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5am – actually 4.45am is the time that my alarm goes off each wake day morning. Not because I have somewhere important or exciting to go to. Actually, correction; I do have somewhere exciting to go to – my kitchen table to start a new day of business. I love that time of the morning when it’s dark and most people are sleeping. I get a lot done and it is a great start to the day. I plan my diary in such a way that I don’t have anywhere to go to until at least 8.30am. I no longer schedule breakfast meetings – not because they are too early, but if I’m going to be scheduling an early meeting, the last thing I want to do is waste time by ordering food and eating during it.

I often get asked why I wake up so early. But why not? I love my job, I absolutely love what I do – and if I can create more time in the day to do it, then why would I not? I’ve trained myself to wake up at that time each morning that I often wake before my alarm goes off. It’s got a lot easier but it’s not always been that way. I now like the idea of doing two and a half hours work before I actually get to the office. Often, that time is worth more than two and a half hour because there are no interruptions or no calls disturbing me, so I get more done.

Waking up and making it productive doesn’t happen just by setting my alarm clock and making sure I’m out of bed. I make sure I get enough hours of sleep. When I talk about enough hours, often that’s about 5 hours. That’s enough for me – but I understand it’s not enough for everyone. I do believe sleep is important, but I just don’t find it easy to sleep and sleep and sleep – my mind is forever ticking. The night before, I write a to-do list specifically for the hours between 5am and 7.30am. This is so I know what to do when I hit my kitchen table in the morning. I’ll be honest, my mind isn’t always ticking as it usually is once I’ve had my first cup of caffeine. So when I have a to-do list, I find it easier to start working by following the list I’ve prepared. I also love the feeling of being awake and working whilst everyone else is sleeping. It’s such a lovely and peaceful time of day. Now between these hours I don’t always do actual work, I do some self-development work too and often that can be reading a book, watching a TED video, writing in a diary and even exercise. I always have a mixture of activities to do at the time and split it between personal stuff and actual work. I always time these activities just to make sure I don’t get carried away with them!

By just getting up at 5am, and doing two and a half hours of work a day, this equates to a day and a half of an average working day – without including weekends! I cram in a few more hours when I get home and at weekends too. I’ve got a long list of things I want to achieve and I won’t achieve it by just working from 9 – 5. It takes a lot of practice but it will soon become a habit and what’s more, you will start to enjoy that time.

Tips to get up at 5am;

– If you don’t usually wake up until 7am, then don’t put your alarm on for 5am – you’re setting yourself up for a failure. Start by going to be half an hour earlier and waking up half an hour earlier. Does this for a whole week and then for the next week adjust it by another half an hour.

– If you can put a motivating quote or note to appear when you’re alarm goes off, or even a post-it not on your phone that motivates you getting up earlier – it may just help! I used to do that in the early days.

– Have something to wake up for; Plan to work on something exciting, read a book you’ve always wanted to read or whatever it is you want to do before you start your normal working day. If you wake up tired with no idea what you’re waking up for then it’s not going to be productive. Having a to-do list or a checklist usually helps.

– If you have a lot on your mind, you may find it helps writing it down and that way, it is there for when you wake up and won’t keep you awake.

– If you find it difficult to drift off to sleep at an earlier time then it may help by playing an audio book. I feel an audio book helps me drift into sleep a lot quicker and easier and it’s like someone reading you a bedtime story. The beauty of it is that you have a timer so can have it only playing for a certain length of time.

If you need to fit more hours into your day then waking up makes sense. Just remember, take it slowly and it takes practice for it to become a habit! Let me know how you get on or drop me a line if you want to know more about it!

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Forget January being the most depressing month of the year, in showbiz world January is awards season. One of the biggest awards ceremonies of the year is the National Television Awards. So, I thought it would be a good idea to take some friends to the ceremony and not to be working but going there to enjoy the evening. I cannot think of a better way to rid any January blues, if there ever were any. It would be the first outing of the year and a glam one at that!

There were five of us going, and we started our day mid-morning by getting a train to London. My train journeys to London usually involve a lot of work for the two hours. This train journey consisted of no work but a lot of laughs – the two hours just flew. I never had such a laugh getting a cab but then I didn’t often travel with four other girls. When I got to the hotel, I had a meeting scheduled but that was fun too and made it into a lunch meeting! Straight after the meeting, we all got ready together and that’s always fun too. With five girls together, hair and make-up were taken care of. Usually the best part of the evening is the getting ready than the actual event. The cab journey in the London traffic was even fun, it helped we had a friendly and chatty driver.

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The awards were great – we had fab seats, and it was just a great atmosphere on the night. One thing I had about large venues and their seating arrangements is the actual seats and not getting enough leg room. As our seat were at the front of the row, we had more than plenty of leg room – wearing heels, we appreciated this. The show lasted for two and a half hours and throughout the evening, there was a fantastic atmosphere.

The worst part of the night was the fact that it was raining and our taxi driver couldn’t locate where we were, because he didn’t know where he was! So we were going around in circles trying to locate him, in the rain. So can you imagine five girls with no coats, in the rain – our glad rags and hair were soaked and we weren’t the best impressed.

The National Television Awards are open to the public too – if you’ve not been, it is definitely worth going to. It’s held at the O2 Arena, so wherever you’re sitting, you’re probably sure of getting a great view. Not many awards shows are ticketed, so if you can get to the O2 for next year, you’ll be in for a great treat!

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Goodbye January

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Oh January, what a month you have been; a mixture of good and bad!

We’re so drilled into thinking January is the most depressing month of the year. I wasn’t depressed this month – I was excited! Excited for the year ahead – I still am.

