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Posts Tagged ‘World Domination Summit’

The World Domination Inspired Summer Uncamp

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

This post isn’t about the best camps to enroll your child into.  It might not work for all families, but I think it’s a great solution for mine.  If you have your child’s summer full of activities and camps, you don’t need this post.  If you don’t have a plan or you have a limited, part time plan then read on because I’ve been working on this plan for a few days and I’m pretty excited about it.

If you’ve known DIY Lounge for awhile you know that we used to organize a kids camp called No School Art School, which was tons of fun to run, but at some pointed I decided I needed to focus in on other things and I couldn’t do that while I had so many different plates in the air, so we stopped running these camps.  This post is not about the traditional camp plan it’s about the uncamp.  I made this concept up after attending the World Domination Summit, which was pretty much a life changing experience and is now influencing many things I do, including my plans this summer with my son.

Photo of an attendee’s notebook to the World Domination Summit

My son is 11 now and told me that he isn’t that in to going to camps anymore.  His exact words were that they are sorta baby-ish and he wasn’t into it.  He is signed up for one film camp, per his approval, where he’ll be making a mockumentary.  Other than that we’re on our own.  I know that my son is a video game junkie.  He will sneak off and I’ll find him on a game in some far corner of the house.  He’s smart; he knows that I’m busy and if he can be quiet and sneaky about it, it will take me awhile to find out what he’s up to.  One day I tried to loosely track how often he was sneaking off to play games and it was something like between 5-10 times a day and if I’m not paying attention that can mean many extra hours of game time.

I have many levels of concern with my son playing too many hours of games as most parents do, but most of all he’s an angry little pain in the butt when he plays for too long on computer games.  The other thing is that I don’t want him to grow up with some idea that 4-6 hours of computer game playing per day is normal.  OK, maybe I just confessed my horrible parenting, that sometimes my kid plays too many hours of games, but it’s the truth, sometimes he has played too many hours of computer games, but not this summer.

The Theory Behind the Summer Uncamp:

If you want to change a habit, you must put a new plan in it’s place.  You cannot just take something away, you must add a replacement behavior for real change.  I learned this over the weekend from Leo Babauta of Zen Habits who spoke at the World Domination Summit a.k.a. WDS.

For my son, I decided that I would set up a schedule for him for this summer.  He’s an only child and I think he gets bored at times and lacks a certain amount of structure so I’ve set up a system for him for this summer that rewards him for following the rules with extra computer time.  He can earn extra time by doing activities that I feel are good for him.  More on this in a minute.  Honestly, I need to change some habits for myself too.  I have been getting really distracted by many online sources: Facebook, Pinterest and many bright and shiny blogs with cool imagery and tutorials.  I need to break some habits too so I’m ‘enrolling’ myself in the uncamp as well.

The original uncamper

I believe that my son is an artist who hasn’t found his medium yet.  As most of you know, I am an artist too.  I am working on finding consistent ways of increasing my own productivity.  I also want set my son on the best path possible for his own creative future, so this plan will help both of us. I learned from Jonathan Fields at the WDS that a great way to increase your productivity is to routinize as much of your schedule as possible.  This allows you to have more time for creativity and if you are following a fairly consistent routine it doesn’t allow for some of the common distractions that you typically face.

OK, OK, so what did I do to create the uncamp for myself and my son?  Here it is.

The Formula for the Uncamp:

I set up a schedule for my son that rewards the behavior that I want (chores, new skills, reading, writing) with the treats that he wants (game time).  I give him 1 “free hour” of game time and the rest of his game time he can earn.  In theory, if my son does all of the things that are possible in the uncamp system he could be earning hours of extra game time.  Some parents won’t go for this because they feel that their child should only have 1 or 2 hours of game time per day.  My husband is a web developer who began learning the skills for his future career when he was a kid himself.  He was building math game programs when he was my son’s age, so I feel that if my son has a little extra computer time that’s fine with me as I feel his future career will probably be enhanced by his developed computer skills.

