In my case, the book should be titled “Your ALWAYS Online life.” For as long as I remember I gravitated to the computer to fuel my interests, educate myself, find work, make friends, and connect with other people. I can even remember that my first paycheck went to web hosting. (I’m serious! I’m still hosting with iPower.com after 10 years.)
Technology is a wonderful tool if you know how to use it to your advantage. The title of my book is broad enough in so much that it lends itself to a series of eBooks that will eventually help other people bridge that gap between their real life persona and their online life.
The gravity of my involvement with the Internet really sunk in deep this last week. I recently landed a new client for my company, Unicorn Press, and had a number of live work sessions scheduled with him. I worked with him primarily via email and instant messaging. Just yesterday I was hammering out a short paper for my public relations class I’m taking through the CyberCampus platform at Golden Gate University for my masters degree. I’ve sourced out new business from an online community for designers, developers, and marketers on Elance.com and took teleconferences with a business in Australia and a non-profit in Seattle. Last week I joined eDiets.com for a second shot at lowering my cholesterol, but instead of doing it alone, I wanted to work with a community to successfully reach my goals. I sat through an amazing live streaming events demo with Vokle.com to learn more about how I could help my virtual startup, The Rainmaker Network, reach our student base more effectively. Last night I sent out a tweet querying my friends on some recommended late night drives and immediately got some responses. In short, I had a pretty amazing week…and most of it was spent online.
Over the last 10 years the Internet has proliferated into a vast and deep ocean that I’ll never be able to completely experience. I am amazed by its power to bring people together and rip them apart at the same time. I hope that through my series of eBooks, I can help some people make sense of this completely new world that exists within our own!
Ahhh, the eternal struggle. How does someone balance all of their obligations and cram 30 hours in a 24 hour day?
I stumble and fall but I find that most of my lessons are learned when I get back up. No one likes a frazzled and stressed person! The time has come that I put more personal responsibility into my schedule instead of filling it up with more and more project work. If I can’t be relied upon to take care of myself, how will my clients be able to trust that I can take care of my managed aspects of their business?
With this realization, I have decided to be proactive, rather than blindly placing the blame on external factors. The only way to achieve happiness is to manage what you can control…and, chances are, you can control your environment. For example, I can’t blame anyone else for my over-committed schedule but myself! The key to balancing obligations is to never actually attempt to cram 30 hours into a 24 hour day. It means breaking up chunks of work into manageable pieces so that the right amount of time can be devoted to each project. It means saying “no” to projects that you are disinterested in. It means that you have to plan fairly far in advance and to stick to your goals in the face of procrastination, laziness, and sloth in general.
Jon Bernstein, the author of The Power of The Notebook, says that when you write down your goals you are more inclined to put a plan of action together to achieve them. Here are my goals for the remainder of the 2010 year:
Maintain a regular exercise regimen and train for a 5K
Delegate tasks to my employees at Unicorn Press and trust that they have the judgment to get them done properly
Be more disciplined and focused with my masters’ program classes
Make it a habit to answer every email in a timely manner.
Regularly go “off-the-grid” to recharge my batteries (no pun intended)
I was recently in a discussion with a confidant about the philosophies behind the graphic design profession. What does it take to be a great designer: skill, talent or personality? In a perfect work, preferably a combination of all three!
However, when there are weighing factors, I would say that one trumps the others. Having a great personality is key to being successful in any profession. In particular, graphic designers need to be able to relate with and relay visual communications to an audience. They must also be able to liaise with other creatives, deal with copywriting, marketing, PR, and advertising folk. How can they do that with a stale or negative personality?
The thing about skill and talent is that they are complementary. You can at least build off of what you have. On the other hand, it’s really hard to retool your personality! Consider this philosophy for your next team assignment or job interview. It might take you places!