Shine Interview #1: Maggie Zhou on Juggling School With Multiple Creative Passions

Maggie - Cover Image.jpg

Happy Monday!

It has been about a century since I’ve done a proper blog post here on The Bliss Bean.

Well today I’m back with not just a blog post, but a super amazing, extra special first blog post of a 3-week series. For the next three weeks, we will be embarking on a journey in which we will get to meet some incredible freelancers, creators, and all-around inspirational people in order to learn their habits, routines, organization tips, and time management strategies.

Perhaps you’ll learn about a new productivity app that will change the way you work. Maybe you’ll adopt a new routine that will help you streamline your day. Or you might just find some comfort in knowing that you are not alone in the struggles you are experiencing on your journey to your dream life.

I’ve dubbed this series the Shine Interview Series. Why “shine”?

Because I feel the phrase “rise and shine” perfectly embodies the message that I am trying to spread with The Bliss Bean. These people that I’ve interviewed are excellent examples of the life you can create when you “rise and shine” to meet each day and every opportunity.

Every Monday and Wednesday for the next 3 weeks, you’ll be introduced to a new interviewee.

  • On the blog, you’ll learn about the habits and routines that help them to stay at their most productive. What is their morning routine? How do they keep their calendar organized? What is one habit that makes them successful?

  • In the newsletter, we’ll delve deeper into the other side of the coin - the “off” time that is so necessary for productivity. How do they relax, take breaks, and find inspiration?

  • Finally, on my Instagram Stories, you’ll get to know them in a rapid fire round of questions like: Favorite TV show? Most used app? A book everyone should read?

So to recap, make sure to:

  1. Bookmark or follow on Bloglovin’ so that you don’t miss a single blog post.

  2. Join 500+ subscribers of the Bliss Bean newsletter and get weekly updates and recommendations in addition to the Shine interview series delivered straight to your inbox!

  3. Follow @theblissbean to find the rapid fire questions in my Instagram Stories.

Without further ado, the first of the Shine Interview Series!


Aside from being my first featured interviewee, Maggie was the very first person that popped into my mind when I came up with the idea for this series. I’ve followed Maggie for who-knows-how-long (which is a long time in Internet years). Her style is the cutest, her bright personality shines through in everything she does, and all of her photos look simultaneously carefully composed yet perfectly spontaneous - the balance that everyone aims for but few actually achieve.

I’m blown away by her commitment to Instagram and genuine engagement, and I’m constantly inspired by the way she uses Instagram Stories. Honestly, I should be taking notes!

At 20 years old, Maggie is just 2 years older than me but seems worlds ahead. She’s juggling a double bachelor’s degree of communication design and media communication, freelance writing and social media management, and being co-editor of her university’s magazine - Esperanto, all on top of running her blog and Instagram page. Whew. 

Maggie is the type of creative, passionate, do-it-all go-getter I aspire to be, and I was so excited to find out how she does it all. I hope you enjoy learning about her just as much as I did!

How do you manage your calendar?

I would be so lost without my laptop calendar! As much as I love jotting things down in notebooks, I find that a digital planner is much easier to manage. With changes in plans and rearranging schedules, it’s a neat way to sort out my life. I have a colour coding system in the following categories: personal, work, events, university and magazine work. 

What is your system for task management?

I’m a sucker for to-do lists. Nothing beats the feeling of crossing out a box! I have it in my bullet journal, though I don’t really follow the dots… I just pop down things I want to achieve for that day and go for it. If it’s a jam-packed day, I will try to estimate how long each activity will take and have a rough time schedule alongside it. 

What is one habit that makes you successful?

It’s definitely about taking care of yourself mentally. I’m an overachiever, I juggle a lot of things, I push myself. So for me, it’s all about the moments where I’m actively doing nothing. Yoga, taking a bath, going for a walk… allowing myself the space to relax is crucial.

Walk us through your morning routine.

Oh boy, I’m on holidays right now so I’ve been getting out of bed at 11am! But I’ll usually wake at around 8:30am and immediately have breakfast and a mug of tea. I’ve been trying to get off my phone more so I’ll try to read a book or a magazine while eating. Following that, I’ll brush my teeth and do my morning skincare routine. I’ll get dressed, and then I’m on with my day!

Are there certain times of day you find you are most productive?

Probably in the morning before lunch. Or sometimes late at night I can get into a good groove.

Do you set goals? How do you keep your goals in sight?

I should really spend more time goal setting, but I don’t… I have loose yearly goals that I keep in mind, but they’re probably not as SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) as they should be. My goals are usually along the lines of, “get an internship before the end of the year,” “work with this brand,” “achieve a High Distinction at uni.” 

What is one piece of advice you would share for someone trying to find balance and organization?

Every single human has 24 hours in a day, it’s up to us how we spend it. I think knowing why you need to be organised and balanced is key. Know that all of those to-do lists and schedules are there to help you best reach your potential.


What stuck with me from this interview was Maggie’s reminder that organizational systems are there to help us be the best that we can be. Organization for the sake of organization can be fun, but it’s an easy trap to slip into. Remember your end goal, and view your routines and systems as a means to get there

To learn more about where Maggie finds inspiration and motivation, and how she balances her work time with breaks and relaxation, find part 2 of this interview available exclusively in the Bliss Bean newsletter! If you’re a current subscriber, you’ll find it in your inbox.

Miss the train? No worries, just use the form below and you’ll instantly get a link to Maggie’s feature in the newsletter, and you’ll be all set to receive the remainder of the interviews in your inbox!

You can find Maggie at her blog, The Misfitted, her Instagram @yemagz, and Esperanto Magazine. Maggie - thank you so much for participating and sharing your insights! 

As a reminder, be sure to follow on Bloglovin’ or bookmark The Bliss Bean so you don’t miss the rest of the interviews, subscribe to the newsletter (down below), and follow along on Instagram! The next interview, featuring a photographer whom I admire immensely, will be up on Wednesday!

Thank you so much for reading, and don’t forget to shine :)