Uncommon Wisdom: Janet Todorova
“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 Janet Todorova?
Janet is passionate about entrepreneurship, technology, and psychology. She’s running the Eastern Europe program of the Founder Institute, a global startup pre-accelerator, and is dedicated to helping early-stage founders from the region build meaningful companies that can scale globally. Janet describes herself as someone who smiles a lot, is a good listener, knows a little bit about everything, and is always curious to learn more.
#1. What's something unexpected or uncommon that made you more aware?
I took my first step towards awareness as a teenager. I was a perfectionist and rather rigid when it came to my expectations of how things are done or how people should behave. After a series of disappointments (people not acting as I expected them to), I realised that I have zero control over other people’s actions. I can only control my own thoughts, feelings and actions. I started accepting that others have their way of doing things and saw that actually they have good ideas too. Little by little, I became more flexible and super tolerant to people which improved my relationships significantly.
#2. What's something unexpected or uncommon that gives you energy?
The most obvious, as an introvert, is that too much interaction with people is really exhausting. One way to keep my energy at a good level is to limit random communication that doesn’t bring joy. The other thing I discovered that gives me energy was to lower my expectations for myself. For instance, if I put on my list too many tasks for the day I waste a lot of energy worrying that I won’t be able to accomplish everything I wanted. I then tend to rethink if I’m prioritizing the right task or if I’m taking the right approach to complete the task in the most efficient way. This can often lead me to missing my daily targets. If I reduce the tasks to only 1-3 important things to do for the day, then my energy is focused on these tasks, and I even end up having time for more.
#3. What's something unexpected or uncommon that makes you more productive?
I become more productive by changing my attitude towards the task. I tell myself to just start taking steps towards accomplishing the task, no matter if it’s the right step or if I’m doing it right. I treat the process as a game or an experiment, and so I focus on the pleasure of exploring and not too much on the end goal itself. I’m still sometimes struggling to maintain this type of attitude throughout the entire process, but I take this as a game and and an experiment too. Enjoying the ride makes me more productive when I’m not focusing completely on the final destination.
#4. What does your morning ritual look like?
I’m not a morning person and I have been having challenges waking up early since I was a child. In the last few years I organised my work life in such a way that I don’t have to wake up early anymore. My morning routine doesn’t include alarms as I find it important to wake up naturally instead of feeling stressed by a noisy alarm. The rest is nothing special – I lay in bed until I get in the right mood to start my day, I have my first coffee, a shower and then the work day starts. Usually that’s around 11am.
#5. What does your evening ritual look like?
Nothing special. I brush my teeth, drink some water, and meditate occasionally.
You can find Janet at @janettodotova
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