I woke up on the first day of the year in a hotel spa – not a bad way to start 2014! The only thing I had booked for the day was a 2 hour massage. It did me so much good being away on my own, doing the things I wanted and just stepping away from my life for a bit. I did a lot of reading, planning and thinking. 2013 hadn’t ended the way I wanted it but I was determined to start 2014 my way.

The first thing I did as soon as I got back – before I even got home was to see my friend Sharon. We had a great coffee catch up and planning the year ahead. It was definitely going to be a year of spending time with good friends, that’s for sure!

Sadly, as a family we did receive some bad news. My mum’s cousin had passed away, so that was a very sad time for the family because of how young he was and the circumstances surrounding his death.

The most exciting thing I had planned for January was going to the National Television Awards with some friends. I made sure it wasn’t going to be a work thing, but more of a social thing to take some friends along to. We had great seats and had such a brilliant time.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions but one thing I was adamant of doing this year is seeing my friends more and making time for them. Apart from the National TV Awards, I’m pleased to say I managed to meet 3 of my friends for dinner this week. I also got to schedule dinner and movies with my uncle (who is like a dad to me) – the movies didn’t happen because he was too tired. I also got to meet a Twitter friend too. I love meeting people from Twitter as I feel there are so many wonderful people I follow on Twitter and it’s actually good to meet them in the real world!

On the last day of the month, I am going to see my friend Kate to bid her goodbye as she leaves for her new life in Australia. I’m going with my friend Lizzie, so despite being exhausted, I am looking forward to ending the month with good friends!

What else I did this month:
• I bought a car
• A lot of business planning
• Booked myself onto something I find difficult and scary
• Bumped into an old friend on the way to work and she is now helping me with a personal endeavour
• Failed at something I wanted to achieve for a while but picked myself back up and facing it again in February

Dear 2014

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Every year, I write a letter to the year ahead and then read it again come 31st December. I don’t know why I do it, but I do. So this year, I have decided to publish mine on here;

Dear 2014,

Oh 2014 – what high hopes I have for you. Such high hopes – you won’t even believe. I am hopeful for what you will bring. There’s a whole 12 months ahead that I can’t wait to live and experience through. I also have a feeling you’re going to fly by and that makes me feel sad – will I accomplish all I want to this year? But even if I don’t, I hope I have 2015 to complete it in.

I have tried to plan as much as I can for you, I really have. I have also tried to be realistic – I am not always sure of the definition of realistic but I have tried to stick close to it as possible. One thing is for sure, you don’t promise to provide nights of lots of sleep. But that’s okay because I never look back on the years and think about the nights I got a lot of sleep. Things don’t happen when you’re asleep, they happen when you’re awake, so I intend to be awake as much as possible during 2014.

All I know about you is that there are a few weddings, some good dinner parties and lots of work to be done during the time you’re around. I hope to spend a lot of time with new and old friends – but please don’t let me unfriend anyone else. I doubt you will because the friends I entered 2014 with are the friends I want around – the others have had their exits. I have two secret wishes that I hope you make come true, one during the first month of the year and the second, well as long as you begin on the process of that, I don’t mind when it completes.

As many hopes and dreams I have for you, I know that doesn’t really matter. You’re going to do what you’re going to do and do you know what? That’s quite alright. I like control, crave it in fact, but I know sometimes I need to be shaken up and for things to go unplanned and unscheduled. I need to be thrown off guard at times and that’s quite alright. Life is nothing if not full of learning and I am all up for the learning! So all I will say to you is, whatever you have in store, I am ready for you – so bring it on. You may be able to do a lot of things, but one thing you won’t be able to do is defeat me. I may be down, I may be down a while but I will find the strength to get back up and fight. We may be in for quite a ready, so come on, and show me what you’ve got for I am ready! But just a piece of advice, fasten your seat belt – you’re in for a bumpy right ride!

Regards,

Mayah x

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I do this every single year; I think about the year gone by. Where most of my friends just focus on the year ahead, I can’t help but reflect on the year that’s just gone by. So this first blog post of 2014 is my reflections on 2013.

I woke up on the first day of 2013 in Dublin – I had just made it through one very long year! I was only going to be in Dublin for another day, so I wanted to make the most of it before heading back to the UK and starting the year properly. Safe to say, I had one of the best days of my 2013.

2013 was a funny old year. A lot happened – some fun, some not so. There was a lot of learning that took place in 2013 – a hell of a lot! During 2013, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve travelled, I made friends and unmade friends, I’ve learnt a lot, started a new business, won an award, met new people, celebrate two birthdays – yes really! Had lots of dinner parties and got very little sleep. There were things I’ve always wanted to do that I did, some I didn’t manage. But I have learnt not to hold regrets and see the learning in things that didn’t go as planned – but have contributed to the making of me.

Towards the end of the year, when I spoke to a friend about the year it had been, she said something striking to me. She said “2013 has been a clear out year for a lot of people.” That was spot on for me – it was definitely a clear out year. I couldn’t have described it better myself. Although it wasn’t a particularly great year, I am glad it was what it was. If it was all great, I wouldn’t have got as much learning from it. I wouldn’t have changed and been moved by the things that had happened. I would have just been the same and only enjoying the good times – and that’s not life, is it? I needed to have gone through the bad of 2013, to appreciate the good times ahead. I know no situation is permanent, it isn’t always happiness as well as it isn’t always sadness. I made my way through the two – but definitely gaining a lot more learning from the sadness.

In all honesty, I don’t know if 2014 will be any better. I certainly strive for it to be – who wouldn’t? I’ve tried to plan for it to be better by some of the things I have planned to do, see and experience. But I am aware plans have a mind of their own at times. One thing I do know about the year ahead is that whatever it brings, I’m going to handle it with the view of it being the making of me!

Happy 2014 everyone!

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