Showing up

Almost a month ago I counted 16 projects small, large, new and very old that I want to complete before I head to NY. What is it about a regular work week where I think I am working hard yet I find myself not accomplish a ton? Lately I have been working on freelance every night. No all-nighters just yet, but maybe I won't even need to resort to those. If you know me, you know that I was blessed with the do-not-need-to-sleep-that-much genes, though my body does say differently now and then. In any case, in a few short weeks I have cut down my projects to 11.

I found myself questioning how I was able to do so much in so little time. It seems like that having a final deadline, something with no outs is a massive motivator. If someone tells me "take your time" I will now know to ask for a written schedule regardless. It also occurred to me that in all the small ways I was present amounted to more than I could have imagined:

1. Prepping for the week on Sunday (changed my life). 
I am highly aware which day I can run errands, meet a client, squeeze in a yoga class to keep my body healthy. If things shift during the week I still have a good sense of what is when and I don't panic or overbook myself.

2. Scheduling.
Running multiple client jobs at the same time is insanely hard. I have come to the conclusion that making a list of all the jobs I need to do does not dissect the steps small enough for me to get to them and actually work on them. I have created a design as well as a print calendar on google, where every project is broken down to items like file due, client feedback due, job on press. This way I know if I just focus on the the task in front of me I don't need to panic when to order inks for the job, because I can do that the day I predetermined already.

3. After-hour hours. 
Just about every evening I set a task list based on how hard I worked on how early I got up with small bite size freelance steps that get me closer to finishing a job. Instead of tiring myself out with a logo design in a few sittings I look at my files twice as much for twice as few hours. It has allowed me to walk away from issues, getting cranky, going down a rabbit hole. I write down the things or issues I want to solve and I firmly believe that as that task runs in my brain in the background the next time I see the problem I am just so much more excited to delve in.

4. Setting client expectations.
I noticed how much more reliable both clients and I are when there is a simple little pdf listing the steps who owes whom what and when. It takes extra time to create, but as I enter the due dates into google, I also enter the dates into the doc I share with clients now. I used to only do this step when I had enough time, or worked with brides, because their timelines were the most strict and they were the most panicky clients in general. Creating honest time frames helps me show the client that a job is not just "thrown together" in Illustrator and shows them that the more they give me feedback in a timely manner the better I can advance with their work. It sets the stage for interactions where we both know what to expect. 

5. Actually showing up. 
So yea, these things are all dandy, but you gotta fucking do it, too. You gotta wake up early, you gotta deliver on your promise, you gotta sit down every evening and chip away at the pile.

YOU. GOTTA. SHOW. UP. 

So to you my friend I say, find your drishti, find the weird idiosyncrasies that make your task list possible chip away at and get to it. Talk soon? 

gem city to the big apple

It's been over 4 months since I have made the decision to put myself first: my education, me learning something new, me showing up to a new place, me doing a new thing. It took me 4 months to get here. To publicly write about it, to explain what the fuck is going on. 

For years I have admired design speakers at all kinds of conferences talking highly of Type at Cooper. I've always wondered, "the hell is Type at Cooper?" I looked it up, I fell in love, 4 years later I had the guts to submit my work and I got accepted. 

I. GOT. ACCEPTED.

Alongside some pretty talented, and in some cases already type designing beasts, me—little-reka-juhasz—got accepted at Cooper. I had to be strategic, I had to have a few really heavy conversations about how to move forward. As a result I am walking away from a lot of things I adore. I'm taking a sabbatical from my place of work—where the past 6 years I have been given amazing opportunities, where I have been pushed, loved, and supported and I am going to walk into a total stranger of a city, a foreign building and classroom to work from 9am to 9pm or until my fingers fall off to put myself first. How bizarre is it that what fuels me is also intrinsically the same exact thing that scares the shit out of me. Sometimes I find myself more courageous in the moments of haste and chaos than silence and space. Is that normal?

I am also taking a sabbatical from teaching at my home studio—Thursday night power flow jams may just get a little less profane you guys. Hang in there though, I may pick up some new slang in the big apple. 