My Son’s Summer Uncamp Schedule:

8-9am Breakfast and reading
9-10am Computer games
10-10:30am Chores – clean room or unload dishwasher or vacuum living room and dining room
10:30-11am Snack time
11am-12pm Project time – Make movies, take photos, make lists of ideas, journal, build something, draw, other?
12-1pm Lunch time and free time
1-3pm Project time
3-4pm Exercise, stretching and relaxing
4-5pm Talk on phone,play outside, write, day dream, other?
5-6pm Books on tape (my son loves books on tape so I thought I’d build it into his schedule)
6-7pm Dinner and relaxing
7-8pm Free time
8-9pm Free time and reading time
9pm Bedtime

My Summer Uncamp Schedule:

7-8am Coffee, reading, computer time, email, lists and make breakfast
8-9am Eat breakfast and writing time
9-10am Video editing
10-10:30am Chores
10:30-11am brain storming and researching new projects, ideas, concepts (no more than 1 per day)
11am-12pm Project time – Ck in with son about his project for the day first and/or work beside him
12-1pm Lunch time and free time
1-3pm project time – videos, new projects, bargain hunting, knot ugly, diy lounge, etc
3-4pm Exercise, stretching and relaxing
4-5pm Errands, return phone calls, catch up on email
5-6pm Prep dinner or at least clean the kitchen so hubby can cook
6-7pm Dinner and relaxing
7-8pm Free time, reading time and wrapping up projects if necessary
8-9pm Computer catch up
9pm off duty!


With my son’s schedule, I have built in some rewards.  I plan to do this with myself too although I haven’t gotten to my reward system yet.  Here’s how my son can earn extra game time (this will only work if the reward is highly desirable to the individual).

Extras that can earn extra game time:

1. Walk and feed the dog = 30 minutes extra game time
2. Sweep/vacuum all floor space, including under chairs, rugs corners for all common area rooms: the living room, dining room and kitchen = 1 hour of game time
3. Sweep back patio, wipe down outdoor table and water plants = 1 hour extra game time
4. Journaling – words and pictures = 30 minutes extra game time
5. Making and recording music – up to 1 hour per day = journal time is equal to game time ie. 1 hour extra of journaling = 1 hour extra of game time.
6. Making videos 1 hour of video = 30 minutes of game time (this is something he already enjoys so It’s weighted less than other activities, but I believe it is a valuable skill for him to build)
7. Extra exercise done independently = unlimited, exercise time is equal to game time ie. 1 hour extra of exercise = 1 hour extra of game time.

Between the two lists you can see that there is some overlap which was intentional so that I can monitor my son during the day.  I know he won’t exercise without me at his side encouraging him so I plan to work with him on this all summer long.  Jonathan Fields discussed at the WDS that most people can really only work in 45 minute up to 90 minute blocks at one time so I anticipate that we will need more breaks than is accounted for on this schedule and I have a plan for how to make this work.  Any time either of us feels burnt out by the activities we’re supposed to be doing we can walk on the treadmill or go outside and take a walk for 5-15 minutes and then get back to the schedule.

I know there will be days that we won’t stick to this schedule because life can be unpredictable, but as much as we possibly can we are going to stick to this schedule for the entire summer. If we find something isn’t working then we will change it so that we can be more successful.  Another thing I now know, thanks to Leo Babauta is that it takes 30 days to establish a new habit so I plan to stick as strictly to this routine as I possibly can and I also plan to shadow my son during the first 30 days to help keep him on track.  Additionally, I should say that I didn’t make this plan and tell my son how things were going to be.  I created a rough list and then sat down with him and explained that I had a cool plan for how he could earn extra game time and learn some new skills at the same time.  He totally bought in and is excited to test out this new plan.  He even had ideas of things he could do to earn extra game time.

For me, this gives me uninterrupted work time.  If my phone rings during my work hours, I won’t pick up the phone.  I have turned off the notification on my computer so I won’t hear any pings if I get an email.  To make sure that both of us aren’t cheating during our working/project hours, I am going to set up the Stay Focused Chrome Extension that allows me to block certain sites during certain times of the day so that if I try to get on facebook, say and it’s a time when I should be working it will ask me “Aren’t you supposed to be working?” and block me from the site.  I am doing this because I know that my willpower isn’t perfect and neither is my son’s so the computer he uses will also be blocked during certain hours.  You can read more about the reasons to use and how to use this application here.

The other way that I will monitor this schedule is I will set up an hourly chime on my phone to remind me when it’s time to change to the next activity.  I’ll have copies of the schedules upstairs and downstairs so that we can refer to them as needed.  I really feel that these additional safeguards will assure that we can stay on task with our new system.

Other useful ideas for the uncamped summer is to look into cool free activities going on in your town.  In Portland, where I live there are free concerts in the park, movies in the park, great local libraries and more.  Here are some great summer bucket lists that I found on Pinterest to peak your excitement for summer activities: Little Wonders’ Days, Positively Splendid and Embellishing Life.

I’m going to try and give updates about the uncamp and how it’s going.  I plan to be really honest too if things aren’t going well and what aspects are working.  Wish me luck and I wish you lots of luck, happiness and productivity this summer as well.



