First, I’d like to take a moment to thank my incredible clients and colleagues for an outstanding year. I enjoy collaborating with each and everyone of you. What began as freelancing on the side, last year blossomed into JL Davis Design, my new full-time venture! I couldn’t have done it without the encouragement and support of many of you. So this Thanksgiving, aside from being grateful for heat and electricity thanks to Sandy, I am thankful for the wonderful people I have been blessed to work with.
Self-employment is a gratifying journey. This past year I grew tremendously in the areas of ever-changing digital technology. I’ve diversified my skill set from mainly print to simple WordPress sites, animated gifs and digital magazines and I look forward to continuing to flourish in these areas. All of these techniques help me become a better designer for you.
Like most of us, at the end of the year I like to reflect on what worked and didn’t, both professionally and personally. I recently read the following article, which really resonated with me and my goals. I know that when my life is simplified, I become a better designer. I’d like to share these tips for simplicity with you:
The 5 Principles of a Profound Workday, By Leo Babauta
Let us toss out all we know for a moment.
Toss notions of productivity, time management, efficiency, and the bottom line.
Empty our workdays of all we’ve packed them with, and sit still with an empty room. What should we put in this room? Do we want to spend our limited space on busy-ness, on making money, on quick transactions and calculated meetings? What if we put into it only that which matters? What if we left everything else out? We would be left with a workday that was poetry, profoundly beautiful.
The Profound Workday
In my life I have deliberately cultivated a workday that is flexible, simplified, slow, mindful, creative. The exact opposite of my previous life: a hurried, anxious, complicated, dull workday. What I’ve curated is not difficult, but it is the perfect environment for creating work that is profoundly different from my previous accomplishments. I’ve created this flow using some key principles. You might not be able to implement all of them right away, but it’s my hope that you’ll find the principles useful.
1. Empty: In Silence and Solitude. When your schedule is full, you have no room for change. When your day is full of noise, you have no space to think. Empty your day. When you have an empty space, you can fill it with anything. Only with this emptiness can you create something truly different. Clear your schedule. Find space for silence and solitude. With this space you’ll be free, to hear your thoughts, to see the truth, to create beauty.
2. Slow and Mindful. Rushing paradoxically leaves us with less time — the speed means we don’t pay attention, and so the day disappears rapidly and leaves us before we notice. Slow down, and pay attention. You’ll be able to focus on your creative tasks more, and though you’ll do less, you’ll accomplish things that are more profound. Be mindful of every activity, small or large. Enjoy every motion. When you are done with a task, wash your bowl. Then move to the next.
3. Profoundly Creative. Don’t use the gift of your day for mindless repetitive tasks. Don’t end the day with nothing to show for your work. Start each day by creating. Make the space at the beginning of your day to create, before you get lost in emails and online networking and reading. Create something amazing. Delight your audience. Leave them amazed, wanting to do your marketing for you. Make a difference.
4. Simplified. The principles for a profound workday might seem impractical to most people, because there just isn’t the time or space to implement them. The only way to create this type of workday is to simplify. It’s the key to everything else. Subtract. Pare everything down to its essence. What’s on your desk right now? What are the three items that actually need to be there? Remove everything else. What’s on your schedule for today? What are the three tasks that would really make a difference in your life? Eliminate everything else that you possibly can. What do you do every day? How many of those things can be eventually pared down? How much do you do online? Could you do without it? Simplify, and you’ll be able to find emptiness, solitude, silence, slowness, mindfulness.
5. Flexible and Natural. This type of workday might start to sound rigid, but in truth when you create space you also allow yourself the flexibility to deal in the moment with any change. The natural flow of things is change, and if we are rigid we aren’t able to deal with changes. We become frustrated, anxious, angry, flustered. If instead we have no expectations of what will happen each day, and deal with changes as they come, we let go of that frustration and anxiety. Be open to whatever happens. Be flexible. Deal with change as it happens, and you’ll find true profoundness doesn’t come from within us, or from external sources, but in the space between the two.
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
(Leo Babauta is the owner of ZenHabits.net, a website devoted to providing clear and concise wisdom on how to simplify your life.)
In sum, I plan on practicing these methods and staying on top of the latest design techniques to help you, my valued clients, move forward into this ever-changing digital marketing world. –Sincerely, Jeanine