Taking a cue from Investigative Designer David Seah, I’ve decided to do a challenge of bringing one new creation into the world for 30 days.
Editor’s Note: I initially planned to do this every single day of November (including weekends), but due in part to the fact that I have 20-hour yoga teacher training weekends, I’m much better suited to do 30 weekdays. And so, I shift to welcome what feels right for me.
My intentional parameters:
- It must be or represent a tangible thing that can be reused, shared or enjoyed by myself and others.
- It should unfurl from my authentic creative expression. (This could mean making a productivity sheet, or this could mean making a hula hoop.)
- It must offer value to myself/others, help me create more value (by automating a process, etc.) or help me sell something of value I’ve already created.
My 30 Creations:
Day 2: A new business card to express that while I do/love many things, what is most important to me is living all of myself—which simply means expressing whatever is true for me in that moment.
Day 3: Moon Cycle Work Flow sheet! One of the things entrepreneurs can utilize to inform when we start/end projects is the cycles of the moon. I created this sheet as a prototype for something larger—I don’t think one sheet is really enough, and would really love to see a planner come into fruition from this. The premise? The New Moon is when you pick through your stored brilliant ideas and decide which ones you want to act on in the coming cycle. When the moon is waxing into light, take hardcore action to bring those ideas to life; during the Full Moon we celebrate! When the moon is waning into darkness, we bring up those things we need to clear and release, while contemplating and reflecting on how our work flow cycle went. Another new addition to my productivity packet.
Day 4: A Packet Atlas or table of contents for my holistic productivity sheets at the suggestion of Angel from Cohere in Fort Collins as we meandered Boulder on a coffee + coworking visit. I am particularly happy with the word “atlas,” meaning “a bound volume of maps, charts, or tables illustrating any subject.” My guides rely on the user trusting their inner compass and moving outward from that space to create their day—the analogy of my sheets as maps feels aligned with this intention.
Day 5: A Work Happiness Matrix sheet designed for visualizing which projects are nourishing you and which are draining you. Plot your projects along the Feelings Axis and the Value Axis and see the color quadrant guide to find out if you’re in the Green zone (do more of these!), the Meh zone (beware or inquire as to why you’re doing these), or the Red zone (clear out and stop doing these things).
Day 6: The experimental start of a Sensual Alchemy product line. I’ve been wanting to whip up homemade salts, scrubs, lotions and scents (all completely natural, of course) for a while and incorporate them into my brand—in particular for my Revive & Strategize Weekend. I want to pamper one of my clients who will be flying in from Toronto in December; my first attempt is a zesty Orange Vanilla Sugar Scrub made with organic sugar, olive oil and essential oils (psst: the secret to its zest is a dash of lemongrass and bergamot essential oils).
Day 7: I opened an Etsy store to sell my Sensual Alchemy (em)body products! Because, why not? My first listing is yesterday’s with a snazzy new name: Mandarin Goddess Sugar Scrub. Today, I tried to make a second one I dubbed Lavender Coconut Cookie. Melted coconut oil stirred in with organic sugar with essential oils of lavender, vanilla and rose geranium. Sounds divine, right? Well. It’s also 7 degrees in Boulder, and 50 in my apartment due to everyone in my building trying to hardcore use the floundering water boiler. Basically, the coconut oil froze to a block of sadness. It now sits on my bathtub—a sandy white block that happens to smell like cookies. Oh well.
Day 8: It’s still way below freezing in Boulder; while coworking in front of the fire to keep warm, I spent my time in InDesign planning for my December client to fly in and enjoy a magical weekend with me playing through her blocks and getting laser-focused on what she wants to create in her life. Today’s creation took me a painstaking while and is the official cover page for the Revive & Strategize weekend atlas: a collection of maps to guide her inward, through and out. It also sets the tone and style for the whole guide. Graphic design success!
