Out of sheer luck—or more likely, procrastination—I have the distinct honor of writing the final Pastry Box post of 2013. So I guess it’s up to me to leave you with some usable advice for next year. Here goes nothin’…

  1. If you hate your job, quit. It’s that simple, and if you’re reading this website, chances are you already possess a skill set that enables you to do anything you want to do. Stop wasting your life.
  2. Write more, especially if you’re bad at it. Poor communication ability is a professional death sentence.
  3. For chrissakes, stop moving to San Francisco (or Austin, or Brooklyn, etc.). Those places don’t need you. Stay where you are and make that place as cool as it can be.
  4. Once a day, shut down your email for 3 hours and get some real work done.
  5. Attend a big industry conference. Your online friends are much more fun in person.
  6. Learn to code (this is coming from someone who couldn’t code his way out of a wet paper bag).
  7. Give more people a break when they screw up. Mistakes happen. Companies take risks that don’t work out. Services fail. (Note: does not apply to Target or Obamacare.)
  8. Cool it with the design industry hero worship. Most of the people you think have “made it” still struggle to pay their bills every month.
  9. It’s OK if you’re not feeding hungry children or curing cancer with your Sass skills. Really, it is. Not everyone is in a position to change the world. Just do the best you can do, and it’ll make a difference.
  10. Spend more time with your spouse, your kids, and your friends. And stop eating lunch at your desk. No one dies wishing they’d put in more time at the office.

Go get ’em, friends. 2014 won’t know what hit it.

Dive Deeper

If you want to know more about the Pastry Box Project, you can read about the genesis (and goals) of the project.

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A stream of all the thoughts published on the Pastry Box Project is available. Keep it open somewhere, and lose yourself in it whenever you feel like it.

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