#Reverb10 Day 28: Achieve

Note: This is the twenty-seventh in a month-long exercise called Reverb10, where bloggers reflect on the year before and think towards the year ahead. The idea is to post daily, based on the day’s prompts; let’s see how well I do.

Prompt: Achieve. What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.

There’s much in this prompt that I plan on answering in my personal journal, but not here. What I will say is this:

I’m ready to find a full time position with a team that’s doing some really cool stuff. Specifically, I’m looking for a high-level position in UX Design/Strategy, Art Direction or Design Strategy that will let me focus on solving interesting problems alongside a great team, and less on running a business day to day. While I love running a business, and some would say that entrepreneurship is in my blood (case in point: I launched a new side business during my job search), I want to find an environment where I can learn from people who are better than me.

That’s what I plan on achieving this year. Along with getting closer to my degree, and moving towards a Master’s. And it’s going to feel really damn good when it happens.

#Reverb10 Day 20: Beyond Avoidance

Note: This is the twentieth in a month-long exercise called Reverb10, where bloggers reflect on the year before and think towards the year ahead. The idea is to post daily, based on the day’s prompts; let’s see how well I do.

Further Note: I decided that yesterday’s prompt – “what healed you this year?” – was something that I just couldn’t answer. Not that I have that much of a problem airing personal business online (clearly), but frankly, I just hate questions like that in a public forum.

Prompt: Beyond avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)

See note above re: hating questions like this. I also tend to have a policy against “should haves,” as they’re dangerously addictive, and completely counterproductive.

The way that “should haves” work is this: you start with something relatively innocent, like “I should have gone after that client last year.” Then you start thinking, “I should have made more calls this year” or “I should have gone to more networking events” or “I should have Tweeted more” (trust me, you shouldn’t have). Eventually, your mind is spiraling downward into this nasty shame spiral which somehow, for me, always ends with “I should have lost weight.” BECAUSE IT ALWAYS ENDS THERE.

So frankly, I don’t have any “should haves.” What I do have is many, many ideas, and a system in place for managing those ideas so that I go after the ones that are worth going after and let go (or save) the ones that aren’t quite ready yet. The system evolves over time, but it generally results in a large portion of the better ideas being acted upon and/or tried. In 2011, one of my goals is to better systematize the trying – which will be interesting given the time constraints posed by work and school. But frankly, I’m used to working hard, and life isn’t fun without new challenges.

AND SPEAKING OF SYSTEMS! The pretty{functional} Etsy store is now LIVE, with the first bunch of handmade notebooks ready to be purchased. There’s blank books that are just beautiful, and dot-grid books that are the next evolution of the abovementioned system – designed to let you keep both your work notes and your personal journal entries in ONE BOOK. I’ve been using one of the dot grid versions for about a week now, and I can’t tell you how handy it’s been. I can add a to-do list if I want to, but I don’t need one at all, and I can use it for a diary entry, then sketch a logo design, and then play with type, all in one journal! I swear I’m in love.

#Reverb10 Day 6: Make

Note: This is the sixth in a month-long exercise called Reverb10, where bloggers reflect on the year before and think towards the year ahead. The idea is to post daily, based on the day’s prompts; let’s see how well I do.

Day 6: Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

This is a bit of a loaded question. I make every single day. I even write about making. But if I had to pick one thing that I made, recently, that I’m most proud of, it’s this journal.

Here it is! My *almost* perfect journal.

I’ve been a fan of journals since I was fifteen years old. With all the stuff I do in the digital realm, there’s truly nothing that works better for me than good old pen and paper – preferably in an attractive package.

The last few years, specifically, I’ve been exploring different options for journals – hoping to one day find a journal that would work for both personal writing and work notes. I’m a huge fan of Dot Grid journals and Action Method products, but I’ve been hoping for one that a) wasn’t plain black, even if it had a lovely embossed cover; and b) didn’t force me into having a to-do list on every page. In addition to that, I wanted to be able to color code pages (with labels) depending on whether they were work or personal, and I wanted multiple bookmarks, because I often have more than one thing I have to keep track of.

Love the dot grid. FEAR the dot grid.

The end result of many hours of thinking and sketching was the journal you see above. I still have a couple of design tweaks to make for future iterations, but I’ve been incredibly pleased with the result so far.

The exterior is chipboard, decorative paper and bookcloth from PaperSource. The interior is Neenah Environment PC100 writing, with a dot grid design and a line to add date, page references and numbers. There’s also a box specifically for “stuff to remember” (a nod to the Action Method’s “Backburner”), and a spot for a to-do list (which, right now, is half an Action Pad that I plan to tape to the page. Ideally, it’d be labels). I used bookbinding thread for the bookmarks and closure, which I’m thinking of changing in future iterations. Most of all, it’s PRETTY. Which is the point.