25 March 2012

Lessons learned

Ever have those times when you hit a point you need to stop and wonder how you got yourself into a situation? These last 10 days have been like that for me. A mixture of being busy like mad, getting hit with the flu, and just burning out has made me stop and rethink a lot of "exciting" things and how it's not that "exciting" after all.
I've been tied up with one of my projects (we've all had those doomsday projects that feel like hell and never seem to end) and my whole world has taken a turn for the worse. One thing I've learned about myself is I don't like leaving things half-done. Even with my trusty to do list and workflow system, I've unloaded all my work out of my head, but the idea that there is still work to do, and I could be doing it now and getting it done eats away at me. I suppose it's the need to know I'm making the best use of my time that matters.
But this attitude is the same reason I found myself up at 5am working a few nights and hitting the wall on Friday morning when I woke up feeling like a pile of mud. And I'm not talking about the useful type that can be part of a healthy fertilizer or turned into a sculpture, I'm talking about the type that has its minerals stripped away and is really not strong enough to hold its own weight when dry. My brain couldn't focus, my motivation was at zero and it was at that point the willpower had to kick in. It's like having to go for a jog when you got the runs, you can push yourself to go for it but every now and then you're going to feel an uncomfortable strain that you have to somehow power through.

On a brighter note, March is coming to an end and this month has been quite brutal work-wise for me. I've become better at allocating my time towards projects and trying to balance my schedule, but unforeseen doomsday project management is still something I have to master. I have, however, learned that the only way to recharge a person's motivation and willpower is to do the opposite of exactly what you're trying to be motivated about.
Today's Sunday and I've decided to let myself off for half a day. Baby steps as they say and here I am, enjoying the peace of a Sunday. These next 4 hours are going to be awesome :)


15 March 2012


Well, well, well. Here I am 35,000 feet above the ground again. My laptop started to go crazy again but luckily it's working now.
So I was in Singapore yesterday enjoying a set at Comedy Masala and I was not only blown away by the fact that the house was full with 200+ people on a Tuesday night, but the amount the local comedians have upped their game! It's great coming back here because the audiences are ready to have a great time and I've gotten used to the place. I know the drill and I'm familiar with the whereabouts anyway.

The only thing I really hate about going abroad is loose change. This is one time I wish items cost more (well rounded up more like) and since it takes my brain a bit of time to convert the currency, my "cheapness" doesn't kick in until after I spent the money, which explains why I could spend almost S$3 for a crappy McDonald's Milo McFlurry…ahaha that was a mistake

So it was a great gig last night and I felt more comfortable working the room, now that I've been there a few times and have a better idea of the culture and people. Also, the flight, for some reason, didn't seem that long…I'm basically 1 hour into this 3:30hr flight and well, so far so good.

The last few days have been a real challenge of my willpower because I'm back to the horrible "too-much-work-not-enough-time" state because projects have just collided together. I've also been doing a lot of thinking and planning for the future because I've seriously got to better handle projects so I don't keep finding myself in the over-time slump.

I've been listening to the Audio Book version of Guy Kawasaki's - Enchantment. It's a pretty good book, not as good as The Art of the Start, but still interesting ideas, it applies to everything I do, my comedy, my web design, etc. I would recommend it to anyone who needs to find better ways of convincing people to listen to their ideas (provided you have good ideas). The book convinced my heart to talk to my brain and better figure things out. Basically my emotions had a chat with logic and that's why I'm working at trying to come to an agreement. My emotions want to stop being so aggressive and enjoy life a bit more. Take on a few less projects and just live a bit more. My logic says I need to strike the iron while it's hot, even if it seems to never cool down. I suppose it boils down to a balance. For example, I decided to completely flush my reading list and start over. Things were never going to get read and the list lost its purpose. I hated the idea that I was throwing away articles and information I knew were useful or interesting to me, but I suppose if I was never going to end up reading them anyway, then there's no difference.

March is scheduled to be a jam-packed month for me and I'm hoping April gives me some space to work out more ideas and plans for the journey ahead. The next 10 days are going to prove to be exhausting but hopefully once I get past this bump, it'll be encouraging (it always is!).

So have fun and enjoy the end of the 25% of 2012! We're still here, yay!

(Update: Of course this was posted at a later time :P)


04 March 2012

Surprise me

These last 10 days have been full of surprises. It feels like everything happened. I've gone from excited to bored, stressed to relieved, well to sick and frustrated to inspired.

I came across a website talking about magic and mentioned a letter from the famous Teller from the dynamic due Penn and Teller. The main thing that really struck me was the simple phrase Surprise me. I suppose that applies to all the greatest things we come across, when we're surprised it's great, but when we're expecting to be surprised and still surprised, that's gold. I was watching some Beastie Boys music videos and that brought back a tonne of memories. I was watching a bunch of videos of Mix Master Mike, and man, I was blown away. I mean, there's something about that guy's music that is not just entertaining but fun!

Speaking of entertaining, I came across a web page showcasing a bunch of movie poster rip-offs that China has been doing and I'll be honest, I was really surprised. It's like people aren't even trying to not look like copycats. Check this out: http://offbeatchina.com/?p=1501
As a designer myself, it really annoys me when I see something like this. I'll be honest, I've had my fair share of clients say "make my site just like this one"...but no matter how hard I try I just have to make it different, it's like there's a switch in me that just cannot be changed when it comes to copying someone else's creative work. Actually, I've come across some "teachers" who do nothing more than copy/paste content from somewhere else and teach it in class, I wonder if this develops the bad habit in their students. Sigh. Personally, I think that design is a process of being able to create something that is your own rather than something that is...something.

Another thing that happened was I attended the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund 25th Anniversary Dinner last night. It's one of the super duper rare occasions I was in a full suit :) There were a lot of cool people and I even got to meet Corinna Chamberlain there. Turns out we were both recipients of this scholarship! :P

All in all a great 10 days. But the next 10 days are going to be brutal. I literally know I'm overloaded with work....and I think I'm starting to get a hint of the flu....damn. Oh well, let's see what adventures await me! :)