I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

The Bucket Shot by Peter McKinnon


Great video from one of the most inter­est­ing YouTu­bers I’ve come across in last year, we’ll worht 20 min­utes of your time to think about the impor­tance of mean­ing in your cre­ative work.

The Bulletin Board ›

I’ve been read­ing Austin Kleon’s blog since Jan­u­ary, I find the way that he speaks about his note­books and how he uses them very inspir­ing. Today’s post is about his bul­letin board and how he pins images, clip­pings, index cards, and var­i­ous oth­er bits to it for inspi­ra­tion while he is writ­ing a book.
The ana­log nature of lots of things that Austin does has real­ly caught my atten­tion. I love tech­nol­o­gy, but as a design­er I also love objects and paper. When I was a stu­dent I cov­ered the wall of my room in halls with bits of graph­ics that I liked. The whole thing turned into one giant col­lage of inspi­ra­tion. That’s some­thing I would like to get back into my cre­ative life, some­thing tac­tile and away from a glow­ing rec­tan­gle.

Things 3.4 Brings Powerful New Automation Features and App Integrations ›

I’ve been using Things since ver­sion 3 came out and found it to be the best task app around, with one excep­tion, the abil­i­ty to auto­mate task cre­ation was a bit lim­it­ed. This new ver­sion fix­es that, and goes a lot fur­ther than I thought I need­ed.
Mac­Sto­ries have a great arti­cle that high­lights some of the pos­si­bil­i­ties using the new, and very com­pre­hen­sive, URL scheme found in Things 3.4. I’ve already spent some time this evening updat­ing a cou­ple of Work­flows that I use to cre­ate tasks, look­ing for­ward to see­ing what else I can do thanks to this update.

Establishing New Habits Without Apps ›

I’ve been try­ing to estab­lish some new habits late­ly so this was a time­ly post from CJ Chil­vers. I’ve been using the app Streaks like he men­tions to keep focused on some of my habits, but there is a cer­tain lack of account­abil­i­ty that goes with it. When a big streak gets bro­ken it’s very hard to find the ener­gy to start again.
One thing I’ve found a bit eas­i­er to face when starting—or restarting—a project is to break it down to months. Define the goal, decide to begin it at the start of the next month, and then make sure you’re ready to go in the time in between. The space allows you to process what you’re aim­ing to accom­plish, and allows you the time you need to make sure you’re ready to get going.

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.

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.

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.