May 15, 2021
Side Project Update
Over the years I have tried a lot of different side projects. I’ve tried blogging, a podcast with a friend, selling digital goods online, and a bunch of small business ideas that never took off. My side projects often start off as a way for me to learn something. By attaching a clear goal and launch date to a project I can start building structure and process around learning and give myself clear guidance on how to go deeper into a subject.
Recently, I’ve tried to limit the amount of pressure I put on myself to work on side projects. I’ve leaned into note taking as a structured way to produce measurable outcomes with learning and have felt confident in the approach. (Shout out to Obsidian!)
With that being said, two projects continue to stick around as ideas worth pursuing. The first is PUSH, my personal training practice and newsletter about fitness. As someone dedicated to fitness and coaching, this has been an invaluable tool for me to put my thoughts into words and share my experimentation with training. The readership is 200+ and continues to grows.
The other project is Design Managers, a Slack community for design management. After launching, the membership took off to 143 members, but recently activity has been sleepy. With such a great group of folks in one place, I’m hoping to kick things off again and utilize the potential of the Slack. If there is anything I’ve learned in quarantine its that there is a hunger and proven model to connect communities online, and this is a community worth connecting.
Keep an eye out for more to come on this topic! I’m hoping to share more about these projects as I continue to work on them. And please reach out if you have any advice on how to make more impact with side projects!
April 19, 2021
Design and Play
When I think about my early career in design I think fondly of the time I spent making and sharing work on Dribbble. I was new to design and the community provided me a place to create work on my own terms and share it with an audience that was supportive and inspiring. The work I posted on Dribbble wasn’t for my day job. It wasn’t for school. It was a creative way for me to play with the knowledge I was gathering as I entered design. In addition to that, it felt like I was exploring this new knowledge with others. We were collectively on that journey together.
As my career has moved forward, I have tried to retain a sense of play with my design practice. My history in brand design has left me with a desire to explore abstract concepts and create things from a blank canvas. Design systems and product design have changed our need for the blank canvas, but play can exist in that world.
Playing with design is about exploration. It’s about going beyond what we think and having fun tinkering with the unknown. In thinking about this topic, I found this great video of Erin Jang speaking about purposeful play. It’s worth watching and pairing with this podcast on the beginner’s mind.
In the future, I’ll be looking for more playful opportunities. I think we can all benefit from more of it. We can discover new opportunities that are right under our noses and push our work forward, all while having fun.
February 28, 2021
Flexibility for Creative Productivity
Creative productivity is different from traditional productivity. When looking at a blank canvas we aren’t supported by the structure of a to-do list or obvious next steps. This lack of structure can be daunting.
However, this lack of structure is also the superpower of productivity in creative environments. Productivity in this space requires constant shifts from broad focus to narrow focus. In the process of creative exploration, we find connections between ideas and concepts and have to decide when to be playful with experimentation and when to be critical of small details in our work
In order for us to thrive in this type of work, our environment has to match this way of working. Our organizations have to build a process that allows for unstructured thinking and connection-building. When the process is too structured we lose the freedom we need to be creatively productive.
Over time, the expertise we build as creative workers teaches us when to go broad, when to go deep, and when to leave the structure of “good” work behind to pursue great ideas.
November 25, 2020
“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
October 24, 2020
I’ve wondered why people are eager to back into the world. I understand needing to work. I understand needing to be with friends and family. But I wonder why there is a large group of people who have these needs fulfilled and don’t find their daily lives to be “enough.”
We are aware that we have established a culture where we see ourselves through the eyes of others. We go out to post about it and get affirmation from people who weren’t there with us. There is criticism of this type of culture and feedback. When challenged with the opportunity to break away from it, we’ve actively asked to have it back.
It makes me think how a pandemic would have gone pre-internet. I wonder if we would have noticed it as much?
September 28, 2020
In some personal news, I have recently joined the team at Facebook to focus on Social Impact. I am joining the team as a product designer and I’m really excited to be working alongside the rest of the Social Impact team to build products that support the Facebook community.