What am I doing this year?

What am I doing this year? Who knows, but I have a few ideas of things I’d like to accomplish. Blog and write more is one of them. I like writing personally and on this blog, the trouble is the motivation to actually do it and post on a more regular basis. I have a ton of posts I’ve started but are rotting in their draft states. I get distracted easily I guess, yes, but most of the time I’m not confident that the “content” I’m creating is worthy of reading. Basically, will people like what I’m saying? I’ve figured out the answer to this question, and it is, WHO CARES! I pay for the hosting of this blog, customized it myself and am the only one that has any time invested in this thing.


So screw it, I’m going to blog about what I want. Honestly, I don’t want to write about design anymore. There are many other blogs out there doing it much better than me. I may relate my personal experiences to design here and there, but I want this to be a showcase for things I like (other than design/code), want to share and find interesting. What else am I going to do this year? Considering is already February, I’ve had time to think about it (I started this entry at the beginning of January).


One major thing I need to do is to consider my feelings and happiness more. That includes getting into therapy and embracing activities and hobbies that I like without guilt. I need to realize that taking time for myself to be lazy, reading, playing video games and riding my bike for no reason is healthy! It’s fun! It’s fun AND healthy!


I want to pursue more non-profit endeavors, especially ones related to animal welfare. It’s important to volunteer! Not only are you doing something great for a project or organization you’re passionate about, volunteering is cleansing to your soul (cliche, yes, but true).


I don’t like New Years Resolutions, but I like goals, goals are more attainable. It’s good to have aspirations and how to make yourself better over the coarse of the next year. I feel good knowing what I want to achieve this year, so here’s to 2014! Get out there and do something good!

Litmus animated GIF goodness

See the Sweet Litmus animated GIF

 

This. Is. Beautiful.

 

Litmus is generally amazing, so this is par for the course for them. This was recently sent out in an email to promote their upcoming conference.

 

Claps and snaps all around.

Kill your to-do list

I have 3 apps on my phone that all essentially have the same function, to make to-do lists. I recently heard Jim Collins speak and he suggests killing your to-do list and instead, creating a “not to-do list”. At first, that seemed crazy to me. I live and die by my to-do list, which is a problem. My to-do list now runs my life. It controls what I do at work, at home, in the car, my workouts and creeps into my relaxation time. Even without any alerts turned on, I know it exists, and that there’s shit to be done.

 

After listening to Mr. Collins speak, I kind of love the idea of scraping the concept of a to-do list all together. Doesn’t that sounds amazing? Just living and working in the moment. Being more present? I recently turned off my email badge for my email icon on my phone and IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE. Who knew that a stupid red circle with a number in it could hinder the ability of an individual to relax, engage with friends, and just live…phone free? I decided checking my work email at home on my “off” hours wasn’t worth my sanity anymore. I found myself cracking open my laptop and doing work that could easily be done the next morning, at 9 or 10 at night, to just make the task that that stupid red badge represented to disappear. That little red badge would trigger several little red badges in my brain, making it impossible to eat or sleep until those little shits were thought about to no end and completed. I worry about enough, I decided that I didn’t need my email dictating new to-do items to me at bedtime (which it around 9PM. I’m old).

 

This no to-do list concept really stuck with me. I didn’t realize that people even lived this way. Just doing things, and getting shit done, without checking things off and qualifying yourself as a real go getter only bogs down the process of getting shit done. And I LOVE getting shit done.

 

I’ll still scribble things on post-its and typing up reminders on my phone to run by the store for milk (my memory is horrible, and I need milk for my cereal), but I’ll do my best to rely less on a to-do list to run my existence. The more I think about this, my to-do list is my security blanket. 80% of the tasks I archive on my 3 list making apps, I am going to do regardless of writing them down because they’re important. Think about it! I bet you’re in the same boat as me.

 

I haven’t started my “not to-do list”, but it will be extensive…and I won’t be putting the “not to-do list” on my dwindling to-do list (ouch, that hurt my brain).

Plan your Responsive Emails!

Recently, I was tasked with taking an existing client email and making it responsive. Since this was my first foray into the hardcore responsive realm, I jumped all over this like an eager little squirrel. Many cups of coffee, gray hairs and tears later, I realized this task was fruitless and called Time of Death on the project. With many hours already sunk into this project and a deadline well in the past, it was the general consensus that starting this bad boy from scratch was the right way to go, so we carried on in this direction. Luckily, the client was receptive to this, understanding that we could provide a better solution with this approach.

 

I’m currently taking charge on this project and it’s going 150% better than the first go around. Why? PLANNING FOR RESPONSIVE DESIGN. Taking an old email with fixed widths, random images and multiple columns and making it responsive is HARD. Plain and simple. I didn’t have a ton of time to sink into the all important planning stage, but the fact that there is any time for this at all is crucial. I sketched, I took notes (that resemble the ramblings of a mental patient) and consulted the expertise of colleagues who are far more experienced than me with responsive email design.

 

So what the hell is responsive design? Here are some resources that will help:

http://blog.exacttarget.com/blog/email-design-4/email-design-for-all-the-mobile-inbox

http://www.campaignmonitor.com/guides/mobile/targeting/

http://blog.lyris.com/us/email-inspiration-six-great-responsive-email-designs/

 

Bottomline kids, plan your responsive email designs. You’ll save yourself a ton of heartache and time. You’re welcome.

I Love Fall

This is a post I started while the summer heat was still murdering the Midwest so it might sound a little dated, but it still applies.

 

Fall, or autumn if you will, is my season. Summer is a close second, but this summer has been brutal this year with its 100 plus degree temps and humidity. Just take a look at my garden, it’s struggled all summer, it’s time for a change. I have a closet full of jackets screaming for air.

 

I find myself sitting outside on my porch swing a lot more in fall. I feel compelled to doodle and capture the scenery and the feel of fall through my scribbles. Yes, I know how pretentious that sounds, but still, fall is when I feel most creative and when I’m ready for change. Change like the leaves…okay enough of that.

 

In the spirit of fall, I always make a list of activities I HAVE to accomplish during the season. A crispy leaf landed on my windshield yesterday while I was driving and I took that as a sign (perhaps misguided) to start compiling my list. Yes, I’m aware we’re still in the beginning of August (yeah, this is how long ago I started this).

 

The List (in no particular order):

  1. Brew an autumn inspired beer (already started).
  2. Go on a hayride, haunted or otherwise.
  3. Freak out my neighbors by decorating the house with fake cobwebs, dollar store skeletons and poorly carved pumpkins.
  4. Drink cider, lots and lots of cider.
  5. Drink/make pumpkin spiced lattes.
  6. Make many batches of chili.
  7. Watch lots of football (already started, Go Colts).
  8. Watch The Shining and Pieces (look it up, people).
  9. Fall crafts, fall crafts, fall crafts.
  10. Dress up my dogs and post copious amounts of photos online (yeah, I’m one of those people).