3 Dec 2014

Reflecting on a Year of Freelance | #MakeHistory with Jim Beam


It's coming to that time of the year where we all step back and look at what we've achieved over the past 12 months. Evaluating the ups, downs, successes and potential missed opportunities is an invaluable task to helping us grow and move forward. For me, the year of 2014 has been a very significant one -  I ran full steam ahead into freelance life, started to seriously plan for the future and set myself realistic and attainable goals. Not everything went the way I'd planned (I ended up becoming a Yes Man and taking on too much) of course, we can just try our best. It's trial and error in some ways, but being motivated + inspired to push to the next level is always the aim. We choose to make our own history - you can either go with the flow or take control.

Jim Beam is a company no stranger to progression, they've been distilling their famous bourbon since 1795, and the fact that they're still producing today is a testament to the brand's willingness to evolve. They constantly take a fresh approach and cover new grounds, in the same way as we do as creatives. Their #MadeHistory campaign not only highlights what significant work they're doing in their chosen field, but ourselves as individuals too which got me think about how each week I'm consciously (and subconsciously) laying the foundation for my own future.

Here's how I make my own history each week:


Planning Ahead + Setting Goals

I have a strict routine when it comes to my working week. I set up and plan for the week ahead every Sunday without fail - making lists, filling in spreadsheets, planing content, arranging my diary to set the ball rolling. I have a clear vision of what I want to achieve and Sunday's are imperative to making it a successful one. Certain things will inevitably get in the way but if you stay focused and motivated then the week will fall into place. If you hit the wall then try this short exercise to help regain focus.


Staying True To Yourself + Do What You Love

Doing something I love each week - be that work related or not - is not only good for the soul but is a great way of keeping yourself grounded. Hollie loves jigsaws, I bet if she picked one up more often she'd be less stressed about her day job. As a visual person I'm drawn to certain things like a magpie - to say I'm a collector is an understatement. Sometimes my possessions are met with weird looks and remarks, but this is what makes us individual. Beer mats, cartoon figures, comics, stamps, coins, baseball caps, pencils....they're all a part of me (thanks Grandad). These tokens remind me of a places I've been or an event in my history, and will play an important role in my future.



Trying A Fresh Approach

When something isn't working we need to adapt and try a fresh approach. Often I hit a brick wall with my writing, it doesn't come as natural as I'd like  it to sometimes. Taking a step back and starting a fresh works wonders - determine what's stopping you from completing your task and leap over it with a new outlook. Sometimes we can be reminded of this with something as simple as a new screen saver, or even looking back on past sucession. Nik recommends clearing by going for a run to clear your head but who'd have thought we'd be training with the NFL!?


Investing In Your Passion

I love nothing more than traveling to new places + experience local cultures. It has to be said I spend a lot of my time in London, but I still make a point of wondering into new areas or down unvisited streets, for the love of discovering something unknown. Investing your money into things like cameras, train/plane tickets, night courses, sports, computer programmes or even a new pair of walking boots can give you the drive to achieve things you never thought you could. Remember the excitment of buying your first SLR camera or developing your first roll of film? We could do with more of that feeling.


Meeting New People "In Real Life"

I was given some advice while studying at uni, "every single person in your class is a gateway to a new opportunity". I didn't take that as go looking for people to befriend, but rather to meet people who you feel you have a connection with and share similar interests. Many of us are hooked on social media, but making the time + effort to connect with people "in-real-life" rather than behind the computer screen has an endless amount of benefits. We form relationships with people in all walks of life, and to finally meet the people behind the avatar is very satisfying.

Buckets & Spades would be a lonely place if it wasn't for the real people. Above is one of my highlights of 2014, when I had the opportunity to work with Olivia + Remi on the ASOS On Tour: Tourism Ireland project.

It's times like these that remind me why I love blogging so much. 2014 has been a stonker but I can't wait to see what 2015 may hold. Time to take control. How do you go about making your own history?

The post is in collaboration with Jim Beam for the #MakeHistory Campaign

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33 comments:

  1. Love this post Mat, very well thought out and written! Definitely looking forward to what 2015 has to hold!


    Hannah
    www.loveiconfantasyego.com

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  2. This was a good read Mat! Especially when it comes to the last one, I find that even with my "real life" friends, I talk to them so much over social media etc. that I forget how long it's been since I've actually seen their face!

