Giving the new My Chill Mix from Apple Music a play this morning. Off to a promising start, the first track is both new to me and good.

A mid-year review

Last week I was away at the CMJ Conference, I had the pleasure of joining them to take photos of the event, post to social media throughout it on their accounts, and to hear some excellent bible teaching in the process. It lasted from Friday afternoon to late Sunday afternoon, and by the time I got home I was absolutely exhausted. I spent most of the week recovering whilst trying to work and, thankfully, have spent most of this weekend doing some serious introverting at home.

Last Saturday afternoon while I was sat on the sofa reading and watching Le Tour, it struck me that we are nearly at the end of July. We’re over halfway through the year and it seemed like a good time to review some of the goals I set out with at the start of the year.

For those who don’t know, I laid them out in my now page at the start of the year, which saw an update in April. Whilst I didn’t make a post here about those updates, a mid year review of those aims seems like a good thing to make note of.

Health & Personal

One of my aims at the start of the year was to take better care of myself than I’ve done in previous years. I bought a Fitbit and set out to hit the 10,000 steps per day goal. That aim is going reasonably well. I’m hitting an average of 9,219 steps per day, which isn’t quite the 10,000 I’m aiming for. However when you consider that I’ve spent a total of 2 weeks taken out by illness (thanks former housemates for sharing your bugs) or my wisdom tooth operation when I barely hit 1000 steps a day, I’ll take it.

In terms of exercise, I was playing football most weeks until it stopped for the summer, although I wasn’t enjoying it quite as much as I had done. The couch to 5K plan hasn’t really happened either, running is something I do not enjoy, I find it frustrating and boring so easily become demotivated to do it. I have however been doing a Fitstar work out most weeks since May, although I confess that June/July has not been great on this front I’ve started that up again this weekend.

Faith

I’m pleased to say that I am still working through the 5 Day Reading Plan. I’ve gotten behind a few times but never more than a week, and what’s more, I don’t find myself reading out of obligation but out of desire to keep reading The Word of The Lord.

My use of the Prayer Mate app has also continued although much more spottily. I go through phases of using it everyday and then phases of only using it here and there. That’s ok though, it’s a tool after all and not an obligation or the only way to pray. The times I’ve used it well it’s been beneficial, but so have the times when I have not used it as much.

When it comes to the memorisation of scripture, I’ve not been quite so good. The Verses app is still on my iPhone, but I haven’t used it as much as I hoped. I plan to be more intentional over the second half of the year to make use of this app.

Freelancing

I’m still continuing to do this, and in fact the last couple of months have been busy and very enjoyable. Please do recommend me or get in touch if you know anyone who might need some design work.

This Site

I am posting to this site more regularly, although the majority of the posts are small status type posts I have been able to post a few more considered posts. One thing I’ve noticed it that I am posting less links which means that more of the content here is original and not pointing to somewhere else. One thing I have decided to do is put less pressure on myself to post, it’s my site after all and so why should there be a pressure to put something here if I’m not feeling creative in that way.

I have also started another side project, and I can’t decide whether to dual post here as well as there. In the mean time it will remain where it is and on Medium as a publication.

Reading

My Goodreads Reading Challenge is on track. Of the 25 books I pledged to read I’ve read 13 so far and am a good chunk through 2 more. Once again the number of fiction books are outweighing the non-fiction ones, which is understandable as I read at the end of each day to help me relax, it is something I would like to be more even over the next half of the year.


On reflection it’s been a pretty good first half of the year, both in terms of the goals I set out to accomplish and in some of the things that happen in life. My prayer is that the second will continue in this vein, perhaps with a bit more progress on the healthier living side of things than I’ve had so far.

Slightly disappointed in myself for letting the release of new Coldplay music pass me by. Making up for it now though.

Making the most of not working in the coffee house this afternoon. Lunch in the sun.

Using my iPad for some further ideas generation and realising just how useful an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil would be right now.

Decided to go and do some sketch book ideas work in my favourite coffee house. It’s normal quite peaceful and not that many people sitting in. Awesome to see it’s full when I arrive! Good coffee wins.

Looking forward to 3rd party apps with drag & drop support, especially interested to see how @culturedcode do it with Things. Dragging emails to create tasks in Things from Mail.app would be awesome.

Sometimes you just need to spend a Sunday morning reading, listening to music, and drinking coffee. If you’ve never read Mere Christianity change that.

Apparently it’s world emoji day. Here’s my day in emoji so far…

😴⏰☕️👨🏻‍💻🚶🏻☕️☕️☕️

Excited to get the first delivery from @cloudcoffeeuk.

Interesting evening seeing a friend launch a book he has a short story in and hearing some bits read out.

Workloads and Creativity

I’ve noticed over the last few weeks a distinct correlation between my ability to spend time on side projects and the amount of design work I have going on. Juggling a part time job in the Coffee House alongside running my design business makes for a distinct lack of energy to keep my side/personal projects going when things get busy. I find my motivation drops as my energy gets used up juggling the two, and it’s a source of disappointment since I know the importance of doing my own creative things on the side.

It seems to be a matter of margin or focus, I’m yet to work out which, but my gut (which is usually right) tells my it’s about focus. When I become invested in a project it dominates my mind. It becomes what I think about when I’m not really thinking and I’ve certainly become aware that this is what has been happening of late. It’s the reason I’ve started yet another side project that will operate on a schedule and is on a topic completely unrelated to any of my other side projects.

Whilst having a project sit at the top of my mind is helpful for work, it’s not always helpful for me mentally. I need to be able to create things just for the sake of creating them. It brings me a joy and satisfaction that creating for a client doesn’t always bring. Eric Liddell once said

I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast! And when I run I feel his pleasure.

I’ve never thought about it in that way but I can certainly relate to it. Like Liddell I believe God made me for a purpose, but I know He also gave me a gift of creativity and a passion for design. When I use my gift, especially just for the sake of it and not just for my work, I feel His pleasure.

God created the world because he wanted to, because it gave him satisfaction and joy to do it (Genesis 1 v 31). He enjoyed walking in his creation and meeting with the people he created, which we learn from Genesis 3 v 9 when God goes looking for Adam & Eve. When I create something because I want to, I feel God’s pleasure because in some way I am mirroring Him and that is an incredible thing.

My God is the God of creation and He has given me the gift of creativity. When I use that gift to create I feel His pleasure and that’s why I need to firm my resolve to create for the sake of creating something because I want to create it.

It’s been a throughly pleasant day of watching sport. The Lions game, the Formula 1 qualifying and the Test Match. The only break being for a nice walk in the sun to treat myself to a flat white. #winning

Also, waiting for name servers to propagate is rubbish. Just let me start my new project idea!

Another heatwave hitting the UK, I could get used to this. Sunshine is so good for the soul. ☀️😎

Been listening to the new London Grammar album thanks to the latest @ugmonk email. Never listened to them before, absolutely top notch. Thanks for the heads up Jeff!

I’ve been using the free trial of @culturedcode‘s Things 3 the last week or so. Superb app. Feels like it suits my way of thinking perfectly.