At the end of each year, I take a moment to look back and reflect on the last 12 months and to look forward to the year to come.
This year was full of great experiences. I’m endlessly thankful for the projects I’ve been involved in and the work I’ve been able to do. This year has been a wonderful mixture of the usual development projects, branding, and print design projects, along with occasional illustration and typography projects. After being in business for 8 years I can honestly say that I’ve reached a level of confidence I wasn’t sure was possible in such a variety of design and web-related fields. It certainly pays to be ambitious!
I was also able to carve out time to do some real soul searching, figure out my goals and priorities, and formulate a plan to attain them. This included a re-branding of Sasha Endoh Code & Design, which has already produced great results. And there are many other things to come.
Outside of my business, I’ve been lucky enough to find a volunteer cause that I really believe in – Ladies Learning Code. Being a mentor for their workshops has been a real learning experience for me. Something I didn’t really expect from teaching others how to code.
While this year was full of new and exciting experiences, it has also been quite stressful. In my continual effort to find time for everything while keeping things balanced, I tried the small scale sabbatical system devised by Sean Wes. The system is simple: every 7 weeks take a week off to refuel & recharge. Problem is that the week before this sabbatical I would work extra hard to get all of my projects to a place where a week-long pause would feel natural. And then during the actual “week off” I would work on internal projects, documentation, admin tasks etc. So, I ended up being more stressed out though undoubtedly more productive.
As the year draws to a close, I bid good riddance to small scale sabbaticals. This system would be great for those who routinely put in extreme hours at the desk and need a structured way to avoid burnout. For me, I keep regular office hours (like any self-respecting company) and this system ended up interfering with that rather than contributing any sort of balance. With this in mind, I’ll be regularly devoting a small amount of time to focus on internal tasks and an occasional longer weekend to focus on relaxation and rejuvenation. That ought to do it.
The year to come
For the coming year, my biggest goals are in the realm of expansion and growth. You can expect to see quite a bit of that in the coming months. Phase one will be building a strong team of freelancers that I will bring in on projects as needed. Rest assured, every single project will still get the one-on-one care and attention for which I’ve come to be known. I’d just rather put more effort on the strategic end of things, rather than on moving every pixel and writing every code of line myself.
I’m also looking forward to continuing to work with Ladies Learning Code. This year I’ll be moving from a mentor position to that of an instructor. Yes, I’m thoroughly terrified but boy am I also excited to give back even more to the tech community!
On a more personal note, this year is going to be all about learning to relax and do things for me. My natural tendency is to take care of everyone around me before taking care of myself. This year I’m going to attempt to find more balance in this area. Things like getting enough sleep, getting regular exercise, not sitting in front of the screen for 8 hours a day, saying “no” without feeling guilty. In short, all the things that lots of us, business owners and tech workers, have a difficult time doing.
Wrapping up 2015
Of course, none of this would be possible without the amazing clients I get to work with, the support of my dear friends and family, and the endless patience of my husband. I wish all of you a happy and healthy 2016!