Day 9: Today I designed a leaflet (which is a way cooler word than flyer) for my Revive & Strategize weekend to post in cafés, coworking spaces, yoga studios, and other conscious arenas when I’m in NYC and NJ next week. Know any city folk who could benefit from something like this? Also of note: Marie Forleo sent out a freaking amazing email this morning from her new venture with Laura Belgray, The Copy Cure, which inspired me to start using the phrase “Meet me at your next level” in my program. Upleveling… elevation… mountains… get it? (Perdona, I’m a bit under the weather today.) :)
Day 10: Today I made homemade Grapefruit Brûlée Body Butter and it is WOW. I thought I was making one as an experiment, but this needs no more experimenting (which was not the case with my Lavender Coconut Sugar Scrub, because coconut oil hardens and then your sugar scrub is a dusty block of sadness in the shower). But this is a gorgeous, delicious, nourishing body butter, with 5 sexy ingredients: organic cocoa butter, raw organic shea butter, cold-pressed olive oil, grapefruit essential oil, vanilla essential oil. Nada más. #sensualalchemy
Day 11: I’ve been reading the Bhagavad Gita, and one of its central themes is: take action simply for action’s sake. Try to unbind yourself from the outcome of your creation, for that does not belong to you. Creativity does not equal production, as is commonly advocated in our pressure-filled society. Today’s unproductivity sheet, To Not Do! (with space for freewriting) is about honoring your inner compass when you know that today is a day for listening to what’s been whispering inside you.
Day 12: I made this creation on the train from NYC to NJ, on the way to see my mom for an early Thanksgiving. It’s an update to my Today I Create sheet, which is the foundation of my Holistic Productivity Packet. It now answers all three questions in one sheet: What do I want to create today? How do I want to feel at the end of the day? What things can I make space for that will give me the highest probability of feeling that way? The design is also cleaner and the boxes more appropriately proportioned. I’ve got some awesome 2015 plans percolating for these sheets and this editing process is a great start.
Day 13: By now I’m sure you’ve noticed that a lot of my daily creations are productivity-centric. This is one of the reasons doing a challenge like this is so fabulous—it shows me where my energy is wanting to go, because there is no other reason I’d be focusing so much on these. They’re not the easiest thing I could be doing; they take more time for me to make than they would a graphic designer. While, design is something I love, it isn’t my zone of genius. Today, I made two sheets but I’m counting them as only a single day because they are easily replicable. They are: a 2015 Rockin’ It Planning Sheet and a 4-Month Rockin’ It Planning Sheet. On both sheets, there are four boxes representing either quarters or months; the user writes in the top half of each box one big goal they’ll complete by the end of that quarter/month. The user then breaks it down into 3-5 steps they’ll take to get there. It’s a single sheet intended to hang somewhere the user will see it daily as a reminder to stay on track, committed and intentional.
Day 14: Oh my Lord, I am in love with today’s design: the Snowlopreneur Planning Sheet! It’s intended for solopreneur-snowbirds (of which I’m a wannabe who’s finally going to make it happen this year) to help vet the viability of a Winter work destination. The user prints out however many sheets as the number of destinations they have in mind, and goes through a process of inquiry about each one.
Let’s say you print out three sheets: one each for Miami, Costa Rica and Santa Barbara. Start with one of them and go through the process of asking:
- Where will you work (cafés, coworking), stay (friends, Couchsurfing, Airbnb) and eat (local, organic options)?
- What will you work on? How can it benefit the local community?
- Who will be your resident collaborators / experts / supporters?
- When will your event / launch / deadline be? What’s your timeline?
- Why do you really want to go here? (Besides “it’s warm.”)
This kind of reflection, sourcing and tuning in will help you solidify which plans are best for you. If you’re planning a Winter Workation and want to be intentional about it, you can pick up this sheet as part of my productivity packet.
Day 15: Voila! Today I made a completely raw vegan pumpkin pie with homemade pecan-date crust for Thanksgiving. The crust was a bit salty, but perhaps that’s because I don’t follow specific amounts very well. The recipe was authored by the Conscious Cleanse gals—their cleanse changed my life three years ago. I still live by their wisdom.
Day 16: Shhh, don’t tell! Tony and I bought my mom an iPad Mini for Christmas so she could feel more connected to us. Today I made her Mom’s Official iPad Mini Guide (cover page + contents) to show and help her remember all of the things I know she’ll want to do. It will feature such exciting chapters as: “How to email Amy” and “How to Google actors.” Tony thinks I should sit outside Apple making #MomsGuides.
