No Snooze Challenge

On August 14th, I started a personal “No Snooze” challenge on Snapchat by writing down the dates of the upcoming working days for a 4-week period on a post-it. Every day I succeed, I cross it off on this post-it and share the picture on my Snapchat. I don’t have many friends there yet, just close ones but enough to push me through.

The “No snooze challenge” was another way of saying I want to wake up earlier. Having kids naturally mean I wake up early. But earlier than them is my goal. Having an alone time where I can get centered before the day starts is just so rewarding.

So how did the challenge go?

  • I told my friends the night before I started about it and shared the Post-it photo with them.
  • I set the alarm at 5:45 AM everyday,  placed my mobile few footsteps away from me in order to leave the bed to turn it off.
  • The first few days were not so difficult. Why, you ask? Accountability, my dear friend. That’s the word that made me stick to my challenge. It’ crossing off the day and sharing it proudly with friends that kept me going.
  • I successfully stuck to my challenge for 18 out of 20 days!
  • The first time I didn’t  was not because I slept in. That day I did wake up on time and started my morning routine as usual. Thirty minutes later, however, I still couldn’t open my eyes because I stayed up late the night before, so I got back to bed and slept for 30 more minutes.
  • Next day, when the alarm went off, I  moved up my waking up time 15 minutes later to 6 AM instead and woke up immediately when it rang. That’s why I have mixed feelings regarding crossing off this day.
  • Few days later, I also slept late but managed not to hit snooze in the morning. Nevertheless, the tempting idea of going back to bed kept me out of focus, until I decided I needed to wake my body for real. Therefore, I put on my  headset and played the most upbeat music I have and started jumping up and down in the kitchen. Can you imagine? me jumping to music in the kitchen at around 6:15 AM in the morning while everybody was peacefully sleeping in the house without any clue on the craziness happening under their roof. It was fun really, glad I made that choice.

The feeling of being control of my day during this challenge was amazing. I started the day with reading a page of one of my favorite inspiration books then meditating for 10 minutes. Next, I listened to some prayers or  conversations and  interviews with spiritual leaders while getting everything ready in the kitchen like lunch boxes (if not prepared the day before), milk bottles and coffee. Afterwards, I wrote in my   “one sentence journal for mums” highlighting the most important thing about my kids’ previous day.

Next in my routine was writing a page in my journal  about the happenings of the day before. Followed by waking up everybody and getting ready to leave the house. I even had time to apply the kind of makeup I like which is a feel good booster in itself to me. Of course this also led to getting to work on time everyday.

After this challenge we had long national holidays. Getting back to waking up as early as 5:45 AM was so difficult to me especially that fall started which means  it was getting darker in those early hours.

Luckily, I ran into “How to become an early riser” by Steve Pavlina. Recommended by Mark McGuinness in his new awesome Free ebook “productivity for creative people“. That’s all the push I needed to get back on track, thus writing these words at 6:45 AM  in the morning!

I am now waking up at 5:30 AM  (3rd day now) and planning to continue to do so to pursue my creative interests, such as writing in this blog. I didn’t share this update on Snapchat yet because it’s now a commitment not just a challenge, although  I have a new post-it and I’m crossing off the days when I wake up.

I believe this challenge was the first step towards a series of changes to a better and fuller life. Join me!


No Snooze Challenge


​I’ve always been the kind of person who monitors one’s self. I’ve always paid attention to my habits and tracked some of them; especially  social media consumption. I’ve had rules when and what to check and for how long per day.

Lately, however, I’ve started to realize that being able to check social media is a kind of true luxury. It’ a sign that I did indeed have moments to catch my breath between various tasks. 

Not anymore. I hardly check my favorite social channels and I’m always feeling late to the party. This is not so bad. But again, it’s one of many signs that things have changed.

