How waking up at 5 am has made me into a more productive human

I always hear “there aren’t enough hours in a day” from the people around me. We all have the same 24 hours, and as the saying goes, we can choose what happens.

Now, let me preface this by saying I am not perfect at waking up at 5 am but I do try to wake up between 5 am and 6 am. I am not the type to wake up at 5 am and go do a workout although I know the crazy amount of benefits.

I did want to share with you how waking up early has made me feel more productive, more in-tune with myself, and how it’s impacted my day-to-day. I’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks now and yes, I’ve had days, where I’ve slept in until 7 am and others where I have laid in bed until 8. I’m a human, I’m working on it.

I was inspired by this video from Casey Niestat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-Cvl3_CH2A. In the video, Casey brings up a good point. Between the hours of 4 am and 7 am most people are sleeping which means social media feeds are inactive, emails are from the day before, and the energy around you is pretty relaxed. Which is so true!!

Everyone is different, this works for me. I am an early bird, not a night owl. I’ve always kind of been this way. Even as a kid, I would wake up with my dad at like 7 am while most kids slept in until 10 am. I am someone who needs their sleep. I HAVE to get my 7-9 hours in every night otherwise, I feel extremely tired, I can’t focus, my energy is off, and I generally feel more anxious/depressed when I don’t get enough sleep.

What I’ve noticed that within the times of 5 am – 7 am, I have an extra 2 hours for myself.  Not only that, I just have an extra 2 hours to do whatever I want. I don’t check emails until around 8 am. That’s a personal rule of mine. I am trying to practice good work/life habits before work and life get REAL crazy. I feel like it’s important to build these habits while you are in college or your early 20s so you aren’t spending your energy trying to figure out what works for you when you’re starting a real 9-5 or whatever.

Since I work 2 jobs (remote and in-person) and am an online student, I try to be as routine as possible. This helps me stay disciplined and that’s something I am really trying to work on. 

Here’s what my day usually looks like (give or take meetings, how I am feeling, etc)

5 am – 7 am – Wake up “Me” Time.
I lay in my bed for like 30 minutes before I actually get up and go to the bathroom or do anything. I try not to be on my phone because I read somewhere that it’s really bad for you to wake up with your phone next to you. Also, that is a lot of extraness for that time of day. Instead, I will go on my headspace app and do a 15-minute meditation. Before I could only do 5 mins but now I am up to 15 of intentional, present meditation. I’ll put on some music or pray. Spending some quality time with myself before a busy day always makes me feel balanced and more confident throughout my day. My head is clear so I can fill it up with all the chaos the day will bring.

I like this time of day because the world is really quiet. You don’t have the noise of social media or anything like that. Everyone is asleep so you can get yourself organized earlier in the day so you aren’t scrambling a few hours before you have a meeting or class. This also encourages you to sleep earlier which is so good for your brain and overall health. I always feel productive when I wake up earlier to spend some time with myself or my plants. I’ll do laundry, clean my space, or sage it.

I like to make my environment as cozy and clear as possible since I work from home. My room and space is minimal but functional. I may do a post of how I set up my room with a list of where I got everything (let me know if you like that kind of stuff). I bought this new LED light for my room and I am SO obsessed with it. I put it on my Instagram stories and got a ton of questions about it. Best late-night purchase LOL. It changes colors automatically or can go from dim to bright. I love it in the morning because it’s a colorful way to wake up. I will light a candle or sage and try to be very present in those early hours. I love me a good wood wick candle because it sounds like a campfire and when it rains outside, it’s a perfect combo of cozy. There is something magical about it. I love this time because it’s just for me and it makes me feel like I am taking care of myself. I also do my extensive skincare routine in the morning too. 

7 am – 9 am
I make my coffee/detox drink, open my emails, go over my to-do list(s), and make breakfast. This is a pretty boring time of my day because I am still waking up. The coffee helps for sure. I don’t typically shower in the mornings but if I do, I do my whole skincare routine in the morning if I didn’t do it earlier.

I like getting my emails out of the way and try to communicate to people ASAP. I am the worst texter known to man and I try to respond to emails within 24 hours. I’m just super lazy, it’s nothing personal. I will mentally respond but won’t actually respond until I realize “oh crap, I need to get this info out”. I am trying to be better, I swear LOL. I know most people are asleep by then but I like to get it out of the way since I don’t really respond to emails or texts later in the evening.

