Not unlike what I’m sure a lot of you do, New Years is a good opportunity to reflect back on the past year and project forward some goals.
As always, I want to continue to do work that we and our clients are proud of, that moves the needle out there in the world. This year I’m going to double down on giving to the IDSA, which is something I’ve been trying to be more involved in. I also plan to go to more conferences and trade shows. It is easy for me to just stay in the studio doing the work, but getting out there is so important. I’m heading to CES next week after taking a couple of years off from it, and I’ll be at the IDSA IDC in August in Seattle. I’ll try to make it to Toronto for SQ1 and I think I will go to Neo Con for the first time this year or maybe ICFF. I’m also going to try to write a bit more, make more videos with voice overs and do one or two strategic concept projects.
In addition to all that professional practice stuff, I came across this quote from Lao Tzu on kindness, and I decided to make that my macro goal. If I can be just a little kinder this year I’ll be happy. I’m sure I will mess up from time to time as all of you can see on here, but its a goal.
Less time at work, more time with family and friends.
Just got back from the cabin for an XY new year. Going to Pasadena first weekend of Feb. for a bike ride with friends and visiting Caltech with the boy. March is hopefully a ride in Milan, visiting Carnegie Mellon & UNC. I figure Stanford also around this time. April I host a larger get-together. May my friend has a thing in the NC mountains. June my oldest and I do a startup, probably via Etsy. Second half - tbd.
But at work - Determine how to make EMEA a $50MM business in 5 years.
-Improve my discipline. Sketching daily is a big one, which I’ve failed each year so far.
-Focus on seeing family and friends more. I occasionally feel like a hermit.
-Started jiu jitsu last year, and I’d like to improve enough for take part in the next belt exam by the end of the year
-Practise front-end design skills, rework portfolio with a few complex surfaced products and learn rhino or fusion
I thought I was the only designer who gave Bladerunner a miss…
Use some of my accrued miles…Visit Dubai, Visit Miami, FL
Finish CAD/VR/Editing PC build, Record with new strat and tele guitar builds
Open office in SV, Close office in Seoul
Solidworks and Fusion360 interoperability mastery
Test sending and storing private data with new proprietary encryption algorithm
Collab with more engineering colleagues from my past
Vote in the US Presidential election
Maybe get an iphone
After taking a sabbatical from teaching it will be work work work in 2020…
A big one for me is to be more mentally present in my personal life. I found myself consumed by work or thinking of work 24/7 last year. Plan to spend more quality time with the kids. My son got a TON of legos for Christmas so that should be fun. Also want to teach him how to ride a bike. Sketching with my daughter is a big goal for the year.
That being said, professionally - we made big steps last year in growing design in an insurance company, but we still have a long ways to go. I would like to:
Figure out if UX is really what I want to do with my career. If not, then what?
Become more proficient in UX/UI
Grow my knowledge of technology
Figure out how to speak Agile (thats a tough one)
Sketch more and get others to sketch more
Build out a Design Playbook
I’m a bit of a Crossfit junky, but like picking up heavy stuff. All around gym stuff: Squat more, press more, get more lean
Compete in an amateur Strongman competition. This is something I do every year through the gym. I have a few people I would like to beat.
When I read that with a capital T I could’t help but think of this:
Being more present in personal life is always something I struggle with. I seem to go in spirts where I’ll be really good about it and then really bad. It is difficult as a designers, we always have that ability to go into our mind space and start thinking about a project, or something random will spur an idea and before I know it 30 minutes will go by of me just staring into space thinking it through… but when it is worst for me is when dealing with people issues where I’ll be obsessively thinking through what someone said, what I said, how I could better say it in the future, if I say this what might might happen… that can be a bottomless pit and usually Kristina can spot that a mile away and snap me out of it. What I’ve learned is to just share everything I’m thinking with her so she at least knows what is going on up there. Last year the business grew and I needed to hire someone to be a bit of a general manager (run the books, do project management, general office tasks, and be a trusted reviewer of work. I knew what someone who could do all of those things well would cost and it was more than Kristina was making as a psychotherapist. So we decided to see what it would be like for us to work together. We were concerned that it would further blur the line between work and life, but instead it has helped. Since she knows everything that the business is doing she had the ability to tell me to turn it off and take a break It is not for everyone but we are enjoying a taste of the Charles and Ray life … So in 2020 the task will be to take that to the next level.
On keeping the balance, one thing we found that worked was planning a quarterly activity, whether it was a long trip, a long weekend, or a little staycation. We have those planned out for Q1, Q2, and Q3, and working on Q4 2020.
Another thing that helped was putting phones on night mode by 8:30.
Mine are simple this year but I want to focus on a quality outcome and I believe these will help me in many aspects of life:
Design goals: Increase sketching ability - I get by fine and professionally feel im doing very well and makeup in other places, but I believe in finding weaknesses and getting better Finding my balance of speed and quality - Speed seems to be at the core of most businesses now, and although I think there is something to taking time on a design and really understanding the problem I also believe there needs to be a balance. In 2020 I plan on defining for myself how that should manifest its self to where I am meeting work/client objectives while still feeling proud and excited about my work Learn 1 new Digital Skill - I am thinking maybe grasshopper and getting into a little python, after all, I do not want to be like the helicopter pilot Learn 1 new Analog Skill - Possibly Sewing? Complete 2 side projects outside of work - Have a couple carryover projects from 2019 I want to knock out
Life Goals: Focus on my physical and mental health - Taking daily breaks from work while prioritizing mindfulness and getting a daily dose of exercise Tackle student loans - My least fun/exciting goal, but I want to pay down those pesky student loans Work on activities for myself - I used to love (and I think I still do) playing music, woodworking, etc. but it seems like design school really got me in the mindset of thinking how I can create a project or monetize an activity which is great at times but I really want a couple things that I am doing simply because they are enjoyable and nothing else
I like the digital/analog breakdown. One in each category. We just got ‘gifted’ an old piano and though I used to play when younger have mostly forgotten. Its been rewarding to plunk away again at the keys and I think in the larger “design thinking” sense there’s nothing like the multisensory instant iteration involved with playing, reading, and listening to your own music.
I found this thread refreshing. It’s a simple reminder that we’re a collection of flawed and struggling humans. Friends and colleagues alike, struggling with everything from kindness, to divorce, to their children.
I’ve read almost every post in this thread and felt myself nodding in agreement and/or commiseration.
I don’t typically make resolutions or look at my goals with a start and finish point of January 1/December 31. I do know that I’m in a massive transition after what one might call a cluster f&(k of a decade.
Kindness, honesty, and creativity are three themes that seem to continue to surface in my recent explorations of what is to come. Look for something of a rebirth from me.