Getting back to work after my maternity leave this time was a routine shock that I’m still recovering from.  
I’m still navigating the waters of being a full time working mum with 2 kids now-one of which is a very strong-willed toddler who’s still potty training-and a home to look after that should feel like a sanctuary but far from it in the messy reality.
This post is not to complain. I fully realize how blessed I am. I’m especially grateful to the support we’re getting from both our families. It’s  beyond generous. I honestly can’t imagine what we would have done without them.  
I admit I’m also human, having all these mixed feelings is very normal and common. This is a new territory that needs time to settle in. If settling ever happens.
This post is in fact one way to accept and embrace the life I’ve already chosen for myself.
This rings true to what a wise person told me: “You need to let go of the old Bardees and find a way to love and make peace with the new one”.
And to all who share my experience in their own lives I say: Less reminiscence. More acceptance. This is how it is. So how will you handle it?  It’s up to you.  
Me?  I’ll find the best version of myself and remind myself that things change fast, and in the bigger picture, this is just a very temporary phase that I will for sure miss. 



When you lose someone close to you, it’s hard to see life the same way again. The event cuts your life into two parts; the life you had before the loss, and the life you have now. The life when hearing a certain song meant something to you and the life where that same song has a completely different sound to it. You listened to the song many times when you were fine and all loved ones were well. Now you hear it when you are torn inside because its lyrics wrapped themselves in new meanings.

The thing about loss is that we wish it’s a nightmare we’ll wake up from. It happens to me the most when I’m driving or doing some chore at the house; suddenly the memory startles me: this actually happened! We lost my aunt!
It’s so difficult to grasp the notion I won’t see her or listen to her stories again.
I know I’m not expected to and it will take time for this pain to stop stinging while I’m not looking. Because this is what grieving it about. It’s about looking alright when you’re not, it’s picking up the pieces of your heart over and over after you thought you mended it with that good cry you had.

Oh how I wish my kids knew you. That’s the most recurring thought I have. I wish I wasn’t so resistant to the fact that we’re in temporary forms, our bodies, and that we’re are more than this suit of clothes that our souls inhabit as my dear Marianne Williamson keeps saying. I believe that death is not the end of her or us. I believe we’re souls on a journey and sometimes the journey is cut short because it’s time to move on.
I want to choose faith, and I say choose as I’m afraid it doesn’t come naturally to me in this case, because faith is the only way to heal and be there for the loved ones we’re lucky to still have around. Life is too short to do otherwise.


On leave

One month into my maternity leave with my second baby and all I’m thinking about that this time is such a rare opportunity to do things I’ve been too busy to do before. I spent one month recovering from giving birth experience and adjusting to a totally new routine and new demands of a tiny creature who spent most of his first month on earth sleeping and waking up to eat. I now feel guilty for not doing more. It’s also easy to be negative when I have such “free” time in my hands, it’s physically exhausting indeed but my mind goes to all non-productive places generating ideas that suck the energy out of me and I need to snap out of this. I want to use my days to get some items off my checklist. I want to get a room in my house decorated right. I want to give cooking another shot and cook more than those five recipes I’ve been repeating. I want to enjoy being a homemaker and make my house a better home and not a place that reminds me of sad undone things like putting those photos in albums, decorating the walls with photos (photos are joyful and painful to me that way), clearing up my  the clutter in my closets and drawers, reading the parenting books I have on my audible and kindle (and I have all kinds of books on my to-read list, but it’s the best time to focus on family), writing more and so on.

This post is to hold myself accountable for the next few precious weeks I have as a stay at home mum. Checking-in again soon.

On leave


After I listened to the wonderful book “Essentialism” back in April, I got back to the habit of journaling after stopping for a long time.

I used to keep this habit when I was in school and university, then transferred to using software and applications like MS. Word and such to journal occasionally.

