Looking Forward to 2015

kraydesign-christmas2014

It has been a few months in Kansas City and the holidays are here! The city looks amazing! So many lights, events, and great people. Even though my commute is about 30-45 minutes, I couldn’t be happier with where I live.

Love My New City

I have enjoyed my time here exploring the city and seeing new things. I love how much is happening all the time! Its exciting and has definitely been keeping me busy. My new full time job has been so great. The people are so creative and knowledgable – I learn something new every day! I’ve been thinking about different ways to set up websites and am trying different tricks. 

Being in a new place, getting lost and finding my way again, feeling excited when I know where I am, and learning so many new things about web design has been so refreshing and exhilarating. This is exactly the change I needed. While I still miss my office space downtown Ames, I know this is the place for me. There’s life and movement and people pushing design standards all around me. The feeling here isn’t as rushed like when I lived in Chicago or as slow paced as Ames, but something perfectly in the middle. 

Looking Forward

Moving forward with k.ray design, I think I am going to scale back how many projects I do at a time. I want more time to play and enjoy the city. I have projects that I am working on finishing up for 2014 and then will be off for Christmas and New Years. After the new year, I will be accepting at most 1 new project per month. This means new projects – not maintenance or updates. 

When I was in Ames, I put a lot of my time and effort into building my business because one day, I wanted to work for myself. While that idea is still appealing to me, my priorities have shifted. I want to continue designing things for great people, but I also would like more time to try new things and have new experiences. Now that I am in a city that allows me to do that, I feel as though I need to take full advantage! 

I have a feeling 2015 is going to be a great year! I wish you all the best during this holiday season. Spend time with your family and friends and enjoy every minute of it. You’ve earned it.

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How Do You Manage It All?

kraydesign-take-breaks

With school starting, everyone is in a whirlwind and are going a million miles a minute in a million different directions. So many things to think about! When is the first day? What time do they have to be there? Do they have enough supplies? Did I pack their lunch? Do they need money? Did they get to the bus stop on time? How am I getting to work? Did I send that email? Wait. What time is it? 

How are more people not in padded rooms!?

The world today is insane. And the expectations are insane. People expect you to “have it all.” Whether you’re a working woman or man, you have to 1: have a great family, 2: be a great mom/dad, 3: have smart kids that go off to college and become super successful, 4: you have to be successful, 5: take amazing vacations, and 6: always be happy and loving life with your house, car, golden retriever, and 2.3 kids. 

I get the American dream of being your own person and making it in the world, but the expectations of the American dream seem to keep adding up! It all sounds exhausting. Is it ok to be single at 30 with no kids and a decent job? Or do you have to be settled in your life and be a director or manager or CEO? I can tell you, I experience both ends of the spectrum. Some people I know got married at 22 and love it and don’t understand how anyone wouldn’t be married by 30. Some people I know are still single and killing it and tell me to wait, you have your whole life to be married! I get that you need to find what is right for you, but I still feel like there’s more and more pressure. 

Too much to handle

But this isn’t about me and how I’m still single and killing it. This is about the amount of expectations and information we consume on a daily basis. When is the breaking point? 

Think about it – most people get to work, sign on to their email accounts, check social media, talk to co-workers, check voicemail, work on projects, and at the end of the day, don’t really remember what they accomplished. Sometimes I think it would be great to go to a place where, you don’t have email and people have to call you on the phone, or drop you a note. For one week, I would love to shut down my email and just see what happens at work. I’d love to do that to the entire office but not sure how well that would go. 

For my projects and my life, I have a weekly calendar, a monthly calendar, and an electronic calendar. My weekly lists out my projects for that day, the monthly lists the overview, and the electronic cals have my appointments. I also use Asana (and love it!) for project communications. Sounds ridiculous, right? I have a lot to manage in my current position and expectations to get everything accomplished so without this organization, I would go crazy (if I’m not already).

When does it stop?

We are fed information constantly. And people have a hard time stepping away from it all. Recently, I was able to take a trip to Alaska and for a whole week, I did not have internet or cell service. My iPhone was about as useful as a rock. Make you cringe at all? Could you do it? I have to say, the first few days were weird. I didn’t have Facebook notifications, Tweets to reply to, or my email sound going off every 15 minutes. I didn’t look at it before I went to sleep…I just, went to sleep. Felt different but after I got passed the idea of always needing it on me, I felt free! I was fully aware of what was happening around me. I didn’t see the world with a rectangle in front of my face or through the camera and it was fantastic! 

