Monday, May 31, 2010
Illustration by Marc Kauffman
I found Amber Naslund's post "10 Rules For Consistent Execution" particularly of the essence considering I have a fair sized "To Do" list this week. Naslund suggests 10 excellent ways to stay on top of your work or, as she puts it: "relentless execution."
1. Keep a roadmap.
Naslund says the best way to manage your priorities is to stay organized and trust your gut. If too much work is too much work, re-approach your time management skills.
2. No more than three calls/meetings in one day.
Though I've never been a huge "phone talker" I recognize why it's important to limit your time talking about what you should be doing.
3. One day per week with no meetings at all.
This, too, is important in order to give a project your "full, undivided attention."
One of my greatest project-related weaknesses is delegating work to others I feel I can take on myself. It's important to trust and have faith in those you work with.
5. Ask about urgency before saying yes.
It's good to separate imperative, must-be-done -now work from lofty, down-the-line projects. Sometimes I'll do my favorite assignments before doing the urgent. It's important to keep in mind deadlines and refer back to that 'road map.'
6. Wait 24 hours before agreeing to anything
Processing and analyzing a request is necessary for scheduling reasons. I never bite off more than I can chew because I value qualitative over quantitative work.
7. Never accept an appointment if not in front of my calendar.
It's important to double check your schedule to make sure you don't double book. I carry my planner with me everywhere I go.
8. Accept that no isn’t forever.
Opportunity always presents itself and it's important to keep this in mind when rejection occurs or when turning down projects.
9. Family time is inviolate.
I hope to have a career and a family one day. It's a fine balancing act, but my dad and step-mom are good examples of career oriented, hard workers who put their family first.
10. Create time.
Are you sacrificing hobbies, sleep, TV and a clean house in order to get stuff done? I am. Sometimes I feel like I'm going crazy, but, heck, I'm "getting it done" and that's what counts!
Posted by Alison at 4:45 PM
Saturday, May 29, 2010
I am a self-proclaimed minimalist. Is this accurate? I'm not quite sure. All I know is I hate having things; I hate clutter. Perhaps I am partial to a blank, white space because it opens my mind and allows my imagination to run free. If the white wall above my bed had a poster, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. I'd be too distracted by the image.
When I adopted this "minimalist" way of life, I stopped collecting things: coffee mugs with kooky sayings, Barbie dolls, free AOL CDs, crime scene "DO NOT CROSS" barricade tape, etc.
However, there is one very particular thing that I can't seem to stop collecting no matter how hard I try: magazines. Like a pack rat, I have acquired a stack of magazines the size of a mountain, and I can't seem to part with it. Let's just say I hope my house never catches on fire because my room would go up in flames in two seconds flat.
Russh Magazine, the bi-monthly Australian publication, is one of my favorites.
The images are stunningly provocative and the design is slick, clean and minimalist -just how I like it!
Established in 2004, the aim of the magazine is to showcase Australian fashion. The target audience is 18 to 30-year-old women.
Considering that major fashion publications are primarily published in the U.S. and Europe, I think it's exciting that a magazine from our friends "down under" is competing with the big boys.
Posted by Alison at 12:39 AM
Sunday, May 23, 2010
BBH collaborates with Asher Roth on Web site design
New York based ad/marketing company, BBH Labs, recently went through an interesting intern recruiting process.
First, BBH inquired into the predictable pre-requisites any ad/pr/marketing firm would expect of a candidate: an understanding of the industry.
Secondly, however, BBH looked for applicants that were, in their words, "messy." That is, the firm wanted interns that expressed an interest or curiosity in something totally unrelated to marketing.
As BBH says: "Advertising is one of those fields that should collaborate not only internally, but with culture at large - to be relevant and human we should inhale the world around us, circulate it in our lungs a bit and then exhale our response."
BBH asked it's employs to send in various projects/pieces of work/ etc. that they participate in outside the office.
Examples included volunteering with non-profit groups, photographing tattoos & blogging about art.
BBH reveres Google's 20% Policy, which offers it's employees 20% time to work on what they're passionate about.
"We think this is emblematic of the kind of creative business we strive to be," BBH writes. "That the energy, thinking and output from these personal projects explicitly and implicitly makes BBH a more interesting and smarter place professionally."
Posted by Alison at 8:37 PM
Tumblr, the micro-blogging Web site, is my new favorite online feature. Tumblr is the "easiest way to share yourself" and essentially, a combination between Twitter, Facebook and Blogger--my most frequently visited sites.
I just recently started "tumbling" and it seems as if I can't stop.
So why is Tumblr so great?
1)Uploading content is as simple as 1-2-3.
2)Tumblr allows users to "re-blog" content (similar to a "re-tweet".)
3) You can directly link your Tumblr to your Twitter to let friends know when you've updated your page.
4) You can also reblog Tweets as conversations.
5) Friends can "like" your content.
6) You can customize your theme.
7) Good, clean, minimalist design is Tumblr's mantra!
If you've never "tumbled" you can check out my Tumblr here and get started here.
This is a list of my favorite Tumblrs:
Posted by Alison at 11:51 AM
Monday, May 17, 2010
Source: The Onion
Yesterday, I read a piece of advice that is remarkably allied to my current status as a soon-to-be college grad (Holy COW!)
It came from Steve Hannah, CEO of The Onion (the funniest faux news source under the sun.) When asked, " What is your career advice to somebody just graduating from college?" He replied, rather matter-of-factly:
" Find what you really love to do and then go after it — relentlessly. And don’t fret about the money. Because what you love to do is quite likely what you’re good at. And what you’re good at will likely bring you financial reward eventually.