9 am – 3 pm
This is when most of my work gets done. I schedule meetings during this time and do the hard/tedious work. I learned that this is my productivity hours. I block in school time too. M/W/F/Sunday I try to work on school work about a couple of hours within those days. Then the rest of the week/time is devoted to keeping up with my clients or working on INTech tasks. I know this is when most people respond to emails or even start checking.

The rest of the day is either work or leisure time. It’s pretty boring to be honest so I won’t go into detail about that.

It takes a lot of discipline to wake up early. When the alarm goes off I am so tempted to snooze it but making the decision to wake up will lead to other productive choices throughout the day. If you can choose to fight sleep and wake up early, you can choose to do anything positive throughout your day.  You also feel like you got the most out of your day and you can fit in other things that you want to do whether it be to do laundry, reorganize your calendar, calling your mom, whatever it is. You overall feel better about what you have done throughout your day. It also creates better habits like sleeping early or staying organized. I’ve felt less anxious and more in-tune because I allocate 2 hours of my day to just focus on me. I also have given myself more time to wake up so when I enter meetings or I start my day, my body has had time to adjust. I feel less tired throughout my day.

I hope you all try this out. Let me know how you feel about it!

Intern Help Guide Week 7: Interning FAQs ❓

A couple of weeks ago, I asked on my social media (@tkhoub + @isanyonereallylistening) what burning questions people had about internships. I wanted to take the time to answer them in this intern help guide week 7 that I think would benefit you guys through into your internship.

I am a few weeks off on this series because my internship has been super demanding, I’ve been moving, and just a lot has been happening in my personal life. Also, I did a complete rebranding. A post on that is coming very shortly.

If you are new to this series on my blog, hello and welcome. I curated this intern help guide to help anyone going through an internship right now. This is made by an intern for other interns. I have interned in the fin-tech, start-up, and corporate space for the past few years.

Below you will find some of my previous posts about my internship experience. ⬇️⬇️⬇️

Intern Help Guide Week 6: Networking 

Intern Help Guide Week 5 👩🏽‍💻 Soft Skills They Don’t Tell You About

Intern Help Guide Week 4 🤷🏽‍♀️ Is a “work-life balance” achievable?

Intern Help Guide Week 2-3 ⚡️ Things Get Easier

“When should people start looking and applying to internships?”

I’m not a recruiter or hiring manager so every company looks different. Most companies like to start their hiring process EARLY, like, August early. I typically start looking for 10-15 companies I am interested in learning more about a week into my school semester. I have applied to companies who don’t start looking to hire interns until January. But a good time frame to start is August-October. Decisions usually get sent out before or during the holidays. Look for internships based on the role, not the company itself. There are amazing companies out there that may not be the right fit for you. You want to consider the role, the company’s culture/mission, the location, compensation. Have an idea of a role then look at different companies that provide that. It may be the big names or it may not be. Don’t limit yourself because it’s all about getting that real-world experience.

“What is the best way to stand out in an internship?”

Come into your internship ready to learn and grow. Showing genuine interest in your team and work will really help you stand out. Being curious to learn new things, meet new people, and networking with other people in the company shows your passion for the work that you’re doing. Not every aspect of the role is going to be fun. That’s true with anything. You won’t like every class but it’s important to keep in mind that you are here for 10-12 weeks. Make a lasting impression. Be present, be adaptable, and be teachable. Also, don’t forget to be yourself. You are in a professional environment but you can still be an individual. You come to the table with a fresh set of eyes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re lost.

“What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as an intern?”

I think one of the things I have been struggling with is feeling like I have to know it all. I don’t want to look dumb or incapable of doing something but there is a lot of new stuff that I know nothing about. There are some expectations your managers have but they do not expect you to know everything right off the bat. Knowing that you will make mistakes and are there to learn has really helped me ground myself. Be open to learning new things. I faced an imposter syndrome too. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be here and that someone else who is smarter or goes to an Ivy league school deserves this more than I do. I had to take a second to identify what I can add. But remember, you are there for a reason. There’s a reason they picked you and be appreciative of every learning moment you get to experience.  You deserve to be in this role and you are doing great.

