Ain’t No Party Like a Filofax Party!

Planner Wars: Filofax vs Passion Planner

Back in September, I had the pleasure of taking part in my friend Xandra’s first installation of her new series, Planner Wars where we spent a good half an hour diving deep into our organizational strategies while comparing and contrasting our planner systems! If you hadn’t known by now, I am crazy about my organization so when Xandra came to me asking to do a segment with her, I didn’t have to even hesitate!

Above is the full episode! If you want to see more of Xandra’s videos on HTtv, you can subscribe to her on Youtube!

Make it count, readers!

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Why You Don’t Need To Be Miranda Priestly

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the way we approach our life’s work. Depending on your geographic location, the standard of productivity differs. In the Western world, America specifically has a faster pace of the crossing off our to-do lists and efficiency is high priority. Personally, I like the idea of my output being at capacity each and every day in my work; but humans are not robotic.

The Devil Wears Prada(2004) is in my list of favorite stories/movies. The moment Miranda Priestly, the antagonist in the film played by Meryl Streep strutted into the office of Runway Magazine, I fell in love. I was captured by her intense approach to her work. I admired her avoidance of beating around the bush. I wanted to be like her; as many others aspire to be.

It’s been years since I first viewed The Devil Wears Prada, and have found my approach to my work be rather the antithesis of Miranda Priestly. I observe others in the creative business and it seems that many strive for the Priestly Complex where there is an emotional disconnect from the work and the focus on quality and attention to detail qualifies the mentioned disconnect.

I can appreciate the kind of devotion that those who exude Miranda Priestly put into their work. Her work ethic is admirable, but there are character flaws that go overlooked. I believe that if we choose a career path that we are absolutely passionate about, that path is apart of your being. My work is my passion and if I was able to create an emotional disconnect, the work would be less meaningful. Does that mean you cannot give or receive constructive criticism? Well, no. Whether my work goes praised or criticized, I take whatever on the spectrum to heart because my work is apart of me and I want to improve and grow in my field. Growing in my field is categorized as personal growth in my mind.

Since the work is apart of us, when we are burned-out, our work will reflect that. In The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda maintains a screen of perfection and intimidation that masks the dismay that takes place in her personal life. I our society lives under the illusion that we can just create a gap between our personal and professional issues.

The new approach I have to my work is that when I notice my workload is lacking or not meeting what my own internal standard of myself is, what is going on personally that I need to work on. The disconnect our society imposes on us allows us to assume when our productivity does not meet our demands, we do more masking rather than looking on the inside for what we need to work on.

I recommend we take more time away from our work and take time to reflect on our self. If we use our work to blanket our insecurities, I fear we may lose part of our being along the way.

Take care, readers.

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Photo Credit: IMDB

On Change

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I get super-excited when I reminded that this upcoming January will mark three years of my presence in this space, being claytongerard.com. It is quite evident that this space has claimed rather large cloud of dust in the last few months. While my digital feeds have seen a drought these last couple of months, my progression has a creator has not.

I will be honest and tell you that I have felt creatively burned out in this space. I have wrestled with topics to cover and when I was met with my editorial schedule each week, my topics to write about felt more like a chore than passionate creation. I treated my burnout with guilt. I felt like I wasn’t meeting my own personal goals that I had with this space which began a negative cycle of doubt and burn-out.

I have been really sorting out what I want and don’t want out of life, and as a creator I believe that how we change as artists, designers, business-owners can affect our work as well. Those of us who put so much passion into our life’s work can sometimes mirror what is going on inside of our own person. I created this space during the Winter of 2014 after writing online for 3 years prior because I wanted a blank canvass to share both my work and writing.

When choosing the title for this space, I wanted to keep it my name and nothing niche-oriented because I simply wanted this space to be for anything I create from design to writing and any other medium I feel like delving into. While the activity in this space is seeing grim days, there is plenty of growth taking place in my own person.

Behind the closed curtain, I am developing some incredibly big and exciting projects to take place in the upcoming year. I’ve entered many different mediums that both greet me with immense excitement and also moments of “WTF ARE YOU DOING?!” I’m diving in head-firstr

With the projects that are developing behind the scenes, that means that the way I approach my work has evolved as well and what that means for this space is that the content will evolve as well and I have finally come to terms with that. I feel like my work is obtaining a sense of spirit and the call to change what my previous approach was in this space was unsettling at first to me.

I’m rather charged to take a new approach to my writing and I am eager to share the things to come with you.

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Business Card Madness! Plus My Printing Go-To!

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When it came to rebranding my own personal brand earlier this year, I wanted to make sure that I could produce some quality business cards. As the digital age progresses, the need for business cards seems arbitrary. You’d be surprised at how many workshops I’ll leave with a handful of business cards from fellow creatives. That being said, with a similar-formatted piece of print, you want something that stands out.

My brand mostly lives on a white canvass, but I wanted to design something that could also live on a black canvass. I wanted more room for various print projects, specifically my business cards!

When it came to designing my business card, I wanted it to be black and double-sided. The reason I think printing double-sided business cards is efficient is that you get more real-estate thus making your business card less cluttered, and two a business card means nothing to who you give it too if there’s nothing on the back. I’ve accidentally thrown away plenty of business cards because I simply thought it was blank paper in my bag… true story!

