Better Designing, By Better Living

In this video I discuss the task of finding balance, and making time ourselves, so that when we design we can have a completely focused approach to what we do. This can be accomplished by taking time to do things we enjoy, and taking time to do nothing. Set up a calendar sync it with your family, use it to stay on the same page with your time management, and then work on what ever is in front of you.

What type of schedule do you make for yourself, or what have you done to maintain balance?

Oh and don’t forget to check out my boy Jonny Mack. Jonny is a great guy who is very talented. I am sure you will be seeing a lot from him in the years to come.

13. November 2010 by Aaron Irizarry
Categories: Design/Development, User Experience | Tags: , , , , , | 6 comments

Comments (6)

  1. Excellent video – I couldn’t agree more. I work full time managing ops for a freight company, and come home to working on client projects on nights/weekends. Though my client projects are usually no more than a couple going at a time, I still feel my time being sucked away from me – moving quickly from one job to the next. It is very easy to fall into that routine where you’re pushing yourself too hard for too long – just to get those extra paychecks. I think you reach a point (at least I do often) where you realize your time is more valuable than any dollar amount a client, or even your full-time employer, can put on it.

    It is usually isn’t until those times that I feel the most bogged down before I look at my schedule and plan for some good time away – whatever it is. Love your idea of sitting and doing nothing. I know if I can do something like that more regularly, I’ll get better balance in my life and work. One of the things I love to do is drive… going on long drives through the mountains or wherever really does wonders and clears my head. Thanks for the post and the opportunity to reflect. Cheers!

    • Aaron, THanks for watching the video and taking time to post your thoughts. you are 100% correct when you say that…

      “I think you reach a point (at least I do often) where you realize your time is more valuable than any dollar amount a client, or even your full-time employer, can put on it.”

      well put sir :)

  2. I totally agree with this post, as a (mostly) freelance designer and developer, I struggle with the same challenges – the constant tug of war between my responsibilities and my goals, and setting aside quality time for myself and the people close to me.

    Interestingly, I’ve found that my biggest challenge is not so much with making the time, but rather, giving myself permission to truly enjoy it – all too often I’ve found myself getting passively wrapped up in thinking about work while supposedly ‘enjoying’ my ‘free’ time.

    One of the things that’s really helped me with this is to do something both mentally engaging and physically active. I’ve noticed this makes it much easier, and in some ways even demands, for my thinking to shift and thus, for my perspective to change.

    Surfing has been very helpful, mountain bike riding, swimming, running, etc., etc., I don’t think it necessarily has to be physically strenuous, just something that actively shifts the perspective.

    Another helpful approach for me has been to create a realistic list of objectives for the day, work hard to complete those objectives, then take the rest of the day (or night) to myself. I will sometimes forgo an extended lunch break or time on Email/Twitter/Devour to power through, get my work done, and then dicker around (guiltfree) after I’ve completed my work for the day.

    As you mention, creating this balance is instrumental in increased productivity and crafting higher quality work.

    Khoi Vinh touches upon this in his recent post here:
    http://www.subtraction.com/2010/11/16/students-dont-do-as-i-have-done

    Thanks for the shout out Aaron!

    See you soon!

    • Great feedback Jonny, thanks for watching the vid, and droppin’ some knowledge.

      I know that I also personally struggle with giving myself permission to take time off, turn off the phone don’t check for emails or messages, and some of it comes from a fear of getting behind, but also I think it can be a fear of not being in control or our work situations.

      Cooking is something that I do to break away getting outside (when grilling) and just enjoy sharing something i love to do with people I love and enjoy being around.

      thanks for sharing the link to Khoi’s article, and sharing your thoughts.

  3. This is the very topic that’s been absorbing me for the last couple of years. I struggle trying to manage my time between my work, personal life, social life and personal projects so it was interesting to listen to your video post this morning.

    Lack of energy seems to be difficulty, especially after a long day at work. One thing that does help is staying fit, it clears my mind, increases my energy and helps me prioritize. Saying “no” is also an important skill to learn. Learning to function regardless of the well intentioned opinion of how others think we should spend our time. At first people will offer resistance towards you walking your own path, then later they will respect you for it.

  4. Oh and anther good tool I’ve been using is http://www.instapaper.com. It allows you to save articles for later reading.

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