When we are developing a new habit and incorporating it into our daily lives, we can try to link it to another new habit.
An example: When reading books, I mark text passages that particularly interest me with a highlighter. I have marked many exciting sentences in many books, but I don’t pick them up again, or only rarely. Therefore, I have made it a habit to open one of the books daily and record 1-3 sentences or text passages in the Evernote app.
That’s the primary habit. Within that, I have implemented another new habit. Even though I was typing on my grandpa’s analog typewriter on a keyboard by the time I was 12, my typing speed slowly increased. To this day, I type with a maximum of three fingers and have to constantly look at the keyboard.
I wanted to change this for so long but never found the time. Now that I have internalized the first habit, I have started to type the book passages with 10 fingers and without looking at the keyboard. In doing so, I’ve built two new habits in one.
We can apply the same to a wide variety of areas. If we’ve started jogging for an hour every morning, we can turn on that audiobook or podcast we’ve been meaning to listen to for so long. If we’re learning a new language, we can draw the vocabulary instead of writing it down to improve our drawing skills. Discovering the possibilities may take a little time. But they are there.
Asking ourselves this question is crucial to our business. If we are an illustrator or a designer, our clients are usually advertising agencies and publishers. To make them aware of our work, we have several options.
Social networks are one. But who are we really reaching on Instagram? Are our followers really potential clients or mainly students, fans of our work, family members, and friends? Even though fans can turn into clients now and then, we should be able to answer this question.
It gets more concrete on platforms like Behance and Dribbble. This is where designers of all kinds publish their work. Someone looking for a professional illustrator or book designer is more likely to find someone here than on Facebook.
At design conventions and award shows, we mostly meet fellow designers instead of new clients. Giving talks at local events may be more effective.
To see where our target group stands out, we can simulate their view and path. Let’s imagine that we, as an illustrator, go on a search for a suitable illustrator for our project ourselves. We observe and register all our actions in the process: What search terms do we enter? Which website does our search take us to? Which platform seems most promising?
We have to walk in their shoes to see where our customers stand.
Let’s imagine that we would do something important to us every day from today on. This could be, for example, a drawing in our sketchbook, a page of our novel, a sports practice, or a Spanish lesson. We can create a minimum amount of activity even on our most stressful days. A rough sketch can be done in a matter of seconds. Instead of writing a page of the novel, even a few lines will do. Instead of 30 minutes of workout, we do only push-ups. Even repeating vocabulary takes only a few minutes.
It’s not about how much time and effort we put in. It’s about doing it daily so that we develop a new habit. Day after day, we reprogram ourselves. Before we know it, the activity becomes second nature, like brushing our teeth.
Now let’s think about what we could have in front of us in a year. The sketchbook is full of drawings, the novel may already be finished, physically we feel fit, and on vacation in Spain, we can now communicate. Making and creating every day has exclusive benefits for our personal and professional development and is quickly done.
Think about starting something small today. What is important to you?
Audio record – I have always found “write like you talk” a helpful tip. So before I write about a topic, I talk about it in my native language (German) and record my words via my smartphone. Speaking helps me keep sentences short (even if I’d like to get to the point faster). While speaking, I imagine giving a short lecture to students, as I so often actually do.
Write in German – Afterwards, I listen to my words, put them in order, and write them down.
Translation to English – For this, I use deepl.com. Up to 5000 characters per text are possible for free. In addition to the translation, you can search for alternative word suggestions by moving the mouse over the words.
Spell-checker #2 – grammarly.com is an excellent program to find more mistakes and improve the structure of a sentence. The price for the premium package is $144 per year.
In the long run, it will come down to a professional translator. In the meantime, if you have any other suggestions for writing texts in English, feel free to share them with me.
When we commit ourselves to doing something that will significantly change our lives, we automatically look for a safety hook. What if it doesn’t work out? Isn’t it comforting to know that we can always go back or have an alternative at hand so we don’t find ourselves destitute on the street?
When I decided to do illustration for a living, I had a plan B (more on that in a more detailed post). Even today, I think that plan B would have been a great success. The idea was good, the demand was high, the effort was manageable. For weeks, I worked on it, the product, the website, and the logo (all this while trying to get a foothold with my illustrations). But one crucial ingredient was missing, with which, however, everything stands and falls: passion.
It actually felt like work, unlike drawing and experimenting with colors and materials. So I deleted plan B from my life and was finally able to invest my gained time in plan A, the only plan that matters.
We feel fear precisely because something is important to us. Fear of the unknown is part of our journey. It has to be. After all, we’ve never been there before. Let’s set out without a safety rope, without a double bottom. Otherwise, we rob ourselves of this critical component on the way to our goal.
On my 40th birthday, I resolved to publish a post here every workday. That was just three weeks ago now. Sometimes I’ve caught myself taking an excerpt from one of my existing texts and posting it. But that is not the point. It’s not about hitting the “publish” button for anyone or anything every day. It’s about writing something every day. Even if it’s just a short post like this one. When we write, we think. When we think, we organize, and in doing so, tomorrow often becomes more transparent and more manageable.
“Actually, I hardly have time,” I thought again today. But what are five minutes? I have watched at least 30 minutes of Youtube videos and news today. For this, I also had “actually” no time…
In the creative industry, the term graphic designer describes an all-rounder. His portfolio is full of different works from various fields. He designs logos, posters, brochures and offers illustrations and web design on the side. At first glance, the everyday life of a graphic designer is diverse and therefore exciting. He acts like a Swiss army knife. But something fundamental missing distinguishes him from an expert – a recognizable, individual signature in his work. Even if he masters his craft and reaches customers with his service, he dances on a razor’s edge. Because he doesn’t specialize in a niche, it’s difficult for him to develop his own style that would set him apart from his competition. He simply lacks the necessary time to do so.
For the sustainability report 2021 »Taking Care« by »Vaillant« various illustrations were created for the cover and a six-sided story about the goals and programs of »Vaillant Group« in cooperation with Horst Gerlach (www.g-vk.de) and Daniel Küser. A huge thanks for another exciting and creative collaboration. See the whole project here.
Client: Vaillant Art Direction: Horst Gerlach, Daniel Küser Year: 2021