“I did an internship. Now what?”

To be completely honest this is what I think about a lot. Take time to reflect on the entire experience. What did you learn from this? How did you grow? What did it teach you? and thinking about how you can apply it back to your role as a student or in your next job? You learn about what you like and don’t like about role as you go through the entire experience. Figure out if you see yourself working in that company or a similar role. Apply that awareness when looking at next internships or opportunities. After your internship, maintain contact with some of the people that really stuck out to you. Connect with them on LinkedIn so you know where they’re going and they can see you too

“How do I remain productive when things get boring?” 

Like I said above, you won’t always love what you do. But take every opportunity (yes, even the boring ones) as a chance to learn something. You’re there for a limited time so tough it out. If you consistently aren’t given work you are excited about, have a conversation with your manager of some of the expectations you had going into the internship and some of the areas you want to explore. I’ve been given work where I had to pull data from jumbled up files. It was super tedious, boring, and frustrating but it’s apart of the job. With any role or task, there will be things you won’t enjoy. You’re an intern so you’ll be given “intern” work. People will send you stuff that seems boring or useless but do the work the best way you know how to. If you already have a lot on your plate be honest and say something like “Thank you for considering me for this task, however, I am working on x, y, and z and I need to finish this first”. Learning how to manage your time effectively will help balance your work.

I hope you found this interesting. I will be going on Instagram Live very soon to talk more about these questions and answer any others that you may have.

What I’ve Learned From The Last 6 Months

The first 6 months and your next 6 months will not be the same. We are now in July which means we are in the second half of 2018 so you will face a new series of challenges, blessings, and obstacles that will look different.  You choose to have that difference be a “good different” or “a bad different”. Only you have the power to do that. One of the best feelings is when you realize how much power you have in your own life to do the things you want to do.

I usually do a “What I’ve Learned From: [Month]” but considering now that we are halfway through the year I wanted to take the time to reflect on the first half of 2018. I hope you all can learn from some of the things I have learned these past few months.

I knew 2018 was going to be a hard year but I’ve grown so much because of it. Last year had nothing on the growth I’ve had in the past 6 months alone. Not all of that growth has been good. There have been dark times and a lot of nights where I kept asking “Why?”. I know this year was hard for a lot of people and I’m in awe how some people can handle the things life throws at them. I’m truly inspired by that. I love seeing the good in people come out in times of adversity. I saw that within myself too.

I told myself that 2018 was going to be a selfish year for me. I’m turning 21 in a couple of weeks and I also launched my brand + platform on January 17 of this year. 1/17/2018. I’ve seen myself grow throughout my platform in so many ways and I think my platform is a really good representation of where my headspace is at. It hasn’t been in the most positive places and due to some traumatic experiences, I found myself desperately needing myself more and more. I couldn’t rely on anyone else to save me. I was in a really toxic place. I struggled with an eating disorder which had severe impacts on my overall health. I wasn’t healthy at the time but I have come a long way since. My relationship with food is steadily improving because I stopped punishing myself for things that had nothing to do with me to begin with.

Learning how to take care of myself

I’ve learned what taking care of yourself looks like and how valuable peace, energy, and light is in my life. I spend a lot of my time focusing on my own peace and protecting that because I’ve seen myself in a place where I wasn’t doing that. I wasn’t giving myself the love and energy I was giving other people. I think it’s easy to look outwards for happiness, love, and validation but when I catch myself doing that I always ask myself “Am I providing that for myself first?”. That behavior is something I’ve practiced over time.

A lot of the self-love and me taking care of myself was new to me so I didn’t what it looked like. I had to make the conscious choice to take care of myself every single day.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned this year, so far, is you have to take care of yourself before you do anything. I wasn’t a good friend, a good partner, a good energy to those I cared about because I didn’t know how to properly take care of myself mentally, physically, and emotionally. It really affected a lot of my relationships around me and my health too.

You don’t really ever get taught to do that. I don’t we teach how to take care of yourself in a way that’s deeper than the surface level things like face masks, relaxing, etc. We focus so much on being stable financially and in our careers but never take a step back to look at the person who has to go through this. In order to go through anything, you have to be okay with yourself first. Before I hated to be alone and now I value my independence so much more because I know that only I can offer that peace of mind in life.

