Dr. Anna Akbari: Sociologist, writer, speaker, personal performance/happiness coach, & innovation consultant

Dr. Anna Akbari is a sociologist, writer, speaker, personal performance and happiness coach, and innovation consultant. She is a former professor in the department of Media, Culture, and Communication and the Visual Culture MA program at New York University, as well as Parsons The New School for Design. Her research focuses on visual and virtual self-presentation, technology and human intersects, and happiness and well-being.

Akbari is a frequent public speaker and media personality and has written for and been featured by Forbes, The Atlantic, TIME, The Economist, Financial Times, TED, Bulletproof Executive, Psychology Today, Vogue, Refinery29, Google Talks, and dozens more. She is a regular contributor and guest on CNN and SiriusXM's All Out Show. Akbari is the author of Startup Your Life: Hustle and Hack Your Way To Happiness, which teaches people to boost happiness and success by living their lives like a startup, regardless of their profession or stage in life. Though largely a free-range global citizen, Akbari is currently a beach-dwelling Californian who plays outside and sings karaoke as much as humanly possible.

Follow her on Twitter or Instagram, or check out her website to learn more about her work or take one of her online courses.

My Goal of the Day: Create, connect, learn, laugh

What do you love most about Your City?

Living on the beach, while still having all the resources of a major metropolitan city and easy access to more secluded, nature-oriented getaways. Also love the diversity and creativity of LA. The weather isn’t terrible, either :)

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

Either a homemade shake (unsweetened almond milk, collagen powder, green superfood powder, almond butter, chia seeds, cacao nibs, and a mix of ½ banana/frozen blueberries/frozen strawberries) or my homemade paleo grainless granola with almond milk and fresh strawberries. And 2 cups of hot matcha.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – SLEEPING. ALWAYS SLEEPING. (I am not a morning person; don’t let anyone tell you you have to wake up at dawn to be successful.)

10:00 AM - I work from home, so likely at my computer, sipping tea, catching up on email and accomplishing all my small tasks as I psych myself up for a writing session. Possibly also doing a virtual video call with a client.

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

My kitchen! I cook most of my own meals. It’s actually faster and creates less interruption to the work day (also, if I’m still wearing my pajamas, it doesn’t matter!). I always eat eggs for lunch (duck eggs are my favorite), usually paired with some greens and avocado, and maybe some organic bacon, plus sparkling water.

7:00 PM -  Post-workout/shower, making and eating dinner, and likely doing some work. I split my days into 2-3 work sessions, broken up by exercise/eating/errands, and I often do a few additional hours of work in the evenings.

11:00 PM - Hopefully in bed reading/meditating, trying to go to sleep. But I could just as easily be finishing up some writing, in which case I would likely watch something mindless for a while after to try to convince my brain to shut off. I do some of my best writing in the evenings.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Tea. I sip various teas all day/evening. Matcha green tea in the morning, maybe some oolong in the afternoon, hot water with fresh ginger, roasted dandelion, possibly also some unsweetened cocoa powder in hot water at some point. There’s something about a hot beverage that soothes me and helps me focus.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

Stitcher is definitely at the top of my list. I think it’s exponentially superior to the Apple Podcasts platform. It’s a particularly great companion for distance driving.

As for instagram accounts, I avoid any accounts that feel narcissistic or self-indulgent (i.e. bikini selfies, workout pix) and focus exclusively on people I personally know and love and accounts that make me laugh. (My neighborhood became overrun by electric scooters this year, so I must admit I secretly indulge in @birdgraveyard. And @celestebarber is a perfect comedic foil for all the unrealistically coiffed influencers — love her.)

What should everyone try at least once?

Psychedelics. If you need convincing, read Michael Pollan’s new book, How To Change Your Mind, or listen to any of the in-depth interviews Tim Ferriss has done with psychedelic pioneers and researchers. The clinical studies on their lasting transformational power are extremely compelling. It’s the best therapy you’ll ever have, with the right intention and setting.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

Everywhere. Especially in nature and anytime I’m traveling alone, which is often. I love to wander and explore. When traveling, I do a mix of preliminary research and strategic wandering (i.e. in specific neighborhoods) in an effort to take advantage of some destination-worthy stuff, while still allowing for a healthy amount of discovery. Bonus: I tend to meet a lot of interesting people this way.

My Tip of the Day: Take life, but not yourself, seriously

My Pic of the Day: