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Jake Williams Animator Illustrator
I was here, 15 years ago or something. Y’know I had no idea what I was doing. I stood out here in front of you all; really just a kid. […] It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down in life, ‘cause that’s gonna happen. All that matters is that you’ve gotta get up.
Ben Affleck, 2013 Best Picture Acceptance Speech
Positive words to live by from my girlfriend, Laura. 
Sometimes in the creative field, you just need some support from awesome people

Positive words to live by from my girlfriend, Laura. 

Sometimes in the creative field, you just need some support from awesome people

Why Working For Yourself (or a Friend) is as Awesome as it Sounds

Admittedly it’s only been a week, but so far, my new adventure making fun things with the team at LooseKeys has been a blast!

I’m not entirely used to working from home on a regular basis, much less not going to a place to work around other people who are also working. It’s been a weird transition, but one that I am thankful for everyday.

First, I get the chance to work with people whose work, style, and drive I totally respect. Being around likeminded designers who have more experience than you definitely helps you to be the best you can be. For the first time since I started making videos as a long-haired, middle school punk, I feel like I’m an artist who is directly responsible for the product of his company; it’s a great feeling.

Second, while at first I was feeling like I was playing hooky or not attending staff meetings, at the end of each day I look back and realize that I was able to accomplish everything I wanted. I spend more time with projects, briefs, and big ideas than I’ve ever had the chance to. I also get the chance to be more social on the Internet and make connections that directly connect with my work and my company.

Third, in my free time this week, I’ve been tinkering, doodling, and thinking up new things to do and how I can apply them to building this company even more. It’s been years since I’ve drawn for fun, but now I feel that I have a chance to step back and do a doodle or two that could someday end up in a project. 

In no way am I saying quit your job and go work with your friends; it’s not for everyone. I wasn’t sure if it was for me either. But after a week of being asked to make fun things that I smile at while I work, I can’t imagine working everyday at something that I love more. 

It took me years to get to this point. I just didn’t quite know how I was going to get here or the path that I’d take, but here it is. I’m having a blast after only one week and I can’t wait to get started on the next week, the week after that, and the week after that, and… oh you know.

I Stopped Writing “To-Do’s” and Started Getting Things Done

For the longest time I used To-Do lists to make sure I stayed on top of my projects. From pencil and paper to a handful of web and mobile apps that I thought were truly helping me to keep things in line, a number of listing methods have come and gone over the last few years. 

A funny thing happened a few weeks back. I decided to stop writing any list of any type and just start working. No longer am I using my time to prioritize a list based on difficulty or timeline, but rather keeping all projects top of mind and making sure I focus on the task at hand. If I’m working on revisions for one video, there’s no need to be thinking of another video as I can only honestly work on one project at a time. 

It may not work for everyone, but I can say that I doubt I will ever go back to writing lists. I’ve been very interested lately in tools that help people get things done that don’t become a chore within themselves. A service like DropBox makes working with others remotely seamless and painless, whereas a popular To-Do list app, Clear, makes you work within the app to custom fit your list to your liking. Of these two tools, again this is only an example, only one of them lets me continue working on the things that make me happy and, at the end of it all, gets me paid.

Perhaps it’s just a sub-benefit, but, overall, I’ve been happier and much more open to new ideas and projects now that I’ve stopped keeping a list. I still have a lot to work on, but I no longer feel overwhelmed with projects staring me down from a never-ending stack of tasks. 

My point, after all of this, is that sometimes it’s a good idea to re-evaluate the methods and processes that help you get work done. We all have slumps, and maybe switching up your process can push you in a new direction. Are organizational tools helping or taking time and focus away?  Everyone has a different process, but I feel it’s always healthy to shake things up a bit.

7 ’til 2 in the morning is plenty of time to do damage
Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee)

Getting Down and Moving Forward

"I know things are busy right now, so, when you stumble across free time, it’s hard to stay motivated to make the best of that. But don’t let go of your ideas. Because they’re great. Keep hustlin, and know that, whatever you do, i’m behind you 100%.”

My girlfriend, Laura, said this during one of our daily chats this afternoon.

I have a lot of ideas. Most of us do. I don’t claim to have the best ones, but they’re definitely ideas that get me excited and keep me working hard to reach my own personal goals. I’ve set out a lot of new things I want to experience this year and am well on my way to these goals as well as some unexpected surprises. Unfortunately, not everything is as smooth as I’d like it to be.

I’m sure I’m not the only one, but being a creative, or a human being for that matter, I have a tendency to get down on myself, shoot down my own ideas, and just not get things started. Everyone has these days. Until this afternoon, I hadn’t really found the best way to keep myself progressing, having fun, and taking it all in stride. If there’s one thing that personally helps me to keep going it’s positive feedback.

While you’re working, head down, in the trenches, gettin’ shit done, sometimes it’s hard to see the light at the end. Whether you get down on yourself or not, people see hustle, hard work, and passion. I wish I could say everyday went perfectly, but it doesn’t always. You have to have a support network around you to help you along the way.

Hearing small things like this help to keep me going. What about you?