Up + Out is a column which features inspiring business minded folk who work hard to create the lives they love by focusing on their passions. Let’s be inspired by the individuals behind the brands, and gives us a peek into the routines and rituals that make them unique.
I’ve been a huge fan of Allyssa’s blog and design studio for quite some time now. She does an amazing job at making seemingly unmanageable design and and web concepts incredibly simple and easy to follow. Today, she’s taking us through her typical work day and giving a peek into what happens when she closes the laptop for the day.
Briefly introduce yourself and your business.
Hi, I’m Allyssa and I’m a 26 year old web designer/developer from New Jersey. I work with small business owners and bloggers to make their sites as awesome as they are.
How do you typically start the day?
My morning starts when my cats start to bother me. After giving them some attention, I hop out of bed to get them (and me) some food. If I’m lucky, I head out to the park with my sister for a 2 mile walk. Then it’s time to finish getting ready before entering my office, where I’ll spend most of the day.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
On a typical day, I wake up anywhere between 8 and 9. After getting ready, I head into my office and boot up my iMac. I immediately open up Gmail, Google Calendar, and Todoist and start planning out my day. Once my day is planned I try to get some blog reading in. Lately this involves me Pocketing things for later. After that I quickly respond to any urgent emails before diving into work at around 10.
On any given day, I’m usually working on 2-3 projects. Juggling everything can be a nightmare, so I rely on scheduling my day hour by hour to keep me on track.
[/one-half-first][one-half]I take an hour long lunch/social media/blog reading break around noon and at 1, it’s back to work. Once 4 rolls around I’m pretty much calling it quits on any design/development work. This is when I respond back to any other emails and send off mockups, invoices, contracts, etc.
By 5, I’m done for the day and start making dinner. If I procrastinated a lot (or have a tight deadline), I’ll continue working afterwards. If not, I write my blog posts and newsletters for the next day/week. Sometimes I’m ahead, sometimes I’m not. At 8, I shut everything down and watch some TV, read, entertain my cats, etc. I relax until midnight-ish, then it’s time for bed.[/one-half]
Do you have a mantra/phrase that you live or work by?
The phrase I’m constantly telling myself is “don’t worry about it.” I get stressed so easily and there’s always something going on, whether it’s me not delivering a mockup on time, not being able to write up a blog post, or letting that email sit in my inbox for another day. I hate to disappoint people and I try my hardest to stay on top of things, but life happens. Things take longer than expected. Unfortunately, I get incredibly stressed over it and it just eats away at me. Obviously that’s not good, so I’ve learned to not worry about it. Just let it go and do the best I can. There’s no point in stressing, just work extra hard tomorrow to get it done.
What makes your creative style unique?
My creative style is very clean and simple. There is usually a lot of whitespace and I like everything to be structured. I try to design a site that allows the content to be the main focus, with the actual design framing it.
Describe a challenge you’ve faced in pursuing your passion.
My biggest challenge has been putting myself out there to get a steady stream of clients. Once you have clients, it’s so easy to drop everything and focus solely on them, but I’m constantly reminding myself that I need to connect with other small business owners and bloggers regularly to keep my name fresh in everyone’s mind. At some point projects end, so you have to have things in place so that when one finishes, there’s another project waiting on deck.
How to you create work/life balance?
I keep a work/life balance by adhering to a schedule and a set of rules I’ve set for myself. For example, once it’s 5pm, I really try to call it quits. The only way I’ll continue working is if I have a deadline that needs to be met. I don’t answer emails after 5 or on the weekends. I’ve disabled email notifications and badges on my phone so when I’m out and about I’m not aware of what’s happening in my inbox. Likewise, I’ve disabled Twitter and Instagram notifications so I can focus on the here and now, instead of constantly being distracted just because someone liked my photo/tweet.