Day 17: The holiday creation fun continues! This evening over second cocktails in Brooklyn, I drew up a mock game of Clue especially for New Work City, Tony’s coworking space. Rooms include various parts of the space, plus “OMG! Clothes,” a perpetually changing store below NWC whose musical tastes always seem to revolve around Nicki Minaj. Characters consist of not only space Mayors and captains, but also Tito the elevator man and the food delivery guy. Possible weapons include: a box of Chris Guillebeau books, Friday happy hour shots, abandoned umbrellas, and an iPhone 4.
Day 18: Today I spent a while making essential updates to my 2015 business card—plus I shipped them to official tangible product mode! (As in, I ordered them from MOO, the most quirky, wonderful producer of business cards and other print goodies.) I added Facebook, Twitter and Huffington Post logos that point to where you can find me and my writing, plus I edited some of the things I do/create on the left-hand runner. Calling it a day!
Day 19: I wrote a meditation today called: Who’s Driving: Your Ego or Your Soul? An 11-Minute Meditation for Making Decisions. The meditation involves sitting in a quiet space, closing your eyes and imagining the top of your head, your crown chakra, as a channel, opening to light and warmth from above.
While visualizing this, ask yourself: What am I now open to letting myself know? What additional guidance am I ready to receive? Whom you are asking can be any entity or anything you want it to be—your inner guidance, God, the Universe, Buddha, a kale salad. The most important thing is releasing your role as creator, just for 11 minutes, and trusting that this force has deep wisdom for you.
Meditate on this receptive, open, fertile space for 11 minutes. If thoughts come up—especially ones regarding your decision—on your exhale, imagine your breath as a soft gust of wind sweeping them away. Noticing the space that’s left, try to hold that space as a safe container for your deeper wisdom to come through. I did this for my partner today, hoping it would help him drop into what feels right around a big decision. His adorableness reports: “IT WORKED. Within the first couple of minutes I had this vision… Thank you I love you thank you.”
Day 20: After years of resistance and installing/uninstalling the app out of frustration, I started really using Evernote to help refine my creative processes. Why does this count for a creative thing? Let me count the ways! For just a tiny example, did you know that I email myself back and forth text and photos, just for this one little update per day? I do this constantly for poems and other prose I write. In this age of syncology, this was making less and less sense to me.
Evernote’s web clipper also amazes me. Let me give you the example of sending a portion of the screen to someone. Yesterday Amy would: take a screenshot, open it in iPhoto, crop it, open an email, find the file, and send it (have you fallen asleep yet?). Today’s Amy simply clicks a button to crop a webpage and it saves to my Evernote to share with anyone. (Why do I feel like I’ve just arrived from 2008?)
Evernote is already helping me create value (and save time) by refining my process through more organized systems, letting me drop into my flow more quickly, and making me more efficient at managing my productivity across three platforms.
It feels nourishing to myself and my work to finally be taking advantage of (and trusting in) Evernote’s power—and letting it empower me.
Day 21: Today I designed a Streak Sheet: Expanded Edition as an add-on to the goal challenge sheet I made on Day 2. This version features: a higher maximum possible streak (63 days) than the initial version (35 days), the ability to make it either a x-day or x-week (max 9) challenge, labeled weeks, more aligned headers (all up top), smaller subhead fonts, and most importantly, new brackets/dashes in my current favorite font, Steelfish :) (Again, all of these sheets are available as part of my Holistic Productivity Packet, the price of which I’ll be raising after this challenge since more than half of it has involved expanding this packet!)
Day 22: This! SOON. Some mystical alchemy of Pat Flynn podcasts plus my new obsession with Evernote (see Day 20) has resulted in crazy high levels of productivity today. Of the many things I created: a CompetiCleanse launch page draft, plus four social media accounts, a newsletter marketing account, and an email account.
Day 23: I created and taught my first yoga class! My friend Erica and I co-crafted the hour-long yoga class with a peak pose of Ardha Chandrasana, half moon. It took us three hours, 65 sticky notes and three coffees. Then we taught it to half our Yoga Teacher Training class, which was both terrifying and enlivening in equal parts.
