What do you do when you’re not designing?
The online design community has one obvious similar trait between all of us: we all love to design design. So we talk about design, freelancing, business, etc. How about something different for a change? This post is a discussion thread for what you do when you’re not designing.
Design can be a very computer-oriented task, especially if you’re a graphic / web designer. For many months I didn’t manage my time too wisely, and realized that the time outside of the computer world (real life) was passing by. I would go to coffee shops, concerts, and party from time to time, but without decent body and mental stimulation, found it hella’ draining. I needed to do something else.
What do you do when you’re away from the computer?
Whether it’s design-related books or beatnik-inspired poetry, reading is something that brings people forward mentally. I generally read material that isn’t design related, as I spend many designing hours doing that.
Illustration helps brainstorming and often I’ll find overlaps between my illustration work and web design (like the header of this page for instance). I like seeing the two integrated.
Exercise / Eating
Exercising is key to not being lazy. Although I schedule time to go to the gym on my schedule, there’s never enough exercise, especially for designers. The Facebook offices feature exercise rooms and lots of break time, which is a great office addition.
Eating healthy and exercising go hand-in-hand, and it’s very easy to change the way you eat. Lentil sandwiches and hummus are both great snacks that are rich in protein for those long hours of designing without getting up.
Ah, puts the ‘life’ in ‘life’. No matter what faith suits you or if you don’t subscribe to a faith, meditation allows you to be more mindful, reduces stress and anxiety, and is scientifically proven to make you life longer. It will enhance your away-from-keyboard world greatly if practiced correctly. Pranayama is meditation focusing on the breath. Try closing your eyes, taking deep breaths and keep your focus on your breath. Try this for 10 minutes without allowing your head to jump to another subject (monkey mind). You’ll be surprised about how your brain acts as a TV, constantly broadcasting a subject into your head. Taming this and focusing on your breath will enhance your concentration on basically everything.
They’re probably not the most constructive activity to saturate your mind with, but spending ½ an hour on games you can pick up and play for a short period of time like Chrono Trigger or Mario Kart is a good way of cleansing the mind. MMORPGs can drain a lot of your time if you’re not good at controlling yourself :).
Enjoying the outdoors & socializing
Whenever possible, socializing can lift spirits, especially for freelancers that work from home. Going to a coffee shop to work allows you to take breaks and have face-to-face discussions with people. The sun is people’s main source of Vitamin-D too. If you take a walk, you can observe different shapes in your environment and use them as fresh design ideas. Nick La has a great post about environment-inspired design.