As we kick off 2019 let's think about how you can grow and evolve. I don’t really believe in new year's resolutions, but I do believe in reflecting and pausing as its about growing! This episode is based on an article I wrote where I ask 5 questions you should ask yourself based on trends that will boost you in 2019. You can subscribe to the show in any podcast player, or your favorite streaming app, just look for ‘Savvy Talk’. You can also follow Digital & Savvy on Instagram.


CHIRAG:​ Hey everybody, and welcome to the inaugural episode of Savvy Talk, a weekly podcast about communication strategies in the Middle East with Maha Abouelenein. On today's episode, we're going to talk a little bit about 2019 and Maha’s got some great advice for you guys.

MAHA: ​I wrote this article about what are some of the things you should be thinking about in 2019. It's in Entrepreneur Magazine. I talk a lot about like evolving, evolving as part of changing and growing and you know, it's fun to be a different person today than you were a year ago. Like you must have learned something whether good lessons or bad lessons. You must have tried something new. You went on a different trip, you went and met somebody new, you got a new job, you know, so evolving is part of growing and I think when you start a new year it always causes you to pause. And I like to encourage, like I was doing this with my family a lot during the holidays is talking to them about reflecting. Because it's the one time when you can sit and say to yourself like these are the things I want to keep doing, these are the things I don't want to do anymore.

MAHA:​ So reflection is part of growth and evolving and in business and in our personal lives, it's really rare where we just sit and have time to do nothing and think and reflect. So I said why did I put down what people should be thinking about. And I think in snackable content mindsets, so I focus on a few things and do them well than to give myself a long list of things to do. So it's five things that people should think about, five things that people can adopt and embrace, and five things that I think will actually make a big difference for people in 2019.

CHIRAG:​ So what would be number one for 2019?

MAHA:​ So the first one is, are you creating content? So everyone has the ability to create content for their business, for their personal brand, even their own personal instagram accounts. Think about how you're taking pictures. What messages are you putting out tFstoryhere? So are you creating content and what does that content look like? How are you doing that storytelling? I think it's really important that people don't overthink how they're putting their content out there. Like Gary V always talks about, just start. Just start putting content out there, see what works. He put out a seven and a half hour blog. Nobody thought people would watch it. It's his most viewed Daily Vee. Put content out there and let the people tell you what they like and then start tailoring your marketing communication strategies in that direction.

CHIRAG:​ Where do you think people failed in terms of creating content during 2018?

MAHA:​ I think there were too fixated on what they're gonna do with the content once they make it. You know, once we create a video, does it going social media? Does it go on a website? Should we send it to the press? Thinking about where your content is going to land and only tailoring content for those audiences, you should create something that just can go to everyone.

CHIRAG:​ To make it easier for yourself to try to push content. I think people get overwhelmed when they think of that because they're like, well, I've got five different channels and I've got to ... tailoring it a little bit, but I think it has to for most people, it should start at to start creating first.

MAHA:​ Yeah, and by the way, a content piece doesn't need to be a video. It could be a blog post, it could be a podcast, it could be an article, it could be speaking. You're creating content when you're speaking. There's many ways to create content like try to not ... a GIF, motion graphics, you know, all of those things are different types of content and can tell stories. Think about what you can do to create content that's easy to digest and easy to for people to consume.

CHIRAG:​ So let’s talk about number two.

MAHA: ​Are you learning? So I am a big believer in being a lifelong learner. I come from a family of educators, but I kind of feel like people who are not learning are denying themselves a chance to grow and are denying themselves a chance to benefit for all that free information that's on the web. Anyone can do it anytime, anywhere. So there's like free courses online that you can learn from Udemi or Udacity or Coursera or you can go to Youtube and find out how to do anything literally on Youtube. So for me, learning is really how I stay on top of my game and I read a lot, I listen to podcasts, I spend time taking a course once a month and it doesn't have to be something related to work. Could be about cooking or artistry or watercolor, photography, like whatever interests them. Like learning. It enriches the mind I think.

CHIRAG:​ And it should be about something that interests them, right? Like a lot of times people just get fixated and like, oh, I'm a photographer. Therefore, the only learning I shouldn be doing is what's the next best camera? Or what the next best app is to like handle photography when in reality you could be learning about, I dunno, new content forms, or podcasting.

MAHA:​ I thought about taking a course in Photoshop. It's not too late for me to learn. I'm like, hmm, I wonder if I could do that. And then I went online. I saw what the description is like, okay, that's going to be my next one. So next month let's see how I do if I learned how to use Photoshop or not.

