take my laptop on a walk, I'd do it. I often aim to walk 5-6 miles a day, not because of some quantitative pressure, but because it makes me feel so much more myself. I'd notice if it was rotten weather, or I had a hectic work schedule, and I couldn't fit it in, then I'd feel it.

Then I found out about walking pads.

What is a walking pad? Well, this shows you, and it's the exact one I have.

Think treadmill, but less bulky, and it goes right under my standing desk. It's remote controlled and can go upto 6kmph.

Key things I want to share on it:

  • I usually do about 5miles in around 2 hours, and I don't even notice.

  • I attach my Fitbit to my ankle because when my hands are typing on the desk, the steps don't always register. (I'm not step-obsessed I promise, but if there's chance of beating the fam on the weekly leaderboard, then why not?!).

  • I found it surprisingly easy to concentrate - my best ideas come when I'm walking.

  • Of course, I still go outside - the myriad of british storms this last week hasn't made that entirely possible.

  • It does track distance, time and calories (I'm not about this bit) - but I know there's the potential for people to be drawn into using this in a less than healthy way (IYKYK). This might not be for everyone.

4. The love of my life: My Remarkable (shh don't tell Simon)...

My Remarkable

So many of you asked, and I LOVE it.

I thought this would be a fad, but having a Remarkable 2 has been wonderful. This is a paper tablet and I can store all of my notes on here. I went to a conference in December, and never have I had so many conversations started about a single piece of tech.

Things I love about it:

  • No more impulse buying new notebooks for a 'fresh start'.

  • I can send PDFs and web pages from Chrome desktop to the Remarkable with a Chrome plugin. This means I can annotate, share and feedback.

  • I use it for everything from journaling to taking notes to events and brain dumps. I can create folders and know everything is on there, somewhere.

  • It doesn't have other apps on it, so I don't find myself accidentally on Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Whatsapp, Gmail (the list goes on...)

Things I'd improve (as if I'm some sort of tech developer haha):

  • The price is deceptive (IMO) because it doesn't tell you outright that you need a special pen and that's a hefty amount extra, but worth it. I also didn't spend £££ on the case and instead bought this one for £10 on Amazon instead.

  • I'd like the display to be colour, but it's probably best that it isn't.

I do kind of wish I'd known about the tech-alternative Kindle Scribe before I purchased though, worth a check if you're in the market for one.

If you want to nab yourself £40 off a Remarkable (and full disclosure, I get £40 too if you keep it), then click this link.

5. Gifting myself time to be creative (with surprising productivity benefits)

Now, I'm a scientist - and I couldn't ignore the huge heap of evidence for creativity. More importantly, I love being creative to my core... I just haven't always prioritised it. Doing something arty always seemed to go to the bottom of the pile, or I'd squeeze in something work related on Canva and call it done. In 2024, I've been making some time for creative projects that aren't work related, and for fun.

I found a beginner's resin making kit and made a new set of coasters to match out living room decor.

Resin coasters
My coaster creations

I pained my project from the session we had at the Orchard Hotel in September last year. I'm no picasso, but it was fun!

Pottery before and after painting
Et voila! Pottery painted

And, if you're nerdy like me, here's some info on the benefits of creativity on productivity:

  • Research conducted by Baas, De Dreu, and Nijstad (2011) found that individuals with a high level of creativity demonstrated better problem-solving abilities. Creative thinking allows for more flexible approaches to challenges, leading to increased productivity in overcoming obstacles.

  • In a meta-analysis of studies on creativity and job performance, Hughes, Hughes, and Mellor (2011) found a positive correlation between creativity and various aspects of job performance. Creative individuals were more likely to excel in problem-solving, adaptability, and overall work performance.

  • A study by Zabelina, Robinson, Ostafin, and Council (2011) suggested that engaging in creative activities during breaks could enhance cognitive function and overall productivity. Creative breaks may refresh the mind and contribute to better focus when returning to tasks.

Did you try any of these? Let me know - tag me on @katiefordvet on IG.


Baas, M., De Dreu, C. K., & Nijstad, B. A. (2011). A meta-analysis of 25 years of mood-creativity research: Hedonic tone, activation, or regulatory focus? Psychological Bulletin, 137(6), 843–865.

Hughes, D. J., Hughes, L. W., & Mellor, N. (2011). The importance of creativity for organizational performance. Australian Psychologist, 46(1), 13–27.

Zabelina, D. L., Robinson, M. D., Ostafin, B., & Council, J. R. (2011). Manipulating mindfulness benefits creative elaboration and originality. Creativity Research Journal, 23(3), 355–365.

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