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Naimah Quinae, Design & Apparel Manager
Feb. 6, 2020

One of the prompts for a leadership workshop homework sheet was to identify something that you assume annoys the crap out of your teammates. I continuously impress myself with how no matter how often I come into contact with a situation, when asked to think back to it for a present task, I can’t recall it. That’s when I realized that my memory may be the key thing that gets on the staff’s nerves.

I’m ok with that, mostly because I recognize the truth in it. I don’t know if my teammates know it, but funnily, I know that I have forgotten to answer an email. Yes, basically I remembered that I forgot. I also remember forgotten deadlines and tasks. In a performance review, someone suggested that possibly my habit of having videos play in the background while working was causing my mind to not be completely focused, leaving room for typos and missed edits on designs. These are mistakes that I can’t make in such a detail oriented field. I don’t deny that the videos are hurting my focus, but I am ALWAYS distracted. My mind moves too fast in general. I forget things like where I sat something down five seconds ago…It can be quite a mess!

A conversation with Allen, MORTAR’s Managing Partner and Creative Director, on how it’s normal for creatives to often be floating somewhere else, and that we’re pretty much always distracted made me feel a little less like I was crazy. In fact, it made me feel GREAT about having this annoying quirk that helps me when I am in the zone and sparking creative blazes while working on projects. He understands because he’s a creative too. This quirk, however, does not help in a corporate world, where everything is on a timeline, or where EVERYTHING is important and/or urgent. To function in this world like normal people, creatives have to go an extra mile.

In 2020, I want to intensify efforts to focus and operate in an organized way. I am learning that writing it all down is helpful. It gives me less things that I have to keep in my brain; less items I have to remember. I bought a personal planner that I keep in my home office, and in it I have been jotting down tasks that I want to complete. I also bought one for my work at MORTAR, along with a notepad and special pens that I keep in it. I write notes from office conversations, and make a conscious effort to actually listen. And if I zone out, I force myself to ask questions, just to be sure I’m clear in the notes that I make to myself. My previous self would have despised these organizational efforts (blech!), just as all creatives seem to have this frustration with keeping things in order. However, I’d like to testify to how helpful it has been. These first few weeks in the new year have been incredibly productive!

Writing it down is literally all it takes sometimes.

Due to my efforts to be more organized, I have, in collaboration with Allen and our Events manager, Shannon, successfully brought together a panel titled “Experiences In The Black Creativesphere” that will be taking place this Saturday during MORTAR’s 5th annual Future History Now. I am very excited about this! It will be an opportunity to hear more about how creatives think, specifically Black creatives, and will offer insight on how the art and design industry can be more inclusive of people of color. This panel will take place at 2PM, among other valuable afternoon panels and events. Tickets are $10 in advance, and for both morning and afternoon panels, tickets are $15. Get tickets here:

MORTAR design manager, Naimah, found the right organizational tactic for her. See her and two other Black creatives at the 5th annual #FutureHistoryNow. Click To Tweet


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