CHIRAG:​ Okay, well we're going to keep a close eye on Instagram feed I suppose. So, next up.

MAHA:​ Third question is kind of are you focused? So there's a huge difference between being productive and being busy. Being focused is hard because it means you really got to like eliminate the noise, eliminate the distractions. Pick a couple things and do them well and stick to those buckets and watch those buckets kind of grow.

CHIRAG:​ I think this is another one where I think as you mentioned, it's really hard because a lot of times and especially when people are looking at themselves and looking at their content and all of that stuff, it's hard to because sometimes you're just hedging bets, right? Like you're not really sure what's going to work and so it's hard to focus because you're like, well, I also should try something else just in case the one I'm doing, you know, doesn't work.

MAHA:​ Yeah. So maybe like, one of the good tips I have is like make a list of things that I'm working on and then I'm like, okay, if I really had to like eliminate one thing off that list, then you're like probably wasn't that important if I could have let go of it. So really try to focus on like where do I need to be spending time and if I focus my time on these areas, they'll probably do better than if I spread myself too thin. Warren Buffett was the king of focus and he used to say ‘the difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything’.

CHIRAG:​ The next one's a little meta.

MAHA:​ The next one is my favorite and it's about listening. Audio is the new video. I've always kind of pushing audio. I think it's something that, you know, Gary talked a lot about. We're going to do a podcast about it as well. There's less friction. It's easy to do wherever you are, you can listen. You can't watch a Youtube video when you're driving down the street, but you can put in your podcast and play something. I get through a lot of books. I love reading physical books, novels and other kinds of literature in actual physical books because that's more of a leisure thing that I like to sit down with a cup of tea and read a book. I usually don't do that with a business book and I can get through five or six books a month easily, so it's a really good idea for people to start to embrace audio, not just from Alexa skills and Google skills.

MAHA:​ Although I spent my whole holiday over Christmas learning how to turn off the Christmas tree with Alexa and my brother-in-law has some really cool skills that he's trained in the house. You'll find that there's something for everybody in podcasts, just like in Netflix, you can listen to crime ones like Dirty John or Crimetown or you can listen to cooking ones or female entrepreneurs. So, there's always something interesting. I really would love to know what people listen to and why do they like to pick the podcast they do because I think the appetites are podcasts are going to be growing and watch this space in 2019 and years to come.

CHIRAG:​ What is tip number five?

MAHA:​ The last one, and I gave a big lecture to this over the holidays, is sleeping! Like are you sleeping? Well how does sleeping affect your productivity and how does sleeping affect your mood? Well, apparently there's a lot of science about this. There's a really famous book called why we sleep about the magic of like sleeping and being rested and how it really impacts your productivity and your thinking and your brainpower. People used to brag about how they could get by with so little sleep and there was a study that like all these famous people would like always profess how they would like get on four hours of sleep and a lot of those people, I mean Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and some other business people that died. They had Alzheimer's. They said lack of sleek can contribute to stuff like that. So anyways, think about getting your sleep, resting, taking care of your body. Part of the focus is focusing also on yourself.

CHIRAG:​ Yeah, but it's not ... there's a lot of tech and stuff is like trying to push you and help you realize that too. Right? Like we've got all these amazing apps that tell you like, okay, if you want to get eight hours you should go to bed now and like turn your stuff off. And I mean I use that a lot too. Like I have the auto ‘do not disturb’ now. Post, I think 11, just stops sending me alerts so I don't, I don't reach for my phone.

MAHA:​ Yeah, we're on our phones a lot. Like first thing we grab, we don't alarm clocks anymore, we use our phone. So sleep is important. Even having your phone and your iPad in your room and talking and engaging with it before you go to bed impacts the quality of your sleep. So there's a lot of science out there. Let's benefit from it. Let's get some rest and not be crabby with everyone, so get your sleep and it'll do your body and your people around you wonders.

MAHA: ​2019, it's a new year to make some good new habits. People are excited when something's new and it's a fresh start. It's a good excuse to make some new things happen in your life.

CHIRAG:​ So that’s all we have on this inaugural episode. Thank you so much for listening and if you like the show, please do subscribe in your favorite podcast player, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or wherever you like to listen. We’re also available in streaming apps like Spotify, Deezer, and Anghami. You can also find us as a flash briefing skill on Alexa and you can find more information by visiting We'll see you next week.

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