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.