business drawing

The Gift to Give Yourself

Hey folks,

I took the week before Thanksgiving almost completely off. It was glorious and filled with things like mountain biking and great food with friends and family. Returning to work I felt rested and ready for the projects lined up.

That might sound dreamy (and it was), but I found myself struggling with something mildly disturbing, especially the first few days: It was difficult to disengage my Work Brain and stop thinking about projects, emails, and my to-do list.

I’m not alone on this – according to this article in Fortune, more than half of all US employees had unused vacation time in 2016. Let’s just take a moment to let that sink in.

W.T.F?!

Why would we be letting ourselves think this is in any way, shape or form acceptable? Why would we as bosses or co-workers be perpetuating this absurd idea that we cannot allow ourselves time away from our occupations? Especially, when in fact this is completely counterproductive to doing quality work? And yet, there I found myself, on a week off thinking about things I “should” be doing for work.

As a business owner, it’s strangely tempting to not take time off. Even evenings or weekends might seem like a great time to just crank out a couple extra things that have been on my list forever. Especially during the holiday season when it seems like there are a million extra things to do.

So over the next few weeks, I encourage you to take some time for you. Whether that means 2 weeks exploring remote mountain villages, a weekend at some hot springs, or just waking up an hour earlier to get in a work out for your own sanity. Because when I really think about it, balance is imperative to make the most of the gift that is today.

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Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

After you’ve rested and are ready to fire things up again, let’s talk about putting visuals into action for your organization.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Today I’m in Phoenix (or Tempe – it’s hard to say) graphic recording for a senior leadership team at Arizona State University. More to come!

Last week I had the joy of  graphic facilitating  for the Inter-Agency Mixed-Ownership Abandoned Mine Working Group. It’s refreshing and inspiring to see a group of people actually collaborating across agency and geographic boundaries to improve the health of our watersheds.

Last week I had the joy of graphic facilitating for the Inter-Agency Mixed-Ownership Abandoned Mine Working Group. It’s refreshing and inspiring to see a group of people actually collaborating across agency and geographic boundaries to improve the health of our watersheds.

I also graphically facilitated a Board Retreat for Trees, Water and People, a non-profit based in Fort Collins that does work to support rural communities across the Americas through sustainable natural resource management, farming, and capacity building.

I also graphically facilitated a Board Retreat for Trees, Water and People, a non-profit based in Fort Collins that does work to support rural communities across the Americas through sustainable natural resource management, farming, and capacity building.

A Simple & Surprising Trick to Make Your Ideas Crystal Clear

Hey hey, it's Wednesday!

And you know what that means...time to get your weekly dose of Visual.

This week's trick to clarify ideas is using white space intentionally. 

What comes to mind for you when you hear "white space"? For me, two things pop up. 
1) Mental clarity
2) More literally, intentionally leaving part of a graphic recording or painting untouched

I find that when I give myself time to clear my mind or step away from a project, even if it's just a few minutes, I'm then able to come back to it with more clarity and focus. And it turns out I'm not alone in that...here's an article from Fast Company about practicing mindfulness even when it feels like you don't have time.

In art, white space can be used to draw the viewer's attention to what is most important. In graphic facilitation, I find using white space helps the audience see the flow of information clearly, and makes the drawing less overwhelming when lots of information is being presented. 

Often when I'm working live graphic recording gigs, there will be so much fascinating and important information zooming around, before I know it my paper is filled to the edges. It is a continuous and conscientious practice to be sure I'm capturing what's most important and not over-crowding the chart. 

How can you use or create white space to be more effective and creative at work?

Here are some ideas for the office...
- Think you're all on the same page? MAKE SURE...write it down, draw some boxes and arrows, then leave some white space on the page so people can add, or by waiting a moment before speaking again to allow time for people to process, react, etc. This is often when the most creative or powerful idea emerge, when we allow a moment before responding (note to self...remember this!).
- If you're working collaboratively, leave a space in your document or iPad sketch to allow yourselves to add to later...who knows what new experiences might happen tomorrow or in the 5 minutes after the meeting that could illuminate a new path or idea!

If you feel like there are too many things flying around your mind to be able to focus, try...
- Taking at least five minutes to meditate -- sit quietly and focus on your breathing or take a stroll outside and try to count how many different bird songs you hear.
- Do a "brain dump" by writing down EVERYTHING that comes to mind. You can create a mind map, a list or just write stream of consciousness until everything is out.
- Grab an adult coloring book and spend some time in the zone. Don't have one? See the drawing below for some DIY ideas!

Remember to give yourself some white space so you can be crystal clear on what's most important for you, your team or your family...and sneak some creativity in to supercharge your day. 

If you liked this tip, please sign up for my emails and if you'd like, share this with someone you think would enjoy some white space!

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.
 


 
Cheers, Karina


Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Last week I did an annual "Facilitation 101" training with undergraduate students in an environmental conflict management course at CSU. We focused on tools and techniques the students could use in stakeholder engagement processes as they move beyond their education and into internships and jobs in the environmental field.