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Uncommon Wisdom: Ål Nik

“Uncommon Wisdom” is about sharing those habits or stories that we wouldn’t normally think to share. There’s so much talk about morning routines and self-care practices these days but a lot of it can seem kind of superficial or maybe just predictable and repetitive.

This is why we asked a bunch of high-performing creatives and entrepreneurs a few questions about awareness, energy, and productivity. We wanted to learn something a bit more unexpected, and here’s what we found out.

Who is Ål Nik?

Ål Nik (Alexandra Nikolova) is a visual artist and illustrator based in Europe. An ‘Art history’ and ‘Theory & methodology in art education’ graduate, she is passionate about art, visual narrative and communication. In her work, she explores the different ways to deliver a message in a creative and responsible manner.

Being part of 3 international collectives, at Nomadways (France) she designs educational artistic projects; at launchlabs Sofia (Bulgaria) she redesigns communication, and at Brush&Bow (United Kingdom) she illustrates citizen journalistic pieces. She is a Forbes 30 Under 30 Bulgaria alumni with a background in digital marketing, content creation, visual communication, but also experience in indie music curation and DJing.
Alexandra Nikolova

#1. What's something unexpected or uncommon that made you more aware?

I was always quite confident I can work for 12-13 hours per day without burning out or getting exhausted. What made me aware of the fact that such a lifestyle is quite unhealthy was realizing that once something bad happens in your life outside your work, if you are tired and overworked, it can really knock you down. If you are energetic and well balanced, however, then you can go through these hard times with much more positive energy.

#2. What's something unexpected or uncommon that gives you energy?

What really energises me is moving and changing locations. If I stay in one place for too long, I start to feel that my energy is being sucked. That is why I always like to change my working spots but I also like to have a ticket booked for a journey that’s coming soon enough. Moreover, looking at the sky whilst being in the open, and walking next to a waterfront or in the woods are other things that give me energy.

#3. What's something unexpected or uncommon that makes you more productive?

Starting. As a creative, I tend to procrastinate or wait for a muse… Well, the truth for me is that a muse will barely come alone. It usually comes when you put your hands on the job and start creating. Then, the process really grabs you and the ideas, energy and focus come along. Quite often I get carried away and cannot stop, but that’s another story.
Alexandra Nikolova

#4. What does your morning ritual look like?

Since I have a reflux disease, my mornings have a tiny schedule I should always follow to keep a good balance. What I try doing is not getting out of bed too quickly but taking a little bit of time to properly wake up. Then, I need to take my morning pill and wait for 30-40 minute before having breakfast. My favourite scenario is to use this time to get dressed and go to the bakery where I’ll have my breakfast and coffee. Spending the first half of the day working from a café somewhere is what I love the most.

#5. What does your evening ritual look like?

I am more productive in the evening rather than in the morning. That is why my evenings are very often full of work that needs to be done or I’ll start some new creative projects. It is also the time when I get inspired to do my own artistic work and the quietness of the night is really a great booster for this. Therefore, my evening routine often includes listening to music (and discovering new stuff), singing out loud, whilst drawing, designing or writing out projects. I cannot fall asleep before all that energy is channelled into something, so I take all the time I need to create before going to bed.

My other favourite evening activity is walking outside. If the weather is not too hostile, I really love going for an evening walk. Especially if I am in a new place.
You can find Ål Nik at @everhooder

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