This month my monthly challenge was to create a new design in Canva every day. If you are not familiar with Canva it is an online graphic design tool that allows you to create professional-looking visuals and designs without the need for advanced design skills (which I certainly don’t have!). It has a wide range of templates, images, fonts, and design elements to choose from, so even if like me and you don’t have a graphic design background you can create well-presented content.
I have been using Canva for years but have not really pushed myself to use even a quarter of what it has to offer. So as well as practicing every day by creating content in Canva I also did the following:
- Watched YouTube tutorials – this would mainly be when I was cooking dinner and if the video had some ideas I wanted to try, I would save the video and I would try the concept the next day when I was working in Canva.
- Canva training – Canva itself has lots of short courses you can watch to learn more about how to get the best out of Canva and also on the principles of graphic design like this one.
- Started following Canva experts on Instagram – there are many great influencers out there sharing free content to help design better with Canva like the.creative.bodega.
I definitely still have a lot of work to do to bring up my graphic design skills but as you can see from the image below, there has been significant improvement over the month. The screenshot of the Instagram grid for Adapt Drinks on the right was before the I invested time in upskilling myself and the left screenshot is the last few weeks on the Instagram grid for Adapt Drinks. And I also have a content bank created and ready to go for a number of weeks which is awesome.
This challenge reminded me how easy it is now to be able to upskill in any area that we want to – we just need to make the decision to do it and commit to it. Yes, some skills will take longer and require more work than others but there are so many benefits to upskilling ourselves:
- Career Advancement or Change – acquiring new skills can opens doors to promotions and increased job opportunities or it can help you change direction in your career.
- Increased Confidence – it is amazing the boost of confidence you get when you begin to attain proficiency in a skill. It gives you a sense of assurance and competence that carries over to other aspects of your life.
- Enhanced Productivity – learning new skills or increasing your skills in an area like I did with Canva can actually equip you with tools and techniques that enable you to work smarter and accomplish tasks more effectively.
- Personal Growth – upskilling can provide an opportunity for self-discovery and personal growth, nurturing a sense of fulfillment and a deeper understanding of your own capabilities.
- Adaptability to Change – learning new skills cultivates adaptability, enabling you to navigate through changes and stay relevant in what is currently a very rapidly evolving work environment.
I know we all have a lot on our plates already but it is definitely possible to make progress and improvement in a new skill from as little as 15 minutes per day and to do it for free. If you have taught yourself a new skill or worked on an existing one recently, I would love to hear about it!
Create a monthly experiment
Connection to goal – Embrace life with curiosity and experimentation to gain greater connection –
I love my routines and they provide an excellent base from which I can achieve a great deal. My love of routines can mean that I can take a very well-worn path. This year I want to mix it up more. Add more play, challenge myself and try new things while bringing along others as I go.
Quote to connect to – “The true method of knowledge is experiment.” – William Blake
May performance – My daily challenge for May was to create a new design in Canva every day. I set this challenge as I really wanted to get better at creating content in Canva. I knew that to get better I would not only need to seek out training and tutorials on it but also that I needed to practice the skills daily. I missed 4 days across the month and they were all on the weekends, so am very happy with this result. And as you can see from my notes above, the short amount of time spent each day did really help me improve my content creation in Canva.
For June my daily challenge is to do a 10 minute Non-Sleep Deep Rest session each day. You can see my previous monthly challenges here:
- January – to play every day
- February – take a short video every day
- March – pray the rosary every day
- April – Yoga With Kassandra’s – Flexible Body, Flexible Mind – 30 Day Challenge
Practice switching from judgement to curiosity
Connection to goal – Embrace life with curiosity and experimentation to gain greater connection – Having strong opinions on issues means that when I hear a dissenting view I can move to judgement and not make an attempt to understand the opposing viewpoint – it stifles open communication.
When I hear/read/view something that triggers me, I want to be curious not judgemental about it and really listen and understand the thinking behind the differing view and have truly open communication with others. Communication is key to connection.
Quote to connect to – “Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand.” – Roy T. Bennett
May performance – With my focus on being curious and decreasing the amount of time I am spending on social media and consuming the news, I am noticing a real difference in the way I think. Firstly, I don’t feel the need to have an opinion on as many things as I used to and secondly, I am not having as many emotional reactions to differing opinions. I still have strong opinions on many issues but there are so many things that I just don’t give emotional time or energy to anymore and I feel like this is a real positive.
I am still improving but of course, I still have some way to go though 🙂 7/10.
Consume a diverse low information diet
Connection to goal – Embrace life with curiosity and experimentation to gain greater connection – When consuming information from many sources now, algorithms are feeding us what it thinks we want to see based on what we have already seen, listened to or read. It takes a concerted effort to diversify the information we are consuming.
We are becoming an increasingly polarised society on so many issues and it is causing deep division. If we only ever look at one side of the story our divisions will only grow bigger.
Quote to connect to – “We need diversity of thought in the world to face the new challenges.” – Tim Berners-Lee
May performance – This month I went through my email subscriptions and unsubscribed from lots of them. I still actually subscribe to many newsletters as I prefer to consume info via newsletter than on social media. When I started this process I first headed to Unroll.me because I had heard that this was a super quick and easy way to unsubscribe from multiple emails at once. I started the process but became uncomfortable about giving another service access to my emails. So I stopped and did some research.
This article in the New York Times late last year Email Unsubscribe Services Don’t Really Work. Follow This (Free) Advice Instead was super useful and confirmed by suspicions. They tested many of the services including Unroll.me and their conclusion was as follows:
The results were disappointing. We don’t recommend any of the services we tested.
So I simply set about unsubscribing the old fashioned way! For some newsletters, Gmail provides an unsubscribe link at the very top, so if you use Gmail look out for that as it made it a much quicker process
I didn’t just unsubscribe from emails, I also subscribed to a few new ones to diversify my information feed. They are all on Substack:
- One Percent Better – Amantha Imber
- In the Writing Burrow – Margaret Atwood
- The Free Press – this is something different than what I would usually subscribe to
- Rob Henderson’s Newsletter – as above
- Paul’s Newsletter – this is an Australian newsletter and definitely something that I would not normally sign up for. He has already written a number of articles on the No campaign for The Voice but my goal this year is to diversify the info I read and this will absolutely add some diversification to my feed.
Tasks for the Year
- February – Completely overhaul my Feedly feed – completed. It took me about 90 minutes to overhaul the feed. It was interesting to see so many blogs that now no longer publish new articles. I completely deleted entire folders of feeds. Over time my interests have changed but by keeping so many feeds in my account, there was too much info coming in so I wasn’t really seeing the ones I wanted to. I would have halved the number of feeds that I had in my account which is great.
- May – Edit, add and cull the email newsletters I am subscribed to
- Review accounts I follow on Instagram
- Review podcast subscriptions
- March – Review Youtube subscriptions – this month I worked on adding diversity to my Youtube subscriptions and deleting anything I am no longer interested in. I unsubscribed from over 50 channels. There is so much quality content on Youtube now that I am tempted to pay for the premium version!