This time of year is always good for reflection and forward thinking. I have been doing a lot of both recently, reviewing what I did and achieved in 2011 and looking forward and planning for 2012.
Originally I was going to write a review of 2011 just like I wrote a review of 2010 at a similar time last year, however, in the end I decided not to dwell on the past and to focus on looking forward instead. What follows is a non-comprehensive list of the things I want to do in 2012, from both a personal and a professional perspective.
I have purposefully kept it brief for all those people thinking “Not another new year planning post!” For those that can’t get enough of this kind of thing there are more details about each point after the list finishes. Enjoy.
- Sketch more.
- Design more.
- Develop more.
- Experiment more.
- Read more.
- Blog more.
- Be more productive.
- Be more efficient.
- Be more proactive.
- Take more pictures.
- Learn to use photoshop/illustrator/omnigraffle.
- Design T-shirts.
- Get fitter and healthier.
- Get back into cooking.
- Complete my own projects.
I enjoy sketching and used to do a lot of it, however, unfortunately I haven’t done much for a few years now. This disappoints me. Plus it would be very useful for my current job and career aspirations, not to mention it would be a waste not to pick it back up, so I really should get on with it again and do it regularly. I should aim to make it habitual again. This is a high priority for 2012.
I have always enjoyed and appreciated design and in 2011 I started doing more of it as part of my job. This trend is set to continue in 2012 as my role makes an even greater shift into the UX design field. An obvious way to improve and hone one’s design skills is to practise them by designing things on a regular basis. The more I can design the better I will become.
I think I will be able to do this best by setting myself design projects to work on. First up on the agenda is to redesign this site — when I started it I intended to incrementally work on the design, that didn’t happen so this time I will do a complete redesign all at once. Look out for it!
Similarly to design more the best way to improve as a developer is to develop more, to write more code; in 2012 I intend to do this.
This one kind of goes hand in hand with the previous 2. If I want to improve as a designer and as a developer I need to experiment more, consolidate concepts through play and inference, and make mistakes and learn from them. Plus experimentation is usually the fu part.
Pretty standard one for me. I always want to read more but struggle to find the time. Back in March I wrote a post about my ever growing reading list. It hasn’t stopped. In the time since then it has grown even larger, although I did finish reading Don’t make me think and the first Smashing book. Recent additions to the list include Steve Jobs the biography, Data Flow, Hardboiled Web Design and Bill Buxton‘s Sketching User Experiences. All of which I am looking forward to reading.
In 2011 I said I was going to take part in the WordPress post a week challenge, I managed 27 posts so some way off the required 52 but, still, better than not blogging at all. In 2012 I’m going to try to improve on that figure.
A secondary goal of blogging more is to improve my writing. It has never been my strong point but doing it regularly should help to improve it.
Be More Productive.
I have a tendency to jump between personal projects, get distracted by the internet and put off things I don’t want to do — like many people I’m sure. However in 2012 I want to be better at it, I want to have more end product. I’m not going to be unrealistic and say I’m going to stop ever doing these things but I do want to improve my focus a little.
Be More Efficient.
Last year I was finding my feet and deciding what I wanted to do, and it felt a little like a breakthrough year for me, particularly in the design space. However, a byproduct of finding my feet was little time to work on my efficiency. I was jumping around from project to project, field to field without spending much time on improving my workflow. I really want to spend some time doing this in the coming year. Towards the back end of the year, inspired by things like the very useful Twitter bootstrap and the 24ways post by Anna Debenham on front-end style guides, I really started thinking about my current workflow and how I could improve it. In 2012 I intend to implement some of these things. Things I might look to work on include style guides, a library of ideas, pattern libraries, design ideas, inspiration collection and reusable code snippets and modules.
Be More Proactive.
I want to get out and about more, and make more things happen. Simple.
Take More Pictures.
I really enjoy photography and want to get better at it. Last year I wanted to take part in the Weekly Photo Challenge, however I failed miserably and hardly took any. Although I must say 2011 wasn’t a total photo disaster, I did manage to take a few good’uns but saying that 2012 needs to be better. My Olympus EP-1 needs to see more action and one of my favourite apps — Instagram — needs to be used more.
Learn To Use Photoshop/Illustrator/Omnigraffle.
Learning how to use these tools is something that has been on the agenda for a long time but other than the odd bit of dabbling it hasn’t happened. Really what I need to do is commit to using them more often, using them on an ad-hoc basis just hasn’t worked for me.
T-shirt making is something I’ve wanted to do for awhile but, again, haven’t got round to doing. Having a small room in a small flat doesn’t help with this but I would like to achieve something on this front in 2012. Learning more about the different techniques is where I should start.
Get Fitter And Healthier.
This is the obligatory one that everyone has so it would be rude for me to omit it.
I am quite keen on actually sticking to this though. Since I moved down to London I have played very little football, which is a huge difference to when I used to play 3 times a week minimum, and have neglected doing a great deal of exercise. Towards the end of last year I started going climbing regularly and occasionally playing squash. These things I intend to continue with, as well as doing a few others too. Going running, even though I hate it, might have to be an option.
Get Back Into Cooking.
I used to really enjoy cooking and experimenting in the Kitchen. Recently, however, I have stopped doing as much cooking and stopped experimenting with what I cook. I miss trying to cook new, interesting things so I should try to get back into in the coming year.
Complete My Own Projects.
I’m a much better starter than finisher; I find I can quite easily lose momentum and focus on personal projects, I believe it is down to the fact I get bored vey easily, especially, when things lose their novelty factor and I’m no longer learning anything. This year I’d like to see a few things through to completion, and hopefully release them. Luckily this goal should combine nicely with many of the ones above giving me more chance of achieving it.
That is by far enough from me, now it’s time for focus and action. Fingers crossed, wish me luck.