I am a sewing machine and more

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

I thought it might be interesting if I posted a week in the life of Jen Neitzel.  When people say to me, what are you working on right now?  Most of the time I want to answer, “What am I not working on?”  I have a tendency to jump head on into projects and worry with details like time later when I’m knee deep in a project.  I always get the job done if it’s within my power, but I can really struggle at times because I have too many plates in the air at one time.  Sometimes I think that I shouldn’t commit to as many projects as I do, but ultimately I really like to be working on new and challenging projects and I don’t think I have as much of a need for down-time as the average person does.  I came out of the womb with an insatiable curiosity.  Learning and growing is way more interesting to me than down-time.  Not to say I don’t get any down-time, just maybe not as others require.

The biggest thing I’m spending my time doing at the moment is sewing and sewing and sewing.  I am a sewing machine.  Good thing I love to sew.  It’s very relaxing to me generally, but recently I’ve been so busy that it’s hard to feel that relaxing, meditative feeling that sewing usually brings me.  I thought it would be interesting or perhaps maddening to list the things I’m working on right now so it’s more obvious what I spend my time doing.

1. Sewing: I have been sewing tons of skirts with my friend Jocelyn.  We’ve started a line of skirts that are now available online on our Etsy shop.  If you want to see photos or learn more about us check out our blog on Tumblr.

2. Branding: Jocelyn and I have been working on branding for the new skirt line.  We order 3×5 postcards which we are using as hangtags on our skirts and as business cards/flyers at the moment.  We are making a sign for our booth and having a logo designed so we can incorporate it into business cards, letter heads and more.

3. Production Schedule: Jocelyn and I put together a production schedule for our sale so that we would be able to produce skirts in a timely fashion for our next sale at First Thursday happening June 2nd  from 5pm-10pm.

Jocelyn laying out our tree skirt design

4. Sponsors: I’ve been working on creating a sponsorship form for Bargain Hunting, so that we can offer businesses sponsorship packages in exchange for great online and print material marketing.  The form is really a collaborative project I’m working on with Angie Heiney and Julz Nally the other two organizers of Bargain Hunting.

5. Bargain Hunting Systems Management: I put together a graphics standard for us to use so that we’d all know the font, color, etc to use when creating graphic for Bargain Hunting.  I gathered all have the information and put it into a Google Doc. {Google docs are magical.  I don’t know how I ever worked with a team before them.}  We also created a Flickr page for Bargain Hunting.  I’ll be adding photos soon.

6.  Marketing: I’ve been working on stepping up my marketing knowledge for my various businesses and projects.  It has occurred to me recently that although I know a lot about marketing there is more that I could learn and should learn so that I can be as knowledgeable as possible.  The other reason I’m stepping up my knowledge around marketing is that there is always a new format, new information, new tricks out there, so staying up to date on what the new trends are is really important.   I’m working on adding a section to my website so that people could receive support from me around marketing or event planning, which are areas I have a lot of experience in.  Also, I really like helping people.  It’s sorta my thing.

7. World Domination Summit: I’ve been helping Chris Guillebeau, who writes for the blog The Art of Non Conformity with various aspects of his event, the World Domination Summit.  It looks incredibly amazingly cool and I can’t wait to attend!  Just recently I helped Chris line up a venue for the after party and next I’ll work on the Alberta Craft Crawl.

8. Video Editing: I’ll admit I haven’t had enough time to really work all that much on the encaustic video.  I am hoping to get back to work on it this week, but I have been working on some fun editing projects for friends and family to continue growing my editing skills.

9. Competitive Craft TV Show:  As if I wasn’t already busy enough, I was contacted by a company, I’m not going to mention them yet, because it might be a little early, but they are working on a competitive craft TV show and asked me to be involved.   I’ll just say I’ve been doing some things to help them out.   More on this soon, but I’m pretty excited about it.

10. I Heart Art – Mixer Match: I am in charge of all the food for the I Heart Art Mixer Match this Wednesday.  Mixer Match is basically like speed dating for artist/crafters and galleries/boutiques.  I’ll be prepping the food tomorrow and setting it up in the evening.  As if that weren’t enough I am also planning to make a digital flipbook for the Mixer Match, which involves me taking tons of photos at the event and this time I’ll bring an audio recorder too.  I’ll add some of the audio tracks and music and other sound effects to the photos (I will be shooting continuously/rapid fire) so that the video captures the event in a sort of artistic, moody way.

Kirsten Moore of Piper Ewan who is a member of the I Heart Art Leadership Counsel.

