There ain’t no rest for the wicked: Our attitudes towards sleep

While sharing this TedTalk, I must confess that I had watched it at 2am, on a work night, when I should have been catching some z’s.

My relationship with sleep has always been a bit of a love and hate situation. I love sleeping but hate that point of going to sleep. My bed loves to keep me warm and I hate to get out of it. My main issue with spending those 8 hours rejuvenating my brain, is that I have been made to believe that I am wasting time.

Think about the number of things the average person does on a daily basis. We work; we eat; we travel; we pick up the kids; we shop; we love; we cry; we rest.

Now think about the things that the average person also wants to do. Explore our passions; make our hobbies into a side business; Read that book your friend let you borrow 3 months ago; go to the gym for more than 45 minutes; love a bit more; cry a bit more; all at the same time.

Both of these sets of things are on the checklist of daily life in order of their priority and therefore, rarely completely ticked off. We don’t have time to pursue those extra things that we want to do, while maintaining the quality of the things we are obliged to do. In some cases, we are actually expected to do all of these activities. All my life i’ve been asked ‘so what else do you do’. There are simply not enough hours in the day.

So how do we tackle this? Many of us have come to the conclusion that ‘something has got to give’. It is highly interesting that the activity that ends up being sacrificed is sleep; not work, that takes up the largest proportion of our day, but the most important cognitive function.

The idealist inside me wishes that this wasn’t the case. It wishes that the ‘daily grind’ would step down a gear and allow us to live life at a less stressful pace, where we are allowed to give time to other things that are important to us such as our passions and sleep. It also hopes that we realise that we have spent so much time ‘economising’ our time, that the actual value of time has been lost. It is a shame and I am hoping that I will start to appreciate the science of sleep a bit more.

Over and Out.

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Good Kid, Maad City: Weeks 7&8

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a blur. Being involved with GiveMeTap operations as well as PR/communications means that many days are spent just getting things done, as opposed to big events… I want to say this is my excuse for not writing a Week 7 entry, but I’m sure i’ll be caught out sooner than later as I actually spent quite a bit of last week on holiday!

IT IS SUMMER, YOU KNOW!

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So right now i’m going to just talk about 2 amazing things that have happened over the last couple of weeks. Both have added substantially to my PR portfolio (although one has  significantly more than the other!)

Firstly, I was interviewed by London Calling, who loves GiveMeTap and wanted a feature to share with London. Read it HERE. This was amazing as it has now gone on their website and I felt like a minor celebrity for about 5 minutes. It was nice! Today, three of my friends and family have shared my interview on social media, showering me with kind words of praise. Thank you – you know who you are!

2013-08-15 23.24.18Secondly, and more importantly, a lead that I had been chasing had finally been closed. We were published in the most widely distributed and read paper on public transport in the UK – THE METRO! Yes,  you heard right! THE ACTUAL METRO. For years I have been reading that infamous publication and not just for the guilty pleasures or the horoscope! I knew that when I came to GiveMeTap, it would be my aim, not only to have a print published piece, but get into the Metro. I DID IT! I managed to bag Edwin an interview with a writer who happened to LOVE what GiveMeTap were doing. He wrote an amazing piece on us and the traction that day was UNBELIEVABLE. Sales were through the roof, people were talking about us and people were even recognising us. Again, I felt like a minor celebrity but for a bit longer than 5 minutes this time! 🙂

You can read the piece HERE.

Watching this business grow is amazing. Not only is the work satisfying, but it is so much fun! I genuinely feel sometimes, that this is all a dream. I hate the thought of pinching myself and waking up at my university desk writing an application for a job I don’t want at a firm I don’t want to be working for. A good friend and mentor of mine once told me, “Never compromise on what you want from life. By all means ‘shop around’. Explore all your options. But just don’t compromise…” Wise words from a wise woman. I intend to follow them!

Over & Out

Good Kid, Maad City: Week 6

Hello all!

Another short but sweet entry! This week has been as busy as ever, as you may have figured since I have been less responsive on most media forms (This is rare for me!).

We launched our summer campaign, MindTheTap, on Tuesday and have been ‘all systems go’. This week, and more specifically, that day, really tested my ability to deliver under pressure. We had a very tight deadline to launch MindTheTap and needed to work together as well as individually to achieve success. The first feeling of ‘work pressure’ had hit me, and it was surprisingly addictive. I loved the rush of being productive and just getting things done!

