Shine Interview Series #4: Salvador Tellez on the Power of Habits and Minimalism

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Hello and happy Wednesday!

Hope you “rose and shone” today. Have you “risen and… shin-en”? Okay, I’m done now.

It’s time for part four of my 3-week interview series in which I interview some inspirational freelancers, creatives, entrepreneurs, etc. to learn about the habits and routines that help them to stay at their most productive. My aim is to learn how they do it all and make magic happen.

If you want to learn more about the series and why I’ve named it “shine” (although you can probably guess from my intro), check out part 1, where I interviewed student and social media freelancer Maggie Zhou.

Whether you’re new here or need a refresher, don’t worry, here’s a quick rundown of how this series works:

  1. Part 1, where you’ll learn about the interviewee’s planning tips, habits, and routines, will be up on the blog, so bookmark www.theblissbean.com or follow on Bloglovin’ to not miss out.

  2. Part 2, where you’ll find out how they get inspiration and maintain work-life balance, is delivered via the Bliss Bean newsletter, so join 500+ subscribers to get it!

  3. Finally, there’ll be a fun rapid-fire round of questions in Instagram Stories, so follow @theblissbean to see them.

For today’s interview I’m doing something a little bit different and I’m actually featuring a friend of mine, a high school student and aspiring filmmaker. Read on to find out why I thought he fit the bill for the Shine interview series.


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Salvador Tellez is the kind of friend who understands why I do crazy things like trying to wake up at 5AM for a week “for fun”, only because he’s been waking up at 4AM for months now. As I’ve gotten to know him, I’ve learned about other habits of his, like reading for 1-2 hours every day, that have made me wonder whether it’s him who should actually be writing this blog and not me.

In all seriousness, though, Salvador has actually developed an interest in filmmaking and hopes to be able to use the Internet to share his passion for living a creative and inspired life. I was really excited to read about what habits and routines Salvador implements into his daily life, and I hope his answer inspire and motivate you as well!

How do you manage your calendar?

I use Google Calendar, which is connected to both my work and personal email. I love using colors to see different events clearly, and how I can set reminders and notifications. Its simplicity really gets me. I’m still a student, so in the school year I also like using a planner because I like having something physical that I can carry around.

What is your system for task management?

I use an app called MinimaList It’s very simple and, well (it’s in the name of the app), minimal. It’s great for making categories for my different tasks and crossing them off once done.

What is one habit that makes you successful?

The habit I’m most proud of is waking up at 4:00am. That was very difficult to start, but was a gateway to a whole bunch of other habits like writing, meditation, and exercising in the morning.

Walk us through your morning routine.

I wake up at 4:00 in the morning and start with drinking water. I then put in my music, look my day over, and journal. I then work out and finish with meditating. I obviously have a good breakfast and take my dog out to get some early sun and peaceful nature.

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

I’m definitely most productive in the morning. When everyone is still asleep I can get my work done calmly and without interruptions and I don’t have to worry about anyone asking me to do anything.

Do you have any weekly routines that help you to stay organized?

My weekly routine consists of me vacuuming and making sure my room is clean and ready for the week with my desk well equipped to stay on top of everything. I also plan my week every Sunday morning so that I have everything set and prepped for the week ahead.

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

I put my goals in Google Keep so that I can very quickly and easily see them in my phone and laptop. I put my goals in order of what’s most important and every day I remind myself of why I want to reach each one of them.

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

Start with simple stuff and build up from there. Don’t just throw yourself into everything all at once because it’ll be too overwhelming.


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While I haven’t tried Minimalist or Google Keep, and I don’t vacuum as often as I should, Salvador and I can definitely agree on 2 things: that a good planning system should be simple and that an effective Sunday routine is essential to getting your life together and starting your week on the right note.

Personally, I use TeuxDeux for daily and weekly planning, but you should try out different tools and find what works for you! I have a video on how exactly how I use TeuxDeux, as well as a video on my Sunday routine, if you’re interested *wink wink*.

Only one week left in this series! I would let my last 2 interview guests be a mystery except that I can’t really keep a secret when I’m excited, so I’ll just tell you now that I’m interviewing a food stylist who creates magical (and edible!) flatlays, and a digital marketer who is one of the most motivational content creators I know.

So stay tuned, and I’ll see you soon!
Beatrice x

P.S. As of putting out this interview, I am en route to Europe for a month-long trip with my family! You can follow along on Instagram for daily updates, as well as www.theblissbean.com for blog posts and my YouTube channel, where I’ll be sharing some travel vlogs.

Shine Interview Series #3: Ivana Micic on Staying Organized While Freelancing

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Welcome back to the Shine Interview Series!

If you have absolutely no idea what I am talking about, you might want to head back to this post to learn more about what the heck this 6-part interview series is all about.

For the SparkNotes version - I’m basically interviewing some incredibly awesome freelancers, creators, and all-around inspirational people in order to learn their habits, routines, organization tips, and time management strategies. Basically, I want to learn just how they do what they do.

