Bullet Journal

Bullet Journals

Bullet Journals. Does anyone else do them to put their thoughts out for the day? I have a process before I sit down and work for the day. It’s what I’ve done for years to help me focus my mind and prepare for the day. I use a dot grid notebook, since it’s my goto notebook style for anything in design. To organize my thoughts the best, I have 5 main sections. The date, the action list, meeting list, goals and sprint box.

First, I make a date box for the current day and then I go to the bottom to create my sprint box. There are 10 days in an iteration and I use 10 boxes to represent a point. I check up to make sure I’m on track for the sprint or if I’m falling behind for any reason. I then jot down every meeting I’m in above that with space between. 

My main focus is to sit and think about my goals. What do I hope to accomplish for the day? What needs to get done no matter what? I try to aim for 3, with the most important being at the top. Sometimes I have 1 core goal, sometimes more. They’re mostly based on the sprint stories.

Once that’s all set up, I start on my day. Every single action in my day gets marked down as a bullet so I can remind myself what I’ve done through the day.

Does anyone else do this? I felt like this used to be a trend when I started it, but once I started, I never stopped.I haven’t seen much talk about it at all. I’m posting this for those who feel like this might help organize their day a little more!

You can check out a picture of my current bullet journal. It’s from October, so nothing I’m currently working on is being shown.

Holiday Plans – The Cliff Lineup

Christmas is around the corner and a lot of people are asking what my plans are for my Christmas break. Yes, my company gives time off between Christmas and the new years to just relax and enjoy the holidays. I’m very thankful to work there and the past few years have been a blessing to be able to sit back and relax and enjoy the holiday time with friends and family.

What will I be doing during that time? If you have picked up on anything you’ve read so far or have seen on my social media, you know exactly what I’m doing. Nerd things. To be more specific, designing, watching anime and playing video games with my kids.


My clicker game reskin has been put on the backburner with the release of Modern Warfare 2 and now more recently, Fortnite Chapter 4. While I do plan on putting together my own custom thing, my first pass of putting my design skills into Unity will be a Fallout or One Piece theme. It’s up in the air right now if I want to go dark or colorful, and those two fall in one of those categories.

Sticker – I’ve made stickers in the past and sold 100+ individual stickers, but never pursued that venture. I’m going to create some more designs and make use of the cricut I have and never actually tried. I usually get prints from sticker mule, but its slow and limits what I can actually offer on an ecommerce platform.

Craft Website – My fiancee is getting back into resin creation and jewelry making. I plan on making some mockups of a website for her to sell her awesome creations on through WordPress.

3D Printing – I print random things I find hilarious. My son has recently recommended that I print out a Rock Lobster… Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson head on a lobster body. He also mentioned other various Rock head things. So I’ll be printing up a bunch of that random those


I wouldn’t say I’m a huge anime nerd, but I do like watching shows here and there. I’m currently watching One Piece, My Hero Academia and Assassination Classroom. Well, technically I’m reading the Assassination Classroom Manga, but also watching the anime of what I’ve already read. So it’s not a binge as much as a per manga situation that’s happening.

Video Games

Modern Warfare 2 – I’ve always been a Call of Duty fan, and I love dropping into a quick match or 3 to unlock camos for my weapons. Their new DMZ mode is super fun. I heard it’s like Escape from Tarkov, which I never played, but to me it’s like a chill non-sweat version of warzone with objectives.

Fortnite – Chapter 4 AND I heard My Hero Academia characters are dropping the 16th of this month. Their lineup of unlocking DoomSlayer and Geralt from “The Witcher” in the battle pass will have me dropping in… a lot.

7 Days to Die – I play this most with my youngest, and our recent strategy of a skybase has been very successful on the 7 day hordes. Almost a little TOO easy, but we’re having tons of fun as we’re higher levels and unlocking the good perks.

That summarizes my Christmas break. Ill be enjoying the usual christmas festivities as well, but I plan on designing, watching and gaming during my break. Here’s to a great year and that everyone has a good holiday time.

A Look Back

This past weekend was a great reflecting point in my life. I turned 40 and while it used to be the “Over the hill” moment in life, it wasn’t. It was a weekend filled with family, friends and fun. I’ve been designing things since I was a kid in school, but professionally it’s been a bit longer. It’s been a smidge over 19 and a ½ years since I started at a small newspaper in Dearborn, MI. Looking back on my career path and changes, I’ve done a lot. Here’s a quick list of a few that I remember from my time. The numbers are a bit fuzzy, but it’s all generally speaking!

As a Graphic Designer

  • Created 1000’s of Print Ads for newspapers
  • Laid over 100 magazines and catalogs
  • Created dozens of front page publication designs
  • Created over a 100 poster design
  • Designed over a 100 logos

As a Web Designer/UI/UX Designer

  • Designed 100’s of websites with a focus on usability and accessibility
  • Designed and coded dozens of WordPress sites
  • Created 100’s of Flash animated banners and advertisements
  • Designed 100’s of animation in Flash
  • Coded a dozen interactive Flash sites
  • Designed over 2000 Ad banners for google, facebook, instagram and web pages
  • Helped 100s of companies go from no website/make from home site, to a thriving business with sales that multiplied.
  • Coded dozens of interactive sites with HTML/CSS/JS
  • Created a hand full of design systems

As a Product Designer

  • Designed the interface of over a dozen applications that launched successfully
  • Took part in saving 1000’s of hours and well over a million in costs for the user and the customer.
  • Created trust with users that their voice is heard
  • Talk with 100’s of users, getting to know them and their life and finding out who they are as a person and how I could make their life easier.
  • Spent 1000’s of hours doing user research, usability testing, persona creating, task flows, journey mapping, sketching and creating wireframes and interactive prototypes.