It also led me to achieve a major goal – my first real published article! On the PR side of my placement, this is big news as it starts of my portfolio of material, while showing I can pitch to journalists. That bit has been pretty scary, if i’m honest! However, I am getting more confident with time! You can read my piece here: http://www.greenwisebusiness.co.uk/news/green-sme-givemetap-signs-major-water-bottle-deal-with-deloitte-4043.aspx.

I’m really appreciating all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes of a business like this. You have to live and breathe what you do without over exerting yourself and compromising your long-term success. Everyday is worth it when I think of the bigger picture of why we do what we do, and the amazing results – we contribute to helping people survive.

Very proud to be here. I hope that everyone reading this takes time to like our facebook page, maybe buy a bottle, and feel as proud as I am! 🙂

Over & Out

If you haven’t already, find out what adoseofpersonalwhim is about in About Sanum Jain

Good Kid, Maad City: Week 5 (this is a good’un…)

FIRSTLY I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all friends, family, people from afar, who have read my blog. I hope you are all enjoying the story of my journey. I definitely enjoy writing about it. 

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This week has been intense – probably the best week so far and also one of the most eventful weeks in a very long time. On Tuesday, I graduated from the University of Manchester with a 2.1 degree in Economics & Development Studies. Graduating is an extremely surreal experience. It consists of getting your gown fitted by a stranger, hoping you sit next to someone you know in the hall and then ensuring that your family takes you for an extravagant meal. I was lucky enough to get fitted by someone from my hometown, be seated next to a guy I knew from a first year tutorial and found a secret, beautiful pizzaria to celebrate with my family. However, Graduation itself, is a production line. A queue of students, being stamped with some sort of ‘seal of approval’ and ready to be shipped off and shelved with the rest of the world. It was a happy but somehow a depressing few hours.

Onto more exciting things, GiveMeTap have been hard at work but having a bit too much fun as well. Edwin (my boss) came back from Ghana after unveiling the latest water project. He showed us hundreds of photos from his time with the people of Kpakpalamuni, in the Upper West region of Ghana. It was hard to see the conditions that these people live in but then seeing the water pump we installed just reassured me of why I chose to be apart of GiveMeTap. We just helped around 850 people by giving them access to clean drinking water and practically eradicating the chances of them dying from water-related diseases.

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Many of you may have seen me plaster Facebook with the events of Friday. Friday was the best day of my time in London so far! GMT were lucky enough to be approached by the BBC to do a segment on tap water as part of another feature. We filmed outside FlatPlanet, a flat bread eatery on Great Marlborough Street. I very much recommend you visit for lunch, by the way. Amazing food and people! Edwin shot an interview where he got to talk about the GMT scheme and officially place the Tap sticker on the FlatPlanet door.

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The Droplets’ moment of fame came when we hit Carnaby Street. Ben and I were filmed talking to members of the public about tap water and about GMT. Needless to say, handing out flyers was frustrating and did not receive a great reception, however I plucked up the courage to talk to people and encourage them to talk on telly for 30 seconds. Remember, my childhood dream was to be a Blue Peter presenter, so I needed to step up! It was such a fun day and really got us all at GMT really hyped! We hope the segment will air in a few weeks.

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Hold your horses before you jump from here to Facebook, as the day did not end there… as a PR intern, I’ve been trying to find ways of boosting GMT’s publicity. It just so happened that because my (amazing) aunt spent the week mentoring at Kings Collage for a Space Outreach programme, she got to work with Astronaut Kenneth Ham and his wife and astronaut trainer, Michelle Ham. Ken had discussed with his students on the programme, the importance of looking after our planet and how he could see from space the damage we were doing to our home. I was able to use this opportunity to ask Ken a few questions for GiveMeTap, about the importance of reducing waste and protecting everyone on our planet. My first mini interview with a renowned  Space Personality, a casual dose of Pimms o’clock and conversations about space food. Not bad!

