Right Here, Right Now: 10 Manageable Goals I’m Focused On in 2018

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Manageable Goals in 2018

How’s the new year treating you so far? I wish I could say I did something fun and exciting over the holiday break but truthfully, December was one big blur of finishing a handful of large projects, cleaning up my books, shredding old paperwork and finishing up my revised portfolio. Not glamorous…but totally necessary.

I’ve been struggling with feeling behind on a bunch of important tasks for months now and that’s one of the reasons I’m hesitant using word “goals” in the typical sense. To me, the 10 things outlined below are more of a work-in-progress and a simple reminder of the changes I want to keep charging towards.

Pre-P.S. Do any of these resonate with you? If you have anything you’re working towards, I’d love to hear in the comments below – let’s keep each other accountable!


Goal #1: Live more in the moment.

In the past, I was guilty of dwelling too much on what was next and trying to plan my future in excruciating detail. But, we all know what happens when you micro-manage your life! The universe laughs in your face and throws you a curve ball. 😉

These days, I don’t have a five year plan, let alone a one year plan. Why? Because I have confidence that things will always work out and I know I’m on the right track, spending my days doing what I’m meant to do. I’d rather not chase after more, more, more and put myself on a nonstop treadmill of busy-ness (that was my entire last year — and it’s not fun or inspiring). Growth is good but also, I’m conscious that right now, right here, I do have enough.

Goal #2: Take more field trips.

Last year, I spent so much time sitting at my desk, being super regimented, mostly out of habit. It’s a weekday, therefore you must go into the office, sit at your desk and refresh email. NOT. Sure, there’s plenty to get done on a daily basis but there will always be more things getting tacked onto your to-do list. Taking an afternoon off to wander through the art museum will not kill you!

Goal #3: Take more photos.

One thing that made me sad in 2017 was glancing over at my camera as it sat around untouched for weeks at a time. I’m not a professional photographer but I’ve always enjoyed documenting the world around me as a creative outlet. What I realized is that hobbies like taking photos don’t always need to have a specific end goal – not every photo needs to be blogged or shared on social media. Do something because you enjoy it, pure and simple.

Goal #4: Make time for non-client projects.

As Branch continued growing in 2017, I felt the squeeze with keeping up on my own projects which led to me feeling like the cobbler who has holes in their shoes. The longer I put off my own work, the worse I felt. Ugh.

If you never allow yourself the whitespace to think through what you do, why you do it and explore new ideas, you’re only going to hurt yourself in the long run. I know it’s hard to find the time to add your own projects on top of everything else and there are nights I stay at the office till 3 am just to have the space to work through ideas, uninterrupted. It’s not ideal…but if there’s a will, there’s a way.

Goal #5: Hit inbox zero every week.

You know what stresses me out? Unanswered email lingering in my inbox. I feel immense mental clutter when I feel like someone is waiting on an answer, especially a client. If I can resolve something quickly right when I see it and get it off my plate, awesome.

With the longer, more in-depth emails, I try to batch tasks. For instance, if I get 5 inquiries for new projects, I’ll answer those all at once. For estimates, I’ll complete those all at once since a lot of the requests are very similar. Going forward, I’m going to try to wrap up whatever hasn’t gotten answered before 6 pm on Friday so I can start the weekend with a clean slate.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Manageable Goals in 2018

Goal #6: Think before buying more stuff.

Over the last few months, I’ve gotten rid of so many things — clothes, objects, dishes, old food in the cupboards…you get the point. What I realized is that the more stuff I was surrounded by, the more foggy I felt. After a few long trips in 2017, I’d come home and think, “I forgot about all this stuff for 3 weeks. I lived without it. Why do I need it?

I’m not an anti-shopping saint. I still buy things but now, I think harder about them. Buy what you need, sprinkle in a few things that make you happy as you have the budget and then cut out all the mindless money wasters. It’s all about balance.

Goal #7: Move around more.

