Year In Review

You are probably wondering—why write a “Year in review” type of article in April? Since I’m not a big fan of New Year resolutions, I decided to make big decisions in May 2015. Today marks 12 months of that journey so I’m happy to look back and see how I fared.

Personal Development

In April of 2015. I asked my friend Marko to recommend a personal trainer who would help me get myself into shape and work with me to create better habits that will improve my diet, health and quality of life. It worked. I worked with Mario for almost 6 months and during that time, we achieved a lot—with Tough Mudder endurance race as the crowning achievement.

In the last 12 months, I’ve:

  • reduced my weight by 20 kilograms—from 97,5 kg to 77,5 kg,
  • reduced body fat considerably—from 38% to 27,7%,
  • and improved muscles—from  28% to 35,9%.

I still have work to do, but I’m OK with the pace I’ve set for myself. It’s more important for me to be able to keep that routine long–term than to get tired by forcing something for a limited time only.

With preparations for Tough Mudder and getting back in shape, I’ve also started to run regularly. Running is like a benchmark for me—if I can’t run 5 or 10 km than something is wrong and I should work on getting back into shape. In October I participated in my first 10K at Ljubljana Marathon and seeing I can now run nearly 20 km, I should be fine with achieving my next goal and finishing half–marathon in Zagreb next week.

Work–Life Balance

Besides making improvements on the personal plan, I’ve also made specific work decisions that helped me steer my career in the desired direction. First thing—I’ve reduced the number of projects I take on (which results in bigger projects and cool down time in between). Secondly—I try to pick only projects that will improve my knowledge, skill or portfolio.

I’ve moved away from accepting projects only to ensure steady cash flow each month but rather decided to risk more and work on projects that would keep me engaged and challenged while making it possible to create an impact. Not all projects are dream projects and that is fine, but I see a steady rise in the type of projects I want to work on in the future.

I still love to code my own designs and build prototypes directly in code (HTML/CSS is still my preferred method of delivering designs), but I’ve decided to move my focus to research and planning and not take on projects that I can’t shape with decisions based on my design experience.

As a designer, communication is one of those skills that can always be improved. One path I’ve decided to take on is public speaking. I love to share knowledge, on local conferences and meetups—but giving talks on international conferences was something that I felt was out of my league for the moment. I guess personal achievements gave me plenty of confidence in that field so I’m giving a talk on at least one conference as of this writing. More info soon.

This site was also something that I wanted to work on. I don’t see it becoming a full–featured blog with a steady flow of content just yet, but it’s a solid foundation for the next step—sharing ideas, presenting side projects and writing about things that interest me.

What’s In For The Future?

By making myself more independent, I’ve been flexible to travel more, even had a chance to live in Munich for 3 months. I don’t want to reveal all my big plans yet—but I’ll certainly continue to work on myself, both personally and professionally.

In the meantime, if you have a challenging design project you want me help you with or a conference to speak onget in touch.