Spinning plates … juggling balls … balancing on tightropes … running on hamster wheels. How many times have we heard these tired but all-too-familiar tropes about our packed lives in 2017?! As designers, we’re used to working on multiple projects, each with their own fire drills and last minute surprises. And the ghost of the recession still looms over us, when the phones were quiet and our email inboxes were empty. So, of course, we hate to turn down any business, even though schedules continue to contract, fees remain low and client expectations keep inflating.
Learning to say no is much easier than done, especially for us people pleasers, isn’t it? But unless we can find a way to add hours to the day (or win the Lotto), the pace of modern life is not going to let up. So it’s up to us to figure out our own priorities, and to stick to them. For some, it may be to squeeze in that workout at the crack of dawn. For others, it’s to schedule regular Date Nights with our sweethearts. (Which reminds me of the time I signed up for stress-reduction meditation classes, but then got even more stressed out because I couldn’t find the time to practice meditating.)
I have learned about a decision-making concept called Satisficing – doing just enough to get the job done and not wasting time, effort and resources going beyond that point. Satisficing does not mean delivering mediocre work; on the contrary, it takes more focus to deliver just the right amount of effort for which you will gain the most benefit. Endless redesigns may be fine when you’re in school, but in the real world, that means burning away precious fee. So do what you must to exorcise your inner perfectionist, because he/she isn’t doing you any favors.
For me, engaging with ASID has been a priority ever since I was a student member. As a lifelong introvert and homebody, I’d feel a bit panicky every time I saw a volunteer commitment on my To Do list or calendar. But without fail, I’d always finish an ASID project knowing a little more than I did before, and leave an ASID event feeling inspired by someone I’d met. I still feel that way today. ASID thrust me into a scary leadership role that I didn’t ask for, but professionally, it was the best thing to ever happen to me. I can honestly say I am a better designer and, more importantly, a better person because of my involvement with ASID. The time I invested was a pittance in comparison with what I’ve gained!
I love that there are now more ways than ever to engage with ASID. The local chapter network has always been the lifeblood of ASID, and there are multiple ways to get involved: join a committee, plan a program, give a presentation to students … or just show up at an event. (Visit the Chapter Map on the beautiful new ASID.org website for more info). If you’d rather connect on a wider level, come to one of the many events we’re hosting across the country, from the SCALE: The ASID National Student Summit or the multi-day Leadership Experience to the Impact Summit on migration, culture and diversity. Later this year, we’ll be hosting a brand new experiential event exclusively for principals, partners, and owners at a destination resort, so stay tuned.
So try apply Satisficing to your work life. You just might “discover” some extra time in your day – time you can spend taking a walk, having coffee with a friend or seeing a movie with your kid. And if you do attend one of ASID’s many events this year, please come say hello to me! I’d love to meet you and hear how you balance your life.