Where creativity grows

Tag: #personaloffsite

This week in the Oodlearium

52 Frames 2020

In December I became a 3X Warrior with 52 Frames, which means I had submitted a photo every week for 156 straight weeks. Each year at the end of the year, I print a book with all my images and captions. I have been using Blurb with the In-Design plugin for longer than I can remember. I have always been incredibly happy with the quality and price, but most of all with the customer service. Check out my 2020 book here.

Valentine’s Day Cards for Senior CenterI randomly heard about an opportunity to make Valentine’s Day cards for residents at a local senior center and I jumped on the opportunity. After sending out so many Nerdy Bird and Fuzzer cards last year, I want to take a break. This project was the perfect alternative. I had some super fun doodles that I made last year for a running club event.They were perfect for making some sweet  cards for the residents. I cannot imagine how hard it must be— unable to see family and friends and many times not as tech savvy…I hope these little cards brighten a few people’s day!

The Mandalorian

Had you asked me a year ago if i was going to recommend a Star Wars show, I would have told you you were crazy. But, here I am emphatically recommending that you watch the Disney show The Mandalorian. Listen- my husband and I don’t pay for movie streaming services. We are not in the group of people with Netflix, Hulu, Prime, Disney and all the other services. We spent $6 for one month of Disney and it was the best $6 I have ever spent! 
If you don’t like sci-fi type stuff, I totally get it. But, I do highly recommend watching the behind the scenes documentary about the making of the show. It will give you an incredible appreciation for what they did to make the show as incredible as it, but it is also fun to watch a group sit around a table and just geek out on something they love with all their hearts. What they do in that documentary is exactly what I am trying to accomplish in my creative chats. More on that soon.

Personal on-site

I recently posted about how my husband and I like to do personal offsites a few times a year. Of course COVID-19 has rendered that impossible. Over the course of the week, I found myself getting a bit overwhelmed by all of the ideas I have for my time here in The Oodlearium. I have my idea journal, but I also have little slips of paper and stacks of books and post-it notes and the projects I’m already working on. In addition, I am trying to spend more time with creatives and figuring out how to do that in the middle of a pandemic has been challenging. So, I decided to take yesterday and spend the entire day here in The Oodlearium. It was not as effective as the offsite, because I definitely did get distracted by stacks of dishes and loads of laundry. If I do this again, I will have to prepare in advance so that I am not stressed out about chores. I was able to get all of my project ideas into one spot— huge help! I’ll be spending more time with creatives starting on Tuesday. My husband was an angel and talked through some major issues I was having with a couple of other situations. Overall, it was a worthwhile experience.

Light, Science, MagicA while back a fellow Framer recommended a book on lighting called Light, Science, Magic. I was dismayed when every copy I saw was almost $200. However, our awesome library tracked it down for me and it’s sitting here waiting for me to crack it open this week. When I just searched for the link right now, I was amazed to see some super cheap used versions of it. Fingers crossed that it lives up to the recommendation.

Oodle Doodles

I’m still working on stories— a little bit almost every single day. This week I was taken aback when I read a story to Tom that I loved and he suggested a few tweaks. I was not mad at him. He was absolutely right— the story didn’t flow. I just hadn’t realized how attached I was to the project. I rewrote it and the revised version about celebrating National Dessert Day is great! I’m thinking I am going to do a separate post each time I update a story on the site, so that people don’t have to go hunting for them and you get a bit of funness delivered straight to your in-box.

CreativeBug

A friend told me about the site CreativeBug that offers some seriously fun looking classes. It’s a subscription service, but the cost is pretty low. You can do it month to month and cancel at any time. I’m gong to sign up today for their free month trial and see if I like it. I really want to branch out into some new directions and this looks like the perfect way to learn something new. Check it out! 

52 Frames

If you haven’t seen my water image from last week, check it out here. So many of the comments are people in complete disbelief that it is ice on our bathroom window. It really did look like someone did a 3-D rendering of a tapestry in ice. I have never seen anything like it and probably will not see it again. I’m trying to figure out a place to hang this. Maybe when we eventually redo that bathroom…
This coming week’s theme was horizon. Remember the two winter storms I mentioned? Yeah, that meant I was not going out looking for what is already mediocre scenery in our area. Tom was the one that suggested I play around with the oodle surface and our wine charms. I’m super excited how the shot turned out and I am hoping it brings a smile to people’s faces this week. The album with my shot will go live on Tuesday.