I was on a cruise and so when I left my room, I had nothing in my pockets. No keys, phone, bag…nothing…(well, some days I had my tiny camera). It was a phenomenal feeling and I recommend everyone doing it at least once a week. 

Shut down and lower your requirements

You have to. The world is a beautiful place with beautiful people. Nothing annoys me more than when I’m out with people and I have to text them to get their attention. Put the phone down. You don’t have to Instagram every.single.moment. Sometimes the memories of a great night out are better than a photographic documentary. You do not have to keep up with the Joneses. You do not have to do everything ‘society’ tells you to. Lower your requirements. Soaking in all this information is overwhelming and you have to stop and smell the roses once in awhile. 

My Challenge to You

Go for a walk tonight. Don’t care where. Don’t care for how long. And take nothing. Absolutely nothing with you. (Ok, maybe keys because you probably have to get back into your house) Leave the cell phone at home. Leave the iPod. Leave your FitBit or workout tracker. No one cares how long you walked and if you’re really crazy about it, enter this walk as a manual entry. 

Go for a walk with nothing but you. Look up. Look down. Look ahead of you. Take it all in and report back to me on how it went. 

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See the World

Images from my Alaska cruise

Post Grand Opening Thoughts

kray-thankyou

I’m not sure I can say it enough, Thank You.

Thank you to everyone that took time out of their schedules to come see me.

Thank you for climbing the stairs to check out my office space.

Thank you for supporting me and sharing in my excitement.

Thank you for coloring amazing pictures! You definitely made them pretty.

Thank you for traveling long distances to see me.

Thank you for the office warming gifts. They were a great surprise and I love them!

Thank you for helping to break in my pinball machine. It was great to see the amazement as you played a game.

Thank you for all your help in making last night a great success.

And finally, thank you for helping me to realize how big of a deal it really is. When I rented the space, I was simply renting it to move everything out of my apartment and have a place to concentrate. It is exciting and still a little odd to think that I am a business owner in Ames, Iowa. With others being excited and proud, it helps me to realize that it is a great thing. The dream of becoming my own boss seemed like such a far off goal and the fact that I might be able to accomplish it, is a little scary, but in a good way.

Thank you to you all.

Thank you to everyone that gave me words of encouragement, helped critique a project, was there with dinner or drinks when I needed them, helped me move in, helped to calm me down when I was freaking out about getting everything done, shared my business with their friends or family, and have helped me go down this path of owning k.ray design.

You are all amazing!

View a few photos from the Grand Opening >>

What would be your dream job?

kraydesign-dream-job

I have been asked this question a handful of times this past week. Not sure why…maybe its just a good conversation starter. Whatever the reason, this question has made me think.

What would be my dream job? What do I want to be when I grow up?

Answer: I have it already. And I don’t want to grow up.

I know, I know, that sounds so cheesy. But seriously, I’m already doing what I love. One of my goals in life was to be a respected designer and work with my own clients. While I know I will always have room to grow, I am already on my way to achieving this goal. Now, when I say I don’t want to grow up, please do not mistake that for immaturity. I mean it as, I don’t want to grow up and live in a world where I stop trying to figure out, ‘what I want to be when I grow up.’

Recently, Matthew McConaughey gave a speech at the Oscars explaining who he chased. His answer was him…in 10 years. He would never reach himself in 10 years because at 20 he would want to be him at 30, at 30 he would want to be him at 40, and so on.

This is exactly how I see my dream job. I might not ever truly reach anything, but I know I will always be on the right path. As of right now, I am chasing the dream to grow my own business and work for myself. I know that is a few years away, but my dream job is working towards that goal. I also want to be an Art Director and manage a team of amazing designers. Again, I know I have a lot to learn before I reach that point, but my dream job is chasing the work I need to do to get there.

So, now when someone asks me what my dream job is, I can tell them, “I already have it.” Sure, the grass might be greener somewhere else, and there are other cities that are more exciting, and I could probably make more money, blah…blah…blah… But to be honest, I love Ames. I love Iowa State University. And I love my office space downtown. I don’t need a big city or a bigger paycheck to work towards a goal. (Although, at times, I have thought about running off to Chicago…but come on, who hasn’t day dreamed about being in another world?)

This is me, at my dream job:

k.ray at the office

What does your dream job look like? Are you there?

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