Never mind the new iMac Pro, I want that wireless keyboard! I miss the number pad on my current wireless one.

Finally watching the new season of House of Cards.

Haptic Architects Teach the Benefits of the Scandinavian “Work Life Balance” ›

Work/Life balance is a thing many of us struggle with. I know when I was 100% self-employed it was the thing I struggled with most, there was always something I felt I should be doing. Whilst many people claim that doing what you love means you have a perfect work/life balance that seems far to idealistic to me. Work is work, whether we love what we do or not and we need a good balance between it and the rest of our lives.

It seems Haptic Architects have that same awareness, and so I was interested to read about the Benefits of the Scandinavian Work/Life Balance that they have implemented in their design studios. It seems a healthy approach to work and demonstrates a real awareness and care towards their employees.

Walking

Back in January 2015 when I realised I was ill, and consequently started a course of antidepressants, many people encouraged me to exercise. I had been a keen cyclist and they encouraged me to keep at it and get out on my bike as much as I could. I was told, and in fact read many times, that exercise was a great way of countering some of the symptoms of depression. My issue was that the thought of going out on my bike caused me anxiety and stress, both things which I was trying to avoid and so I dismissed the notion as not for me. Nearly two and a half years later I’m starting to understand a little of what the mysterious they were talking about.

About a month ago I moved into a new flat, one which I’m living in on my own, it’s great to have my own space again. As a consequence of that move I’ve been doing a lot more walking. It’s located in such a place that I can walk to pretty much everywhere I need to go on a regular basis. I can walk to my shifts at the coffee house, my church, a couple of supermarkets, as well as the centre of town, and I’ve been doing that as much as is practically possible. It’s become a time that I enjoy, an opportunity to pop my headphones in and listen to some music or catch up on a few podcasts.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve begun to notice something, when I don’t get my daily walks in my mood suffers. The realisation has come home to roost this bank holiday weekend. On Saturday and Monday I didn’t really go out. I stayed home in my flat tinkering on my websites, making a few adjustments, watching some TV shows, what most people call relaxing. And it has been just that, but today I noticed the heaviness creeping in, it made me realise what effect going out for a walk has on me.

It’s not just the small amount of exercise that a brisk walk provides that I’ve missed today, it’s the intentionality of going for a walk. Instead of the day just passing by, the act of walking to work is intentional and provides an element of structure to my day. I need to schedule in the time for my walk to work otherwise I won’t get there on time letting people down. It helps that my walk to work is a pleasant one down an old railway line, that’s what’s in the photo at the top of this post, for a moment I can be lost in the wonder of looking at the trees and greenery as I walk. It provides a chance to look at God’s creation and see how the same place changes from day to day. It’s a chance to walk and listen to some new music or the latest podcasts, in my own little world that’s outside in the wider world. It’s a chance to pop the headphones out and walk listening to the birds and rustling of the trees. When the sun’s out it’s especially enjoyable, but even on a rainy day I look forward to my walk to work.

Almost by accident I’ve discovered that the act of walking to work provides me with a moment of calm. In that walk there is nothing I can do for my design business, nothing I need to do for my coffee house shift, no tweets or Instagram photos to catch up on (unless I want to walk into my fellow walkers or be run over by the many cyclists), I can just enjoy the simple act of walking.

Made some updates to my websites theme, the link posts now behave like the traditional linked list items and quotes have a style more befitting them.

Typical British weather, sunny and hot in the build up to a bank holiday weekend then wet and cooler when the weekend arrives.

Love it when the sun is shining, it always lifts my mood considerably. ☀️😎

Waking up to the horrible news from Manchester. Praying for all those effected.

The Midori Traveler’s Notebook Review ›

Being a designer I always appreciate a good notebook. They’re the places ideas are born, grow, and often die. They play a key role in the creative process, almost becoming an extension of my brain. I also enjoy a good journal, the best ones are handwritten, so a notebook often serves as both, or it works in tandem with another allowing for a bit of separation. It’s a tension which I often do battle with.

Tools & Toys recently posted a review of The Midori Traveler’s Notebook which seems like it might be a good solution to solving that tension. The expandability of it seems ideal to provide a place for ideas while designing and a place for journaling, one overall notebook with two internal notebooks. The utility seems ideal, the question is, could I give up my beloved Baron Fig Confidant?

How Apple Saved My Life ›

If you do only one thing on the internet today, please watch this video by James Rath. In a world where so often technology can make us feel disconnected and absent from those around us, it’s important to see things from the other end something. In the case of James Rath it’s incredible to see how much technology has influenced his life in such a positive way.

Pushed an update to my portfolio this morning to make it easier to update and more versatile layout wise. Keep an eye on it for updates through the week.

Big Screens, Even Bigger Lessons & Learning to Make Tough Calls ›

This is a really insightful look into the process behind making an iPad app from an established iPhone app. As a designer I have some knowledge of designing for different screen sizes, but the behaviour of an app is very different to the behaviour of a website, albeit with some similarities. Before I begin any future web design projects I’ll definitely be giving this piece another read or two.

Employment vs. Self-Employment ›

Occasionally I’ll come across an article on the internet that I find myself reading more than once. Usually it’s because the piece resonates deeply with me, but sometimes it’s because it’s something I want to be able to write myself. In this instance it’s just that, a piece I would like to be able to write in a years time, but with my own perspective.

In a piece about Employment vs. Self-Employment Garret Dimon wrote this paragraph.

Being self-employed is great. And it’s not so great. Like anything, there are tradeoffs. For you, the tradeoffs may be worth it. Or, they might not. Or, they may not be the right tradeoffs at this point in your life. Just don’t put self-employment on a pedestal. There are plenty of other options that are darn near self-employment without the burdens.

I’ve been on both ends of Employment and Self-Employment. For the last 5 years I’ve been running my own design business, and during the last year and a half of that I’ve been running it alongside another job in a coffee house. I’ve loved every minute of it, but it’s also been the most stressful time of my life. So stressful that it made me ill. The last couple of months I’ve been thinking about and making steps to begin looking for a full time design job working for someone. Through it all I have to keep reminding myself that self-employment is not the be all and end all, there is a lot of important work being done by many different people and companies that it will be a privilege to be a part of.

Sat down after work to do a bit of design/coding for my website, all of a sudden it’s well after 10pm!

Seth Godin Explains Why You Should Blog Daily ›

With the arrival of Micro.blog my interest in my blog has picked up considerably. It’s always been there bubbling at the back of my mind, but actively posting micro posts to it has me once again looking to post other content more regularly. CJChilvers linked to an article by Seth Godin that Explains Why You Should Blog Daily resonated deeply with me and the growing desire to post to this site more regularly. It’s both a creative outlet both and a mental outlet that I know will be good for me. I intend to mix the content I post between links, quotes and original articles/thoughts alongside the afore mentioned micro posts.

Deep Prayer > Deep Work ›

There’s been a lot of talk on the internet circles I follow about focus and deep work. They’re thought provoking and often resonate with me, but there’s one thing I’ve been struggling to reconcile in it all. The focus of all these discussions is usually aimed at putting your individual desires first, which doesn’t really jive with my Christian beliefs.

Chris Bowler, in his excellently considered article Deep Prayer > Deep Work, seems to demonstrate I’m not alone. In doing so he seems to capture exactly how this kind of thinking should be influencing my approach to my faith.

But over and over, I come back to the fact that while Newport’s concept of increasing our ability to focus is crucial to a successful career, it’s even more crucial to a successful Christian life. One that is lived attuned to the Spirit. One that is carefully watching to see where God is working, then ready and willing to join him in it.