Designer Sobriety began two years ago after a great response from my HOW presentation in Boston. The talk communicated the 12 steps we need to consider when trying to manage our careers. Since then, this blog has been dedicated to giving tips, and other thoughts, on the intersection of life and running a creative business. My goal was to evolve that concept into what we called “LifeKerning™” and develop a presentation, some helpful products, and ideally, a book.
So in early June I presented Life Kerning™: Where Life and Creativity Meet. You know how to design a beautiful layout, but what about balancing a busy creative life? Is it possible to build an inspired life that honors both your passions—a rewarding creative career and a joyful personal existence? We are here to tell you that it’s more easily achieved than you might think.
The main concept was that sometimes the slightest adjustments in your life could lead to a more enjoyable and rewarding career. The main points are summarized below:
Perspective: This point asks you to remember what you’re passionate about. Often when we get overwhelmed or discouraged we simply need to take a step back. Make a list to recall these passions that you can review every 3 months, 6 months, or once a year. Whatever works for you to keep them in the forefront.
Nudity: When you’re naked it’s hard to hide who you are. Your unique self is what makes your work different, important, and powerful. Are you being “nakedly” honest with the things you want to do that help you stand out? If not, then start. The more “you” that you are, the more you will enjoy your work and bring unique perspective to your team and clients. Read the rest of the entry >
For some, working away from the office is no big deal. But what about for those of you who haven’t tried it yet? The good news is that it can work, but it does take some planning and flexibility.
The reasons for going remote are numerous. Perhaps you feel the itch in your office for some flexibility in this area, or maybe in this challenging economy you need to downsize and transition to having your employees work from home. Our particular scenario began when a member of our team got married and needed to move to where her husband was working. I was bummed to lose such a great friend and creative, but then we decided to try working remotely. It has worked out better than expected, and here are some things we have done and suggest:
1: Access, Access, Access
Creating a central online schedule such as a Google doc, iCal calendar, Basecamp, etc. is essential for open communication and tracking. Also, set up a VPN or a separate FTP to make sure all parties have easy access to files. The key is consistent communication and file transfer.
2: Say Hi Everyday
This may seem obvious, but daily face-to-face chats are a must. Using iChat or Skype, go over the day’s schedule, questions, and define expectations. It helps everyone feel like they’re part of both the culture and the day to day office happenings. Also, don’t downplay instant messaging: it’s a great tool for immediate check in.
3: Drab Won’t Do
For the remote worker, try to make yourself an inspiring work place. Is there some piece of the studio you can bring with you to feel a part of the team? Some favorite design posters to hang on the walls? Set aside a couple days to add creativity to your space. It will be well worth the investment.
4: Change It Up
Although a bunny slipper commute might sound nice, working from home can get stifling at times. Take walks, get coffee, read a new book, maybe even take a cat nap. Go to creative events (try your local AIGA chapter). Talk to your boss about sponsoring it or adding a couple magazine subscriptions as part of your employee package for an extra creative boost.
5: Keep the Conversation Going
In the end, make sure both parties talk about what is working and not working. It’s essential to talk about the smallest to the biggest concerns, as well as being open to a little change. This will only work if you commit to it; so be honest, flexible and ready to try something new.
Tell us what you think about working remotely, on either side of the equation. Or what suggestions do you have?
While we are fairly transparent with our friends here on our blog, we got to thinking that our work process is probably somewhat of a mystery to many of our friends and clients. We’d like to demystify the general process we go through a little by introducing a new blog series that we’ll complete over the next several months. And to make it even more exciting, we’ll be video-blogging this series!
You can find out about our full process on our website here, but in this series we will be highlighting just several of the stages.
Look for full-motion entries about:
+ Our Down-to-the-Nitty-Gritty Research Process
+ Sketching, Doodling, and Concepting
+ Roughing on the Computer
+ and much more to come!
If you have any questions or suggestions about the series now or as we go along, let us know!