by Lisa Davis
Ever heard the expression “biting off more than you can chew?” Well, it’s a thing. It’s a real thing. Being overwhelmed or in over-your-head is more common than we like to admit. Let us help you imagine it; picture having eight kids and they all need your attention at the exact same time as if the world rest entirely on their particular issue. Get our drift?
There is only one way to work through your toughest, longest, most challenging day – 15 minutes at a time. Stay Stranded would like to introduce what we call the 15 minute work day! Before you stop reading and tell your boss you are now only working 15 minutes every day, let us explain. To increase productivity and efficiency you have to learn to manage 15 minutes first. How hard can this possibly be? Don’t ask, because you might find out.
Seriously, breaking big daunting tasks into small manageable ones is how success starts. Will Smith once said that you don’t start off building a wall. Instead, you start off laying one brick as perfectly as possible. Then you lay a second brick as perfectly as possible and pretty soon, you have a wall. In order to do this, you have to focus on the task at hand. You have to know what is essential by prioritizing and then, focusing.
This will work for anything from naps or relaxation, weeding in the yard, playing with your kids, studying, meditation, spending time with a loved one, taking a walk, reading, etc. Simply focus for 15 minutes. If you find yourself getting distracted, then start over. The first week will be quite overwhelming, the second week may feel nearly impossible, if you can get through the third week with just focusing for 15 minutes at a time it will change your life and you will be able to accomplish more than you could ever imagine. Watch your thoughts, don’t worry about the beeps or buzzes or alerts or anything else. Just focus on the task at hand.
We know this is harder than it sounds, but it is so worth it. It is amazing what a human being can accomplish in that seemingly insignificant length of time. What is even more amazing is the amount of time a human being can waste in the course of one day, a simple 24 hour period. You have to give this a try. Take a normal routine day and write down everything you do and how long you spend doing it. All kidding aside, be truthful. Even if no one else ever sees this confession, you will. Tasks that should take seconds or minutes, take an hour or more. Breaks, naps, and lunches all drag on for sometimes double what they should be. The term power nap was coined for a reason! For all our binge watching followers, one episode turns into four. Googling an answer turns into an hour long sidetracked internet adventure which ends with you getting an Amazon package at your doorstep two days later. It’s so true!
Let’s break it down, literally (and no, we aren’t going to dance). An eight hour day is equal to 32 – 15 minute tasks. This means you can accomplish 32 tasks in a single workday! Wow, that’s a lot! So, use that timer and get to work. Using bite-size chunks of time, you can increase your productivity tenfold. Remember, don’t get overwhelmed; it’s only 15 minutes. It just so happens that multiple 15 minute increments create a day, week, month, etc.
So here it is; we dare you! We double dare you! We triple dog dare you! (Is that even a thing?) Start today. Decide what you are going to work on. Set a timer and go to work. If you get side tracked, start over. Practice every day (maybe even twice a day). The more you practice, the better you will get at focusing your attention for the full 15 minutes. After three weeks, tell us your results. We are convinced you will be thrilled with your new productivity and efficiency. Who knows, maybe you can convince your boss to let you work during your 15 minute break and then take the rest of the day off! No promises there :). Stay Stranded!
by Lisa Davis
Stephen Beckstrand is a Raleigh area designer with 20+ years of training and experience in graphics, illustrations, and animation. Design is a field that is constantly changing and reinventing, thus it can have countless ripple effects on impact marketing. There are so many aspects that drive design. Everything from fashion and art to trends and fads affects how people respond to design. However, there are some elements that are respected as classic thereby enduring time, scrutiny, and cyclical changes. Either way, our current template driven world is once again challenging design. The fast track to creating design by using templates and prefabricated elements are marketed as time and cost-saving tricks of the trade. Unfortunately, they are also mundane, overused, and lack originality.
Lucky for you, Stephen offers a fresh approach to design. Through an overall view of changing the landscape of his community and environment through design, Stephen’s tagline has become Design to Impact. The authentic way to make an impact is to inspire and motivate. Our world is currently saturated with cookie-cutter posts, templates, and filters. The problem is everyone is using the same platforms and filters. Therefore, it becomes noise. Marketing has forever changed. Consequently, entrepreneurs and small business owners are facing an uphill battle of grabbing attention from a dulled, overcrowded, and de-sensitized consumer market. Consumers see everything and therefore, see nothing at all. It’s all the same. That is why we scroll.
But, what if? What if the design was meaningful? What if the design changed the environment. The way to find out the answer is by getting to know Stephen. His vision, his process, and his approach comes from years of experience and childhood inspiration combined with a compassion driven desire for change. As with any successful person, lofty goals drive Stephen to become better, stronger, and more vocal. Getting to know Stephen, you will have the privilege to experience firsthand his sense of humor, sarcastic wit, and natural responsibility that give him a voice worth listening to. As you follow him, read about him, and get to know him, you will understand what matters to him and how it fuels his drive. That is what sets him apart, his competitive advantage. Let Stephen set you and your company apart. Contact him now!
Stay tuned next week for more on the man himself!
by Daniel Beckstrand
Have you ever marveled at the grandeur of a skyscraper? Have you ever been struck by awe while walking through an art exhibit? Perhaps you have felt emotionally impacted by an exceptional film or piece of music? These examples are stand-out moments of intentionally impactful design, and we feel them. They leave their mark on us. Iconic pieces of art and design are immediately recognizable to us and have left their impact throughout history.
As a kid I spent a lot of time admiring animation in the Saturday morning cartoons and Disney movies I watched, and I would often spend hours trying to replicate them in my own style. When Disney teamed up with Pixar and started doing 3D animation, I became especially intrigued at the thought of creating art in a new medium other than the traditional pen & paper. I wanted to learn everything I could about animation.
My admiration of art and design also extended to video games. I grew up playing Nintendo games and I fondly remember how impacted I felt by the characters and animation in Final Fantasy 3 on the Super Nintendo. I loved the “choose your own adventure” style of gameplay and would pick a different character each time I played through the game so that I could explore each story. The character art in the game’s player guide was stunning and I would practice drawing the characters. Video games have a way of really bringing art to life and deliver it straight into people’s hands, and I knew that was something I wanted to be a part of.
As I got older I enrolled in an art history class in order to learn more about art and its influence. The Baroque period was a style that spoke to me, especially Bernini’s sculpture of David. I love the form and action pose of the character and the look of determination on his face as he is readying to throw the stone that would bring down Goliath. At just 24 years old Bernini created sculptures that would impact styles of art and design for centuries to come, and to this day he is considered one of the Baroque periods greatest, credited with being the creator of the Baroque style of sculpture.
These different experiences left an indelible impact on me that instilled a deep love of art and design. I learned at a young age how strong of a force design can be and how it can move people and the emotions. Each piece of artwork is designed to evoke a response and touch an emotion (or multiple emotions) within us, and I knew early on that I wanted to turn that into my career. I want to leave that impression on others that I have so often felt, that feeling of awe and inspiration that arouses the best within all of us.
Design surrounds our everyday lives. While the experiences mentioned above were significant for me, we often fail to recognize the design all around us as we get lost in the hustle and bustle of our busy schedules. Admittedly most design is unremarkable, and more often than not favors function over style. Great design stands apart, it speaks to the achievements of mankind and is always pushing the boundaries of what we consider normal, contemporary, or in style. That is why I always strive to create art and design that is impactful and meaningful. My goal in creating this space is to inspire others to think creatively, boldly, and passionately about design and the effect it can have.
My purpose is to make an impact on the lives of others through great design. To design to impact.
Please feel free to comment, or reach out to me via email or social media if you have any questions, comments, or commissions.