I met Erin Anacker at Designer Vaca in Palm Springs last year. In just the few days we spent at the Ace Hotel, I was amazed by her ability to rally and foster community. She is confident, inclusive and a first-team-all-conference connector. Not to mention a super-supporter of women in design. I knew I had a lot to learn from her before she gave us a tour of her day, but now I can see why.
Here’s a bit of what she’s been up to:
February 2014: launched a podcast, Below the Fold
Drawing out the stories and voices of women in design. Check it out here.
Currently: launching SPARK
An online community for women in design who have a small business with big ambitions. It’s as if an online community and a mastermind group had a lovechild and named it after their passionate affair! Check it out here.
What do you do?
I’m a People Enthusiast!
Yes, I made that up. However, no other formal title fits me better or truly encapsulates what I do. Through a variety of means, I teach and facilitate connection among women in design, whether it is connection with each other or with users / clients / audience. I am incredibly passionate about building camaraderie and community within the design industry.
My business, currently named pixology, will be changing to: Betwixt, The Applied Art of Connection — as much work as it is to change my business name, I am very excited about the clarity and focus it will bring.
Walk us through your day. Not your greatest day, but not your worst. What does a good-to-ideal day look like for you?
05:30 Wake up + breakfast. Homemade granola w/ almond milk. I keep a pretty strict sleep schedule (even on weekends) to keep my mental health strong. I know this is insanely early for most people, but I love how peaceful the morning is, though it usually takes me an hour or two to fully wake up.
06:30 Take a long walk with my super adorable dog to the coffee shop 2.2 miles away. Listen to a podcast (favorites: 99% Invisible, This American Life, The Moth, Seanwes). Read, physical (latest books: Daring Greatly, and Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World) or virtual pages (blogs or Twitter / rabbit hole).
07:30 Walk home
08:30 Start work-ish or shower, depending on my mood or what I have going on that day. A large portion of my work is dedicated to editing the podcast. Each episode takes me about 6 hours to edit. Lately I’ve been hanging out in SPARK while I work, with the women who pre-registered and am really loving the conversations that are happening. The energy is palpable!
10:00 Snack break. Play with the aforementioned dog.
10:15 Back at it—editing. editing. editing.
12:30 LUNCHY. Either leftovers or a mixed greens salad w/ poppyseed dressing, bosc pear, goat cheese, and almonds
13:30 (Yes, I use military time.) Switching tasks! I usually loose myself in email or social media for an hour or so. Then I’m back editing, or writing, or designing—I don’t do much design these days but just sent website design files over to my lovely developer, Dara Skolnick. Launching later this month!
15:00 Here is where my focus starts to wane. I try to schedule my meetings in the afternoon. As an extrovert, people energize me. Morning is my high energy time, reserved for creative problem solving / production. Afternoon is my low energy time, reserved for more mindless tasks or brightened with faces. On an ideal day, I just stop working at this time.
17:00 Cut it off! Hang out with The Hubster which either means going for a walk, going to the gym, or tag-teaming dinner.
18:30 Eating + talking. We discontinued our Netflix account to encourage more engagement with one another rather than mindless TV watching (we don’t have cable either). Though I really love a good show, it’s been nice to not have the option and I’ve noticed a difference in our closeness.
20:30 Get ready for bed. Brush teeth. Put on my jams. Read a fun novel (espionage and detective series are my go-tos)
Do you have any boundaries throughout your day?
My days tend to follow some type of structure / pattern but these come in waves. Every few months that structure changes, which I used to think was a flaw, but am realizing it’s just letting go of what’s not working and being OK with that shift.
On my ideal day, I do not check my phone before coffee or after dinner. My days have not been very ideal, as of late. I’m working on it! I would also like to do no-screen weekends. Baby steps…
What are three influential books you’ve read recently (or anytime)?
All time favorites:
Harry Potter — I waited nearly 12 years to read these because I thought it sounded dumb (I’m not immediately attracted to fantasy) and was subsequently blown away. It is an incredible testament to self-sacrifice and personal responsibility. Not to mention, a super fun and suspenseful series!
The Art of Possibility — Really lovely book. A while back, I wrote a piece about this book—sort of a review—and what it meant to me.
Daring Greatly — As mentioned above, I am currently reading this (and have been the last couple months). I am really taking my time with this one, hoping to absorb as much as possible.