07 January 21 -

Super8 in December.

And just like that, it’s December 2020. Wow.

I’ve no doubt you’ve read a heap of emails this month describing this year in many ways with a multitude of common themes; perhaps not all of them necessarily positive.

So before we jump into eight articles the team shared from 2020 that inspired and ignited our creativity in different ways, here’s a few awesome (and fun) things that happened in the world you may not have heard about…

  • Christian Bagg experienced a spinal injury when snowboarding but he didn’t let this injury stop his love for adventure and the outdoors. While Christian started designing wheelchairs that offer more versatility than other models, he has found himself creating an all-terrain bike for people with a disability. They are some serious tyres to check out!
  • If you’ve been glued to prior seasons of The Crown this year…and then cancelled all Zoom plans to watch season 4 when it was released, you might be interested to know that the Queen of England has released a specialty gin distilled from the botanicals at her Sandringham Estate. And yes, you can purchase it online.
  • Thinking of building a house in the future? You might want to check out Phil Ross’ latest endeavour. He has an international patent pending on a method of producing fungus as a sustainable construction material. In other words, Phil has worked out how to make bricks out of mushrooms. Mind. Blown.

Getting back to Super8 – our final edition for this year brings together eight articles that kept us captivated this year, that made us laugh, that pushed us to be better humans, and ultimately started conversations. Keep this edition in your back pocket, or your digital reading device, for some post-Christmas lunch relaxing.

1. How to speed up your article writing using ‘accidental research’.

The biggest barrier to writing is, undoubtedly, the research needed. Or rather, the time it takes to complete said research.

I’m always interested to discover new methods to improve the process and this article shares some real insight. It doesn’t really tell us anything we don’t already know, however it does highlight something we constantly seem to forget.

The fact that switching the process around—allowing the article to form from ‘discovered’ and then retained information—is not only quicker, but can make for a clearer, more insightful piece.

2. How to make indoor air safer.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Article by: Kaleigh Rogers.
  • Contributed by: Mike McCusker. 

Over the past few years, we have worked hard to improve the air quality in our office. This has largely been achieved by increasing the number of air-cleaning plants, especially the hardworking but somewhat ubiquitous Spathiphyllum and Chlorophytum comosum.

You might know these as the peace lily and the spider plant. If you haven’t heard of them, check them out!

Despite the excellence of the peace lily and spider plant, COVID-19 has changed how we view air quality.

Unfortunately, our plants aren’t likely to remove infected respiratory droplets from the air. This article highlights what you can do to improve air quality, both at home and in the office.

3. Seven job search rules you should break now.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Article by: Gwen Moran.
  • Contributed by: Rachel Antoniadou. 

As you can imagine, the past few months have seen a bump in the number of people expressing an interest in joining our team.

The pandemic-induced recession and associated increase in unemployment has pushed many talented people back into the job market, some of whom haven’t needed to look for work in many years.

Although many of the myths listed in this article pre-date COVID-19, we hope that, by calling them out as fallacies, we can help job-hunters find their next gig.

At August, we are particularly fond of a good cover letter. In fact, it is mandatory that you include one when you express an interest in joining our team!

4. Three hours of creative ‘flow’ every day is all you need to change your life.

‘Flow’ is an important part of how we work at August. We are all constantly chasing flow time.

If you haven’t discovered it yet, I will take the complex notion of flow and attempt to describe it simply.

Basically, it’s a state of deep concentration. So deep that you can do 3 hours of work and achieve the progress and rewards of 8 hours of work.

In the office we have ‘flow’ times in the day, and we work on protecting these collectively. When we are at home – well, let’s just say it can be a little more challenging. That’s why this article is great: you’ll find tips on how to get into flow quickly, and how to avoid the distractions of home life to get your work done.

5. Why you should make useless things.

  • Watch the full video here.
  • Article by: Simone Giertz. 
  • Contributed by: James Otter.

In this joyful, heartfelt talk, Simone Giertz’s curiosity and craft shine through.

From drones that cut hair to devices designed to help you wake up, Simone’s engineering skills are on full display—even if they are used to make ‘useless things’.

Simone clearly has an honest understanding when it comes to the beauty of making such useless things.

This TED talk is an acknowledgement that you don’t and won’t always know the answer, but at least you’re asking the question.

6. To be a successful web developer you need to learn how to learn.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Article by: Rob Doyle.
  • Contributed by: Kurt Smith. 

At one point or another, we’ve all been this articles author: Rob Doyle. Sitting in a lecture, class, workshop or meeting, thinking that we’ve absorbed every bit of information; only to realise a few weeks or months later that we actually know nothing.

Here, Rob highlights the difference between active and passive learning, especially in the world of developers.

Although this article discusses concepts in the context of developers, it’s comforting to know that you don’t have to be a developer to adapt the mindset of being on ongoing learner. You simply have to learn how to learn.

7. Seven benefits of waking up early (that have nothing to do with being a CEO).

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Ayodeji Awosika.
  • Contributed by: Claire Grainger.

You don’t have to get up early to get things accomplished. But if you find you always wake up on the wrong side of the bed because you ran out of time the day before, this article may just be for you.

‘If you can change your concept of time and what can be done in little chunks, you’ll start to get a lot more done.’

Wise words.

That’s not to say everyone needs to wake up with the sun in order to tick off your entire to-do-list—but this article, like many in this Super8, is another friendly reminder that little steps can make a significant difference. Finding those extra daylight hours in the morning, while the world is quiet, can be hugely beneficial in the long run.

8. Ten essential cognitive behaviour patterns for UX design.

Safe, skippable, and satisfying aren’t typically words you’d use to describe UX design, but they’re important elements to consider when designing interfaces and product behaviour.

Tapping into the intrinsic patterns expressed by our brains sounds more like something out of a horror film than a UX design lesson. That said, a series of common behavioural patterns can help escalate interfaces from average to engaging and prevent cognitive overload for users.