I am sadly saying forever goodbye to my other studio that has offered me a job without me ever asking. A place that believed in me, let me loose to find and refine my voice, part-take in its beautiful branding process, and allowed me to meet so many wonderful yogis. TR, thank you for your grace and allowing me to go with the flow. 

And if you know me... we cannot dismiss the millions of side projects. I will be wrapping up my magical 16 projects all due by early June. The paperreka shop will shut down from June to the end of July, new client projects will be taken up in first-come first-served basis upon my return in August. 

It is imperative for me that this journey is not tainted by any other factors. That for once I take a vacation to work only 12 hours a day. I cannot be more excited to only invest time in myself and learning, and soaking up everything the big city will have to offer. 

Lastly, fear not. I will be back stronger, better, and more confident. I cannot wait to start this chapter and if you have people, places, friends, yoga studios I need to learn about, see, or meet in new york—please let me know. Namaste bitches. 

 

16

Sweet 16. It is going to be the magic number. The number of projects that I have on deck that are old logos I need to complete, coasters I need to finish designing, labels I need to print, wedding invites to layout, business cards to press—a plethora of jobs. 16 magical jobs. I am going to finish all of them by the middle of June. I have to. 

Spring cleaning helped. My life is more spacious. I sat down at my desk the other day and took 6 hours to micro manage the shit out of my calendar. Every project start time, review time, changes back to client time, job on press time... it's all noted in google.

I recently read that Eat that frog! book and though pretty self-explanatory and a little silly, I think about the advice every day. Tackle the most overwhelming ugly looking thing on your to do list. Half the time it won't even be that ugly, and it frees up soooo much mental space you will enjoy the rest of your tasks on your list. So I'm doing that. I'm eating 16 frogs in 2 months. I am putting my head down, I am going to take care of every last unanswered email, tie up every single project with a pretty bow and I am going kick ass. Some really big things are on the horizon and I need clarity from all the side hustle. 

Does anyone else have uneaten frogs the want to fess up to? 

 

spring cleaning

I think of spring cleaning as this big once a year chore that has to happen so I don't feel like my house or belongings or body is stuck in a rut. Yet any kind of cleaning I have done happened organically (spilling something this morning and finding old stains on the kitchen cabinet doors and consequently spending 30 minutes wiping down all kitchen cabinetry and drawers because once I start I can't stop). But while I was scrubbing away grease and who knows what other kitchen mystery dinner leftovers it hit me: I do really well with this kinda stuff in small doses. 

I read the Marie Kondo book on  tidying up last year sometime in the fall. I cleaned out my closets, severely reduced the number of garments I own and the number of shoes I wear. Since then I have gotten rid of several other pieces of clothing that I realized I have not worn in the 6 months since I lied to myself that they brought me joy. Whatever... not going to get hung up on it. In any case, linen closets, small spaces, kitchen utensils, lots and lots of things came under my "does it bring me joy?" scrutiny and I have to say, in small doses I have been able to see and confront how little I need to be happy. Rarely anything I purchase now are to decorate or to be a "thing" in my house. Rather everything has a place, a purpose, and if something new comes in, it invariably replaces and old broken thing, not adding to a collection. 

It feels liberating. I get emotionally attached to all kinds of crap. Often a thing someone says in passing. What did they mean, what was I supposed to think, the feelings I felt when it was said, and then inevitably the myriad of responses I did not think of in the moment. I get attached to the shirt I wore at this one concert, or a thing my sister made me 15 years ago. 

Last week I went running for the first time in over a year. Short few miles, turtle pace, but I did it. Went right after work with a friend, nothing serious, not training for a fucking marathon. For the joy of being outside, getting active, breathing. Later I pondered the success of not stopping and actually enjoy the quick run with my friend, and I realized it was because I attached no outcome to the activity. I almost never do that.

