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!

My new role as Program Director and why STEM is important for girls.

Hey guys! Coming at you with a new blog post. This one hits near and dear to my heart. For the past month, I have been working with INTech Camps for Girls. A technology camp for middle school and high school girls in Charlotte, North Carolina. An organization like INTech is exactly what Charlotte needs to grow the existing technology talent brewing in this city.

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Ever since I moved, I made it a personal goal of mine to get involved with the existing women in tech community. Through technology and social media I’ve had the chance to meet so many incredible and inspiring women who I aspire to be like. One of those people is my fearless leader, Khalia Braswell, the Founder of INTech. Her story is so inspiring to me and I honestly fangirled so hard when I got the opportunity. She brought me on to launch the high school program to offer a new wave of scholars the opportunity to gain more experience in technology.

Because of organizations like INTech, my technology journey started. Had I not had people that kind of looked liked me and were empowered by STEM, I might have picked another career path. I am so thankful my passion for problem solving and storytelling persisted because I can’t imagine being in any other industry.  There is no reason why more girls at a young age, especially in middle school and high school, shouldn’t have access to technology tools to get them immersed in this creative, digital world. Girls in technology offer unique solutions to the problems today. By including minorities and marginalized communities in the conversation, you empower different ways to think about the world we live in.  These different perspectives can yield diverse solutions. Growing up I never really saw Persian or minority women in STEM.  We need more girls who code. We need this next generation of engineers to feel like they can be themselves and there isn’t one path to be successful. To have a platform where I can express my extroverted, colorful personality in the technology field is my way of showing people that tech isn’t one color nor one gender. It’s colorful and vibrant and creative.

To be honest, this is a new role for me and is completely out of my comfort zone. I’ve never really had a position of authority but seeing how Khalia and her peers move and interact helps my confidence because I see someone actually does this and loves it. The non-profit sector is a challenge but it can be very rewarding too. Being in this position over the past month has pushed me out of my comfort zone in ways I didn’t think was possible and when the work becomes grueling I remind myself of the impact we hope to make.

I am excited for what the future holds. Hearing the girls say “I want to go into technology” or “I want to go into web design” makes me so happy because this is the future being formed. TKBRANDING-03 (1)

What I’ve Learned From: May

I knew this was going to go by fast. I think I mentioned this in one of my older posts but I take this time to reflect on the past month because it’s my way of slowing down and being intentional about my growth.

What I like to do, now that it’s a series on my blog, is I like to read what I learned from before. I think the biggest takeaway between April and May is: learn to embrace what’s uncomfortable and unknown but always remain grounded in who you are and the path you’re on. 

A lot of things happened in May. Well first, I moved which is honestly a lonely experience. I talk about it more in this post. Moving, in a nutshell, is lonely. I am so used to having all of my close friends within a few miles of me. I don’t have that luxury anymore and honestly, it’s been hard for me. It’s helped me grow but its unknown and uncomfortable but things are getting easier. I think it’s testing my patience, for sure. It’s helped that I travel to see my friends and my person or they come here. My childhood best friend even came to visit one weekend so it’s been easier because of that. But during the week, it’s been necessary TK time.

A lot of newness this month. I’ve learned to embrace it and absorb it. I moved May 5th. I write this on June 3rd, the day before I start my internship (big girl job, woot woot). So I’ve almost been here a month and it’s gone by SO fast.

I like exploring cities and I’ve gotten more comfortable putting myself out there. Even though I am a pretty extroverted person I get so much anxiety walking up to people and starting conversations with them. But when you’re new somewhere and you aren’t interacting with new people everyday you need to put yourself out there and make friends.

I think I’ve realized that there are some things and people that need to stay in your past. You need to be able to close a chapter and just move forward. It takes a lot of strength to remain present but it’s always for the best. People will come and go but you can’t settle for what you feel is wrong. This is the whole idea around being grounded in who you are.

I’ve sat down and talked to a lot of new faces this month. It’s scary and intimidating because a lot of these people were either older than me, smarter than me, more experienced than me. I fell into this trap of thinking that I wasn’t good enough to even sit and talk to them when in fact, I was I just needed to trust that I deserved to be there. I decided that instead of trying to gain something specific I would just open my ears and mind to what they had to say. But I’ve learned so much from listening. Is Anyone Really Listening? Yeah, I am. I think my biggest goal was to become more confident in what I’m doing. You need to trust that the path you’re on, despite what everyone elses may look like, fits your goals and ambitions.

