Uncommon Wisdom: Polly Desheva
“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 Polly Desheva?
Polly is a lifetime learner and the founder of Webdesh web studio. She describes herself as a wanna-be entrepreneur, designer and a good person. She also loves traveling, is a sucker for social change and is one of the creators of a community for female founders in Bulgaria called FEBcommunity.
#1. What's something unexpected or uncommon that made you more aware?
Soon after I graduated from high school my grandmother, who took care of me and pretty much raised me, died unexpectedly in my arms. That shook me to my core and this was the first time I experienced what depression truly feels like. Around that time I also learnt that my current friends (from my neighbourhood) have been keeping a secret from me for a long time. I felt like I had no friends and my whole life until then has been almost like an illusion. But it was somehow a breath of fresh air too. The environment I knew and felt comfortable in was not my own, and even though I’ve always fit in, I was still kind of an outsider at the same time. I realized I was never going to progress while being in this environment where things felt still. I wanted more and needed a big change. So I went to university, became an active member in an entrepreneurship NGO (called Start It Smart), found new friends and almost never looked back. All this gave me enthusiasm for new things; a thirst for knowledge and creativity, and this ambition that I might have been shoving down until then. Moreover, it led me to my professional and personal future. I am very grateful and proud I had this awareness hit me in the face so I can gain the courage I needed to leave my comfort zone and go out into a wide, exciting world of new opportunities and progress.
#2. What's something unexpected or uncommon that gives you energy?
Being a part-time introvert and a part-time extrovert, what gives me energy varies in a sense – it could be reading a book, having fun with friends, meeting new people, doing reiki or running in the park. Shopping, breakfast, dancing, music and… arguing – the usual stuff. But what really gives me peace of mind, puts me in a good mood and recharges my batteries is probably something like riding in a car and just looking out the window… Looking at a nearby body of water, any type of water, preferably – moving water. So I guess what gives me energy is mostly motion.
#3. What's something unexpected or uncommon that makes you more productive?
I’m thinking about writing a guide about this, so summarizing it in a short manner is not the easiest thing for me. But let’s try: deadlines (Parkinson’s law), people (my workaholic team and friends), no notifications late at night because then I have the most energy, and starting with my most dreaded task – we all have those. I would say I am most productive when I don’t have to work – so the pressure is off and there isn’t the element of accountability in front of a team or clients. This is why I love working during holidays, nights and weekends. It’s when I do my most focused work. And during weekdays, it’s mostly Slack, meetings, supporting my team and tackling a bunch of random tasks from my to-do list.
#4. What does your morning ritual look like?
I am not a morning person but breakfast really gets me going. This is why when I travel I like to have a breakfast buffet included in the room price. It gives me the motivation to get up early and run for my morning eggs, fruits and tea. If I get to wake up 2 hours before my daily meeting, then it is a good day. I drink lemon water or tea, check the news (usually it feels like a mistake after I’ve done it) or read an article. I make my breakfast, do a face mask, and sometimes do some exercise. Most times though, if I was working from home and I stayed till late the previous evening, this makes my morning a dreadful time. I wake up just 15 minutes before my daily team meeting, brush my teeth, read my emails and the news… I feel stressed, have my call, and then start answering emails and doing tasks. For 3-4 hours straight I am not a nice person to be around and it is not recommended to argue with me. At this point I am tired, sleepy, hungry (or even hangry) and frustrated. It is not until after lunch, during which I like to put “Friends” or another positive show on, that I start feeling like myself again. I get in a calmer, better mood and I’m filled up with energy.
#5. What does your evening ritual look like?
Well, for me this is the best part of the day – the evening. When the official work day is over I have some time off to chill with friends and my boyfriend, to read some articles, have dinner, maybe do some exercise, have a shower, etc. After a few hours I get my phone or computer and this is when I do my best work. I research ideas about new products and projects or I do a big creative task if there is one. That can be designing a website or writing an article. When I finish, whenever that may be, I plan my next day. After this my “me time” comes. First I start with soaking my feet. My family and friends sometimes joke about this and in Bulgaria this is perceived kind of like a granny’s cure for getting a cold. But my masseuse told me that it brings your vibrations up and I find it really does. So I put my feet in hot water with some sea salt, sometimes I add a few drops of essential oil too. It’s like having my own spa at home. It helps me to relax, detox and just chill out. Maybe I do a face mask or something similar during this time and I turn on a documentary or a comedy show. When I go to bed I do teate or reiki – it’s my way of filling up with some cosmic energy. I apply all my skincare (face serums, cream, a sleeping mask for lips, nail oil, etc) and put my sleeping mask on. I either fall asleep right after or I give myself some reiki to help with this, usually while listening to a TV show. I often have trouble falling asleep so for me somebody talking really helps. Otherwise my mind stays busy still thinking about a bunch of things. I’ve heard that meditation helps some. For me the typical relaxation (that almost everyone in the western world wrongfully calls “meditation”) is not the best approach, and this is why sometimes I do this technique I learnt from yoga. It’s also a type of relaxation practice and it goes like this: you start naming every single part of your body, starting from the bottom, while saying “I relax the thumb on my left foot” and you go on to your next toe, then to your heel, ankle, etc. until you fall asleep.
You can find Polly at @pollydesheva
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