Coming from a South Asian background and watching the women around me constantly be the caregivers, and having that idea drilled into my existence for a very long time, the notion of self care took ages to embrace and even enjoy. But now that I do it, I find it an immensely fruitful experience, not only putting me in a state of wellbeing but also giving me the impetus to care for others better, now that I am in a place of satisfaction with myself. I put myself first when it comes to my health so I can concentrate better on my goals personally and professionally.
I do at least three things daily that are just about me. I enjoy my morning tea or coffee minus any distractions. In fact, the husband and I use this time to talk about what we have going on for the day and what we are looking forward to.
I then read for about 15-30 minutes. Not on a device but either a magazine or a book so I am not tempted to check into my email or social media for a quick glance.
And I spend 10-15 minutes looking at my paper diary planning my day and prioritizing the five things I want to address.
Additionally, I spend 15 minutes doing stretches which are integral to my health as I do have a back injury from a few years ago that I have to pay attention to in order to avoid any future issues.
So essentially, the first hour of every day, at least during the work week, is focused on my self care and I am truly thankful for that. On a monthly basis, I ensure I head out for at least one weekend activity every week, typically a Saturday hike or a Sunday bike ride by the beach. I always make time for a monthly massage and a monthly manicure/pedicure as well. And if the month goes really well in terms of personal and professional goals, we splurge with a nice weekend away or dinner out to enjoy what we have accomplished thus far!
What is your self care routine?
Out of sheer frustration with having to chase payments for work long completed and submitted, and simply aghast at the prevalent issue of non-payment in the publishing and media industry, I decided to create my own digital lifestyle magazine during the holidays last year (2017).
I have so far published two digital issues and am working on my third to be released later this month. My goal is to make this an international publication, well read globally among a culture conscious and world aware audience, to increase subscriptions through the year (currently free to sign up and receive the monthly mag direct to inbox) and eventually garner advertising and sponsorship to be able to pay writers and photographers that I commission stories to.
This is ideally done by a large media and publishing conglomerate or at least a smaller team but currently I do this completely on my own – I design the magazine, I write copy and shoot images, I publish it online and promote it as well.
The primary obstacle is people wanting to benefit from my efforts but not support – friends have asked if they can write for me for free just to receive an extra byline for themselves but not necessarily ask me how they can help or spread the word to benefit my cause before they ask for something for themselves. I am more open to working with people that show an interest in my work for what it is and help increase subscriptions to benefit us both in the long run.
Another obstacle is the disbelief people express when I say I am a publisher and editor of a digital magazine since an individual owning a publication is not the norm, so showing that this is my business and not a hobby has been a roadblock. This isn’t crazy or unachievable. It's simply a matter of putting out a consistent product of quality that people will take note of and I will work on it with all my heart to make it a fruitful and life satisfying experience.
While a lot of folks like to look at the annual review at the end of the year, I like to do mine the beginning of the new year…why kill the magic of what could happen the last few hours of a good year anyway!
2016 has been a year of highs and lows with my writing and editing work. Some surprises thrown in – good and bad. But, I like to look at the positive more than the negative and use that energy to glide into the New Year.
Not intended as a scare but more a celebration of the year that has been and what's to come! It is the countdown to the end with just two months to spare - what have you accomplished and what are your plans next?
This has been a ridiculously busy year for me taking on as editor for two print mags, copy editing for one, and editing for another website on a regular basis apart from clients old and new either being referred or finding me through my site and social media.
If that wasn't all, looks like I might have some additional new clients signing on even as the year closes out. Not bad, considering this time last year I had just moved to the west coast and knew nobody here. Zilch. Nada.
No professional connections and barely any personal either. I definitely had to give myself time and promised a year for my career here to start up. And then it did. And how!
I am thankful for connections old and new and definitely for the role that technology has played in keeping me on the radar with old friends as well helping make headway with new business relationships. I usually send out my thank you cards to business acquaintances and associates, clients and other professional connections during the month of November. Simply listing them now shows me I have much to be grateful for.
