Its been a whirl-wind these couple of months. At least for me. Work, architectural work, sometimes enters the realm where you are just (for lack of a better word) bored! When you have designed quite intricately yet changes keep pilling up your patience equally runs thin. You start to miss school and its specific timelines, and ‘marking’ seems more and more like a magical day where all the changes cease. Yes, no more marking days just a continuous flat-line of a week that reminds you of the Eveready batteries… they go on and on and on…
So after tearing apart numerous to-do-lists where my attempt to check an item off was with a tiny dot indicating, almost done, but not quite, I decided to write a TO-DON’T-LIST. For the sake of sanity? Well, to me that privilege was surrendered the first day I stepped into an architecture studio, so no! It just reduces the traffic in my mind, streamlines my insanity and allows a bit of productivity. So maybe, just maybe, it might do the same for you.
- DON’T STRESS
Anxiety about the future or regret about the past have a way of multiplying themselves rather than eliminating. So don’t be anxious about your fast approaching deadline or regretful about your un-met goals. In fact, tear up that list right this minute. Instead celebrate your little victories and set trigger goals rather than having a to-do-list.
Trigger goals are small goals that may contribute to your ultimate goal. For example, if you have a whole set of working drawings to do but you keep losing focus, you can set the following trigger goals to help you achieve focus;
- Switch off the internet data on your phone (Yes, those Whatsapp messages will have to wait)
- Make a continuous playlist(at least an hour long) This reduces the tendency of changing songs for those us who prefer to be working-while-wired.
- Collect all the stationery you may require for that particular project and keep them at arms-length… this may include a glass of water
- Schedule your breaks
The above tasks have nothing to do with plans, sections or elevations but allow uninterrupted productivity and reduce stress.
2. DON’T STRAIN
Nothing is as bad as having a deadline that is fast approaching and being ill-equipped to tackle it. Computers sometimes get slow, and this personally frustrates me when I am working on urgent or important work. Before you proceed, make sure your computers are working at top performance. So, even though you have a tight schedule, taking a break to repair your hardware/software will be more of time-saving than time-wasting.
3. DON’T DO TWO PROJECTS AT A TIME
The most effective way to work is by prioritizing. I personally use the Marie Forleo formula of Important-over Urgent. Important work has an unwritten clause whereby if you do not do it, you are at risk of losing more than you would lose if you simply postpone urgent work. Also take note that some work is both urgent and important. So I work on my important work to a presentable level, then I embark on my urgent work.
4. DON’T REACT
Stress, strain or just sheer boredom can lead to an emotion many of us would rather not show… anger. When your nostrils are huffing air like a dragon would breathe fire, your eyes a dangerous red squinting into slits and your boss’s silhouette starts to seem like a red cloak and you an angry bull, do yourself a favour and stop! Do not react, rather respond accordingly.
Reacting can get you a number of things ranging from a slight reprimand to a termination letter. Responding to a situation that angers you allows you to take control of your negative emotions and not the other way round.
5. DON’T SKIP YOUR ME-TIME
Architects are often guilty of pulling all-nighters and sadly some employers have come to a point where they believe they deserve this from you. However, when a pile of pending work is pressuring you to complete them, the last thing you want to do is be lethargic while trying to do them.
Go home, take a long bath or shower, play with your children or siblings, read a novel or just sit in your balcony and look at the stars and last but not least, sleep! You will thank yourself the next day.
So there you go, my to-don’t-do-list… because design never ends, but my health and well-being are surely on loan from my maker.