Jeff Sheldon is a self-proclaimed “designer by trade and entrepreneur/businessman by accident.” He is the man behind UGMONK, a minimalistic and simplistic apparel brand. He isn’t your typical company founder, though, because Jeff wears the hat of graphic designer, product photographer, copywriter, and manages a slew of other roles. This way, there’s a real distinct consistency throughout the entire brand.
He admits that his reasons for starting the brand were mostly selfish, stating, “The desire to start it was really just to make stuff I really like; really simple and clean stuff. I’ve always tried to make products in a selfish way because I want it to exist.” It turns out a lot of people like Jeff’s minimalistic style as well. While brands tend to focus on following trends, Jeff continues to break those rules and creates an un-categorized new sense of fashion.
“The design has always been my drive ever since I was a kid, whether it was drawing or sketching or building things with Lego,” he explains. What he’s doing now is really just a manifestation of his skills and his passions. And he isn’t doing it alone; Jeff likes to keep the business in the family. His business partner is his brother, who handles more of the web development. His mom does all of the shipping, his sister-in-law does customer service, and his wife helps out in various ways as well.
It’s hard for Jeff to describe in much detail what a typical day is like, because no two days are alike. Especially since the birth of his son, his schedule has been tough to pin down. One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is how he starts each day; “I’ll sit down and write out my things I want to do that day.” He has three index cards, each with 10 slots. One says “Today”, one says “Someday” and the last says “Next”. He elaborates, saying “I’m constantly referencing this [Today] card as I work throughout the day and cross things off with a pen. It’s so satisfying.”
Since the birth of his son, however, Jeff’s been getting used to the balance between work and home. “I used to be able to work as many hours as I want,” he states, claiming that he often times doesn’t have that ability anymore. Not having that ability isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though, and it’s sort of forced Jeff to find that balance. “There’s time’s where I just really want to work and not change another diaper,” he admits, “but it brings some perspective to my day.”'Setting aside time to be fully all-in with family gives such a refreshing perspective when you get back' Click To Tweet
“I’d say I’m actually really bad at separating work and life, because what I do is what I love and my work blends in so much,” Jeff confesses. One thing that has proven useful is taking small trips. He recalls, “recently we [his family] went to Up-State New York for four days just to disconnect and go hiking and be with family.” He proudly states that he didn’t even take his laptop out of the bag once, which is not the kind of discipline that typically comes easy to him. It pays off in the long run, though, because setting aside time to be “fully all-in with family gives such a refreshing perspective when you get back to work.” Jeff plans on taking more of these short trips, where he can shut down the work stuff for a couple of days.'Realizing what went wrong and identifying those issues is the first step in improving it' Click To Tweet
When prompted for the most important questions that Jeff asks himself on a consistent basis, he delivers three superb responses. Firstly, “What are the most important things I need to work on today?” This lends itself to his whole index card system and how he manages to stay productive and organized. Secondly, “What things went right today?” Listing things to be grateful for, even if they’re as small as a good lunch with a friend, can go a long way. It forces you to really look back and appreciate what you have. Finally, he asks himself “What things went wrong today?” This isn’t as negative as it may sound. In fact, realizing what went wrong and identifying those issues is the first step in improving it, delegating it, cutting it completely, or fixing it.
Jeff’s Questions for the KYŌ App:
- What are the most important things I need to work on today?
- What things went right today?
- What things went wrong today?