Day 24: I made a second batch of my amazing Grapefruit Brûlée Body Butter from Day 10, now with an even softer, easier-to-spread consistency plus carrot seed oil, which has 1,268 skin/health benefits. I’m calling this iteration the Heavenly Poet’s Body Butter, with its addition of not only carrot seed but slight hints of orange, bergamot and lemongrass.
Day 25: I’ve mentioned that Tony and I bought my mom an iPad Mini for Christmas. However, since she has no idea how to use one (after years of playing with my iPhones, she’s just now figured out that I can “look up anything on that thing”), I spent hours in InDesign creating Mom’s Official iPad Mini Guide. And it’s finally complete! Chapters include: How to View Pictures of Amy (I set up a shared photo stream for her), How to Check/Send Email, How to Take Photos, and How to Google Cute Actors, among others. I had a lot of fun doing this, and it’s quite useful. If you purchased an iPad for your non-tech savvy grandparents or parents, I’d be happy to create a guide for you.
Day 26: I’ve been giving advice about hosting on Airbnb for almost a year now. I’m now finally creating an Ultimate Airbnb Packet: The Five Documents You Need to Get (and Keep) 5-Star Reviews, Earn More Money, and Leave Your Guests Ecstatic.
It’s pretty simple—no fancy designs, just useable, editable documents that you can mark up and fit to your liking in either Word or Google Docs.
These critical documents are for you, your house-turnover assistant, and for your guests. They have been absolutely essential for:
- maintaining my 5-star reviews
- making sure guests treat my apartment with the utmost respect
- facilitating communication with my turnover assistant and my guests
- ensuring I meet my own high standards when I leave my house
- minimizing my effort and making me more efficient
- blissfully coming home after a long trip to an impeccably clean house
- and so much more
I’ll post a link here when I have it ready!
Day 27: Tony and I did a ton of work on CompetiCleanse! We’re not officially launched yet, but we’ve got a website and a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and MailChimp newsletter. Our slogan? “Forget dieting—this is combat! Score points by eating well and exercising to vanquish your opponent. Emerge vibrant, energized and victorious.”
My favorite is our awards section, which includes: Most Likely to Win a Swiss Chard Selfie Competition: Tony; Most Likely to Do More Yoga to Compensate for Another Glass of Wine: Amy; Most Likely to Win Simply Because He Forgot to Eat: Tony; Most Likely to Eat an Entire Gluten-Free Pizza and Only Take Off 1 Point for Dairy: Amy Segreti. Check us out!
Day 28: I created a bunch of Holiday Bundles of some of my most valuable work and offerings for people to give as gifts! I usually offer my Holistic Productivity Packet, my Manifest Like a Mofo 9-Day Course, my personal coaching and my Revive & Strategize Weekend Immersion individually. But I pooled together some very discounted giftable options for those wanting to make real, powerful, lifelong shifts to their (or someone else’s) life in 2015. You can check them out here. They’re valid through Jan. 1 if you’re interested!
Day 29: I am super excited to announce that the lovely Angel of Cohere (a coworking space in Fort Collins, Colo.) asked me if she could gift a special version of my Holistic Productivity Packet to ~60 of her members for the holidays! I am so so so happy to get this in the hands of so many entrepreneurs, freelancers and independents—these are exactly the people I want to be using my sheets. I’m looking forward to more opportunities like this in 2015!
Day 30: For Christmas, I really wanted to give the people I love something that would serve as a conduit for a meaningful shift we’re trying to make in our relationship. For example: I know my mom always wants to feel more connected to me (and Tony)—and so, we bought her an iPad mini, I designed a personal guide for her (#momsguides), and we taught her how to use it over Christmas.
I also know that Tony wants to feel more deeply bonded with his friends, and has a story that this is sometimes difficult. So, I made for him this!
This is Tony’s Ultimate Bee-Bop 2015. I designed a map of awesome restaurants and coffee shops in both Manhattan and Park Slope, his new ‘hood. I hopped around the city and purchased him gift cards in all of these places, then selected friends I know he adores and placed their photos (thanks, Facebook!) in the middle. Tony can go on seven adventures and select one of three friends to take out to each place, and know he has the funds (and my whole-hearted support) to have a blast.
(The amount also adds up to a special number for us: $89.40. When we tied during a 100-mile bike competition, we tied at 89.4 miles.) :)
This concludes my #30DaysofMaking challenge!