It’s amazing how easily things can change just by being on the other side of a weekend. Last week I was ready to throw my hands in the air, forget about any interest I have in design and apply for any job that met these three basic criteria: I don’t have to think, it’s easy (always), and no computers (ever).
… And then I realised how incredibly boring that would be and put an end to any plans to leave designer-land for a job that would never challenge me but always bore me.
I go through this cycle of thinking a lot; each time forgetting that I’ve been through this process once, twice, three-hundred times before. This line of thought often begins during a difficult week where I’ve been pushed enough that I actually begin to question if I’m any good at what I’m doing and if continuing is actually worth it. Not surprisingly, the same line of thought often ends sometime before the end of the upcoming weekend and after I have had time to relax and step away from the cause of my frustration. Essentially, it all stops after I have had time to use the weekend as a way to ‘reset’.
But why should I wait till the weekend to kick the frustration?
This week I made a conscious effort to spend my weeknights and my time away from work doing things completely unrelated to design. I just would not wait until the weekend. In my spare time at night, instead of sitting down to learn something new or work on a small freelance project, I did things I would usually wait until the weekend to do. I cooked, I went to the beach, I read, I hung out with friends and I spent a lot of time doing something that is making me really happy right now — I planned my holiday to the USA.
As a result, not only was I productive in my ‘life’, I spent most of this working week feeling creative, inspired and motivated. Spending some time away from ‘work’ each night meant that each day started with a clear, rested head. If, by the end of the day, something was frustrating me, I’d come back the next day with renewed optimism and a better perspective on the issue. While I understand that there are a heap of variables that affect how your days turn out on a week-by-week basis, I know that this week has taught me that resting and simply seizing any time to ‘reset’ does, in fact, help.
I realise that dedicating all of my spare time to things only I want to do won’t always be a possibility: I’ve never been good at taking breaks, my mind rarely stops and occasionally I’m going to have to work on something in my spare time. This aside, if I don’t at least afford myself the luxury of taking a small break whenever I need one instead of waiting until the weekend, how many more cycles of “OMGIQUIT!” am I going to be able to bear? I’m going to go with not many.
One weekend every day thanks.
I know that with how fast the (web) design industry moves there is always the pressure to stay on top of things. To produce, to learn, to evolve, to create. This is totally okay. Just know that whenever you need it, it's okay to take a break and 'reset'.