The day ended with a spontaneous trip to Riverside Theatre to see the powerful Nirbhaya, a play based on the events last December – the Delhi Gang-rape. Nirbhaya was the name given to the victim, meaning Fearless One. This play was less a performance, but more a theatrical sequence of testimonials. Real stories from acting personalities who had experienced the toils of being a female in India, Pakistan and even America and chose now to reveal their stories. I didn’t realise until after the performance that these Women were telling their own stories. This wasn’t acting. This was real. The Delhi Rape posed as a turning point for all 5 of these Women who then chose to share their most personal experiences with us through theatre. Powerful, Intense and left me lost for words. I will be writing a review of this, hopefully tomorrow, so please please read it. However uncomfortable, it is a must see for everyone, especially young men and women from South Asian backgrounds.Overall, this has been such a productive, intense and emotional week. It is probably the first time I have felt that I would love to tell you all individually what I have done and explain every detail! For those of you who will be lucky enough to escape this, I hope you have had an equally as amazing week. For those of you who I may see soon, BE PREPARED!

Over & Out.

Shivers from Chivalry?

As a 90’s child, I have been brought up in quite a confusing era. The mix of traditional values mixed with liberal progression has put us all, especially women, in a huge predicament.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about chivalry and ‘Gentlemanly’ behaviour. I’ve spent a lot of time living in different British cities as well as abroad in Boston. I’ve also extensively travelled in the East. The same thoughts always enter my mind when I encounter a situation when a man opens a door for me and even when they don’t. Should a man feel obliged to open a door for me? As a feminist, should I allow them to do it or does this signify a weakness or inferiority? Do I have to offer to open the door for him? I JUST WANT TO GET THROUGH THE BLOODY DOOR!

9_chivalry-lessons-from-legendary-gentleman-flashAlas, this ‘palava’ occurs almost daily, especially as I enter the world of work. Just this morning, a man opened the door and signaled me to enter first. I declined and said ‘oh no, after you!’ but he insisted and I yielded.  Furthermore, my brother would shave his sideburns before allowing me to carry my own suitcase, and believe me, he loves his sideburns…

A few points I have thought about and have read on this issue…

I’ve tried to think objectively when assessing whether there are gender issues at play. Hard, I know, but I have to try. I have began to use Caitlin Moran‘s test for whether something is sexist or not – simply – ‘Are the men doing it?’. If they are not, then something must be wrong in the gender balance that needs to be assessed. In this case, are the men worried about chivalrous women or alternatively, are women extending the same ‘gentle-womanly’ courtesy to men. I would argue that they do and therefore chivalry is not benevolent sexism. In a post-feminist society, where women are (or should be) just as likely to offer to pay the bill or open the door, I think it is more appropriate to assess chivalrous behaviour as just simple politeness.  One person extending a courtesy to another based on their common decency. I might even go as far to say women seem to be expected to do these kind of things whereas men seem to want a gold star for helping a girl with her coat. I fully understand that this is quite a Western concept of manners, however. No one in China will give up a seat for you even if you were pregnant and/or on crutches…

Another, probably more controversial argument for the return of chivalry is to protect women from the fact that, whether we like it or not, we are generally the physically weaker sex. Personally, I do agree with this notion but I understand why many women may object to this statement. I’ve read that the original point of chivalry in the Middle Ages was to ensure the protection of women from men who could do them harm, had they not had the respect and civility that we can chivalry. This social construct was created to prevent violence, domestic abuse and general hostility. We all know that this may not have been wholly successful, but I fully believe that the construct of this ‘kind’ behaviour may have prevented many males from having a hostile nature towards women. We can see, for example,  a current trend  in lack of this social expectation and a dangerous increase in ‘Lad” culture.

A story from the life of Samuel Proctor (d. 1997) comes to mind here, that I read in The Atlantic. Proctor was the  pastor of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church. The story goes, he was in the elevator one day when a young woman came in. Proctor tipped his hat at her. She was offended and said, “What is that supposed to mean?”

The pastor’s response: “Madame, by tipping my hat I was telling you several things. That I would not harm you in any way. That if someone came into this elevator and threatened you, I would defend you. That if you fell ill, I would tend to you and if necessary carry you to safety. I was telling you that even though I am a man and physically stronger than you, I will treat you with both respect and solicitude. But frankly, Madame, it would have taken too much time to tell you all of that; so, instead, I just tipped my hat.”

What a babe.

633768982298016740-chivalryI figured, that as a young women, I needed to establish my position on issues such as these. I choose to view chivalry not as an act of condescension, but as a kindly respect of men for their counterparts. Sometimes I think women need to have a little less pride and men a bit more tact. This isn’t to say I would think badly of a man if he didn’t hold my door open. I would probably start blushing if he tucked in my chair at dinner or opened my car door. But, it does allow me to appreciate the awkwardnesses and limitations of both our sexes within the ever changing society we are growing up in. None of us know what we are doing and we are stuck in etiquette-limbo…

I would absolutely LOVE to hear your views on this, more than anything else i’ve written. I’ve not covered all bases, just a few quick thoughts (or whims!), so comment away!

