What if you reclaimed your time?

Paul X. Johnson

I made a decision about a month ago to not renew my contract as a creative lead for a PR firm. I had been in the position for only 3 months, but it wasn’t working out for me as well as I had hoped (remember this equation?)

I took it on to help out a friend, who needed someone to help out with the team on fleshing out the creative side of client briefs and campaigns. I was the go-to person when it comes to working out imagery that would work; the piecing together of visuals, style and form to form an effective campaign. That I did.

I went in without knowing if it would work; whether I was up for the job, or if I would fail terribly and end up embarrassing myself and the firm. So I took it on as a challenge. I told myself that it was something I hadn’t tried before (not in a formal capacity anyway) and so ahead I went. It soon dawned on me – it wasn’t whether I was up for the job or not; but in the end it really boiled down to me asking myself, “is this really what I want?”

It came in small whispers – it doesn’t feel right. You’re not happy. I had a knot in my neck that didn’t seem to go away. I felt as though time was slipping away like sand between my fingers as I tried to hold on as tightly as I could. Where did the time go?

Although I loved working with great colleagues, it wasn’t for me; it ate away at the time which I’d rather spend on other things – like Pikaland. Having the amount of hours you could spend on something you love cut short by other commitments really helped me refocus and find clarity. For example, I had been faffing around with the redesign of the blog for a few months, but when I left my position, I instantly got to work and got everything out there within a week. I started with just an inkling of an idea and turned it around into a full-blown working website design within a few days. I felt incredibly happy.

Maybe it was a burst of timely inspiration. And maybe it was. But more importantly, it was me realizing and thanking the universe for the gift of time that has been given back to me. And I didn’t want to waste time in getting back to the work I felt I was meant to do.

When I was working at the PR firm, I asked myself constantly – what could I be doing with my time instead? Don’t get me wrong – having built up a creative direction for a campaign really convinced me of what I was capable of. But I didn’t just want to do work that I was capable of. I wanted to do more. I wanted to do work that thrills me to no end (well, maybe for the most part!) I want sleepless nights not because of clients and their imminent deadlines breathing down my neck – but because I was excited that I couldn’t wait till morning came so I could get right to it.

It was a great opportunity, many people said. “You’re crazy – I would relish the opportunity,” said one. I thought so too – if it were 5 years ago. But the beauty of it was that if it were indeed 5 years ago, I wouldn’t be given the same opportunity. I could only laugh at the irony of it all.

What I gave up might be an wondrous opportunity for others, but I knew it wasn’t for me. So instead of hanging on to a title that would eventually kill me, I’d rather part ways to focus on things that wake me up with purpose. Plus, on the flipside, I like to tell others that it isn’t very nice to hang on to positions/jobs that doesn’t quite fit you – what if someone who really loves it comes along, only to have it occupied by someone else?

I didn’t regret the experience one bit – if anything, I know better what I am capable of. Learning through stretching myself has always surprised me in good ways, and I am grateful for the amazing experience that was offered to me. Rory Cochrane once said: “I do not regret the things I’ve done, but those I did not do.” – and it certainly rang true in my case.

The good thing about having your time given back to you? You’ll appreciate it that much more. I know I do.

SHARE WITH ME:

I’d like to know – if you could reclaim your time, what would you do with it?

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My Work/Art/Play online class will be happening this September! To make sure you’re not missing out on details and to be the first to know when registration opens, click here to sign up! (psst, you can also read up on what our past students thought of it too!)

[Illustration by Paul X. Johnson]

Inspiration: Fashion

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[Richards NYC Spring 2014]

I’ve never been much of a fashionista.

After 5 years of wearing semi-corporate wear to work (I refused to wear greys and blacks and look all proper and “professional” – which was basically ironed shirts with collars and long pants), and then transitioning to comfy yoga-ish inspired clothing as I worked from home. Pajamas were game too during those beginning years, I won’t lie. I even found it hard to justify wearing any footwear that’s higher than 2 inches. Even if it looks amazing.

Maybe I was lazy. Maybe it’s because I was a practical person. Or maybe it’s because fashion wasn’t at all interesting to me back then. (Plus: I had an old knee injury from playing too much sports in school, so teetering around in heels was literally a pain.)

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[Source: Miss Moss]

Nothing much has changed now – I still want practicality when it comes to fashion. Shoes. Clothes. Accessories. I need the freedom of being able to move. It’s just that I’ve begun to look at fashion with new eyes: I could have all that I wanted – uninhibited movement, comfort and practicality – without having to compromise on how I looked. Oh sure, I didn’t care what other people think. But perhaps I could have it all and look smashing at the same time.  Double win!

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[Less by Maria Jennifer Carew]

Or maybe I’m lucky this season (and the few seasons before), because what I’ve seen on the runway is extremely likable in an offbeat way. You know – the kind of clothes that doesn’t need for me to have a perfect hourglass body to pull it off. The kind of clothes that doesn’t need me to stay in place to look pretty. Pretty colors and quirky shapes. Fun details and happy-inducing cuts. Beautiful, yet utilitarian. It’s also a relief to know that being practical is in this season – someone actually told me how much they loved my black leather strappy Crocs (I bet he didn’t know they were Crocs). Once I found out that fashion can be fun instead of scary, it takes on a whole new light. There is no wrong or right – anything goes.

I think that our bodies make great canvases – and our clothes, accessories and shoes all paint a picture that’s unique to each and every one of us. What shall we paint on ourselves today?

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[Marta Lugo's hand sawed pins]

Maybe it’s the internet. Maybe it’s always been there, just that I wasn’t aware of it.

But right now, I’m inspired by it, and I have the internet to thank.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Here’s more posts on fashion and more images I’ve collected on Pinterest. Happy Tuesday folks!

On speed dating: Les Mots de la Carpe [animation]

I watched Les Mots de la Carpe today on Vimeo, and though I couldn’t understand a word of French, this animation proves that a picture is worth a thousand words. Watch how deceptively simple the lines are (the environment is mostly made out with black pencil, with bold colored characters for emphasis), and how the form of the characters are derived from their personality. From Absolute Mag:

At a speed-dating event, animator Lucrece Andreae takes some creative liberties to depict the shape of various oddities of romance-seeking, like (literally) inflated personalities and people who actually compare their date to an ideal sketch, adjusting them accordingly.

Here’s wishing a happy 4th of July for those in the US; and for everyone else, have a great start to the weekend (which is a cause to celebrate anyway!)

Want to see more fun animations? Check out the below links:

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