The Newness

The first 6 months of this year have been some of my darkest days and a lot of new transitions. I’m learning that your early 20s are some of the hardest times because you are in between being a real adult and still being a teenager. There are so many firsts that happen to a lot of us during this time that can be overwhelming. Your first move, your first real job, your first big heartbreak, the first bill you have to start paying. Whatever it is, it’s new for us. But the new isn’t impossible, it’s just unfamiliar which can be scary. It was for me. I’ve learned that once things become more of a practice they do become a lot easier. It takes time but it’s a valuable time of learning.

Moving to a new city by myself was a lot more lonely than I ever anticipated. I am also in a new role in a completely different company. I’ve been sharing my internship help guide for all of you to benefit from it and go through this together.

What I’ve done to help myself with the newness is to take a step back, look at it for what it is, and be grateful for it all. I think about how lucky I am to have these opportunities to do what I am empowered to do. Even when I am overwhelmed, I thank God for everything because I know that He is shaping me to be the woman I am supposed to be. So of course, it’s going to be a little difficult.

Relationships

Let’s get a little personal… If you have been reading my content for awhile, you know that one of the last relationships I was in wasn’t very healthy.  I fell into an awful mental cycle that I have since pulled myself out of. I wasn’t taking care of myself.

There are things that I still battle daily to overcome it but you can’t rush the healing process. I am also a very forgiving person so despite what’s happened I chose to forgive and move past what happened. I didn’t want to carry any animosity with me because it would have bled into other aspects of my life. I do still love this person and will continue to have love for this person despite how much it affected me.

With other relationships, I’ve realized that sometimes taking the time to work on yourself before you can even commit to anyone else. It’s a working progress and something I try to be mindful of every single day. This goes back to being honest with yourself in order to find peace in what you do and who you want to do it with. Take accountability when you mess up, if you want something just go do it, and don’t take any of the growing process for granted.

I’ve also given myself the permission to take time away from certain circumstances. I need to keep everything and everyone at an arm’s length before I welcome them back into my circle or space. Everyone you meet comes with their own energy, their own conditioning, and I think it’s perfectly okay to say “Hey, I don’t want to have this in my life right now while I learn to figure some things out on my own”. You need to communicate that to those around you if you need the space to process the chaos in your world. I think it’s perfectly healthy to do that. The people around you will want to help and support you but somethings you need to digest at your own pace. They may not understand but if you need to do it for yourself, they’ll have to accept it.

My Brand Baby

I love talking about this because this is a place where I can really be myself. My brand, my platform, my social media is really important to me. Some people may think it’s superficial or may not be sustainable however I feel like I am being called to share my stories with you all. The whole development of building a brand is so much more than people think. You are your own boss so you have to keep yourself accountable and motivated to do whatever it is. Whether it be creating social media templates or reaching out to brands, you have to stay on it. I get to create things that reflect me in a way that engages people. I don’t need 1000 followers who don’t engage with my content. I’d much rather have a few who are really listening to offer feedback and show support. I love hearing from you guys and talking to you all.

I’d like to think that my brand has been successful in the past 6 months since it’s conception. I started it because I wanted to express myself to people who felt like no one was listening to them. I get to be myself: authentically and organically. ALSO, it’s a creative outlet for me. There is so much that goes into social media behind just posting. Now, there is a new social media industry that wasn’t there before. There are so many jobs that got created because bloggers and influencers took a leap of faith to share their thoughts with the world. This industry may seem competitive but I don’t really believe in that word. I think there is so much out there already that people can connect to and just because you connect with one person doesn’t mean you don’t connect with other people. It’s created a community of creators who want to support one another. I know there are some snakes out there but so far, I’ve met some of the most incredible girl bosses because of my platform.

It’s something that I have worked a lot on and put a lot of energy into so I protect it like it’s my own. You all will see a new face of my brand very soon and I am so excited. I get to evolve with Is Anyone Really Listening? Again, this speaks back to the self-power.

Intern Help Guide Week 4 🤷🏽‍♀️ Is a “work life balance” achievable?