Over and Out.

If you haven’t already, find out what adoseofpersonalwhim is about in About Sanum Jain

Good Kid, Maad City: Week 4

Hey Kids! Can you believe i’ve finished Week 4?!

To be fair, after suffering from tonsillitis for the week, it does feel more like Week 3! I have lots to share with you about the amazing things I have done this week. I’ve managed to watch at least one episode of Game of Thrones a night, discovered how edgy Shoreditch is and sampled almost all the japanese food chains in Old Street.

In all seriousness, considering Edwin (my boss) is still out saving the world one droplet at a time, I have taken it on myself to be proactive and I am quite surprised at myself! It all started on Monday when I stumbled across a Google Campus event on ‘Doing Your Own PR’. Aimed at start-ups without PR experience, the workshop set out to allow new entrepreneurs pick the brains of PR, Camera and Business specialists as to how to make the most of publicity. New to both the world of business and public relations, I registered straight away knowing it would help me out.

I was not wrong at all. Yes, I got a few tips and tricks from Bernie Mitchell on how to maximise social media publicity. Yes, I got some golden advice from Paul Blanchard about doing your own PR. However, the most useful aspect of this event is the confidence it gave me in what I was doing. I realised that I was on the same platform as these brilliant people and learning the same thing. This made me feel a lot more at ease with what I am doing and got me to understand that I don’t need to have it all figured out just yet. I’m still learning! Great experience!

The other exciting thing I did this week, was embark on a GiveMeTap bottle photography shoot with my fellow intern, Ben. We thought we needed some more bottle paparazzi and therefore took it on ourselves to get out there and get some snaps of the bottle in London. Not only did I learn a lot about visuals and photography (in terms of placement and lighting – not actually taking the photo as that was Ben’s expertise…) but I got to discover a bit more of the City as well. We shot two sessions this week and really had a great time. Learning on the job!

Here are a few snaps – Ben was cheeky and got me in a few of them!

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I’m also quite proud of what GiveMeTap have achieved this year as a social enterprise. This week, we found out that we have been nominated for 4 awards. Yeah, FOUR! Two of these awards are in separate categories in the same competition – The British Young Business Awards. The BYBA have nominated us for Social Enterprise and Social Corporate Responsibility of the Year. Virgin Money Be The Start Campaign has also named us as a finalist, chosen to pitch our movement to a panel. Last but not least, RSM Tenon have nominated us for a European Business Award, acknowledging our position as a small but mighty force.

After a really busy Friday, I finished the week at the infamous Uderbelly festival near the London Eye. Close cousins, old friends and new places. Too many drinks, a realisation that London transport pretty much blows and an avid reminder that if I’m going to sustain myself in this brilliant city, i’m going to have to soon start earning some dollar…

Back to reality it seems… until next week 🙂

Over and Out!

The Snowflake Generation.

As a member of the ‘Snowflake Generation’, I must unfortunately but amusingly agree with almost everything said in this post! Brilliantly written! So many people I know have grown up like this and I have to laugh, because, I guess that I have some of these ‘flakey’ traits too.

Humour aside, in our defence, we have been brought up in a similar dog eat dog world as previous generations except with different rules, digital weapons and a huge lack of real role models. We have been indoctrinated into using every opportunity to “Brand Ourselves” but a lot of us don’t really understand what that really means. I’m so thankful that I have watchful parents that have kept my feet on the ground!

 

Over and Out.

The Siren's Tale

Born into the Millennial generation, I can’t say I truly fit all the traits falling beneath this generational code. Generational traits are often spread through a blanketed approach for anyone falling beneath the allotted birth years. But what happens when generations are decades stretched apart, especially in modern times when life itself changes by the year, nevermind the attitudes and attributes of generations?

You’re categorized with people who share no common traits, attributes, morals, or ethics.

The differences between 1980’s Millennials and 1990’s / 2000’s Millennials are unnerving. Through working with teenagers and having unfortunate forced societal interactions with younger Millennials, the one word that comes to mind at the end of the interaction: horrified. Horrified for how children are being raised, and horrified for our country’s future.

Instead of accepting this conglomerate of Millennials, I prefer to view the Millennial generation as cutting off at 1989. For children…

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