Hello, fellow creative! This is the last newsletter of the year.


I hope you have/had a lovely break (and a great Christmas, if you’re celebrating). 

I’ve been living in New Zealand for over seven years now, and I still haven’t gotten used to the summer break with so much sunshine and warm weather. I’m Eastern-European. My stereotypical winter (which is summer in NZ) is full of snow, layered clothing, snow boots, an oversized winter coat, and a ‘sapka’ - which is kind of like a modern version of the Russian ushanka. The weather is crisp, freezing, so that I can see the frost on my eyelashes. I miss the snow.

It’s December

This month, I had to put my personal life first. I felt terrible about it. I'm still figuring out how to strike the perfect balance between work, side projects, hobbies, health, and personal life. I tend to overcommit and overwork myself to the point of becoming ill. As a result, so my body forces me to rest. No, it's not healthy. It's not something I'd recommend.

I don’t do holidays. Maybe because we never went on a holiday when I was a kid. I didn’t know what it was. I remember the first time going on a holiday with family friends, I was about 17-18, and I remember thinking…this is it? Is that ‘a holiday’? And since then, I didn’t like holidays. Well, certainly not the type of holiday most people do. 

I start a new job in January. When I read job ads and see work-life balance, I find the term meaningless. For someone who doesn’t do holidays, balance is different from what it means to people who live for weekends and breaks.

My favourite day is the ‘dreaded’ Monday. I feel Mondays are hope. The week is blank and fresh, and I can set out all the things I want to accomplish during the week. You’ve got to appreciate the weird :)

I always set goals for the week. As you probably have guessed, I set goals for my years as well. However, I decided that from 2022, I’m going to focus on building habits instead of achieving goals. Why? Goals indicate states. If you reach them, it means you succeeded. If you don’t achieve them, it means you failed. So, I’d like to focus on progress instead of perfection. I’d like to build many different habits in different areas of my life in 2022. I divided the habits into nine buckets:

- Financial

- Personal

- Relational

- Work/Professional

- Intellectual

- Mental/Spiritual

- Physical/Health

The personal habit has multiple mini buckets. I have habits for writing, side projects, and YouTube.

If you've seen any of my videos, you already know how much I love retrospectives.

I like to think back on the last year and see how far I went in a year. When I look back, the things that made me agitated (not peaceful) usually seem smaller than they were when I first saw them. After recognizing this, I decided to do retrospectives more often, possibly every day. If you’re in product development, you must be familiar with retros. It’s a great way to see if you're making progress or not. Most people forget about their objectives and new year's resolutions once they establish them. This is because many skills take (a longer) time to build or learn…and people start living day by day.

So, if new year's resolutions don’t work for you either, perhaps you want to stop setting goals and start making habits instead…just like me. I studied neuroscience for three years, so I still like to geek out about specific topics. If you still need to be convinced, give this study a read by Miller and Wrosch. 

Design things

I found a fantastic article by Smashing Magazine. It’s a great collection of 18 UX guidelines, tools, and resources to build a better user experience.

YouTube related things

Videos I created in December, in case you want to check them out:

My journey of writing a book in a month: https://youtu.be/5BC-P1VeAH8

I started doodling in 2019. When I worked for PwC, I attended a course where I learned Bikablo graphic recording basics. I enjoy making doodle videos, so much so that I even started an Instagram account and a YouTube channel a couple of years ago. I feel I can utilize and pass my knowledge onto other people when it comes to drawing. So I created, not so much of a drawing but a sketching video. Sketching by hand is an essential skill in user experience design that is frequently overlooked. Sketching and wireframing by hand can often reveal aspects of our design ideas that will make our designs more engaging and help explore and communicate new ideas. UX Sketching 101 video: https://youtu.be/5p1WoXx8w3M 

I’m starting a new job in January. This move has inspired my video of Interview your interviewer: https://youtu.be/BEoVqZ8U7_I 

This video could be helpful not only for designers but also for other professionals. I talk about red flags to watch out for too. I’d recommend giving it a watch if you haven’t already.

The 3rd UX design diary was out as well: https://youtu.be/OfuzJ_yL0_k 

I do like creating vlogs. However, I’m not sure if this is something interesting to people. Do you like to see what I do outside of my work? I frequently work on my side projects because I love this design life so much that it weaves into all parts of my life. 


That's it. 

I wish you a happy 2022. Let your dreams take flight in the new year!