Feeling tensed and wanting to analyze what I was feeling was the driving force to journal in those times. However, Greg Mckweown in his book and in this article suggested a great piece of advice that helped me keep this habit for months now: “Write less than you feel like writing”

If journaling sounds too daunting a task for you, I suggest the following simple way to get started:

Write One Sentence Every Day. If you want to create this new Essentialist habit, use this counter- intuitive yet effective method: write less than you feel like writing. Typically, when people start to keep a journal they write pages the first day. Then by the second day the prospect of writing so much is daunting, and they procrastinate or abandon the exercise. So instead, even if you feel like writing more, force yourself to write no more than one sentence a day. Apply the disciplined pursuit of “less but better” to your journal.

So I got a small journal and lovely colored pens (I just love good pens!) and committed to writing one page a day right before bed, just one page. This really felt easy to do every day. I also could feel the benefits as I progressed like a clearer mind and thinking.

Sometimes I feel reluctant about handwritten journals VS. online journals that I can access anywhere, anytime I want.  Nothing feels like handwriting feels, though. Nevertheless, I will go for online journaling when I want to write in depth about a certain topic I’m experiencing; not just going through key events in my day.So that way makes sense to me for the time being.


When the house is quiet

Sometimes I wake up really early or my family goes to be bed earlier than usual, I get the house to myself for a while. A chance that I really enjoy and try to take advantage of as much as possible. In this quiet, I chose to  sit and write here because it’s something I’ve been delaying for 7 months. that’s how old my last post was.

I’m currently reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, and as I felt reading Your Turn by Seth Godin, these sort of books do get me going and thinking and acting on them. I’m enjoying Big Magic and the way Liz writes so much. and I like how she doesn’t make creativity a big of a deal.

I don’t even want to commit to writing here from now on, but that’s exactly what Liz and Seth have been saying: show up everyday no matter how bad your output might turn out, keep shipping, share your ideas with the world.

“Creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that-merely by being here- you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.”

I’m entitled, because I’m here.

When the house is quiet

What does a good day look like?

I’m better when I wake up earlier.

I’m better when I do my morning routine of reading spiritual scriptures & meditating.

I’m better when my day meals were prepared in the night before.

I’m better when I put makeup & feel good about how I look & dress.

I’m better when I arrive to work early.

I’m better when I write my daily gratitude journal.

I’m better when I start my work day by planning my tasks.

I’m better when I take the time to write an inspiring quote on the office’s whiteboard.

I’m better when I spread positive vibes around & don’t complain about mundane tasks that I need to do.

I’m better when I limit my social media consumption and choose to not be constantly available on demand through the different energy draining communication platforms.

I’m better when I have no meetings,  very productive and short ones if I must.

I’m better when I eat home made meals for lunch .

I’m better when I have just one cup of coffee a day in the morning.

I’m better when I’m patient and not reactive to the traffic I can’t control on the way home.

I’m better when I spend quality time with my family.

I’m better when I get to do some reading for topics I love in the evening.

I’m better when I get some cleaning done around the house.

I’m better when I get to have a good talk with a friend.

I’m better when I read beautiful words during the day.

I’m better when I take the time to capture beautiful photos.

I’m better when I minimize social gatherings during the week and enjoy them in weekends.

I’m better when I go to bed early and properly set the stage for the next day.

I found out that I feel much better about my day when I get to do these things. There are a lot of them that I can absolutely control, and thus run my life in the best way possible. I also know that when I don’t do these things I’m not really OK and that’s a sign there could be so many things on my plate that I need to let go of some to become better. I should pause a bit, reflect, readjust, relax again and get back on track.

I was inspired to do this list by Brené Brown who once gave a nice and simple example in her Gifts of Imperfection ecourse. She said that when food starts to expire in her fridge, that’s her cue that things are not going well with her life. I just have to agree with this! This list is part of an ongoing experimentation and recurrent themes coming up in my gratitude journals. It’s a work in process that really took me a while to figure out and build my life around.

This is what works for me. I hope you find out what works for you.

What does a good day look like?