January 2nd 2013

Museum of Childhood

I’m not usually one for making resolutions, and to be honest I’m not really sure I’ll stick to these. But they’ve been floating around in my head for a little while so perhaps if I commit them to the internet I might be more inclined to take them seriously.

1. Work less, do more

Yoni owns the remote around here

Since September I’ve had the pretty ideal situation of working 3 days a week at a studio and having two days at home for my other projects. The idea was to use my two ‘off’ days to take on selected client work, do personal projects, recharge, exercise, learn new things, go out and discover London… but I was so zonked at the end of last year that I mostly just slobbed around watching daytime TV with the cats.

In 2013 I’d like to get a balance of using my ‘me-days’ productively without getting overwhelmed or exhausted. I’d like to visit at least one new place in London a month, keep up running semi-regularly and work on some hobbies (see resolution 3). I also want to make sure I don’t get overloaded by only taking on client jobs that fulfil at least two of my new criteria checklist: is it worthwhile, does it pay well, will I enjoy it or learn something?

2. Spend more money

Taste of Bitter Love

This is probably contrary to a lot of people’s resolutions, and I don’t mean to induce envy, but I am ridiculously careful with money. I just don’t really like to spend my hard-earned cash on – well, anything really, and especially not on myself. Honestly, I have a massive internal battle even just to buy a takeaway coffee. It’s quite extreme.

As a result of this I did manage to save a lot of money last year (back to my pre-flat-purchase amounts, even after paying my January tax bill) but I think part of the reason I got so burnt out was that I didn’t invest any time or money into myself. So this year I want to relax a bit and realise it’s OK to treat myself once in a while.

3. Streamline and specialise

My page in the Travelling moleskine

I’ve always tended towards the scattergun approach to both my work and hobbies: try something, get averagely good, get bored and make a pivot to something new. This means that I can do a little bit of lots of things, but I’m still not quite sure what my strength or specialism is. I’m starting to get a sense that this isn’t the most productive use of my time, and want to try sticking with the things that I either consider I am best at or that I enjoy the most.

In my work life, I think this means stepping back from illustration and from learning any more code. I actually really enjoy both of those things and find it fulfilling to see myself improving at them, but frankly they both have their specialists who will always be 100 times better than me and I don’t see much value in trying to compete. I feel like I know enough about both to offer my service to the clients who need it, and when I’m out of my depth I’ll collaborate rather than dive in and have a go.

In my hobbies and personal projects I’d like to concentrate on a couple: start sewing my own clothes again (inspired by Kathryn and others), and I’m already completely hooked on the calligraphy kit I got for Christmas. As a small mini-resolution I want to create a new hand-lettered header for my blog every month – I’ve already added January’s, as charmingly wobbly and amateurish as it is. I’d also like to use my blog to write more (as this somewhat wordy post testifies), maybe even the odd opinion piece.

Comments (21)

  • Kathryn

    January 3rd 2013 at 11:32 am

    Excited to see what you sew this year! I’m the same with spending money. Nobody will go shopping with me because they know I’ll spend three hours looking round the shops and come home empty-handed except for some mints. My resolution is to be better about knowing what I’ll wear/use and then spend money on quality things that will last.

    1. Katie

      January 3rd 2013 at 7:59 pm

      Mints? Wooooah there, big spender.

      I will be knocking on your door for sewing help I’m sure!

  • Nicole

    January 3rd 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Really honest resolutions – good luck!

    I’m with you on wanting to stop jumping around and hone in on things that you’re good at. I’ve got a pattern on it’s way now from Deer & Doe and just finished a couple of sewing patterns bought from Etsy (which I need to blog – that’s my resolution!). Also started a pattern cutting class and it feels good to have focus in your free time. When you spend every other hour working – your free time has be to be used to it’s full potential!
    Love reading your blog, Nicole

    1. Katie

      January 3rd 2013 at 7:59 pm

      Thank you! Quite agree, and I love doing something tangible like crafting after working with computers all day.

  • SJP

    January 3rd 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Your resolutions sound so contrary to the others I’ve read, but they sound quite wonderful – I wish I was in a job where I could pick and choose what projects I work on :) If you’re looking to spend money on yourself, hows about massages or pampering treatments? Something luxurious but relaxing. Just a thought.

    1. Katie

      January 3rd 2013 at 7:58 pm

      Yes, I feel very lucky! I love getting my nails did, I should do that more often :)

  • Fionnuala

    January 3rd 2013 at 7:11 pm

    It’s refreshing to hear someone else owning up to not being good with spending money. This year I started to stand on my own two feet financially in my first proper job, and the effect of that — that it’s my own hard-earned money, as well as pretty high rents — has been to turn me into a complete skinflint, kvetching about prices and not buying things. In many respects, this isn’t a bad thing — my big current goal is to try and save a little cushion for myself and I’m certainly nowhere near your levels of saving yet. Yet I am also doing my best to balance this with ensuring I enjoy myself — making sure I book tickets to events, trying to find ways to do short breaks away on a shoestring, etc etc. Please let us know how you get on!

