I find myself in the middle of winter, deadlines looming on the edges of every week with bigger piles of drawings and details to get done. The sun isn’t out long enough, the days are cold and snowy, and I can’t skip out to go ski down the mountains with all this work to do! I was finding myself a bit overwhelmed the other day and was trying to figure out where my normal laid-back, “sure, I can do that” attitude had run off to. And then I realized, with all of my attention on the production drawing work to get done, I wasn’t spending time out of my chair to socialize and enjoy the company and laughter of others.
Creative people need comedy – edit… everyone needs comedy. And laughter! And it’s so important to bring humor in from all sources because it helps us dissect information and then learn how we truly feel about a design or situation without the stresses that we tend to place on ourselves. But if you’re like me, and you’re a sole-proprietor or spend most of your day working quietly by yourself, it can be really difficult to truly experience the much needed comic relief that can break up the intensity of a typical work day. So I thought I’d share a few of my outlets that help me stay on track with my attitude and have a good laugh.
1. Draw things that are funny to you. They don’t have to be funny to anyone else. I like to keep a small sketchbook near me just for sketching out crazy ideas for some new invention or sketching out something I found amusing. It keeps your drawing skills sharp and on a day when you’re not feeling as motivated as you’d like to be, it’s a great pick-me-up to flip back thru all the silliness. If someone else does go thru your little drawings, and they laugh at them.. guess what… you’ll laugh too!
2. Photoshop. Over lunch some time, make a copy of the 3D image you’ve been staring at for the past 2 months and add a giant cat to it. Or maybe even 3 cats… and Godzilla. If a project is making you cringe every time you see it, do something to make it fun again to at least get thru it. If it makes you laugh, you’ll push thru the project. If it makes your co-workers laugh – they’ll come in with you to get the project done. Note: keep the humor light – especially in a professional office setting. Cats and crayons are all ok, but making an image of your boss’s head being rammed thru with the Burj Khalifa Tower is a good way to get fired. Just sayin’…
3. Go out for a beer! Sometimes all it takes is a little socializing and sharing the woes of our profession to make us realize that we’re not alone in our efforts and sharing stories is good practice for how we talk about projects. This is especially true if you invite the clients that you’re working with on the project. If you have a laugh with a client on a regular basis, they are a client for life.
4. Have a 5-year-old tell you the recipe for macaroni and cheese.
5. Use your vacation days. A Friday off here and there for a long weekend makes a huge difference in our attitudes and ability to be receptive to humor. Taking one day off could lead to weeks of more productive and overall pleasant work atmosphere which will vastly out-weigh that day off.
Really… I’m just trying to say, remember to have fun!
Christy Riggs, AIA, LEED Green Associate | 308 LLC