And it’s beautiful.
Simone Giertz latest invention, the Every Day Calendar
Introducing the Every Day Calendar by Simone Giertz
A simple printed circuit board as the sleek backdrop for a wall hanging that features a grid of backlit capacitive touch buttons.
Each golden hexagon’s warm glow signifies a single day. Every time you achieve your daily goal, “You get to tap that day to light it up. It’s like a gold star reward system.”
Giertz knows that feeling all too well. She recently lit up her entire calendar.
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“I celebrated a year of meditating every day. Ok, I did miss one day but I’m going to blame the brain surgery. Cut me some slack. But it felt extraordinary to look back and think, ‘I did it. I stuck with it – and it’s changed my life.”
Prior to her diagnosis, Giertz had already started focusing on improving her health.
“I was just starting to feel really burnt out – I needed to do something about it.” She explains that, despite being incredibly grateful for the life she has, she couldn’t escape a certain level of stress that nothing seemed to alleviate.
“Meditating felt like the most effective manner to shift my thinking but I kept choosing to do something else instead. I’d work on a build for 20 minutes longer than I intended or organize my tools or edit a video – anything other than do what I felt was important. It’s like eating everything else on the plate and hoping the peas will just disappear if you stop looking at them.”
Giertz unsuccessfully employed a number of techniques to encourage herself to meditate: she downloaded apps, drew her own calendar and even embroidered something that she describes as “this weird calendar that kind of looks like a toilet paper roll.”
Unsurprisingly, the “toilet paper roll” calendar netted less than favorable results, as did all the others. “It was too easy to just put it in a drawer and forget about it. And then I wouldn’t meditate for days at a time. It’s like friends I have who are trying to workout more or quit smoking. They start strong but, once you skip a day or two, it’s too easy to give up. We all know what that feels like.”
So the Queen of Shitty Robots began discussing some specific design ideas she had with fellow makers and friends with engineering backgrounds.
“My goal was to design an attractive art piece I wanted to hang in my home that would also help hold me accountable.” Giertz explains that the success of some self-improvement programs is based on being accountable to someone – and checking in with them. She wanted to recreate that responsibility.
Rather than a paper calendar, the glow of the lights marked her progress and encouraged her on days she didn’t feel up to the task. “I noticed, the thought of having just one day that wasn’t lit up, gave me that extra nudge that I needed to actually go meditate.”
She’s proud of what she and her team have created. “I’ve had opportunities to put my name on products and I’ve turned them down. But this is different. This is something I’ve created that I really believe in. It sounds cheesy to say it’s changed my life but it really has. I thought that maybe putting this out in the world would help other people to do the same. It’s helped me get through some tough moments and take better care of myself. If even a few people can experience the same thing, this was all worth it.”
Simone Giertz TED Talk
Less than a week before Simone Giertz was diagnosed with a grade 1 meningioma, the inventor who made her name as the “Queen of Shitty Robots” on YouTube and Reddit was onstage in Vancouver receiving a standing ovation for her wildly successful TED Talk.
That talk, which has been viewed more than 1.5 million times on YouTube, focused on Why You Should Make Useless Things.