    1. Katie

      January 3rd 2013 at 7:57 pm

      It’s nice to hear I’m not alone in the weird spending-money thing. I think it’s definitely a symptom of high living costs and being aware that everything that comes out of your pocket represents your own hard work.

      Holidays and events – rather than *stuff* – are a great way to spend, I think. Must do more! Good luck with your saving.

  • B (Make Do and Spend)

    January 4th 2013 at 8:56 am

    I also get the not spending money thing – although I think I’ve actually relaxed a little in 2012.

    I think my main issue is feeling like I’m buying something for the sake of it.

    For example, I’m happier spending a few hundred pounds on an amazing holiday… but I feel guilty spending £3 on a takeaway coffee or paying to use a car park (when I could just walk a little further and part for free!)

    Treating yourself is important though!

    1. Katie

      January 4th 2013 at 9:08 am

      I’m totally the same actually – don’t like frittering money on small treats (why buy coffee when I have some at home?) but I did buy myself a camera and ipad last year without much gut-wrenching. Funny!

  • Claire

    January 4th 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Ooh, I love the idea of a new blog header every month. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    I like the idea of using a new year to try something new. I spent a lot of last year talking about how I’d like to take a class (language, art, etc.) and never going through with it. Maybe (maybe!) this will be my year.

    Where is that first photo from? It looks like it might be from a children’s museum of sorts.

    Happy 2013!

    1. Katie

      January 4th 2013 at 3:40 pm

      I’m quite addicted to learning!

      You’re right, it’s from the lovely V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Geeen

      Happy new year :)

  • Lianne

    January 4th 2013 at 11:21 pm

    Sounds like you have some lovely creative resolutions! Great to be able to see the results of all your hard work. I had set some resolutions but think I definately need some more creativity in there too. As a new follower, I’m looking forward to hearing more about how you are getting on :)
    Lianne x

  • Grace

    January 5th 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Hi, I am in a similar situation to you, I work 3 days a week and freelance for the other two days. Which I find so much less frustrating to sitting in the same office week after week! I too have realised not to stress myself with not learning code etc. I realise my brain cannot really cope with it (which is also why I am good at the design side) I cannot say the same about the money part! Your blog also helped me to realise that freelance might be (and is) a good idea, so thankyou!

  • Kate

    January 6th 2013 at 10:14 am

    I’ve followed your blog for quite a while now and haven’t ever commented before but as part of my resolutions this year (meet more arts and crafty people, do more, blog REGULARLY!!) I thought I’d say hello! Am feeling even more inspired by your resolutions, and am determined to streamline my specialties as well. I learnt to knit (sort of) last year so this is my first task, to practise and become an expert! Thanks for being so inspiring each day, I love reading about what you’re doing, especially as I’m only a short hop away in Brighton!

    1. Katie

      January 6th 2013 at 10:36 am

      Thanks for your lovely comment! It’s nice to hear when people actually take something away from my little blog.
      I’m coming to Brighton in a couple of weeks :)

  • Hello Bee

    January 6th 2013 at 10:43 am

    I loved reading this lovely K. I too made a huge batch of resolutions for this year and feel so much more positive about achieving them now I have pinpointed the niggly areas I want to change and addresses a plan to actually do it.

    I agree about the ‘spend money’ resolution. I think coming from being a skint stundent, to first moving to London money-shock, I just can’t ever feel relaxed about spending money on myself as that feels like a guilty luxury. I’ve only just upgraded from Primark to say ASOS/Zara which was so much needed as mu job is quite senior now yet I still really struggled to justify spending more when I know there is probably a £5 equivalent etc. Good luck with all your resolutions and can’t wait to see how you get on! Especially the new crafty ones! Although… using your two you-days for cat cuddles should definitely still be occasionally allowed. x

    1. Katie

      January 6th 2013 at 10:55 am

      Thank you! I am happy to see you blogging again, too.

      Oh man, clothes shopping is the worst. I know I should really look smarter too but anything higher-end feels like a colossal waste of money when it’s usually still made in the same factories… hence the resolution to make my own :)

      1. Natalie

        January 7th 2013 at 11:52 am

        The ‘made in the same factories’ thing is a little bit of a myth if it’s any consolation. On the occasion that a factory manufactures both designer and high street, they defintely won’t be in the same fabrics or with the same level of care/attention to detail.

        1. Katie

          January 7th 2013 at 11:58 am

          Good to know! I just need to do some real research and find some designers that i) I can afford, ii) suit my style and iii) are quality and ethically made. Small ask eh?

  • Diane

    January 7th 2013 at 3:26 am

    Great resolutions Katie, and I always love reading your blog posts! I’m totally with you on getting back into sewing clothes and having productive ‘me’ time. (And I also have problems spending my hard-earned money on take away coffee, especially since going freelance!) Hope you have an amazing 2013 x

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