General update

November 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

So, we’re about 5 or 6 weeks into the project. I felt ahead at the beginning – but now I suspect I’m falling a little behind.

My Adopt-a-Grandma project took some time – I launched the website and printed the postcards for it, to start generating interest, ready for the summer when I graduate. I still have a few changes to make to the website before I blast its URL everywhere. I don’t want to have to work on that project any more right now. When the summer comes it will save me from a post-graduation slump – but right now I want to be able to focus on the satisfaction project without feeling like I’m juggling peas. The satisfaction project has enough strands as it is, what with different research experiments, a contextual report, and visual design work still to come.

I’ve also applied to be on the Design Means committee – if I get it, I’ll have to come up with ideas for speakers (which I’ve done already), find out what people want to hear, and try to get speakers in. I want more experience in this area – I enjoyed the Designersblock conference.

Then I want to help as much as I can with the show, and I have a personal social life too. Living far away from everyone else at uni means I have to make an extra effort to keep in the loop.

For the first time in my life I’m not responding on purpose to some messages, because I just can’t deal with another thing to do or think about.

Where the project stands at the minute is that I’ve made some research booklets to give out, but I want to give them to a variety of people and actually that can be quite hard to do. I want to give them to people that I know will do them, not just strangers. I need to make a list of people I can give them to.

I haven’t done a ‘satisfaction shed’ as was discussed in my last tutorial and I won’t be able to until after the presentation next week. I feel bad about that, but I have done other stuff so I won’t let myself feel too bad. I got people to bash a cardboard dummy and I made the research booklets too, as well as all the Adopt-a-Grandma stuff last week. I can plan the satisfaction shed and present that.

I have to analyse my research – I’ve been saying that for maybe two weeks now. The drawing and cardboard workshops overtook the research in importance, and also the site visits I did. I don’t know how much I got out of the site visits.

Also I interviewed a lady who is a kind of service designer although she hates the term. I wanted to find out what her working life was like to see if I want to go down the service design path – but since she was adamantly against definitions I didn’t get that much out of it. The interview didn’t really help with the project – or at least I don’t think it does at the moment, maybe something will come together in my mind further down the line. She did say that what she does is make other people’s jobs more fun for them, and I’m sure that increases their satisfaction. Increasing other people’s job satisfaction. What a lovely job to have. Luckily she has funding from charities (who get their funding from the government) so her methods of working are sustainable. It sounds like she’s in a good position, in permanent employment, so she can research until she’s found out what she needs to – not with any deadlines. Sounds like a luxury. I suspect it’s not always possible to work that way.

She studied at the RCA so that probably helps.

So now I know where my next few steps with the project are – starting the contextual report properly, analysing research, and putting together a presentation of what I’ve done so far – but after that I’m not sure what’s next. I can’t see that far ahead – maybe only a week or two ahead.

This is a journey, and I know part of the fun is discovery and being open to twists and turns. However, right now, because I feel a bit insecure that I haven’t achieved all I’d like to, I want some more control through foresight – which I can’t get quite yet and it scares me a bit. Not terribly, just a bit. I have been open to the twists and turns and what’s happened is that I’ve tried to do several things at once. Nothing is finished. I don’t know if there is enough to show for.

This week, hopefully I can finish some things, to give myself peace of mind.

A couple of weeks ago I felt like I was exploding in different directions with my ideas – now it’s more like I’m drawing continuous lines in different directions. There’s a little more control perhaps but I’m still stretching.

I suppose stretching is good because it means I’m learning! But it’s difficult. Learning is taxing I suppose. The thing is, will I get enough out of it this year, or will it just be lessons for the future? I want to do well this year as well as learning.

Am I learning the right things? Or I am making the mistake I always seem to make, which is to spread myself too thinly? It’s my struggle against having multiple interests. I’ve even let go of singing, at least until I graduate, so I can focus and not have commitments in that direction. I miss it though.

The things I don’t give up on are sleep and food. I want to stay as healthy as I can – it’s been about three months since I’ve been unwell which might be a record for me from the last few years. It might be because I’m having rest days almost once a week. There’s a reason that people have had a seventh day of rest for centuries! Also I’ve consciously tried to be less worried about work, and I’m sure the lessened stress helps me stay not ill. I want to keep health as much of a priority as I can, otherwise I’ll get unhappy and frustrated at my limitations. I’m doing really well in this part of my life – but is my work suffering? Really I need to be told how I’m doing from the outside; I need to be compared to my classmates to see how well I’m doing.

Guess I’ll find out next week.

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