Tips on getting stuff done, leaving excuses behind you, minimising clutter and the importance of adding more content from women in design leadership.

Hi, I’m K, a design leader and creative manager. I’ve been in the creative industry for over 18 years, nine of them in leadership positions. And I have a clear goal: ‘In a world oversaturated with noise, I’m on a mission to add more clarity, purpose and joy.’ I create digital products and brands that cut through the noise so we can build things that people need and want. At the same time, add some enjoyment to the mix.

Is your attention already somewhere else?

But let's start with the topic that kickstarted the idea apart from shocking statistics. Clutter. Noise. Too much of it. People own too much, scroll too much, and share too much. And the overwhelming fatigue you get from indirectly or directly consuming all of it is real. Our brains are constantly in overdrive, and we have issues focusing and are getting easily distracted. Everyone is trying to get people’s selective attention and more focus. But your brain cannot pay as much attention as you think it can. Watch the video below to understand what I’m talking about.

Selective attention test

Listen, I hear you. You probably think that another blog will only add to the noise. And isn’t blogging so 2000s anyway? I wrangled long enough with myself about the ifs and whys of writing. I won’t be able to reduce much of the noise already in the world or change people’s attention spans, but I can at least control what I put out there.

On top of thinking about the added clutter, I had a few more reasons (read excuses) why I kept pushing this idea further away from me: I’m not a writer, English isn’t my first language, no one wants to read what I have to say, I don’t have time, there are more important things in the world I should focus on, and imposter syndrome. You name it. I’m sure some of you nod quietly along and have similar stories about projects to tell that never saw the light of day…

Feel the fear and do it anyway.

It turns out that being made redundant frees up a hell of a lot of time (the excuse around time is not valid anymore), and the room for thoughts gave me the needed kickstart to hit that ‘publish’ button.

Plus, I actually know that people want insights (the excuse about disinterest in what I’d have to say diminishes). I've been a mentor since 2019, helping other women on their career journey and encouraging them to become better leaders. One thing I hear without fail in every single session is that there are role models and thought pieces out there, but not enough. It’s getting better, but they crave more. If you look at the statistics (which should be updated more often – but that's another topic), you see there is more to be done: in the UK, only 12% of creative directors are women. When it comes to design leaders, the latest number is 11%. If they all shared their thoughts, it would still not be enough to create an equal playing field. With the rise of AI trained on existing content, we need it more than ever.

The thoughts around noise turned into proactiveness and a desire for change because there isn’t enough content from women in design leadership available.

So, this is me stepping outside my comfort zone, changing what I wanted to read when I was younger and adding more industry experience to the internet. The lessons learned, the tips that should be shared, and the opinions that cause dialogue. And hopefully – sooner than later – people can name five women in design leadership as fast as they can name crisp varieties.

Blog topics you can expect

  • Design: In a world where almost everything is designed, producing and recognising good design is more critical than ever.
  • Design leadership: My focal point. I lead teams, create psychological safety, lead with empathy first, and produce brilliant digital brands and products.
  • Technology: The most exciting industry. Fast-paced, insightful, and innovative.
  • AI: The next big thing. We might all be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of tools, but AI is here to stay, so get involved.
  • Wellbeing: Because life-work balance is everything. Living with chronic illness has taught me a thing or two about this approach.

I will keep it free-flowing. I’ll find a frequency posting rhythm at some point (maybe). I want to strive to reduce the noise and clutter and add content that adds value to your day. See it as an MVP (Mueller’s Viable Product 🤔) that will evolve through your input as much as mine.

A human like creature covered head to toe in yellow post it notes walking across the road.
How creativity feels when things are not getting done. | Both images in this article were created with AI in Leonardo. Prompt and presets: Lifelike post-it note creature in human shape, tall and imposing, captured in a dynamic walking motion under bright sunlight in the city street of Paris, fashion magazine style photography, no other people around. Presets: PhotoRealv2, Leonardo Kino XL, Fashion.

Your take-away value

When I speak about adding value, I want you to take insights from this blog and be able to apply them yourself. First, if you want to get things done and don't know where to start, here's your Kickstarter.

You can do something in less than 30 minutes? Just do it.

  1. Write down one thing that you want to take action on. Keep it simple.
  2. Can you do it now in less than 30 minutes? – Stop reading, do it and come back here afterwards. Then, jump to step 6.

Bigger projects need more thinking upfront.

  1. What prevented you from doing the thing until now? Write down your obstacles, become aware of them and find a way to remove them.
  2. Do a mini pre-mortem. In this session, you prepare for what can happen — good or bad — and plan for it. Go wild and have fun with it. It will minimise your fear, make you a better strategic thinker, and foresee some pitfalls early on.
  3. Find your productivity jam: is it pen and paper? A notion board? Digital notes on the phone? Use what you enjoy most and something that doesn’t add a lot of admin time.
  4. Write down smaller actionable items and tackle them from there. Be very specific about the items.
  5. Get a date in the diary when you want to finish. It doesn’t matter if it is this week, in a month or ten years. The crucial thing is a specific date you can work towards. Don’t put down a lofty date like 2030. We both know it’s not gonna happen. If you have a date any longer than a week, set up weekly status check-ins with yourself for more accountability.
  6. The best bit is to tick things off and celebrate along the way. I’m a big fan of small wins. The only thing I did for this blog on day one was open a new Notion page. Do it step by step.

Building a community

So here's to increasing the percentage of women in creative and design leadership roles. Here’s to all of us getting stuff done and taking enough time off (for thinking, for being, for not doing, for wellbeing). I look forward to sharing my insights, cutting through the noise, hearing your ideas and seeing where this goes.

You can read new posts on my website, find me on Medium and Substack (I meet you where you already are), and connect with me on LinkedIn and Instagram.

Let’s lead and create.
And thanks for stopping by.