Work Like is a series of articles dedicated to interviewing star performers to find out what they do to stay on top of their game.
First of all, tell us about your professional background and how you got to where you are today.
Graduating from Harvard with a Masters in Education and a focus on group learning and adult development helped me pursue my passion: building memorable learning experiences for different communities and unlocking the potential of effective networking.
Since 2005, I’ve been working in curriculum and event design through different organizations, such as AIESEC, Namaa’ Initiative for Sustainable Development, ElMashrou3 and now in ElRe7la.
ElRe7la hosts four-day camping experiences outside of the city, to bring together different communities of leaders, corporate teams and entrepreneurs. The experience is connective, reflective and habit-changing.'Dalia Said: @ElRe7la 's experience is connective, reflective and habit-changing.'Click To Tweet
Why do you do what you do?
Long ago, what motivated me through every day’s challenges is the starfish story I heard as a student in Namaa’s Summer School for Development. In short, it recounts how a wise man was walking on the beach and saw a little kid bending down and throwing a starfish on the shores back into the ocean. When he asked him why he was doing that although there was thousands of starfish down on the coast and he probably won’t be able to throw them all and make a real difference, the young man just picked up another starfish and said that right now he made a difference to that one.
It made me feel that I don’t need to make a huge change to feel that I matter. Every good deed makes a difference, and that I should try to make a difference whenever it’s possible.
In addition to that, I put in the extra mile at work in order to honor the people that I have lost along the way. The loss ignited a sense of awareness and commitment in me to create projects from which they would have been proud of.
Night owl or early-riser?
I spend the three hours between 6-9 AM in either reading or work that requires focus and creativity; then at 9, I have breakfast. I’m most productive in those early hours because the whole house is asleep, so I try to use them well.
What was the last thing you read?
Throughout the summer, I read 600+ articles relevant to our service at ElRe7la, which gave us enough insight to make some improvements at work.
What is a time-saving shortcut or life hack you use?
I usually need to open many research links while working or search for several topics at the same time; this tool helps me open them all in one go.
What are applications that you cannot live without?
I use “News Feed Eradicator” for Facebook and “Remove Recommendations” for Youtube.
They’re extensions that hide Facebook’s feed and Youtube’s recommendations, so that you can use them for work, but not get distracted for hours.
To-do list, on paper or do you use an app?
I use excel sheets, but my weekly calendar is in a DOTS planner.
Do you listen to music while you’re working, or do you prefer the silence?
I don’t follow specific trends, but I can sometimes put on this background music while working. The following channel puts on movie soundtracks that I like.
How often do you take breaks while working?
Usually, I follow the Pomodoro technique. My focus level is for 45 minutes, then I take 2-5 minute breaks during my peak working hours. After that, breaks prolong or are inconsistent. However, when I’m fully immersed in a project I go through it until it’s done.
How do you avoid burnout?
Every once in a while, I go on consecutive days where I don’t meet people. This helps me get some “me time”, to reset and get ready for the next phase.
What’s your favorite snack?
Carrots..or desserts. It depends on what’s in the fridge, really.
What is your favorite TV show?
Currently, it’s “This Is Us”.
What's your idea of a perfect holiday?
A perfect holiday is visiting a close friend overseas and exploring the city together, while catching up on all the years we’ve missed from each others lives. These conversations are on another level.
What is your superpower?
My edge is my work: retreat design and management, opportunity curation and benchmarking.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Responsibility lies with he who knows”. In Arabic, it’s “المسؤول هو من يَعلم”.
I heard this back in 2007, and it changed so much in me. This saying sums up how I feel about the privileges in my life and the sense of responsibility that accompanies them. Whoever has the knowledge should constantly use it to add value wherever possible.'Dalia Said: Responsibility lies with he who knows.'Click To Tweet