My Portfolio Life


If you’ve read my earlier posts, you would see that I’ve often talked about wanting to be more focused with work. Previously, I’ve tried to streamline work by taking on fewer longer-term projects, but in reality, that was not sustainable.

Lately, I’ve been looking at this idealised focus a little differently after reading The Art of Work where the author, Jeff Goins, brings up the concept of “portfolio life” i.e. working on a variety of activities – some for money, some for interest, some for pleasure, some for a cause, and the different bits fit together to form a balanced whole.

I’ve seen how that applies to my work. Coming up with The Adventures of Squirky the Alien book series a few years ago was a deeply personal passion project, but it also led to other children’s book commissions, and Singapore Tourism Board asking me to conceptualise a kid-friendly character for a promotional campaign.

I also notice how  the skills I have picked up as a writer are not just for written content anymore, which means that I have to be willing to stretch my portfolio and explore uncharted territory. For example, a producer from BBC World Services recently asked me to come on board as a researcher for his show and help to arrange for his interviews in Singapore. There was also the National Museum of Singapore, who requested that I interview a group of people and from there, edit that footage into cohesive clips for an exhibition.

The challenge in living this portfolio life, however, is still focus. But it is a different kind of focus, one that involves planning ahead so that I will have an interesting, yet manageable, mix of work based on current life circumstances. Bullet journalling has also proved to be an effective way to make sure I am making time for family and self-care while also keeping tabs on the assorted projects. (Added perk: it gives you the perfect excuse to buy pens and markers of assorted colours, but that is another story for another day).

How about you? How do you deal with your portfolio life?

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