If you are new to my platform, HI welcome! You are reading the 3rd post of a series I’ve created for anyone navigating a first job or an internship. The tips provided are from my experience as an intern for various companies throughout the past few years. Specifically in the business + technology industry.

They are intended to help you and support you wherever you are in your career. Thank you so much to all of you for showing me support with this.

Okay, let’s get started…

Something I know a lot of new hires or interns don’t talk about is the work-life shift you go through when starting a new role. You may not be used to the long hour days or some of the sleepless nights. If you’re entering the workforce as a college student, it can be a challenge to adjust to a new environment. By week four you will have a better grasp of what type of schedule works best for you but it can seem a little repetitive. Trust me it’s okay if you feel a little bored of it.

You wake up, get ready, go to work, maybe do a workout, come home, make dinner, have a few hours to yourself, and go to sleep. Now older people may look at this and think “yeah welcome to the real world” but I kind of want to challenge that. Not everyone’s life’s goal is to live that kind of life. Try to remember when you were new to this.

Managing a different type of work pressure and your own life can be a huge adjustment for people. I know for me and other interns it has been. No matter what role I have played in my internships, adjusting to the monotony and fatigue was a process.

Work in itself, regardless of what you do, is really gratifying. Your internship is a huge dopamine rush of gratification to your brain. You’re doing things that are making an impact in the company and you have to learn to disconnect from work and your personal life. Your work cannot be your happiness. It can be really easy to blindly fall into this trap of having work be your only source of happiness. Remember you’re a person beyond the work environment. You spent 40 + hours in your week at work which is a lot of time and sometimes even more than you see your own family or friends.

In your internship, you will experience some work pressure that you’re unfamiliar with. That’s perfectly normal. So many people entering the workforce experience this or even being in the workforce. These are things no one really tells you about working in the real world.

As a student, you have a lot of free time that isn’t as available when you’re working. This is a culture shock for a lot of people and that’s okay. I’ve experienced this in various ways. It’s taken me 3 weeks to get comfortable with a sleeping schedule and a routine that works for me.

Here’s what I’ve learned to do to ease some of the pressure.

Let me know what things you do that I haven’t shared!

  • Unplug: Allow yourself to disconnect from the office when you’re not supposed to be working. I don’t check emails after 5 pm. Once I’m home, I’m home. I like to keep my work life and my personal life separate. I will admit, I do think about the work and carry some of that with me but I try to be present in the time that I have for myself.
  • Figuring out what brings you peace + gratification outside of work. Make sure you spend time, even if it’s just an hour, with yourself doing something you love to do. For me, I love spending time creating content on my platform or on social media. It’s a creative outlet for me to be present with my time and really do something I love to do.
  • Talking to your mentors and managers at work to let them know that you’re adjusting to this new routine. You should be able to be honest to them and let them know that you might be struggling but are looking for ways to find a balance. If work is getting too overwhelming, it’s okay to focus on your immediate tasks and say no to things. It’s okay to let your manager know if your work load is overwhelming. Communicating some of your challenges throughout your internship is a way for them to offer insight as to how they do it. It’s a great topic to talk about in your bi-weekly 1:1s!
  • Giving yourself the permission to make plans with your friends and your family so you’re not so consumed with work. Make time for those people. Sometimes I have a hard time keeping contact with my friends or family when I’m super busy because I’m consumed with creating content or busy with work. They can help put things back into perspective and will anchor you.
  • Making plans that you’re looking forward to. Whether it be something you do after work or on the weekend. It’s okay to enjoy your time outside of your internship. You’re supposed to. Connect with other interns near you or in your program to go on fun adventures. That’ll help bring you back to reality.
  • Leaning in on that support system of yours. Whenever I don’t want to think about anything work related, I have my friends tell me all about their lives and their world to distract me. I make it about them to get my mind off some of the chaos. If you do want to talk to them about a work problem, they may not understand right away because they don’t work the way you do. That’s okay! Confiding in your support system is going to help you stay grounded in who you are and it’s going to ease some of that pressure.
  • As cliche as this sounds but doing something active helps relieve a lot of pressure. You can channel the stress from work into something that makes you feel good. Even walking outside for lunch will brighten up your energy levels. I think we put way too much pressure on ourselves as interns to do the best. It’s great to be perfectionists but you need to find a way to get release that energy.
  • Remember that it’s only 10 or 12 weeks and things do get easier. They’ll be bouts of your internship where you will have a lot to do and other weeks you won’t be as busy. Business is a cycle. You’ll find your balance and your routine. Also so many people go through this. Find solace knowing that you’re not alone in figuring this out.
  • Make yourself a priority. Do at least 3 things for yourself everyday that help you unwind and destress. You need to take care of yourself and it’s so easy to forget and focus on other things but be mindful of what you need to be successful.