The Personal Offsite

My husband and I are avid fans of the Tim Ferriss podcast where in each episode, Tim interviews world-class performers from eclectic areas to tease out the tactics, tools, and routines you can use. His wide ranging conversations include favorite books, morning routines, exercise habits, time-management tricks, and much more. In early 2019 Tim interviewed Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism the Disciplined Pursuit of Less. 

While their conversation covered a myriad of topics, my husband and I honed in on the idea of a “quarterly personal offsite.” You are probably familiar with the concept of the annual review—  an opportunity to reflect on your performance over the last year and set goals for the upcoming year.  Despite their ubiquity, few people find the annual review helpful.  What if you dedicated some time on a regular basis away from home and work to check in with where you have been and where you are going in your life? McKeown calls it a quarterly personal offsite based on the idea that “every three months you take three hours to identify the three things you want to accomplish over the next three months.”

We were all in. Our goal was to evaluate where we were at in our lives and look forward without the distractions of our every day lives. I found us a quaint AirBnb in Durango, Iowa. The description promised the perfect place to get away from the world and unwind. Now just to set the ground rules for the weekend. 

  • No technology. Even if we did not come away with any clear direction forward we knew that a digital detox would be beneficial. The cabin was remote enough that there was no cell service or wifi.
  • Although the cabin did have sattelite TV, we did not want to fall into our old routine of wasting hours watching shows.
  • This was not a vacation. We were not going somewhere to sightsee or dine out. Our cabin had a small kitchen and we brought the fixings for simple meals. We would spend our time reading, writing, talking, meditating, doing yoga, hiking, or relaxing. 
  • We brought stacks and stacks of notebooks, post-it notes and pens. 

As soon as we arrived we knew we had selected the perfect location. The cabin was remote enough to feel like we were away from the world, but well appointed so that we were comfortable. We both did a lot of reading, writing and talking about our lives— where we were and where we wanted to go. After hours and hours of writing, I started to transfer my main ideas to post-it notes so that I could more easily sort and organize what I had uncovered. Tom followed a similar system. After two days we felt reenergized and extremely hopeful about the future. It was absolutely one of the best decisions we have ever made. We had clear action items to address when we returned home and a promise to reconvence in three months to check in again. 

About six months later, we decided to schedule another off-site to a different location. In the months since our initial “event” we had made a lot of changes in our lives. We were much more positive and upbeat about how life was going. That made the workshopping aspect of the weekend a bit more challenging, because we felt we were on the right path already. This weekend was less successful. We returned home a day early and resumed our lives.

Fast forward to last summer (2019) when we went on a driving trip around the Great Lakes. It was fourth of July weekend and our home for the next two days was a beautiful cabin in Chassell, Michigan. As soon as we walked into the cabin, we decided to put our vacation on pause for a few days and have another personal offsite. This one was much more similar to the first one— lots of writing, reading, talking and self-discovery. I honestly think the second one was a fluke and perhaps much too forced. 

What we have learned from the personal offsites:

  1. Taking the time to make your life is a priority is incredibly powerful. 
  2. If you get nothing out of the offsite other than a digital detox it is worthwhile. 
  3. Selecting your location with the intention of making the most of the experience is vital. These trips are not about sightseeing, dining out or even adventures.
  4. It helped to sort through all that was overwhelming us and focus on the 3-4 items that were most important to us over the next 2-3 months.  We left with clear action items.
  5. We left incredibly reenergized and most importantly more hopeful about the future.

My goals for the weekend were not creativity minded in general, but the positive effects of the weekend would have still held true. Checking out of the universe for a few days and getting away from the grind absolutely will free your mind and allow it to resume making unique connections between ideas. Stepping away from the constant barrage of negativity will give your heart and your mind some much needed rest and an opportunity to revitalize itself. You have an opportunity to hone your focus for your future giving you a much greater feeling of control.

I cannot recommend this experience highly enough!

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