You would think I have this shit down or have better answers because of teaching yoga... but you would be wrong. I fight every day to not overthink things which in turn makes me overthink things. I have slowly realized that spring cleaning for me has to happen in small doses. Little changes, few mile runs, one kitchen cabinet at a time. Not trying to solve everything at once, not having all the answers. It's fucking hard. I want change, but I know I hate it when it happens all at once. So I'm just going to let the runs be what they are, stick to this CCF ayurveda tea that I have been super loving (though stopping the rest of the cleanse) or who knows, maybe I won't do any of it at all and find something else that brings me joy. 

 

enough

For me, February was about trust. Every conversation I had about yoga, teaching, design or life peeled another layer off of this trust/not good enough/stop seeking answers outside yourself onion. I'm really good at signing up for things. I add it to my calendar, I set reminders—you can call me more or less organized. I'm really good at calling myself out on stuff. It's a form of brutal honesty where I extensively highlight all my inadequacies and can explain in detail I how I am a shitty designer, a terrible yoga teacher, and overall a pretty dull person. To some degree self awareness is great, but I am slowly realizing I am not getting anywhere with this lack of trust in my skills as a human and as a designer.

I'm also really good at hiding. I want to trust myself but it's an all or nothing formula for me: I have to leap. Always. It's not small teaspoons of courage for me. I have to call myself out ahead of time and commit to a deadline for whatever and never look back. Leap and trust. 

So I made a poster. In a matter of a couple of days, showed it to my designer friends when complete... waited for them to rip it apart. None of that happened. They loved it. Posted it on Instagram, it got the most likes in paperreka history. "The road to hell is paved with likes" said someone at a design conference once, and while I agree, you get my point. I taught a fucking scary ass class on drishti (focus) at Speakeasy last week that was so magical, you could hear every drop of sweat hit the floor because everyone was so "in it."

So as the month draws to an end I ask myself (Carrie Bradshaw style), what the hell am I so scared of doing, achieving, and trusting? In what universe am I not good enough as an adult who moved across the world at the age of 18, got a degree, holds a job (pays taxes—had to), drives a stick for the love of god. I work full time, run a biz full time, teach 4 yoga classes per week, do side projects in the middle of the night. I made a kick ass poster, I teach amazing classes. 

I already have everything in me that I ever need. I have to start trusting that what I have learned, seen, done are enough. Nice enough, good enough, soft enough, pretty enough, challenging enough, smart enough. Just plain old ENOUGH. 

March, what you got for me?

twice a month

As I updated a few wonky looking images in my portfolio pages, I wondered... can I really attend to this website just a few hours a month? Is it possible to find balance with everything I have going on? 

I am currently reading The Yamas and the Niyamas by Deborah Adele, who is coming to Dayton for a weekend workshop to talk about things beyond your physical yoga practice. Her line in the first section Ahimsa (non-harming or non-violence) hit me today: "It is anti-cultural to claim any space that is simply space [...]" Shit. This is what I don't know how to do. So beyond the obvious interpretations of non-violence to others, how about non-violence to self? How about courage to create balance, how about unconditional self love, how about allowing space for something? 

What does it take to simply claim space? To simply be, to not rush, to trust, to just sit with silence? To be ok with who I am, to love myself as is? These are so foreign to my understanding of what will make me successful: the passion, the drive, the no sleep—yet I crave the pause and I want the balance. I'm hurting myself and those around me but not taking the time for myself, not resting, not loving. So as this month wraps up... I'm going to sit with this yama for a few days. I'm going to allow space, I'm going to love myself, so I can love others. 

trust the magic of beginnings

A year ago I started tweaking a site that was going to be easy and simple, using a template so I can share my work more easily. It back fired. It was so easy I never finished it. I overthought every aspect of it. Design, type sizes, writing, images. So in 2017 I'm posting this site as is, going to update products god knows when, will finish tweaking my writing when I feel like it, and it will just need to be good enough.

I can't do it all.

Despite popular belief I'm not a robot, spent the end of 2016 severely ill, so I too, need sleep, time off, and self love. I wrote down some things—intentions if you will—and it's just going to have to be enough. Raw, imperfect, sometimes bitchy, always brutally honest.

But I have to start somewhere. Have to accept something as a beginning, have to jump in, blindly, trusting—the magic of beginnings.