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  3. Great post Mat! And I love how organized you are and set out clear goals for yourself! such a great mindset!

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  4. I love this! Number 2 continues to ring true. Also, love you American flag mug. I think I need a Union Jack mug to compete.

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  5. Thank you for reading Jane, I guess I am but if I'm not I won't get anywhere!

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  6. thestylecrusader22:15

    Really lovely post Mat. I love that this time of year everyone starts reflecting on the past year and thinking forward to the one to come. I love your advice on planning out your week on a Sunday. I'm so bad at not making plans and letting things slip by because I get distracted. Thanks for the reminder to get organized.


    xx


    http://thestylecrusader.com

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  7. Investing in your passion - I hope i could achieve this by year 2015. After my graduation, I could have more time and oppurtunity to travel but before anything else I should by my first slr camera. Quite excited for what could possibly happen for the next year.

    thegumshoes

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  8. What do you plan on getting into after you graduate Hannah? A camera is always a brilliant start, you won't regret that. Thank you for reading.

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  9. I have to Jen, I'd be screwed if not. Thanks for having a read, I appreciate that. What's your plan, you're in St Louis aren't you?

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  10. Go get yourself a Union Jack mug! Though where would you get one from? Thanks for reading the post Ashley.

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  11. Thank you Hannah, I'm pleased we met. May end up bumping into each other in '15?

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  12. Dude, haven't you realized that Americans love the British? You can find lots of union jack stuff here ;)

    http://www.stashtea.com/Rosanna-British-Mug/dp/B0096C4TUU?traffic_src=froogle&utm_medium=organic&utm_source=froogle&gclid=CPCh3Liwr8ICFZSFfgod3aAAXA

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  13. Me too! Definitely have to make sure we accidentally on purpose bump into each other next year! Will have to arrange something :)

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  14. ha of course I have (many I've met seem to love Britain but no nothing about it). Get one!

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  15. haha it's nuts! Though to be fair I guess we don't all know where each state of America is.

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  16. Katia E17:34

    The last point about Meeting New People in real life is soo important, but also probably one of the hardest ones! I'm in my graduating year so teachers are always trying to impart their knowledge on us while they can, and that's one I hear repeated quite regularly!

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  17. CarrelCrl02:51

    i like you style, is refreshing us, we see the same shit over and over, and you style show us that you're true to yourself

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  18. Great thinking Mat. 2015 is yours for the taking...go get it and smash it!

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  19. Thanks man, will do my best!

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  20. Can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve for 2015 Buckets!

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  21. Love this. You are so right about staying true to yourself. I am glad that freelancing for you is going well, it suits you, you are good at it. Bring on 2015 and looking forward what you've got in store.

    Katrina Sophia

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  22. Such a wonderful post, Matt! I agree completely -- especially about staying true to yourself and investing in your passion.


    Also, thank you so much for including my post in this! You've totally made my day. :) Thank you for everything, it has been a wonderful treat following along with your this year!

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  23. I'm glad it all makes sense, I'm not pushing advice onto anyone here, rather just sharing what works for me and hopefully people can take something from it. So I appreciate you comment greatly. No worries, like I mentioned it was a great exercise for me personall too. I've also enjoyed following along.

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  24. I think you have shown this too over the years, it's been a great journey following each other for so long. You have served as an inspiration to the rule of staying true to yourself Kat. I'm pleased we connected through blogging, it's grown into something more special.

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  25. Who knows Tweet, who knows. I know we should work on more stuff and meet up though. It's been too long.

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  26. Much appreciated mate.

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  27. It is hard but if you make the effort then it's good all around. Good for the soul right?

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  28. Oh well get investing in the best you can afford!

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  29. Real life wins hands down, you know that more than most with all the traveling you do. Hope it's going well right now!

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  30. oh yes, I should be considering that. Thanks Matt :)

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  31. Katia E02:34

    Absolutely - even if just for a nice conversation and a smile had in the day!

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  32. Pool Party in Gurgaon07:31

    What you're saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I'm sure you'll reach so many people with what you've got to say.

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