I have have always struggled to fit exercise into my schedule but I’ve found a fairly easy solution with the Sweat With Kayla app. The exercise routines are less than 30 minutes and the equipment is fairly basic, no gym membership needed.

I’m not super regimented because some days, I just don’t have the time but I try to get in 3 workouts in a week. Sure, it would be great to follow the exact schedule but my take is that you should do your best and making a regular effort is better than not trying at all.

Goal #8: Share more.

I’ve always enjoyed blogging and using social media but most days last year, there wasn’t room to make it happen. Over December, I mostly stayed offline and made a lot of progress – things are finally getting more balanced and ready to share more again.

Once again, sharing content is not about being glued to a specific schedule (that just creates more stress and resentment) but by simply alotting more time for creative exploration though blogging, podcasting, posting to social media, or whatever else that may be.

Goal #9: Spend more time offline.

This is a bit of a contraction to the point above (haha) but one thing I became really aware of last year was how much time I was spending online basically goofing off and how that affected what I was getting done.

I’ve recently gotten a lot better about not aimlessly surfing random sites — I get online, get what I need and get back off. I used to be afraid that not being as present online as much would affect my business but to my surprise, it hasn’t, probably because I’m spending more of my time doing the actual work versus obsessively checking up on what everyone else is doing.

Goal #10: Get better at saying no.

Why is saying no so hard?! Towards the end of the year, I had to say no to a bunch of things in rapid succession and each time, I dreaded it. Through a lot of tough situations, I’ve realized that we all have a limited amount of time and it should be spent doing what we enjoy as much as possible. Of course laundry needs to get done, bills need to get paid and work needs to get finished but the limited time we have left should be spent in enjoyable ways.

The more things you take on that you secretly dread, the more resentful you’ll be…and nobody wants to deal with that! ;).

When you do have to say no, be polite but firm, own it fully and most importantly, always offer a helpful alternative.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Manageable Goals in 2018

Wow, that was long! But all these things have been on my mind lately and what I’ve found is that the more clear you are about what you want to achieve and where your boundaries are, the sooner it will transpire.

What are some goals you’re working on this year, big and small?

Do you have any tips for staying accountable?

I’d love to hear!


Photos: Monica True
Creative Direction: Public Persona
Makeup: Rachel Lane

The Month + Links: December 2017

Nubby Twiglet | The Month + Links: December 2017

Hello, December!

As the month kicks into high gear, I’m trying to set good habits and stick to routines while knocking out as much work before 2018 hits. Like a lot of you, this year has felt very off-kilter for me, mostly because of the state of the world and politics (honestly, this post pretty much summed up everything I’d been feeling during most of 2017) while my creativity, self-care and any sense of balance got thrown onto the back burner.

Finally, I’ve gotten some basics under control. Little things. Settling into being vegan. Committing to a new skincare routine. Researching new systems for Branch. Making sure to drink more water. What I’ve realized is that tiny shifts can start to add up and I’m feeling happier (and much less frazzled) because of them.

Nubby Twiglet | The Month + Links: December 2017

THE MONTH(S)

The last few months have looked like this:

• SAYING YES BUT ALSO SAYING NO: I freaked out a bit when a 3 week trip I’d committed to ages ago finally crept up. I was nowhere close to caught up with work but I packed my bags and got on the plane for 2 weeks in Italy and a week in Morocco. Did I have waves of panic when I realized how behind I was? Totally. But I still lived it up! Walking miles every way while bundled up in my favorite leather jacket and taking hundreds of photos? PURE HEAVEN.

I am really excited about some big changes in 2018. And to make room to facilitate those big changes I’m saying no to some things, even when it makes my stomach drop and I’m afraid of the outcome.

