Do More Better ›

I finished reading Do More Better this afternoon. It’s a very well written and thought provoking read. I plan on begin implementing some of Tim’s suggestions in to my workflow in the next week or two. If you’re interested in looking st productivity with a biblical grounding, I suggest you give it a read.

Freedom of page ›

So often when we think of a blank page we’re scared by it, it creates a fear, a fear of the possibilities. But maybe we need to turn that upside down and find freedom in a blank page, freedom to create.

To create doesn’t mean you have to draw the plans of a skyscraper or the physics formula for the unifying theory of the universe. It can be as simple as taking notes in a meeting or writing a journal entry. Every new mark on a page is a baby step, and before you know it you’re taking leaps.

One Twelfth

We’ve done it. All of us. Good job everyone. We’ve made it through January and we’re into February.

I always find January a bit of an odd month, it’s full of the initial hopes and dreams of the year ahead, yet it’s a hard slog. We spend the first week getting back into the swing of things, the second week doing our utmost to get new patterns of behaviour, thinking and habits off the ground. The third week pushing through the struggles of motivation, or lack there of; and the final week looking towards pay day to give us a glimpse that the slog has been worth while; and then before we know it, we’re into February.

February always feels like a month of transition. The weather and days start to show glimpses of spring, the evenings get noticeably lighter and we start to look forward to summer. Those new habits we tried to establish in January either live or die. We either stick by them and they become established, or they whither and die while we slip into our old established ways. Admitting defeat we move on convinced we’re never going to accomplish what we want to this year, resigning ourselves to another year of nearly but not quite.

Let’s make this year different. We’re a twelfth of the way through the year, and there’s 11 more months to go. It’s never too late to establish new habits, or find the focus we need to move on and make the year live up to the hopes we had at the start of January. Change doesn’t happen in 4 weeks, it takes work and turning up everyday to make things happen. The 21 days that it takes to establish a habit has only just passed, keep turning up and those days will turn into 42 and a well established pattern of behaviour.

I write this post as encouragement to myself as much as to anyone who reads it. Don’t give up, focus and push through. Turn up and do the work, you never know what you can achieve,

I’ll leave you with the words of Chef Gusteau from the Pixar film Ratatouille

If you focus on what you left behind you will never see what lies ahead!

Creativity’s Worst Enemy ›

What if we simply replaced moments where we had every right to complain, and created something instead? What would the world look like?

Can you imagine that? Can you imagine what the world would be like if no one complained and instead created something?

It’s all about your mindset, something that I’ve been learning over the last few months. How we approach things has a massive influence on our behaviour. The more that we encounter something and complain or dwell on it, the less likely we are to respond to other things in a favourable way. With this in mind, it makes so much sense that the biggest enemy of creativity is complaining. If we complain we expect someone else to fix the problem instead of looking for the solution ourselves.

The Focus Course ›

WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE WHEN IT COMES TO FOCUS?

I’ve been following Shawn and his blog for years. He was one of the first people I met when I started my first blog way back in 2006, whether he’s aware of it or not he’s been one of the people who’ve inspired me the most in the last ten years. It’s no surprise to me then how postively his new project,

River Path Grass from Baron Fig ›

My favourite notebook creators have just realised another limited edition of their Apprentice note books. The River Path Grass edition has just been announced ad it looks just as nice as the previous editions. I own all three of the previous limited edition apprentices and use one everyday (more soon) and they are becoming indispensable to me.

Give a Damn ›

As I read Give a Damn by Bruce Layman I found myself nodding a long in agreement. Perhaps it’s just the way I’ve been thinking of late, or perhaps it’s because of the new focus I seem to be finding for my business, but something about it resonated with me. Resting well is important, I know only too well as I recover from the effects of doing too much in the last half of last year, but there’s a difference between rest and laziness. Doing something can, and should, be a part of that rest.

Announcing The 18TWO Website

It doesn’t feel like it’s been just over 3 months since I announced my move to self employment. The time has flown by pretty quickly and I’m happy to say that I’m managing to pay the bills & eat so I must doing something right (right?).

As with every small business client work takes focus to personal work, so whilst most of you were enjoying Christmas holidays I took the break from client work as an opportunity to get my new site finished. If any business, especially a design one, is going to survive it needs somewhere to showcase it’s work which is the main focus of the new 18TWO website. At the moment there is a small selection of some of the work I’ve done in the last 3 months and I’ll be working to add some older stuff in the coming weeks along with making the site responsive for those of us with iPhones/smart phones.