I’ve seen too many people who have plotted a career, and often what’s at the heart of all that plotting is nothing other than a stack of dollar bills. You need to be happy in order to be good, and you need to be good in order to succeed. And when you succeed, there’s a good chance you’ll get paid."
On one hand, I can't hardly believe I'm graduating. It seems like just yesterday I was eating PB&Js on the playground, studying the Oregon Trail, listening to Spice Girls on my discman on the walk home from school. Conversely, I feel like I've been in school forever—which is true: I've spent nearly three-fourths of my life as a pupil. Needless to say, I'm so burnt out. And I feel it's fair enough for me to say that. I'm ready for the next chapter, the next step. I've never been so eager for anything in my entire life.
That's why I found "7 Ways a College Student Can Start Becoming a Professional Now" particularly useful & relatable.
Here is what David Spinks suggests. Let's see how I match up.
Plant your seeds.
Well, I have a LinkedIn profile but it's collecting dust. Perhaps it's about time I start using it.
Participate in projects.
"Start writing for college newspapers," says Spinks. I agree. I'm writing for two campus publications found here and here
I frequent lectures (if my homework load permits) and treasure every piece of advice a professional provides.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm a frequent, if not obsessive user of just about every social media gadget out there.
YES! Thank you, Spinks. Love it.
Aforementioned, I cherish all professional advice, especially advice from those professionals who are deeply passionate about what they do.
Ignore me and do whatever you want.
Everyone has their own style, yes, but I think this a solid list of advice.
Posted by Alison at 10:12 PM
Sunday, May 16, 2010
If you haven't had the chance to check out Creative Review's blog (one of my my many links), it's well worth it.
Creative Review, a printed magazine that reaches audiences in more than 80 countries,is a self-described "leading magazine for visual communication."
CR's primary aim is to showcase various media formats in which creative graphic design, advertising, digital media, illustration and photography are employed. The magazine is not only visually stimulating, it also provides a wealth of information concerning today's leading trends in creative design and different ways on how to think "outside the box."
The coolest part about CR online is it allows registered users to upload their personal content.
CR hosts three annual contests as follows:
1) Illustration Annual
Illustrators are invited to upload their content in the following categories:
Entries are divided into personal, commercial and editorial work, and are viewed by a panel of art directors and art buyers.
The Annual focuses upon the best work of the year in graphic design. These categories include: Online Advertising
-Print / Press Ads
This year, CR unleashed it's iPhone app. Pretty sweet, though hard to navigate on a small screen. Check out the video:
CR and I see eye-to-eye on the importance of creative design: The structure and the way information is presented and communicated is incredibly important to the success and distinction of an idea or product.
Posted by Alison at 3:09 PM
Monday, May 10, 2010
I grew up in a safe, predominately middle class neighborhood in the heart of Portland, Oregon. I attended a uniquely progressive pre-school that stressed the importance of art and diversity. I came to understand foreign concepts such as moon tides and marimba instruments before I really understood my own community. I could count to one hundred in Spanish before I knew the English word for 'thirty-seven'; I built paper-mâché wigwams and baked loaves of challah bread when I was five. By the time I was seven, these skills felt completely useless outside of the classroom. I existed in a world that involved boyish hobbies and girly dreams.
I walked everywhere and spent as much time outside as the rainy weather permitted. I played and loved every sport imaginable. I became a very competitive basketball player thanks to pick up games with the neighborhood boys. We idolized Michael Jordan and Scotti Pippin. To us, they were incorruptible heros (with impressive stats.) There were no female basketball players I looked up to. I remember a boy telling me, "The WNBA sucks because girls can't dunk." And I believed him.
Nevertheless, I spent a significant amount of time playing dress-up and collecting Beanie Babies. At night, I dreamt of becoming a movie star. Years before I was born, my mom attended the Academy Awards, and when I was ten, she gave me the program bill from the spectacle, which I dutifully displayed on my night stand as a kind of good luck charm.
I would often sit in front of my mirror and apply various shades of lipstick. I really admired Gwenyth Paltrow because she was the "It" girl as my body entered physiological maturity. If there's anything my extensive collection of fashion magazines taught me, it was there's value in beauty and grace in and of itself. To me, Paltrow possessed so much charm, and I think that was enough.
In middle school, I became incredibly self-aware, proscribed to trends and carefully cultivated a practical identity. I equated a certain amount of popularity with happiness because that's what movies and magazines held as a universal truth.
This identity became an arduous task, however, as my own disgruntledness essentially led to the realization that the person I was on the surface was a superficial concoction. I felt like the woman in the painting above.
I eventually realized that the only way I will ever be happy in life is through writing. It is a career, a hobby, a passion that not only demands reflection, but writing, a dialectical tool and mode of self-expression, is unfaltering. Yes, good writing is bulletproof.
I just took the time to write all of this. Weird huh? It seems that in modern times, people overlook the mere importance of writing as a reflective exercise. I didn't necessarily know what to write. But it came to. The point is, writing is good for the soul. And that's a very important thing.
The importance of writing is also what Martha Retallick conveys on her blogpost, "Finding Time To Write." As Retallick says, "Finding time to write seems to be the Holy Grail for many would-be scribes." And I couldn't agree more. I do realize, however, that I spend the bulk of my day writing: texting, emailing, jotting down notes or typing up assignments. My world evolves around the written word.
And just as those skills and traits I learned as a pre-schooler seemed useless at one point in time, they did become very precious later down the road--especially when exercising my creative muscle. I know that the writing skills I employ on a day-to-day basis will forever be invaluable.
Painting: Vilhelm Hammershøi, 'Interior, Strandgade 30' (1901).
Posted by Alison at 10:47 PM