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Moo.Com

When I finished my cards, I wanted to find a good place to outsource my printing. After some research, I came across moo.com! Moo has plenty of affordable options for printing with different styles of paper to choose from. They have premium paper for all of their products which feel much more concrete than most business cards you see out there. I recommend looking through all of the other various products they offer! No, this post was not sponsored…. haha

Business cards seem to be dying, but I can assure you they are not. I wouldn’t ditch the business cards just this second, and take a look at some of your options that are out there!

Have a good one.

How To Travel The World On A Budget

IMG_2313 copy-01I think it’s crazy how little emphasis Western culture puts on travel, especially at a young age. We are expected to graduate high school and immediately follow suite by attending college without even taking a look at the world. I wouldn’t be anything like the person I am today if I hadn’t prioritized travel.

That being said, I am not a millionaire. I do not make a six figure salary. I have still managed to travel frequently. So far in 2016, I have been to Chicago, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and New York with a trip in the works this Winter. Today, I’m going to explain how I manage to travel within my means and how you can too!

skip the hotels, Book a hostel!

From what I have learned traveling near and far, hotels are one huge factor that can multiply the cost of your trip. After reading various travel blogs before traveling, I learned about how common the use of hostels are for people my age. Since I had my trip to Asia coming up, I wanted to stay in a hostel at home before I left the country.

My original idea of hostels consisted of jail-cell-like rooms infested with cockroaches and heathens that would result in having to sleep with one eye open. Completely not the case! The first hostel I stayed at was in Chicago, and it still goes down as one of my favorite trips to Chicago. Contrary to my previous bias on hostels, I was welcomed with a warm and friendly environment of people my age who just want to travel! If you’re curious about hostels in your area of interest, I recommend checking out hostelworld.com!

Oh, did I mention the hostel I stayed at in Vietnam was seven bucks a night?! Yeah, check it out. 

pack snacks & A Refillable water bottle

When you’re on the go, it becomes increasingly tempting to stop at the nearest convenience store to grab a snack or bottle of water. Depending on where you’re traveling, that price can elevate quickly. You can battle this by packing snacks ahead of time! When I went to New York, I bought a box of Clif bars and kept them in my backpack so I could eat a smaller(cheaper) breakfast and resort to a Clif bar when I got hungry. I also managed to keep a water bottle on hand so I wasn’t throwing my money to fountain pops or tea-lattes in the cafes all over the city.

Keep in mind, not all places will have safe drinking water. i.e. Vietnam. 

meet with locals

When traveling, my favorite moments are never the museums I toured, the landmarks I paid to visit and spend hours waiting in line to see. My favorite moments are the experiences I shared with the people I met. Wondering how to meet people when traveling? One, staying in a hostel has that covered. Most hostels have a “common room” where all of the guests and hang out, play games, drink, watch tv and most importantly, socialize! Other ways to meet locals are to use those darned dating apps! I met some rad people through Tinder, and with a little bit of good judgement and caution, you can find your tribe while you’re away from home.

I put an emphasis on good judge of character and caution when meeting locals in unfamiliar areas. If using basic common sense and caution, you will be safe!

look for free things to do where you’re traveling

When traveling, I rarely will spend money on “attractions” in the city. The most expensive attraction I paid for in the last year of travel was riding the rollercoaster on the boardwalk at Coney Island. When traveling, you’d be surprised how many things you can do for free and still have a fulfilling trip. For instance, it costs $18 to take a ferry to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty in New York. You can take a ferry from Lower Manhattan to Staten Island for free which is a half an hour voyage each way and offers incredible views of the city and passes right by the Statue of Liberty!

track flights

This is a big one. It’s easy to just book your flights through one of the major airlines like United or Delta. If you’re not constantly looking for deals on flights, you’re going to be throwing a lot more money than expected into your travel cost. Flying affordable, smaller airlines will cut the cost of your flight by a fraction. Also, if you can, fly into larger cities and find other means of transportation back to your hometown. It would’ve cost me $200 if I flew directly from New York to Kalamazoo when I visited NYC this past Summer. Instead, I flew a budget airline from New York to Chicago and then took the Amtrak home which in total the flight and train ticket cost me $95 total! I recommend checking out skyscanner.com to find deals on flights for your next adventure.

Research your destination’s average prices.

You can spend less money on your trips if you have a general idea of how much things will cost before you leave. Some places you travel may be more expensive than others. For example, I could grab a cup of coffee in Vietnam for 25 cents. That same cup of coffee would’ve cost me 5 bucks in New York. This is more important if you are doing multi-destination trips. When I was in Asia, things in Hong Kong were more expensive than things in Vietnam, so it’s best to do your research and plan accordingly.


in closing

The biggest piece of advice I can give in budget traveling is just taking the time to research what your trip will cost and start saving. We are conditioned to think that traveling far is something that requires thousands of dollars but depending on what’s important to you, the cutbacks you apply will make your next adventure seem much more attainable. Trust me, when you go abroad for the first time, you’ll get the travel bug and won’t want to stop your voyage. With that, have a good one.

If you have any questions about travel or travel topics you’d like me to cover, you can email me at hello@claytongerard.com or hit me up on twitter @claytongerard or Instagram @clayton_gerard