Please jump over to the new site, have a look, poke around and (a cheeky one this) share with your friends, colleagues and family. Of course if you like what you see and would like to work with me please do get in touch.

Oopsie… Things?

A few months ago I started to use an ingenious AppleScript created by Shawn Blanc which he nicely titled OopsieFocus. It’s purpose? To make sure that when I hit the keyboard shortcut I use for the OmniFocus quick entry window, I was never left hanging without it opening.

Whilst most of the time when I’m at my Mac I had OmniFocus open, occasionally I didn’t and It was those occasions this little script helped me out. By setting Alfred to run this AppleScript on the same keyboard trigger I set in OmniFocus, it checked whether the app was running and if it wasn’t it launched OmniFocus followed by the quick entry window. Genius!

So at the start of September when I felt OmniFocus was more than I needed to manage my tasks, I made the move back to Things and adapted Shawn’s script to work with my new app of choice.

Being a generous chap, I thought just in case any of you folk out there could make use of my altered script, I’d post it here (with Shawn’s permission) for you to download.

Once you’ve downloaded the script I suggest you set it up to run with an app like Alfred (with Powerpack), FastScripts, or Keyboard Maestro to be triggered when you use the same Quick Entry keyboard shortcut you have set in Things.

Download as:

Rethinking Sleep ›

Interesting read that touches the surface of the prospect that 8 hours of sleep is best for all of us. I often struggle with getting enough sleep, as someone who is naturally a night owl, finding the right pattern for work and sleep etc can be challenging in todays 9 to 5 culture.

Things Cloud and Local Push

The cloud sync that is now finally in Cultured Code’s Things is fantastic. This little addition has made it even more awesome, best of all it works like the video shows it does.

That’s where Local Push comes in. Now, every time you make a change on one device, Things sends an encrypted notification of that change across your local network. All your other devices on the same local network pick this up and request the changes from Things Cloud.

In other words — you can have Things open on all your devices, make a change on one of them, and see that change applied on your other devices almost immediately.

The One Where I Announce I’m Now Self Employed

There are some posts you dream about writing, posts you’d love to write but never think you actually will. This is one of those posts.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about change. Changing the way I approached something has lead to exciting guidance and a big change in my career.

It started with a conversation with two very good friends of mine. One asked how work was, then followed it up with a query about what I really wanted to do. The other laughed, asked me a question, set me a challenge and then held me to it. That question lead me to writing the last post about a change of approach, a change which, thanks to Gods guidance is leading to a leap of faith.

What’s the leap?

On Friday 3rd August I worked my last day in full time employment and spent my last day living in sunny (!?) Slough. The following day I moved to Cheltenham, again. A place I attended university and a place that I love being in.

With that move came a change of employment. I am no longer a rat running a race, but instead a man working as a business owner. I’ve finally taken the leap into self employment. Relying on the Lord to supply me with enough work to put food in my stomach and to pay the bills.

For a long time it’s been my ambition to work for myself, even while I was studying at Uni I knew ultimately I wanted to have my own design studio. It nearly happened straight after Uni after a little encouragement from my tutor, but I knew it wasn’t really the right time. There was a lot I still had to learn, well let’s face it there still is. I’ve now been in full time employment for 5 years. I’ve grown a lot, I’ve changed a lot and I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve experienced working for a small company and I’ve experienced working for a larger company. Both were good experiences that taught me many different things, but underneath there was always this desire to have my own company bubbling away.

I’m delighted to say that has now happened. I’ve had a little holiday, moved to a new (old) place and am at the end of my first week of self employment. It’s exciting, a little daunting but feels like the best decision I’ve made. Except that I didn’t make it, God showed me the door and I pushed it. Now I’ve got to continue pushing doors, keep faithful to Him, and work as hard as I can.

In the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to introduce you to a new name and a new website. Of course this place will still exist and I hope to increase the level of writing, and hopefully build on some friendships that I’ve established through my blog over the years. It’s an exciting adventure, I hope you’ll join me on it!

Little Thing: Desks on The Brooks Review ›

A timely post by Ben Brooks considering I will be looking for a new desk at some point in the next 8 weeks. Ben highlights three little things to consider when buying a new desk.

Technically, desks are really big things, and most people will take their time in finding one that they like and that fits their office/room. This post isn’t about finding a good desk, it’s about making sure that you look at three little things about desks before you buy your next desk.