11. Fashion Show? I’m applying to have some of my work in an awesome fashion show that’s happening this summer and is hosted by 33rd Alley.  I can’t say for sure if the Jen and Jocelyn line of skirts will be a good fit for this fashion show, but I was encouraged to send in photos by one of the board members so what the heck.  Why not?

There are about a million other things I could mention that I’m working on, but they are to do with my son, house, husband, friends, dog and actually there are probably a few other business related things that I forgot to mention.  There are so many other projects that I’d love to start, like taking more photos, learning more about my camera, taking a woodworking class, reupholstering my couch and making some cushions for my basement benches and wow, I could really go on, but I’ll stop here.  OK, just one more, I’ve been thinking about piano lessons recently, but I know this isn’t realistic right now. (Do you see how my brain works?  Stopping is hard for me.)

DIY baby, gotta keep learnin’ and growing my skills. So this is a quick snapshot of what I’m up to professionally.  What are you working on?  I think it’s interesting to know what other people are working on as well.  What do you want to learn?  What do you hope to fit into your schedule soon?  Give me a moment of your time and tell me what you are learning, working on or want to learn.  Talk soon!

by: jen


Day 17: 31 Day Challenge – Vision Boards – with friends!

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Yesterday I had a few friends over and we created vision boards.  What is a vision board you may be asking?  It’s a creative method for setting goals in a visual and fun way.  It’s also a great strategy for defining your intention for the year.

You can see here that these are the tools we used, wine optional (ha).  Here’s what we did, I invited a few friends and asked them to bring a board of their choosing (poster board or foam core, even heavy card stock) and I asked them to bring magazines.  I supplied the Mod Podge and brushes, scissors, ruler and box cutter (for cutting the board down if necessary).

Here is a detailed explanation of the steps involved with making your own vision board.  If you know me, then you know that I rarely stick to one source or pattern.  I like to pull from many different sources and use my intuition to guide me in the direction I feel that I should move with a given project.  A friend of mine sent me this post, from the Art of Non-Conformity, which is less of a vision board and more of a strategy for conducting an annual review of your year.  What is funny about my friend sending this blog post to me is that a week later I was in a meeting with the wife of the guy who runs this blog, named Jolie Guillebeau.   They are organizing an event called, The World Domination Summit.  I am going to help them on the back end of this event.  We are still sussing out the details, but I will be helping in an event planning capacity.  Life is funny how it points you in the direction of people and things while you are just minding your own business.

Anyway, I decided to take a small piece of Chris Guillebeau’s process for his year in review and incorporate that into my vision board process.  I broke last year into 2 parts: 1. what worked, 2. what didn’t work.  I made a third category too for goals for 2011.  Some of my goals were resolutions that I have already defined on paper, but now I wanted to represent them in my board.  Some of the items on my board were things that didn’t work last year that I am trying a new strategy for.  An example is, last year I had some health issues so part of my goal for this year is to eat healthier and exercise more.  I wrote these out on a piece of paper to use as a framework for what I wanted my board to cover.  What was nice is, I had very specific things that I was looking for when I started pouring over the magazines.  Pretty pictures are good too, but having meaning and purpose connected to the pretty is very helpful.  I knew I needed to put health on my board.

Day 17: Vision Boards – with friends:

Here is my friend Angie.
At this stage we are cutting out images and laying them out on our boards.
This is a great way to work with vision boards because you can move the pieces as you find more relevant ephemera and group or separate items as needed.

My friend Richard made this board below.
He wants to travel abroad and feels that he should be living in New York City
so his board reflects this.

This is my friend Lauren.
She used very small boards to create her vision board(s),
which is a great idea if you don’t have a lot of extra room in your house
or if you want to start small with your vision for your future.

My good friend Julz, who is a graphic designer made this board.
She didn’t have time to finish it,
but collected the clippings and finished it at home and then sent this picture to me.

Here is mine from the top down.
I like to use a long skinny board because it doesn’t take up much room,
but it has a great deal of real estate for my vision.

Here’s my board from the bottom up.
I like to keep my board in my bedroom on top of my dresser so that I can look at it often.
This can be very grounding
and can help you redirect yourself when you feel you are losing focus.

In case you didn’t read my first blog post about this project . . . this post is part of a 31 day challenge I am doing to bring more creativity, stories and solutions to my life.  I have been using my creativity almost exclusively for work in the recent past and for the month of January I will creating things for my personal life, talking about them and taking pictures.I would love input from readers as to which project you enjoy the most and if I get enough comments on one particular project I’ll turn it into a tutorial after the 31 day challenge of crafting, stories and solutions is over.  So please let me know what you like!