Back to the way things were

Around 18 months ago, the idea of working from home full-time was not an option for many people. However, last year it became our reality. Suddenly we had to adjust to new ways of working. We had to make space at home to work in the same way or as close to how we would in the office.

The world didn’t stop, we showed that it could in fact be done. But it happened because we were forced to rather than companies allowing it or wanting it to happen.

And now, as we get closer to getting ‘back to normal’, a lot of companies want the traditional ways of the 9-5 to return. However, many employees have adjusted to the new way of life and don’t want to go back.

They now save time and money spent on their journeys into work, are less likely to buy lunch, have more flexibility over how they spend their day and more.

For others, working from home may have brought less routine, more distractions, less productivity and a loss of culture/community.

I don’t think it’s a case of picking working from home or from the office but instead acknowledging that both options can work well and then finding a new way.

We don’t need to just go back to the way things were but we don’t need to totally abandon the office.

Maybe you should quit

If you had to choose between pushing on with something in the hopes that it will work out or choosing to quit and starting over, which would you choose?

We’re regularly encouraged to keep going, to try and try and again but what if things just aren’t working out.

Often, the reason we choose to carry on is because we’ve invested time and money and we aren’t willing to accept that our idea won’t be a success. Even when we are aware that our continued efforts will be fruitless, it somehow feels easier to continue down what is likely to be a dead end.

Of course, in time perhaps things will be a success, but maybe we’d actually just be better off quitting and trying something else.

Words unspoken

Just because something is on your mind, doesnt mean it needs to be said.

It might seem like a radical concept but not everything needs to be shared.

That idea might seem so far from where we’re currently at because when it comes to social media it often seems that we should push the boundaries and share more.

Why Instagram guides didn’t stick?

Around six months ago I wrote a post called ‘Could Instagram guides replace blogging?‘. It’s become one of my most popular posts.

At the time I expected guides would become a more popular feature. But looking through some of the accounts I follow, people either made 1 when the feature was introduced or didn’t make any at all.

I think the reason for this is that guides doesn’t actually add much that isn’t already there.

Despite a guide sharing similarities with blog posts, I think that perhaps it was too much like a blog for those that prefer putting out images and videos and not enough like a blog for those that still participate in the more traditional style of blogging.

It’s also worth noting that Instagram has already played it’s contribution in the decline of blogs.

I think guides is an example of a feature that just didn’t take off as much as the others did.

And I don’t think it’s a bad thing, it’s just the way it goes sometimes.

Understanding numbers

When I was 16 or 17 years old sat in sociology class i remember my tutor saying ‘There are lies, damn lies and statistics’.

I felt like I understood it at the time but my understanding has definitely grown over time with experience.

The thing with numbers is we associate them with mathematics, facts and truth.

But statistics is something else entirely. Numbers can be skewed and manipulated to prove or represent anything.

If you’re collecting data in the hope’s of proving a particular point, chances are you’ll find a way.

And so when it comes to numbers we have to remember that they aren’t always representing facts.

Focus on the good bits

It’s probably true that in almost any situation there is something negative, difficult, disheartening or unfortunate that you could focus on.

And focusing on those things will rarely make you feel good so why not instead just focus on the good bits. Focus on the bits that bring you joy, make you happy and make you excited about life.

It’s not that you should ignore things that need sorting out or just put your head in the clouds. However, sometimes having the kind of perspective where you focus on the good bits allows you to see the not so good bits with a level of clarity, this then allows you to move forward and progress.

The excitement of new beginnings

Who doesn’t love the feeling of a fresh start?

Starting something new can bring up feelings of excitement but also a nervousness. This is normal when doing something you haven’t done before. However, the nerves can turn into anxiety if you focus on them too much and allow yourself to get carried away.

And so instead focus on the exciting possibilities of all the things that you hope will become your reality.

Enjoy the moment

If you spend too much time focusing on the wrong thing, you’ll miss out on the chance to enjoy the moment.

Of course you never want to push aside or dismiss problems that need to be solved or worries that feel important but they don’t have to always be a priority.

There will always be 101 things you can worry about but you don’t need to always worry.

As much as you make time for that, make time for the stuff that makes you feel good and just enjoy the moment.

The pros and cons of an Instagram portfolio

Some thoughts I had whilst thinking about where to share my photos in the future.

I’m not a photographer but over the past couple of years my interest in prop styling/ product photography has grown and I really enjoy taking photos. I’ve thought about creating a portfolio website to share my work but then I found myself wondering if it was even necessary. The intention would be to also share on Instagram however, I started to think that perhaps just having Instagram would be enough.

Pros

Used by over 1 billion

Your work has the potential to reach so many people because Instagram is such a popular app. On the other hand your website may be much harder to find.

Create a community of fellow creatives

You’re likely to find through the use of hashtags a community of fellow creatives. Not just people that take photos but people in your city, peopke you can learn from, people you can teach and people you can grow with.

Directly interact with your audience

The people viewing, liking and commenting on your work may just be random people that think your photos are interesting. However, they could also be potential clients. But you also have the chance to interact with your audience and take them on a journey with you.

Cons

Image quality

Sometimes the images you post to your Instagram feed are of a reduced quality when compared to if they were uploaded to a site

Limited flexibility on how you can present

Compared to a website Instagram offers little flexibility. There are some things you can do to present images differently such as placing them on a white square that you post to your feed. But overall everything on Instagram is fairly uniform.

Getting distracted

Instagram comes with many distractions. As much as it allows you to interact with fellow creatives and an audience who may become potential clients, you can also end up wasting a lot of time. From getting distracted by the number of likes and followers to replying to comments and spending hours scrolling. In contrast when updating an online portfolio you won’t have notifications and messages to distract you.


I also think having a website can make a person appear more trustworthy, legitimate and professional. Anyone can have an Instagram account but taking the time to create a website isn’t something everyone would do. As someone who enjoys having their own personal space to share work online, the idea of only having an Instagram portfolio isn’t particularly appealing.

I think a website is the perfect base or foundation for your work, to share a bit about yourself, provide contact info and also what work people can pay you for. On the flipside Instagram is great for a more causal approach such as chatting with followers, sharing behind the scenes and answering questions.