Some of us see things a bit differently – whilst others unwind and let loose, endings stress us more than beginnings do.
Each year, when December comes around, we become shut-ins and work harder than we did all year. It’s our attempt to make up for the stolen days, catch up with unfinished business, and do what we can to not step into the next year with the same bullshit.
People have new year resolutions; we have old year burden of decisions.
In November, I met Graeme Fulton and joined the Prototypr community — a creative group of designers, developers and makers. This was after a hiatus where I did nothing, made nothing, wrote nothing, and had no sense of urgency about contributing value. I worked on autopilot, doing my job of managing communities and communications but not building anything of my own.
Inertia is a beast. Once it hits, it’s a brutal long game to pull yourself out and gain momentum again.
Why am I voluntarily oversharing, you may ask.
I’m writing this for everyone who stole days in 2018. For everyone who feels they have to start over in 2019. For the ones who did the best they could but don’t have much to show. I feel you and it’s not over until the fat lady sings.
The only way to get your fire back after you lose it is to start and keep moving, even if you have to crawl at first. Pick a direction and move forward. It actually gets fun at some point.
James Clear said it best in Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones: it doesn’t matter how much you have messed up in the past. It matters more that you dust yourself up, build new habits and move forward. His actual words below:
“It doesn’t matter how successful or unsuccessful you are right now. What matters is whether your habits are putting you on the path toward success. You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.”
So back to my meeting and hanging with the crazy makers at Prototypr.
Since my first conversations with Graeme the founder, Katerina and Aggelos of unDraw, and rad Raxie of ssshh (can’t reveal too much), I’ve become interested in stuff again — product design, frontend web dev, graphic design, UX writing. I’m learning and making again. Woooohoo!
Coming from a digital content and community engagement background, this move makes sense. I’ll be able to achieve so much more with these new skills.
It’s tough going back to student status, especially after you’ve attained some level of performance in your current industry. You go from having answers to being one who asks “How do I get started?” even though Google exists.
You really want to learn and you’re really confused.
There is so much information on the internet and it’s A LOT to figure out where to start.
How and What I’m Learning
In the spirit of sharing, here’s how and what I’m learning.
My strategy is to learn widely at first and then narrow and niche by mid-next year. I’ll consider my learning a success when I’m able to fully conceptualize product or content ideas and bring them to life without needing much help. So far, I’ve taken the following courses, watched videos, read:
- The Design of Everyday Things, Product Design, Rapid Prototyping on Udacity
- Graphic Design, Prototyping and Design, User Interface Design Specialization,Fundamentals of Graphic Design and Introduction to UI Design on Coursera
- The InVision playlist on Blinkist includes classics like including The Design of Everyday Things, Lean UX and Don’t Make Me Think
- Other resources I hope to check on include uxtricks.design by Daniel Schwarz, degreeless.design, Refactoring UI by Steve Schoger
Learning a new field is tough. It is humbling not knowing the ABCs. But that’s what life and growth is. You just have to keep at it.
Cheers to the new year and self and career growth.
Feature Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels.