Hey! Jo here. I’m starting this article with the same reason that inspired its inception:
I was scrolling through my newsletters and realized I have successfully curated my inbox with information that I genuinely want to read. This is shocking after a decade of drowning in my dreaded emails.
My gift to myself in 2023 was to create a filter to remove the unwanted spam that stifled my judgement of what was priority on a day to day basis. As a result, when I look through my “read only” folder – carefully sorting out all of the newsletters I actually want to read, I can enjoy the different threads that give me language learning tips, financial news, updates on what’s happening around the world, reminders of discipline, mindfulness routines, creative prompts, and more.
I started thinking: can I curate the ultimate “investment in oneself and others gift guide?” and the answer is what brought us both here.
I’m glad I made the cut on your highly selective feeds. I’ll make this worth your time.
This year I realized I sleep like crap. In my 20s it was something to “brag about.” I’d boast that I could party from Wednesday to Sunday, and still make it to me 7am business law class. I even got an A- in the class despite my sleep deprivation.
By the time I turned 30, the white hairs were coming on faster than I could ninja my tweezers. Wrinkles began setting deep under my eyes. And that wasn’t even the worst part; I felt my mind fog in confusion too often than I wanted to experience.
I value my memory more than my appearance. The minute my memory began to dull, I realized this was a lifestyle problem. I needed to sleep more. And I was tired of feeling like shit.
In a bold move, I bought an Oura ring, which became my gateway drug into “bio-hacking.”
This tiny ring and lightweight comes with built in sensors that measure your sleep, heart rate, body temperature, and movement throughout the day.
At first it sounded like a gimmick. Who cares what my sleep score or readiness score is? I have to wake up when the alarm rings and I’ll find the energy like I always have.
But then I got the ring, and it changed my relationship to rest altogether. After a few weeks, the ring tracks your individual patterns and tells you your stress levels at different times of the day (turns out sending emails stresses me the hell out), your ideal “chronotype,” which is like your custom body clock that tells you what time go to bed to wake up feeling most refreshed.
What’s crazy is that it works. Now, if I have a crappy night of sleep, I’ll have metrics to tell me why I feel like a blob all day. Having numbers to the feeling helped me take a good look at my sleep and prioritize rest. Otherwise, I’ll burn out before hitting 35, and I have too many things on my wish list to let that happen.
Who is this good for: The stressed out person who knows they’re not sleeping enough but is so out of touch with their rhythms that they push themselves to the brink of burnout constantly.
Get Oura here for 30% off.
Whoop strap is similar for bracelet or watch wearers because it’s a wrist strap with sensors that track your measurements. The app is reallllly in depth and measures the body similarly to Oura, I’d argue a bit more in depth. It’s designed for athletes, and super biohackers.
Other notable mentions in the sleep category:
Loftie alarm clock
You probably know this by now, but language learning is like a superfood for the brain. It helps improve your memory, it grows your empathy, and humbles you by rewiring your relationship with failure: you must fail to become fluent.
When it comes to language learning, there are tons of “hacks” out there, but nothing will replace the big c, consistency.
Here are some of my favorite tools and resources that help you stick to your language learning lifestyle:
What I love about Pimsleur is that with one subscription you get access to 50+ languages. It’s perfect for the non-committal language learner who gets turned on by Greek one day, and Arabic the next.
You might even have seen me in one of Pimsleurs ads. I got that gig because I used to tag them in my Instagram stories constantly shouting them out while running and practicing Egyptian Arabic.
My thinking was: if I have to work out my body, I might as well work out my mind too. I ended up forming a longterm relationship with them rooted in my genuine belief in their product. Talk about win win win.
Get Pimsleur All Access for 30% off with CYBER at checkout, or 50% off your first month.
my language learning journal and planner is actually an amazing tool to put all of your materials together, and not just because I designed it and put it out into the world. This juicy language journal is truly the first of its kind: 230 pages of planning, goal setting, note taking, grammar and vocabulary lists, and prompts to answer in your target language to start actually expressing yourself.
Get Fluentish here.
Ok, so most language learners have a preference of what platform to find a tutor. From my experience, it’s really tough to choose because each platform gives you access to different teachers. iTalki is a bit cheaper, but again, the tutors set their own prices so the range exists on both platforms. The main reason to invest in a tutor is two fold. First, you’ll have an accountability partner who walks you through the language as a professional tutor. Secondly, you could make an amazing friend on the other side of the globe.
I met my Egyptian Arabic teacher Ahmed back in 2020, and made this video featuring our bond growing as my language level improved.
You need to like your tutor, otherwise you’ll dread learning with them. Finding the right teacher is a bit like dating, and trust me, I’ve had terrible “language dates,” who I did not book for a second time. But when you find the right person, magical language progress can occur.
Like most things I do that are a massive success, I give it away for free to test it and see if it works, then I remake it with more thought to give the people and myself what has been missing.
This is exactly what happened with my 21 day language challenge.
It started back in 2020 as a free way to connect with other people while studying Greek. I created this random 21 day itinerary for myself with daily journal prompts and challenges that I documented in Greek, and encouraged my followers to do the same in their language.
People complained that the prompts were too easy (I made the first version for my beginner level in Greek, and did not have the chops to write in the past, future, or anything other than “hi, I’m Jo.”) So in the new and improved guided video challenge, I made many improvements.
For starters, each day gives you 3 videos: a journal prompt video with a mild and spicy version of the question (mild for beginners and spicy for intermediate/advanced), a challenge video with an activity I ask you to do that usually pulls you into the culture, and a TLDD video – too long didn’t do, for those days where life gets in the way of your study time. This is a micro version of the challenge.
So really, you get 3 challenges in every day, so it’s not a 21 day challenge, but like a 63 day challenge if you want to extend it.
I launched it in 2023, and it was a massive hit. You get lifetime access to it so you can reuse it for many languages. I also made the Time Mastery Toolkit as a resource to help you maximize your memory rooted in my 2.5 decades of language learning.
Get the 21 day language challenge here, and the time mastery toolkit.