It's nearing the end of August and along with it—summer break. Though the beginning of those pesky college courses are around the corner, that doesn't mean you have to completely ditch summer. You can now buy a T-shirt I designed to remember the joyous wonders of summer on Cotton Bureau! The sale is for a limited time, but the spirit of summer shouldn't be.
Personally, it’s hard to stay hyped about personal projects. You write down a great idea for an app in your Moleskine, stoked at the potential app names and array of wireframes ready to exit your mind. As you get ready to throw down some sketches, you realize that it's 2am on a weekday or you need groceries from a market several blocks away. No worries, you'll do those sketches later. But then you have a long workday or a lengthy catch-up with friends, and these daily aspects deplete you and your time while you continuously put aside that app idea for another day. Eventually the potential app you were once excited for gathers enough dust, you move it to your mental creaky attic as it becomes a forgotten remnant of the past.
It's a tragedy that happens all too often to me and other creatives I've talked to. We go from a rewarding productivity run to a saddening rut, not because we're tapped out of ideas but because we're exhausted. Physically, mentally, and sometimes emotionally, we tire out (we're all people) as we lose pep. Rather than focus on finding a personal charging station or power through exhaustion, preserve that energy like there's a drought. It's easier to manage your energy, and the more you manage, the better your chances of getting those personal projects done. Jessica Hische has some great thoughts on scheduling and time management, but if you want other thoughts, here's my advice on how to stay hyped:
Have some “me” time. It’s important to reserve some time for yourself and hone in on that project. Ideally, that personal project shouldn't feel like work. If it does, do something else for a bit. It’ll help clear and rest your mind, which is as important as eating meals or paying bills. If you're more on the forgetful side, reserve some time slots on Google Calendar.
Plug in your headphones. Pump up the jam. I listen to Waka Flocka whenever I need to whip up handlettering, and for longer design sessions (like web design) I play the entire Kanye West discography. Design feels effortless when you're in a groove. Even podcasts help flex my critical thinking muscles if I'm stuck on a concept.
Don’t be a Yes Man. It’s silly to state the obvious, but don’t feel obligated to say yes all the time. If you do, you’ll be piling on more food than you can chew, and that introduces unnecessary stress into your life. Be efficient and happy: focus on what works for you.
It's official. After a jam-packed July crammed with badge-making, pixel-pushing, fresh groceries and West Coast adjustments, I can put the one-month milestone at Majorminor under my belt. Truth be told, my time at Majorminor has been everything I thought it would be: a tight-knit studio culture with interesting hands-on projects, feedback sessions, pop culture convos, and talented studiomates, similar to FAC314 (shoutout to my UFGD 2014 fam). I'm proud to work on projects I can get excited about, and I'm fortunate to be in a place where I do what I love as a living. And in a couple months, I'll be stoked to see websites I've had a hand in come to life. In some ways, this new chapter in my life feels like an extension of my time at UF, with late nights being replaced by enticing amenities like free organic coffee and draft beer. Instead of enduring coursework, I spend my spare time exploring San Francisco and capturing its many offerings through Instagram. Though real world responsibilities remind me that this is the beginning of adulthood, reality is that I'm excited for the future.
For those graphic design students entering the last year of college, don't be afraid to make the big move to a job you want, whether it's in San Francisco or New York City. Even though there's a bit of planning involved, especially with apartment hunting, the effort will be worth it. If you're worried about finances, also keep in mind some companies offer to pay for your relocation.