Be Less Good at Working

I’m thinking this will be a new action item for JKDC. Or potentially, another way to say it: Be Better at Not Working.

For me, July 2017 officially makes 7 years as a practicing independent designer (AKA Lucky Sevens). Quite a milestone. 7 years of graphic design, websites, branding, activism, and collaboration. 7 years of proposals, invoicing, taxes, and emails. 7 years of working with some really great people. 

Over the course of that time, I’d say I’ve gotten to be a pretty good designer. I’ve worked hard to make the projects inspiring, on budget, and on deadline. I’ve worked hard to make the workflow smooth and productive. And I’ve worked extra hard to make sure my clients get what they pay for, and then some.

In the early years, there was lots of hustle. Really getting after it. Staying focused. Keeping all eyes on it. Getting the work, doing the work, delivering the work, getting more work. Repeat. All while staying true to my original intent of doing only work that aligned with the principles I wrote out on paper when I was just starting.

In the last few years, as the projects have gotten more complex and bigger in scope, there’s been more attention paid to the process, the teams involved, and the way everything must keep moving ahead. 

And in those 7 years, with full working days, bleeding into nights and weekends, the extra time put in has certainly paid dividends. But looking to what’s next, does there really need to be so much focus put towards the working?

I don’t know for certain, but for now, I’m going to say no. This action item of being less good at working will mean some things change. Perhaps no more working past 5. No more working on weekends. No more working lunches. Instead, the working gets limited and what gets more focus is getting better at other things I want to do that aren’t necessarily tied to work. 

That could be cooking (already underway). Embracing new activities (scuba diving, check). Carving out time for experimenting and art (got a few things ready to go there). Whatever it is, the point is to not always be “on.” Whether responding to emails or thinking about a design solution while you’re suppose to be sleeping. Enough of that. 

It may seem like something that doesn’t really need to be said. But for me, writing it down has always led to better outcomes. And I think that being less good at working will lead to better work. I guess we’ll see, but I’m set on trying. Now let’s get to it.