Weeknotes #3 & #4: 26th May 2019

This post was originally posted on Medium.

I migrated a bunch of content over and this post was probably written a lot earlier than the published date. As such it might contain out-of-date content, shit opinions, Dunning-Kruger levels of overconfidence and less creative swearwords than usual.

These words are from my actual real-life book

The following is an excerpt from my book ‘Mindful Design: How and Why to Make Design Decisions for the Good of Those Using Your Product’ (Mindful Design will do, like). This excerpt is around 25% of the final chapter. If you like what you read then you should totally buy it.

Monday, May 27, 2019

The past couple of weeks have been pretty hectic in a (mostly) good way so I’ve kinda fallen out of rhythm with weeknotes. Which sucks because I only got two fucking done before that happened.

Studio lyf

In the previous weeknotes I mentioned I’d seen a proper fixer-upper studio space that I wanted to rent. Well, I rented it, signed the contract and immediately got to work trying to make it as habitable as possible in a short-ish time.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Y&#39;all I&#39;ve rented the most fixer-uppy office space and I&#39;m so fuckin excited to get stuck in. <a href="https://t.co/yX76DD8IGn">pic.twitter.com/yX76DD8IGn</a></p>&mdash; Scott 🐙 (@scott_riley) <a href="https://twitter.com/scott_riley/status/1126860289167822849?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 10, 2019</a></blockquote><script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

This was, at one point, two separate rooms, Whoever had the biggest room decided to paint over the exposed brick with some thick white emulsion. I hope they fall down some stairs.

The first step was trying to get as much of that horrible Hi Yeah Weren‘t The 90s Fucking Terrible In Every Regard Except For Hey Arnold painted brick away, without the effort and disruption of sandblasting it. In the end, a combo of Biostrip, scrapers, wire brush drill bits and a couple of wonderful helpers got the painted side looking kinda close to the left side. Given it took two days to get to that point, I left it at that. To get the full wall back to bare brick would’ve been an absolute fucking nightmare and I’m kinda cool with the fucked-up brick aesthetic.

After fucking with the brick, we got to paint the walls. I went with a dark navy for both walls, that was called something like Sapphire Pisslord or whatever. It was basically the darkest navy I could find. It went up worse than a fucking concrete balloon but we got there in the end.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">And after a weekend of fucking around... <a href="https://t.co/0ujZ0Bxxle">pic.twitter.com/0ujZ0Bxxle</a></p>&mdash; Scott 🐙 (@scott_riley) <a href="https://twitter.com/scott_riley/status/1130166478169419777?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 19, 2019</a></blockquote><script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

My plan is to kinda play into the ‘two rooms’ vibe and have the first two-thirds as a ‘work’ area, and the last third as a chill/conversation/reading/crying about not getting my fucking invoices paid on time area. I have to wait ten shitting weeks for a couch to come though so right now it’s just a sad rug and a blag Eames.

The ‘work’ side has some basic Ikea shelves and half a gallery wall. It looked good but then that mirror fell down and fucked up my entire life.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I have half a gallery wall now <a href="https://t.co/VKhObqv2i2">pic.twitter.com/VKhObqv2i2</a></p>&mdash; Scott 🐙 (@scott_riley) <a href="https://twitter.com/scott_riley/status/1130571949946445825?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 20, 2019</a></blockquote><script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Anyway. I’ve worked there for a couple of days now and I’m feeling much more productive in a space that’s designed just for work, even if it’s literally just a standing desk, a Sonos and gold fucking triceratops head.

Work Shit

One thing that’s prompted the whole switch to a studio space has been the need to manage my days better to cope with an increased workload. While I’m still enjoying the fuck out of the same long-term project I’ve mentioned in the past couple of weeknotes posts, I’m also dealing with some book promo shit, fielding a bunch of enquiries, and trying to put together a proper video-recording setup for some design education bits.

In order to fit this in while staying sane and not overstretching, I’ve started working a couple of the techniques from Make Time into my working day. I choose a ‘highlight’ (an important/enriching task) to base my day around and plan at least two hours for that highlight into my calendar. From then, my day revolves around ensuring I’m properly energised in the run up to the highlight and can minimise distractions when it comes to highlight time.

I’m still experimenting, and I’m not gonna get all Look At My Morning Routine dickhead on you, but it’s been a fun challenge to think about planning my day around a specific task while keeping the flexibility that I need because my brain is fucked and my life is hectic right now.


I’ve been reading more Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella H. Meadows and I am still proper fuckin loving it so far.

I made a start on The Politics Of Design by Ruben Pater and I’m hooked already. While I talk a lot about the ethics and cultural impact of digital product design, it’s really great to read a similar topic from a more traditional graphic design perspective.

The world needs a tech diet; here is how designers can help is a fucking fantastic essay from Fabricio Teixeira and Caio Braga for uxdesigncc, highlighting the myriad areas where designers are failing humans in the name of vanity metrics and ‘prioritising short-term gains over long-term product health’. It’s a succinct, persuasive call to arms that puts its money where its mouth is and closes with recommendations and steps to follow. Few writings of so-called ‘design ethicists’ offer tangible actions and veer far more towards Tristan Harris make-yourself-feel-better naval-gazing, or fire-and-brimstone, look-at-how-much-we’ve-fucked-it Monteiro-style rants. I’m hella fucking guilty of both, and this is a reminder to myself to get more practical when required.

I didn’t read any fiction this week cause I was too busy getting my entertainment from watching fascist bellends getting absolutely wrecked by fuckin milkshakes.

Gaming Shit

I started replaying Nier: Automata and holy shit I forgot how perfect this game was. I’ve got really fucking bad at Overwatch. I can’t be fucked with the final boss of Sekiro even though the rest of the game was incredible because it’s such a chore and I’ve emptied my jar of fucks on From Software’s Copy/Buff/Paste strategy to boss design in that game. Such a shame because it’s genuinely a glorious game. I did not Git Gud.

Music Shit

Keeping this going, here’s the absolute bangers that’ve been chillin in my ears the past two weeks.

<iframe src="https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/scottriley/playlist/67ejZzS8ZwI9oM6CNy5tqz" width="300" height="380" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>

Back to writing

These words are from my actual real-life book

The following is an excerpt from my book ‘Mindful Design: How and Why to Make Design Decisions for the Good of Those Using Your Product’ (Mindful Design will do, like). This excerpt is around 25% of the final chapter. If you like what you read then you should totally buy it.

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