In the GDUSA May Enewsletter, I acknowledged that I am a habitual and compulsive overworker. It may be too late for me, but surely it is not for you. The specific issue that triggered by comment was weekend work, but it fits into the much large context of trying to keep a balance in your life between work and play. This is not a frivolous issue and for many graphic designers and other creative professionals, finding the balance is crucial — because burnout is so common and so devastating to designers, because staying refreshed and creativity is often the key to career success and longevity, and because, hey, you only live once (as far as we know).
Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group, the specialized staffing firm, recently wrote an article — which will be reprinted in GDUSA’s next magazine — called “Keeping All Work and No Play At Bay.” In it she notes that the average workweek for creative professionals is 47 hours, that four in 10 respondents work 50 or more hours a week, and 62 percent bring work home on weekends. Among other things, Diane offers five tips will help you maximize your time on the job so you can pursue interests off the clock.
Here are her thoughts, in very short form:
1. Keep Your Calendar Realistic
Don’t plan too much for one day. Spend 10 minutes each morning creating a realistic to-do list and break big projects into smaller, doable tasks.
2. Simplify Your Surroundings
Manage your space, both physical and virtual. Organize your real and your virtual desktop.
3. Minimize Distractions
This is a tough one in a digital era. But to maximize productivity without cutting off sources of inspiration, check social media feeds and personal messages only during designated periods each workday and not all the time.
4. Take A Break
Take a breather from time to time. Health and productivity suffer when there’s no time to recharge; refill your water bottle for a walk, eat a decent lunch, close your eyes for five minutes.
5. Set Limits
This includes taming time-sucks such as meetings, take home work only in exceptional situations, hire project-based staff at peak periods, and delegate, delegate, delegate.
You can read more about controlling your time on The Creative Group blog.