Head down time. Seems like such a luxury in today’s fast-paced mobile-driven world. It’s easy to get lost in communication and find work productivity fleeting. Every second of every day it’s as if we need to respond to an email, text a friend, ping someone in Slack, or make a “quick” run to the water cooler. With all this going on, how is there quality time to get work done?
There are a few tricks to help alleviate the pressure of piling emails, workplace interruptions, or deadlines that have helped me, and hopefully will be helpful to you.
Removing yourself from the constant hustle and bustle of the office is an effective way to channel all your energy into your work. At Proof, we believe head down time is a must, and often we see someone going to a coffee shop or downstairs to our favorite watering hole to get that much needed alone time, and luckily, our work schedule is structured to allow for remote work days on Tuesday/Thursday.
Being able to focus and getting some much-needed head down time can be as easy as asking for it. I know if I need a few hours to really concentrate on logo design, all I’d need is to ask. Communicating to our team that you really need some time to think, alone, is welcomed.
Take a Walk.
Letting a project breathe for a minute may seem counterintuitive, but in some cases stepping away brings on a new perspective. Getting hung up on minor details about a design can burn the clock. Changing colors, fonts, or tinkering with elements pixel by pixel for the perfect fit can deviate anyone from the task at hand. Step away and clear your head.
Powering down your communication devices (phone, tablet etc…) may be scary, I know, but nixing the constant buzz in your ear creates peace and gives clarity in the creative process. It’s a beautiful thing not worrying about who liked what or when your Amazon package is going to be delivered. Eliminating the ability to access what seems to be another appendage of our body, relieves anxiety and the pressure to constantly respond during the creative process.
Set Measurable Goals.
“Time” defined as a verb is: “plan, schedule, or arrange when (something) should happen or be done.” Or commonly known in the industry as a deadline. During projects there are generally several moving parts. Looking at it as a whole isn’t the best method. Take time to break down each task and set measurable goals. These small victories along the way will build momentum and take the burden of deadlines off your shoulders.
Share Early & Often.
We have a little saying at Proof and that’s to “share early and often.” The design process is just that, a process. Sharing work should be natural, but as a designer, I know we tend to be self critical and keep our work a secret until it’s ready for the spotlight. Often times, I find myself just staring at a design wondering how to make it better, when really asking for an opinion is best. Sometimes distractions can come in the form of holding on too long. Getting another set of eyes on it early can help guide the project forward.
As I sit here, alone in my apartment, I can’t help but think, a wise man once said to get outside your comfort zone, but in this case finding my very own comfort zone works just fine.