Hope you are doing well professionally, and wishing you much success in all you do. Happy November!
Yes, I get that a lot. The minute folks hear I work from home, for myself, they want to know how I maintain a routine. Here' the gist of it:
And all of these are pretty much non-negotiable unless something major, say a work commitment or travel, occurs last minute...
1. Waking up at the crack of dawn - I adjust this for time differences but it has been a steady 6 am for a while now. Have no trouble waking up early and usually beat the alarm clock by 5 minutes or more. Of course, the trick is to sleep on time and give your body enough rest. I sleep by 10-11 pm to give myself a good 7-8 hours of shut eye.
2. Exercising - I know I do not have the willpower to pull myself away from work during the day to exercise so instead I wake up early and take time folding in the fitness that best works for me - walking! I do a two hour walk along nearby neighborhoods or at the hike trail near my home which gives me a little over 10,000 steps on my Fitbit - quota for the day achieved.
3. Cooling down - Once I am home I take time to cool down as well as hydrate with plenty of water. Currently off coffee so a glass of warm milk is my morning beverage. No sugar, no flavor, just whole milk. Takes about a half hour. The husband is usually up by this time so we get to catch up on our day ahead.
4. Shower - Again, there have been days where pulling myself away from work was a big no and I'd work all day before realizing it was 5 pm and I had not showered yet. Exercising takes care of that. I come back home all stinky and sweaty so a shower is not negotiable. And I get ready for the day so I am dressed and all set for work mode. Half hour on this.
5. Breakfast - Another great part of exercising is I am hungry by the time I get home, cool down and shower so I head straight to the kitchen like clockwork and whip up a breakfast smoothie, sandwich, bowl of cereal to get me going. Half hour for this as well.
This routine usually gives me about a half hour to spare before I start my work day 10 am. I use that half hour to read a magazine I subscribe to or book from the library.
So, what's your morning routine?
Who knew this existed! Glad to see the initiative though and hope it encourages more folks to read. I consider every day to be reading day for me - have a steady stream of loans from the local library and an even longer wishlist waiting to be requested. Not to mention the really good narrative and feature stories available online these days. Education and literacy are important to me and I have been involved in efforts to encourage reading in organizations I have associated with. Some of my favorite books are childhood reads - books my parents got me so I could read adventure stories and imagine escapades of the Secret Seven and Famous Five. Over time, I developed my own reading tastes - went through a phase where Isaac Asimov was my God and then another where romance novels were above everything else. As I did more writing and editing work, I read books that were related - like the Elements of Style or Bird by Bird. And autobiographies as well as self-help/life improvement books took up much of my reading time. I did go through a slump where reading took a backseat and hated that - took a while to get back into the groove again but so glad my love for reading is now a big part of my life. I hope wherever you are, that you are able to enjoy reading and to encourage other stop read as well.
A meeting with a girlfriend today resulted in this topic of conversation. Oh, also, Happy March! So, financial freedom...what does that mean to you?
To me, financial freedom means the freedom to choose how I earn my finances, who I work for or with, what I do with my finances, when I want to work or not, and why, and where. Does that mean I always have the finances to practice that freedom? Not necessarily. The last few months have been financially restricting. For one, I moved coast to coast so that involved a whole new landscape in terms of type of market, work available, clients, networking, gigs, etc. For another, the time taken to adjust, relocate, apartment hunt, get settled in means a halt in my regular scheduling and dipping into savings for the time being. So while I had the freedom to not work for a while, and choose how I used my finances, to say that I always had the finances to support that situation would be a lie. A regular paycheck would have helped. No doubt. But then it would not give me the freedom to choose to move where I want, when I want and take a break for the 'time being' so I can settle into my new place. To say that financial freedom is all about the money would be wrong. Its more about the freedoms you enjoy because of the money, how much ever that may be to support the lifestyle you maintain. To assume that the amount of money we are talking here is the same for any two individuals would be naive. To assume that the amount of money at which financial freedom is a possibility for me in my last city and now in the new one I call home is also the same would be wrong too. So I guess, to answer my girlfriend, to me, financial freedom is the freedom to support my lifestyle in a given geographic area, dependent on my financial stability at that time. And the degree to which I enjoy (or don't) that financial freedom will vary widely dependent on many related factors at that time and place in my life. What does financial freedom mean for you? Comment below, if you'd like to have that conversation...
