Elliot Jay Stocks is a designer, speaker, and author. He is the Creative Director of Adobe Typekit, the founder of typography magazine 8 Faces, one half of Viewport Industries, and an electronic musician.

Learning lessons

Posted on 07 May 2008 Comments

Article illustration for Learning lessons

I screwed up. I made a mistake. I didn’t think.

Nothing that bad; nothing to cause too much extra work and stress; just a simple matter that I’d basically forgotten to address: in booking in new projects, I haven’t give myself enough time for each one to run over, as they inevitably will. I’ve got a pretty good feel for giving project estimates by now, but I haven’t allowed myself any leeway between each one. And in fact it’s not just about things overrunning: it’s about affording myself a little time to wind down before rushing full-pelt into the next deadline.

But that wasn’t all that I’d forgotten about. Then there’s the fact that I’m on a working holiday in Norway, and shouldn’t I really be giving myself some time to enjoy that? And what about the whole wealth of ‘personal’ projects I’ve been aching to do for so long? Wasn’t this one of the main reasons I went freelance; to give myself this kind of freedom? The ‘free’ is in the word for a reason, after all…

Luckily, I’ve learned my lesson very early on, and before anything went horribly wrong, too. So to counteract my poor planning I’ve made a very important decision: I’m going to take June off.

Ok, that’s not entirely true. What I mean to say is that I’ll be taking most of June off (basically only as much as project overspills from May permit), and I’m only releasing myself from client work. There are several personal projects I’ll be working on feverishly, I assure you. And no, this is not just me sitting back in my little wooden house and putting me feet up for a month. These projects are important and will eventually become staple parts of my income (I hope!). In fact the work that I do on these projects now will probably inform some fairly major plans for the rest of the year. I’ve alluded to the possibility that I may, perhaps, be writing a book, maybe. And if, per chance, this happened to be the truth, then I might, perhaps, possibly need to do some preparatory work… maybe. Is that aloof enough for you? ;)

(By the way, the article illustration is of my current working area: my landlady’s desk in my temporary Norwegian home.)

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