On the side 

  • Design enthusiast
  • Mentored a lot of people in design and usability
  • Created dozens of WordPress sites
  • Created 100s of flash animations
  • Created a couple games in Unity
  • Designed multiple logos for companies
  • Designed dozens of youtube banners and instagram ads
  • Created youtube intro animations
  • Sold a few created icon packs
  • Spoke at a dozen meetup events
  • Spoke about UX at a WordPress Conference
  • Took part in Inktober for the past few years
  • Draw daily

Current outside ventures

  • Creating my own game in Unity 
  • Creating stickers / digital art to sell in an ecommerce setting
  • Get more into the video game industry

Overall, I’ve met 1000’s of people and connected with a great community of designers and developers. A lot I talk to as friends to this very day. Though my life has had its fair share of twists and turns, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

New Fresh Page Update Needed

I’ve changed my main site’s home page a few months ago to make it look more updated after not updating for years. Before, it was a full image of something I took years ago which is a little humorous, but at the same time added nothing. No background text to tell you what to do, just a big ole image. I’ve recently been getting back into designing, drawing and creating and I really want to show my “behind the scenes” look at my projects.

If you’re reading this currently, on October 19th, 2022, the page looks like a divi template at the top and you probably have to click the back button on your browser to go back to my home page. I’m not going to lie, it’s messy and not in any sort of organization in its current state. 

What’s on the list of things to do for this site?

  • Create global header
  • Create Blog Page template
  • Create a case study design on a project I’m working on
  • Create a better about me page

I’ll be hoping to get to these in the coming week alongside my game design project that I’m currently working on. I’d love to be able to properly show off what I’m working on with all my socials. For the time being, if you’re reading this, thank you!


SeptemberJanuary Challenge – Day 3

I didn’t sketch today, instead I looked up potential vendors to print my stickers. There’s a lot to the sticker game! I’m trying to give some variety with having 6 individual stickers to a sticker sheet. I think I narrowed it down after a few hours of research to a place that’ll do 125 sheets for $129 at stickergiant.com which isn’t too bad! I’m starting to get into pricing models. Do I over value myself at like $10? Undervalue at $3? Or hit the sweet spot at like $5. I figure if I can come up with an awesome landing page and treat them like a limited offer, I could probably sell them for a lot higher.

That landing page will be a mocked up something here or possibly over at http://www.overthecliffdesigns.com . I just need to figure out the logistics of it all when I finally get the stickers. I’ll test around some ideas and come back with a nice number. I’m aiming for a sticker sheet, but I’m not against 1 off custom designs.

WordPress 5.2 Upgrade!

Before I start. Yikes. This layout with the twenty nineteen default layout is oogly when I switched over from twenty seventeen.

This is very odd for me to write in this new kind of layout. Many people have already made the switch to WordPress 5.2 a while ago and some have even asked me when I’ll switch. I honestly thought I did a few months ago at a local WordPress Meetup until someone asked me what version I was on. I looked up the version and I was at 4.8 I think? I made the assumption that WordPress updated automatically for me since that’s how I set it up. The issue was that my hosting was at a lower PHP version that didn’t support the new upgrade and therefore didn’t upgrade it automatically. I did some digging and saw that it was a way outdated version of PHP that was probably a huge risk on my end.

So It Begins

The other day I decided to update the PHP for my hosting so I could update to version 5.2 and experience all the Gutenberg loveliness. Upon updating the PHP, I had another window up to click the button to officially update WordPress. That’s where the crap show started. The 500 Internal Error showed up and it wasn’t going away. I sat on it for a day and came back to the screen still showing up. Sorry for those who tried to view my site that day. So what did I do? Here’s a quick scramble timeline of what I did:

  • Google what a 500 Internal Server Error is and how I can fix it.
  • Deactivate plugins by renaming the folder plugins-deactivated. Failure
  • Delete wp-admin and wp-includes and replace with brand new 5.2 files. Failure.
  • Do that a second time, cause I’m pretty sure I messed it up the first time some how. Failure.
  • Backup my content folder, cause why haven’t I done that yet?!
  • Download an old version of WordPress 5.1.
  • Delete wp-admin and includes folder a 3rd time but this time upload the 5.1 WordPress. Eureka!
  • Reload page. Goes to a D path error something er other. Failure.
  • Delete admin/includes and upload a farther version of 5.1. Eureka!
  • Wait. Not Eureka. I got into my admin, but my site is blank. Failure.
  • I was still able to get into my admin, so I deactivated all my plugins and update to the newest version of WordPress hoping that would work.
  • The version did update, however I did still keep with the blank white screen.
  • Switched theme to twenty nineteen. Eureka!

It’s Alive!

Now that my site had content live again, I was happy. Well, kind of happy because the theme made it look like a plain text site from 1995. Doh! I decided to drop it back to twenty seventeen and see if that worked. It did! It was quite a whirlwind of frustration. Normally I wouldn’t care because I’m not really trying to impress anybody or show anything off. However, I recently applied for a talk at WordCamp Ann Arbor and I knew coming up with a non-working WordPress site on top of a meh default theme would just be the final blow.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience of what exactly went down when a random person such as myself had an issue. What caused it? From digging further, I found out that the update to WordPress 5.2 with my plugins activated may have been the issue. I’m not 100% sure since I did deactivate, but I’m sure at that point it was too late.

Cliff Nowicki is a product designer by day and freelance designer by night. If you’re looking to get a new website, then go to the contact page and send him a message.