Some of us see things a bit differently, in that endings – when others unwind and let loose – stress us out 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 made nothing, wrote nothing, and had no sense of urgency about contributing value. I worked on autopilot, doing my job of managing communications and communities but not building one of my own.
Inertia is a beast. Once it hits, it’s a brutal long game to pull yourself out and gain momentum.
I am 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. Pick a direction and move forward. It will get 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 making stuff again. I’m learning product design, frontend web dev, graphic design and UX writing, and I am so stoked about it all. Woooohoo!
Coming from a digital communications and community engagement background, this move makes sense. I’ll be able to achieve much more with these added skills.
It’s tough going back to student status, especially after you’ve attained a level of performance in your work. You go from having answers to asking questions like “How do I get started?” even though Google exists.
You really want to learn and you are confused. With so much information on the internet, it’s A LOT to figure out where to start.
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 and content ideas and bring them to life without needing much help or hiring a freelancer.
So far, I’ve watched the following courses, videos, and 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 basics. But that’s what life and growth is. You just have to keep at it. Cheers to the new year!