It dawned on me this week that it had been exactly three months since I turned over my new leaf. While there are many things on my to do list that I’ve yet to touch, I’m going to fill you guys in on some tasks I’ve made part of my regularly scheduled programming.
Why the extra assignments, you ask? Because back in April I was in a funk. Big time. It’s not that I’d been doing lackluster work, but I’d lost my enthusiasm for design. I hadn’t been keeping up with technology, trends, artists, fashion—any of the things that used to interest me.
In the old days, my fix would be to take off for a long weekend and checkout a new city (or country) with relatively little thought or notice. That’s not going to fly (being a responsible adult with a husband now), but it doesn’t mean I can’t reap the same benefits those trips brought in terms of inspiration. Changing scenery, learning about new things, meeting new people—that's what I need to get the ideas flowing.
To stay out of a funk, I came up with this list of 5 tasks that prompt me to challenge myself and stay energized every day. Here goes:
1) Meet up with a friend. (Bonus points for making new friends!) This has probably been the most rewarding things I’ve done so far. Not only have I reconnected with some truly amazing friends, but I’ve also met some super talented and fun people who I’m excited to get to know better.
2) Learn something new. I’m a pretty big nerd, and there’s nothing that makes me happier than an excuse to buy a new notebook. So far I’ve learned the art of macaron making with my Mom (easier said than done), I found a podcast series to keep me busy while I make 804ork deliveries, I dusted off a Skillshare course on lettering, and I attended a food writers conference (where I learned way more than I thought I would!).
3) Design something just because. I used to do this all the time. Hell, it’s probably the reason I became a designer—I’d have an idea for something I wanted that didn’t exist exactly the way I wanted it (usually a school supply!), so I’d make it. Just because it’s not billable doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile.
4) Have one new business meeting a week. Sure this one is more practical than others, but it’s another great way to meet new people and learn about new organizations. Not every meeting is going to lead to a project, and I’m not going to win every single proposal I submit, but I’ll never know unless I try!
5) Spend part of a day working somewhere else. Living “on the way to Charlottesville,” while awesome, also means I can go days without seeing another human (other than Matt). I also have a hard time prioritizing my own projects—like this blog (which is way behind schedule) or my business cards (which I still don’t have)—while I’m in my office. Heading to a coffee shop forces me to focus on one or two specific tasks. It’s also a nice break and works well in between 1s and 4s.
Bonus: Focus on the positive. Let’s face it, I dealt with a lot of crap over the past year. It’s easy to dwell or feel frustrated when something rears its ugly head or someone prompts you to relive said crap. My new approach is to “serenity now” the hell out of those feelings and focus on all of the fun ahead. Because honestly, this list is a lot of fun—I wouldn’t have made it if it weren’t.