I’m lucky to have someone close to me (cough cough Jason) who unconditionally supports what I do and who I am. I’ve never really had that before. What he’s taught me is that there is no one that will trust in your ability more than yourself. I see that reflected in everything he does. He is so grounded in who he is and what he’s doing it makes me want to have that level of security within myself.  He has a side hustle like I do. It’s inspiring to see someone work so hard at their craft and also show so much support for yours. It’s been one of the big reasons why I feel so grounded because I know what I am doing is great and requires a lot of work so I don’t need to explain that to someone. I can go on and on about how amazing of a person he is but seriously, having someone in your corner no matter how much you pride yourself on being independent, matters. We all want to be seen, heard, and understood. He does that and beyond.

I always say that the most unconventional paths lead to a lot of amazing lessons. This is so true. I’m slowly getting out of my comfort zone in a way that I haven’t been used to in the past. Embracing the newness of a new job, city, or even just a new mindset makes you evolve as a person. It’s SCARY but necessary. I’ve done a lot of amazing things towards my professional career goals this month.

Some highlights

The Steminist Campaign
Taking on a new client
Learning more about Charlotte’s identity, culture, and people.
I cut my hair and I feel like a whole new person.
I attended Charlotte’s 30 Under 30 Event
Stepping out of my comfort zone and learning to be okay with it
Staying true to what I feel is right for me in this moment.
Actively practicing self-care.

✨Grounded, Growing, and Glowing ✨

This time of year is a transitional period for a lot of people. Graduation, prom, moving, internships, summer, opportunity, all of that stuff. It’s a bittersweet time too because, on one hand, you’re excited about all the things ahead but on another, you’re going to miss some of the most important memories or people that have shaped you. I always feel extra anxious because I hate saying goodbye. But this year, I am the one leaving. Apart of me is really scared to move but another part of me is really excited to be around new people, a new city and start over.

Also, this time period seems to move VERY VERY fast.

Spring semester flew by and throughout this entire semester some really powerful things happened for me. More recently, I have evolved. I am constantly growing. Some of that growth is painful and some of it is so beautiful. And I am soaking every moment of it in.

So, let’s get personal…

My blog launching, a toxic relationship, an eating disorder, and transformational decision to move to Charlotte later and here we are: exactly where I am supposed to be.

Some of the situations like my ED is a process. There is no fixed formula or recipe for it but writing about it allows me to shed some of the weight (ironic) of it all off. It doesn’t place the burden that I am carrying this challenge with me alone because I know many people also go through it.

One of the most challenging realizations I had was I wasn’t loving, accepting, and living my truth. I put myself in a position where I felt like I had to compromise who I was in fear of not receiving the love and security I was searching for. The relationship I was in didn’t support me and everything I was and it felt like I was in competition with every and any person or thing in his life. Those emotions pushed me to realize I wasn’t taking care of myself in the process. I didn’t feel like I couldn’t defend who I was when things happened. Things that were wrong and had nothing to do with me.

Through extensive therapy, I’m in a better place of taking care of myself and I don’t compromise who I am the way I used to. I trust who I am and what I can offer.

I wasn’t treating myself with the same love, compassion, and forgiveness I was offering other people. Being in therapy and actively practicing self-love/self-care taught me that there is no one that can offer me anything I can’t offer myself. The search began from the source: me. I was lost in the shuffle of being the “perfect woman” and wasn’t being myself in the process. I was trying to be what other people thought I should be. When in reality, all I needed to be was myself.

It’s become so apparent to me, during this time of transition, that the people and circumstances that support and love you are the ones you chose to attract. During this time, I look around to see who is there and who isn’t. I’ve learned not to beat myself up about the people that aren’t in my life because everyone has choices and I can’t bother myself too much about the choices other people make for themselves.

My therapist and I came up with a mantra that I say every day.

“I want to take care of myself in such a way that I am not abusing myself. I can do this by taking ownership of what I do and who I do it with”

I hope you all can benefit from this in some way. It reminds us to give ourselves the permission to nurture ourselves as much as we nurture other people.

Once I’ve begun taking ownership of myself, my actions, and my reactions to situations I have been protecting so much of my energy. I’ve disconnected myself from what other people choose to do with their lives and the people in them. That’s helped me nurture myself instead of punishing myself for choices other people make.

Practicing self-care is so much more than doing a face mask. It’s really thinking about what your limitations are and what you can/ cannot do within that. I’ve been communicating more openly on how I feel and think instead of trying to shrink myself to be someone I’m not. I cannot punish myself if someone chooses not to accept that because I am who I am. That may sound self-righteous but I think when you’re aware of yourself and your behaviors you can identify who you really are and teach yourself to accept yourself. You won’t feel the need to be in competition with anyone once you really see your own value.

That has translated into my brand and other areas of my life. I am so ready to embrace the good, the bad, and everything else this next phase of my life will offer. I won’t ever reduce myself to be seen as “enough” for someone else.

Transitions are amazing because you can slow down, be honest with yourself, and figure out a plan of action for where/who you want to be. Think about the people around you and what their limitations are. And give yourself the permission to love yourself for who you are.

What I’ve Learned From: Developing My Brand

In no means do I have an influence but I have worked hard in developing consistent content for you all and from that, I have gotten really awesome feedback from you guys saying that you connect with my stuff which makes me SO happy because that’s the whole point. So those who are really listening, thank you and if you’re not, like why?

Since you all show me support on Instagram and on my blog, I am able to do some really amazing things like speak at the Women On the Rise Bestie Brunch hosted by Social Besties. While I learned from everyone else there, I’m glad you all learned from me as well. As much as you all have learned from me, I have learned so much from you all individually and from how you interact with my content. I do my best to give you all exactly what you’re looking for while staying true to who I am as a person, content creator, and brand.

This whole experience has been a learning process. I have always been on the author side and now to be the author, founder, creator, creative team, social media team, and everything else is all new to me but it’s exciting to me and I am so thankful for this. I brought this on myself from launching and that experience alone taught me so much. I revisit this post to remind myself why and how I got started. It was one of the first follow-up styled posts that I have written in the past.

Speaking on a panel of women who I have actually connected with through social media and who have been apart of launches that I have started, been apart of, or even contributed to was one of the coolest experiences ever because it brought everything full circle. I admire all of these women so much and to have the chance to be on the same panel as them seems unreal to me. I have never thought of myself as being in this position where I can have a positive impact or influence on someone.

I was super nervous and intimidated at first but I thought of it as a conversation with everyone there. I felt so connected to speaking to you all about the things that I am passionate about and having this platform is the vessel for me to do that. As I continue to grow and get more opportunities I never want to stray away from my mission and intention for all of this.

I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur but here I am, paving my own path, in my own way, at my own time and it feels powerful. I feel like we all have these ideas and the things that we want to do but never do them but one day I decided to actually do the thing that scared me (putting out my own work for the world to criticize).

When I started, I wanted to make sure everything was done perfectly but what I realized is that you can’t keep waiting for things to be perfect. Perfection is unattainable and honestly, things will never be perfect because you will always find something to improve on. For me, I go back to edit my content consistently or am trying to find ways to make sure everything looks good visually. You need to be like Nike and just fucking do it.

A great idea is cool but the people that actually learn and make change actually DO the things they had their mind set on. There are so many chances for me to fail, one mistake and everything is over but regardless I am still going to story tell, I will always love technology, I will keep doing the things I love to share with you guys even if the platform went away. I never went into this thinking I would grow fast or I would even have this opportunity. I just wrote, posted it on social media, learned from it all and devoted my life to making amazing, relatable content for you all. This doesn’t make me special and in no means am I expecting applause but I will say that I can easily spot someone who is going to fail at what they are doing and I can point out who is going to succeed based on why and how they do what they do. That goes for anything, not just content related.

If you want to start a Youtube channel, study something, or pursue a career in an area that you know makes a lot of money but you don’t care about the impact or reasoning behind why you are doing it. YOU WILL FAIL. Sorry sweetheart, someone had to tell you. The intention is the leading driver in all of this and next is passion. Intention guides us while passion fuels us. On my laptop, I have a series of words on a sticky note to remind me in everything I do to be: intentional, considerate, deliberate, methodical, aware, accountable, and to focus on execution because like I said I have a lot of good ideas but what makes them great and real is the fact that I act on them in the best way I know how to and with the resources I am equipped with.

I don’t know everything I need to know, I don’t know a lot, and I am aware of that. I am not writing this to condemn anyone or make it seem like I know everything when I know that I don’t but what I do know is that by asking questions and staying curious in my craft I have opened a lot of doors for myself and my brand. 

It’s important to me that people understand that developing a brand, product, whatever it requires more than just the idea. You need to have passion and the right intentions to do whatever it is you want to do otherwise you won’t be successful. If you try to prove me wrong have fun but you won’t.

If you take nothing else from this post take this: Be aware in what you’re doing and why you are doing it. Be deliberate with how you invest your energy and how you choose to execute. Go at your own pace because everyone is so different and has their own path. Take accountability for the things you are doing in your life and check your friends from time to time to make sure they are who they are becoming to be in their own time. Be sure to be considerate in what you are doing in relation to how it could change, affect, or influence your current situation and your future situation. I promise you that good people with positive intentions make the world move and that is exactly what I am trying to do and if I ever stray away from that please TELL ME.