Nubby Twiglet | The Month + Links: December 2017

• NEW YEAR, NEW LOOK: The thing I’m most excited about is the new Branch website, photos, media kit, client guides, processes, EVERYTHING. It’s been such a long time coming. This has been taking up most of my bandwidth when I’m not working on client projects or traveling which is why I’ve been quieter over here but finally, finally, things are coming together.

When I launched Branch over 4 years ago, getting a site live was a necessity and perfection was not. The studio grew fast, I moved into an office space and though I was never happy with the way the site looked, focusing on client work was my priority. Finally, I knew it was time to show my own brand some love. I did a shoot in Washington, D.C. over the summer, handed off our new site for development and on nights and weekends, I’ve been working on all the other bits and pieces. When we go live in January, I’ll do a post here about what I learned during the process.

• PARTING WITH TIKI: Did you see my post about Tiki, our newest rescue squirrel? That was a hard one to write and I still miss her all the time. It’s been a big adjustment to not have her running around the house but she seems really, really happy with her new family. Awww.

Nubby Twiglet | The Month + Links: December 2017

• THE BIG RENOVATION: I feel like my entire life is a renovation right now! LOL! When we moved into our house 8 years ago, we didn’t have a budget for changes beyond the basics like paint so there was a lot that still needed some TLC. While I was away in Italy, my brother and Joey teamed up to begin remodeling our kitchen.

Goodbye 80s-era baby blue countertops, stained floral linoleum and non-functional trash compactor! Hello, floor-to-ceiling white subway tile, big gold faucet, new dishwasher, herringbone-tiled countertops, marbled flooring and non-broken cupboards! It’s so amazing to finally have a fully functional kitchen! I’ll take photos soon….but right now there are still tools, grout and boxes of tile everywhere. Haha.

• SETTING GOALS: Is anyone else as excited for 2018 as I am? I know that the new year, new start mentality is such a cliché but I can’t help it! The winding down of a year, spending holidays with family, wrapping up loose ends and setting fresh goals feels so good.

This year I fell short in a lot of ways but in others, threw out the pressure of expectations and just lived life. And that’s the truth — life isn’t a perfectly curated Instagram feed. It’s messy, unexpected, sometimes boring and up and down and everything in-between. There’s so much beauty in that.

Here’s to a wonderful December and I hope yours is off to a good start! —Shauna

Nubby Twiglet | The Month + Links: December 2017

THE LINKS

• Alex Franzen has such a magical way with words. One of my favorite posts she’s ever written is The Internet Pledge.

• In the 13 years since The New York Times Modern Love column began, over 80,000 submissions have rolled in. For a good laugh: My ex-boyfriend hangs from hooks!

• How do you feel about trading your services?

• Productivity is really about what you don’t do. I’m still learning this mindset (and failing all the time!)

• Wait, what?! Some people listen to podcasts at 3 times the regular speed.

• Getting ‘motivated’ does not equal doing the work.

• If you prefer that matchmaking apps help you find your next professional connection instead a one-night-stand, Bizz (by the founders of Bumble) is for you!

• Um, these pies are too beautiful to eat.

• The 8 types of friends you need to be happy in life.

• If you’ve heard about the fight for Net Neutrality but aren’t sure what it’s all about, The New York Times explains.

• I love the AfroArt photo series!

• The best books of 2017.

• What would it feel like to delete all your social media apps and give yourself permission to live without their constant pull?

Nubby Twiglet | The Month + Links: December 2017

The Venice Hands

Nubby Twiglet | Venice Hands Support Sculpture

Venice is full of museums packed with amazing art including the Peggy Guggenheim but one of the most recognizable pieces is out in the open and impossible to miss from the vantage point of a water taxi.

Simply called Support, it is made up of two giant hands rising from the water to touch the walls of the Ca’ Sagredo Hotel. The sculpture was installed in time for the 2017 Venice Biennale.

Artist Lorenzo Quinn created Support as a visual statement of the impact of climate change. Rising sea levels have been an issue in Venice for a long time, where living on the water is a way of life.

