Thursday, 18 January 2018

intention for 2018 - priority

Besides becoming better at exploring Brunei and Borneo I have another "great plan" for this year. It was inspired by my dear husband, who is very clever - and who has gone to lectures and stuff. It was after I had been complaining about the fact I've never gotten around to do any architecture related work last year and instead always ended up thinking I could "do it tomorrow or next day" and did everything else first. He said that I should start thinking of my "to do's" in terms of urgent versus important. And that was very much an aha moment for me.

My days are very much my own since we moved here, but I still have plenty of things that I should do, want to do and - in lesser extent - have to do. Basically the should do's are related to keeping up to date with architecture stuff, like creating content for a portfolio, refresh and extend my knowledge of certain software and update myself on current trends and developments. All this so that it will be easier - or at least not impossible - for me to get a job as an architect again the next time we move. I'm still not certain I want to work in architecture again, but I want it as an option, and I don't want to have wasted five years of education and eights years of work experience... 

The want to do's are related with my newfound passion for illustration, my interest in graphic design and - to a lesser extent - branding. These are things I have really enjoyed exploring through the several courses I've taken over the past year and a half, so much that I am now seriously considering trying make this my new career. I would like to spend even more time drawing and painting, to develop my skills, but I also want to spend some time working on my own brand and create more professional pieces I can use in a portfolio, in order to prepare for the future.

The have to do's are actually not that many, but still they manage to take over more of my head-space than I want them to. They are all related to the "official commitments" I have, which are the remodeling project I'm consulting on and the newsletter I am an editor for. It's not that I don't like doing these things - I do, but mainly because they are a way for me to get out of the house and meet people. the problem is that these projects involves meetings and deadlines that I constantly prioritize because they involve other people. It hasn't been a big problem, and in a way I need these projects to not become a complete recluse.

sometimes you just can't work at all because someone stole your chair and someone else is snoring 

So, in order to start prioritizing what is important instead of what is urgent I had to become more aware of how I have prioritized before and think about which of the things I do that actually are important:

Until now this is how I have prioritized my tasks, roughly speaking:
  1. School work
  2. Newsletter
  3. Re-modelling project 
  4. Drawing and painting
  5. Architecture work
This is my list of priorities for 2018
  1. Illustration course
  2. Architecture - Projects for portfolio
  3. Graphic design course 
  4. Illustration/Graphic design - Content for portfolio
  5. Architecture software
  6. Work with my own brand
  7. Re-modelling project
  8. Newsletter
This order obviously doesn't mean I'm going to ignore my commitments withing the projects here, but I shouldn't take on any more of the same kind, and I have to become better at setting aside time for them on certain days, and not let tasks involving them to interfere with work that are more important - even though they might not feel as urgent. The re-modelling project has priority before the newsletter as it is closer related to what I used to do as an architect, and is a valuable experience for my CV, even though the newsletter involves more actual work for me. 

I have rated illustration higher than graphic design partly because I am more passionate about it, but also because I have already taken several courses in graphic design and now I want to focus more on the other. 

The rest of the list pretty much reflect the need for me to have portfolio content and a good enough confidence in my capabilities to feel comfortable applying for jobs in both architecture and illustration/graphic design within a few years. 

I plan to schedule my weeks according to this list of priority, beginning with using my Mondays to work on emails and other stuff for the remodeling project and newsletter, plus other admin things or urgent things that have come up regarding the courses. This might sound contradictory to the plan, but means I will free up the rest of the week to work on what is really important. Tuesday will be illustration day, Wednesday and Thursday architecture days and Fridays graphic design day. I will try to do most of the work on the newsletter on Sundays. Unfortunately I can't influence when the various meetings will be, but at least I will now have dedicated my "office hours" according to what is important to me, and not try to work on five different things per day.

Well, this turned out to be a very long, and maybe not super interesting -  post. But in my defense; this was a seriously good exercise to do - and something I think I will have much use for. I often have a hard time saying no to new commitments, mostly because I feel the things I do for myself aren't important enough - because I don't get paid to do them and it wont hurt anyone else if I don't do them. Plus as many if them don't have "real life" deadlines I always feel I can shifts things around to make it work, but that usually just leads to me not having energy to work on my own stuff.  Having this list in my mind will help me to actually say no, I believe. 

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