All set? Awesome.

These interviews are shared across my blog, newsletter, and Instagram, so be sure to bookmark www.theblissbean.com or follow on Bloglovin’, subscribe to the newsletter, and follow @theblissbean on Instagram!

Now let’s get right into the interview.


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I stumbled upon Ivana’s Instagram after she worked with Tricia Wang, a model whom I just happened to follow (THIS is the post if you’re curious, and I know you are). I quickly got lost in her photographic world, obsessed with the angles, the movement, and the soft, glow-y colors in all of her photos. “Glowy” probably isn’t a word, but how else would you describe that magical quality?

As a personal goal, I have been working on taking the initiative to tell people when I admire their work, so I stopped scrolling and DMed her to express how much I loved her photography. And now, lo and behold, I have the privilege of interviewing her!

Ivana is originally from Serbia but has been living and working in Tokyo for 4 years. She majored in Japanese at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, but ditched it all pursue her dreams in fashion and portrait photography. Her work is inspired by “playful filmy editorials and documentary-style images” and she loves creating photos that make you feel like you are stepping into a movie.

Ivana’s work not only inspires me to push myself in portrait photography but to forge my own path to attain the career I want, and I was so excited to learn about how she works. Hope you enjoy!

How do you manage your calendar?

I use the Google Calendar app to share my schedule with my partner, and I find this to be the most useful option for us because we can synchronize when making our plans and accepting jobs. I write my daily tasks and appointments with friends in the calendar as well and just assign them a different color, which helps when looking at your schedule for the upcoming period. I also shared this calendar link with my best friend, so that she can keep track of me as well when she wants to invite me out.

What is your system for task management?

My system for task management is to add tasks as well as other plans to my Google Calendar, but aside from that I also use an app called Todoist. I’m currently on a free plan, so I don’t have the option to prioritize those to-do items. However, I love checking them off when I’m done. On top of that I use Trello to collect information about upcoming shoots because that information is extremely hard to find in the chat box with other team members. It keeps things clean.

What is one habit that makes you successful?

I wouldn’t call myself successful yet, but what gets the job done in my case is prioritizing work above everything else. I have been like this since kindergarten (the type of person who does my weekend homework on a Friday). When you’re freelancing, it’s not just the quality of your work that sets you apart but also the speed, so delivering your product on time is what the client will appreciate. I abide by that rule and just dedicate myself to getting the work done even if I’d rather be somewhere else doing something else.

Walk us through your morning routine.

My morning routine is definitely something the doctor would not recommend. I wake up late on most days and have three coffees on average, on an empty stomach. It might not be healthy but I am not a morning person and drinking that coffee in the morning while checking all of the unread texts and emails relaxes me and also wakes me up. I also hate the taste of water. After I am done with coffee (usually takes me 1.5 hours to wake up properly), I take a shower and I’m out the door for a shoot, or if I am staying at home I’ll sit down at my computer and fire away until my stomach is growling. I usually don’t eat breakfast until about 3-4 hours later. It’s always the same routine unless I am supposed to be at the location helping on a music video shoot. In that case everything is extremely rushed and I’ll usually drink my coffees in the car while we’re trying to break through the Tokyo traffic to the location or a studio.

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

Usually after midnight, when I don’t have enough energy to think about anything else other than editing, but not yet sleepy enough to go to bed.

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

I do set goals, however, they are mostly inside of my mind. These goals are something that I strongly desire so there is no need for me to remind myself of them every day, because they never leave my mind. The only thing that I do notice about my goals is that I give more importance to short-term goals and they usually take me to those long-term ones that I am always thinking about.

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

The best thing I have heard so far is that setting working hours for oneself is the best way to go. However, when that’s not possible, fitting in a few things that we love doing in our week helps to prevent burnout. As for the organization, trying out different systems and sticking to them for a while will make clear what suits us the most, so trying out different things is key.


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I love the idea of sharing your calendar with your friends! Scheduling can be a big pain, but giving the important people in your life access to your calendar is an easy way to eliminate the back-and-forth of trying to find a date that works for everyone.

Also, I second the endorsement of Trello! I use it for my photography business and for my blog content calendar, and it really is a fantastic way to pull together a jumble of different pieces of information.

To learn about where Ivana finds inspiration and motivation, find part 2 of this interview available exclusively in the Bliss Bean newsletter! If you’re a current subscriber, it’ll be in your inbox (check your spam folder if you don’t see it). And if you’re not subscribed (yet!), just use the form below and you’ll instantly get a link to the interview.

You can find Ivana at her Instagram, @imivamic , and her photography website, www.vil.tokyo.

And hey, I know I’ve said this a bunch of times, but before you leave, you should:

  1. Bookmark www.theblissbean.com 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.

Thank you for reading, and keep on shining :)

Beatrice