Nubby Twiglet | Venice Hands Support Sculpture

I’m finishing up a longer post about my Venice experience but this sculpture deserves a spotlight of its own as scientists predict that if more isn’t done to reverse the effects of climate change, the city could be nearly submerged by 2100. And that would be tragic.

Tiki: The Squirrel Saga

Nubby Twiglet | Tiki: The Squirrel Saga

You may remember Tiki from a few months back. Quite suddenly, after a text message, I found out that I was the proud mom of a baby squirrel who was very, very sick. Read the full story here.

After Tiki made it and began to get stronger, we weren’t sure he would bond with Chubs but I held out hope. Usually, squirrels are pretty territorial and after doing some reading, we knew the prospects weren’t great.

Nubby Twiglet | Tiki: The Squirrel Saga

Chubs is our pet squirrel (yeah, my family is weird) who literally fell down our chimney 3 years ago. The funny part is, our dog Rocky and Tiki bonded right away and spent many afternoons cuddling. There’s nothing cuter than coming home to see a little white dog and a baby squirrel waiting for you at the top of the stairs!

Anyway, as Tiki grew, bonding with Chubs seemed less and less likely but I didn’t want to deal with the thought of parting with him. After you have a baby animal nearly die in your hands and then miraculously pull through, giving them up is not something to take lightly and I was already super attached.

Nubby Twiglet | Tiki: The Squirrel Saga

Then, while I was in Italy a few weeks ago, Joey called and said the situation was getting much worse — Chubs was being territorial and super mean to little Tiki, who is only about a third of his size. I knew it wasn’t going to get better (we’d been fighting the situation for a few weeks by this point) so Joey found a new home for Tiki with some friends of friends who agreed that we could squirrel-sit on holidays (haha).

It’s been a hard adjustment not having Tiki around but then, this week he came for a visit and looked so happy and healthy. Tiki is absolutely thriving with his new mom and dad so that makes everything much easier.

BUT! As these things often go, there’s a serious plot twist I wasn’t expecting AT ALL. HE is actually a SHE! We just found out that Tiki is actually a girl! Luckily, Tiki is a pretty cute girl’s name, too. At least we think so. 😉

Nubby Twiglet | Tiki: The Squirrel Saga

Giving up Tiki was so hard but knowing she is so happy and thriving with her new family is what matters most. Even though Tiki doesn’t live with us anymore, I will always love her. And hey, is that a semi-smile I’m seeing?!

Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine

Nubby Twiglet | Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine

After a few weeks of traveling, it’s so good to be back! I just spent two weeks in Italy and another in Morocco and though the backup of work and jetlag has been much harder to get over than I expected, it was completely worth it to get away from the daily grind and explore.

This visit to Italy was very different for me — I spent a lot more time in museums and of course, everything the Italians do is on another level. The sheer amount of art to take in can be absolutely overwhelming. When you’re faced with hundreds of busts and oil paintings in a single museum and then, oh, there’s a Michelangelo masterpiece in the next room over, it can be a visual overload.

Nubby Twiglet | Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine

I lost count of the number of museums and churches and ruins we visited over the course of those 21 days away but one piece of art stands out most in my mind: the Colossus of Constantine.

Located right inside the Capitoline Museums in Rome, I was completely awestruck by its sheer size. It looks large in photos but in person? You really wonder how such a massive piece of art was even carved.

Nubby Twiglet | Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine

Constantine the Great (how’s that for a title?!) was a Roman emperor and as such, it was totally normal to have a 40 foot high statue of himself carved from white marble and bronze with a brick core.

Nubby Twiglet | Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine

When I saw Constantine, I wondered how he ended up in pieces. The theory is that the most valuable bronze cast portions of his body were pillaged during the Late Antiquity era. The remaining marble fragments you see here weren’t rediscovered until the late 1400s.

Nubby Twiglet | Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine

Even in his imperfect state, Constantine still has a massive visual impact.