Most of my colleagues talk about how it is difficult to get started with a story sometimes. Or even build an introduction that ties together the rest of your copy perfectly. Here are some tactics I've used that I hope are useful to you as well:
1. Throw out an element of shock that immediately gets the reader hooked.
2. Use an analogy to help readers understand the similarity and relate to the story.
3. A play on words is always great, also a sign of a true crafty wordsmith.
4. Repetition. This one should be used carefully, or it will reek redundancy.
5. Include one truly memorable word that piques interest.
6. Introduce an element of mystery to encourage reading on.
7. This one's simple - a question or a declaration leading into your piece.
8. Address something that is a universal concern like love, money, sex, food, work.
9. Another often observed trick - a pithy quote.
10. Keeping it simple and memorable. Don't unload a barrage of technical terms or hifalutin phrases all at once at the very beginning - readers will turn away!
What are your tips and tricks to grab your readers' attention?
Attended a lunch and learn event today hosted by the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce and LAX Coworking featuring Jory Rosen of J. Rosen Group. The topic was best business tips for 2016 and it was a good session to hear someone with so much experience speak so frankly about what works/not in the business world these days. Here's a quick rundown of the notes I took, not necessarily verbatim but what I took away - I've actually typed them out to print and stick up by my work desk at home - wise words to remember.
1. Always exude confidence, everywhere, all the time.
2. Love what you do.
3. Do it the best way (not the fastest or the cheapest).
4. Be remarkable - be flamboyant if you need to, to stand out, be visible, get attention.
5. Review what you are selling, what people want, and if what you are selling is still relevant.
6. Make it easy for people to do business with you, buy from you, spend money with you.
7. Do give away advice or entry to events etc. to get clients in.
8. Ask for the sale, don't dilly dally.
9. Ask for referrals.
10. Always send thank yous.
11. Ask for testimonials.
12. Forget the office - go to your client to see them in their own environment.
13. Always keep learning.
14. Find a mentor.
15. Learn from your mistakes and bounce back, don't fall down.
The big one for me was to go to clients - I work freelance most times and my clients are almost always solo entrepreneurs like me working from home or coffee shops so going to where they work is pretty much where I work out of. In other cases, they are in a whole other city or country even so going to where they are is not so much an option. And I did think, for the longest time, that meeting in a mutual place, neutral to all parties involved, is the best arrangement, so nobody has home base advantage, but I can see the intent in that point and hope I can use it to my advantage some time. Hope these are useful to you as well. Good luck!
The end of the year is a great time to get rid of the clutter. I usually use the last few days of the year to clear out any mess and clean up my home, desk, laptop, purse of unnecessary things that simply don't belong. Most of it is waste, some of it has to be organized and quite a bit of it finds a home at a donation center. I enjoy starting the new year on a somewhat clean slate. It is difficult to say there is nothing carried over as there is continuity to what I will do in 2016 from where I was in 2015, but giving myself the gift of a clean space to work in, a neat desk to arrange my thoughts and a laptop free of all sorts of downloads and lists means starting out without any obstacles in my path. Paving the way for your success is in your hands. Making sure everything around me is just what I need, and anything I do not need is put away, is my way of ensuring I reach that path to success a little faster. Having moved to Los Angeles recently, I now find myself in an apartment that doe into afford me a designated desk area - then one end of my dining table will suffice for now. But having just my laptop, phone, notepad, diary and coffee cup around me gives me a sense of openness and organization to work unencumbered by too many things. This is my little routine every new year and it always works like magic. A fresh start for a new journey. Do you have any clutter tricks you'd like to share?