In your internship you’re going to meet a lot of other interns who are going through the same thing. You guys grow closer because you’re going through the same experience together. Keep those connections close because when you’re overwhelmed or just need to talk about work they are going to be a huge help.

You should be mindful of how you are treating yourself outside of the workspace.

If you’re reading this and you’re not an intern or never had an internship, do not let this scare you. People create their own “balance” in their own way. Some people have a harder time adjusting and some people adjust really easily. It just depends but it’s good to know that this is something that comes along with an internship too because you’re learning in an applicative setting. I don’t want to intimidate anyone from having an internship because it’s hands down one of the best learning experiences I’ve had. I’ve learned more from my internships than I have in my years in school.

I’ve had a few insightful conversations from people who have been in the industry for 20+ years or people who are just entering it (like myself) and they all have similar experiences. You are going to find what works for you. Remember to take care of your mental health and your physical health before you consider work or school or anything.

Hoping this was helpful. I’m working on some amazing stuff for you guys, I can’t wait to share to all of you really listening ✨

The Foam Roller For Your Face

I am a big skincare junkie. I follow a lot of beauty influencers who put me on a lot of amazing products. Some of them are super expensive so I try to find dupes that fit within my budget.

My latest skin care purchase is the jade roller. If you don’t know what it is here is a picture for reference. IMG_7835.jpg

The one I have is this one from Amazon. It’s about $14 bucks which is cheap considering that this one is $63. There are other cheaper ones but this is available on Prime, so I got it.

Jade rollers are popping up on a lot of different beauty bloggers pages because of its superpowers. I’ve bought mine two weeks ago and I use it multiple times a day to depuff my face or help serum to penetrate in my skin. I’ve noticed a huge difference. Next to my microneedling pen, this is my favorite.

What it does:

  • Depuffs areas on your face: eyes, cheeks, etc. Depuffing can happen if you have too much sodium the night before or have any sort of congestion.
  • Massages your lymphatic system and improves circulation in your face

Your lymphatic system is your bodies internal sewage system. It helps your organs and skin get rid of any extra sh*t you put into your body. When you use the jade roller on your face it massages any congestion and helps everything get to the proper channel. The massaging sensation helps get rid of any build up of toxins in your face that may cause it to feel puffy or congested.

How I like to use it:

I use mine every morning, during the day, and before I go to sleep. I sometimes put it in my fridge because when it’s cold, it awakens my face and feels so good. Also, the cold helps depuff my under eyes. I use the larger end and go over my cheekbones. Whether you’d contour your cheekbones, use it there. It’ll help carve them out. You can use it going up and down (cheekbone to chin) or side to side (cheekbone to ear). I go away from my face (so moving it into my hairline) and down my neck to help the drainage.

I use the smaller end under my eyes (most noticeable results) and between my eyebrows. Again, all the movements going towards my hairline. I use a medium pressure, sometimes if I feel super puffy I go a little HAM. Depending on how sensitive your skin is, you may experience some redness. If so, it’ll go away in a few seconds. You’ll be fine, I promise.

At the end of the night, after I have all my serums and sprays on my face I like to go over my cheekbones, between my eyebrows, and under my eyes. It helps your serum get into your pores. Also I go over my eyebrows too which may sound weird. It helps with getting the blood distributed and can help nutrients to feed your brows. My mom told me about this hack. So thanks mommy.

I highly recommend this product. I’ve seen amazing results. Before an important meeting or night out you can use this to depuff. I hate feeling super puffy in the mornings. This helps it. I am jade rolling right now LOL. I swear I love this thing so so much.