Having taken an extended break over the Christmas period, I tried to get a head start on some of my goals for the new year.

I’ve recently come across a designer’s YouTube channel. I was really interested in one video about being more productive, and it got me thinking about how I can use my time more productively.

Most of my Monday to Friday is my full-time job and although I have flexitime, it pretty much always 9 to 5ish with almost an hour commute both ways. Most of the time outside that is spent with my wife and daughter. I believe strongly in having a good work/life balance and for me this works great. But this does mean that finding time for any personal goals, side-projects, other work and hobbies is difficult.

After my work day is done, I meet my wife straight away and pick up my daughter. This is quality time. Play time. Family meal time. Bath time, and finally, story and bed time. The little one goes to sleep at around 20:30, or 20:00 if she’s especially tired. This is when I sit on the sofa and enjoy some free time. I either relax, watch TV and have a cup of tea with the wife and have a catch up about our day (but sometimes we have to do the usual household chores), or I sit on the sofa with my MacBook or iPad and start designing, coding or writing. Sometimes you’ve just got to give it that extra push.

It isn’t easy. Like most things in life, you get out what you put in. I would love to be able to sit and enjoy being creative, without feeling guilty that I am not spending time with my little girl or wife. It’s not just creative design work either. I love photography, and I play guitar. What comes out of my amp isn’t conducive to keeping a toddler fast asleep, and sometimes it’s just not feasible to go out with the camera when it’s late and the lighting conditions are less than perfect!

I am really inspired by some designers on YouTube, who manage to do their full time job, fit in side-projects or freelance work, and still manage to film, edit, and publish videos, sometimes every week, and give so much to the design community1. This keeps me going.

This is a much shorter post than usual, but it serves as a message to myself - keep on working towards your goals. So I need to get better at finding free time, and managing it better to make it as productive as possible. :-)

  1. These YouTubers are awesome. Check them out.