Think, not do

28 Jan

Thinking is the most mentally taxing part of my job, and what I should spend the most time doing.

I’m a doer. I don’t like sitting still for too long as I get bored easy. I can’t work on the same thing for more than a few hours.

I’ve come to a realization that this “doer” mentality can affect me negatively when it comes to my work. I often rush into things and want to see results immediately. This process often ends with a rushed, haphazard, unclear, finished piece. Without thoroughly thinking through the concept, hierarchy, and having a vision of what I want the final piece to communicate, I often end up with a solution that is either unclear or executed poorly.

Now, when working on projects I try to think more at the beginning so that there is less aptness for hiccups further along in the process. Sitting and thinking is not a familiar feeling. Usually, I am thinking and doing at the same time. Challenging myself to focus all of my energy on one subject has been an act of self-discipline.

I’ve noticed zoning in on one problem for a consecutive amount of time allows me to think about what the main concern is, and how that problem can be solved successfully. Allowing myself time to think of all possible solutions and resources that can help me in my search for the feasible, successful final product.

Being a competitive person, I always want to finish first, or at least be ahead of the herd.  After seeing how my work, spent mostly in production, compared to other students’ work, I realized I was doing something wrong as their pieces were always conceptually stronger. Because of this, there was no need for tons of design cliches and trends as the piece’s concept spoke for itself.

I was also becoming more aware of my ego, and how that was getting in the way of me working harder. I worked for the grade, not for myself, which was a mistake looking back. The grade means nothing, because that is based on assignments, classroom interaction, and sometimes if the teacher liked you or not. It’s an opinion, a very good one, but if I wasn’t genuinely happy with my work, than what was I doing?

With this realization I tried to look at things differently from the start. Sketching and writing helps to slow my process. To burst out all ideas of something is refreshing and also challenging. I often come up with random ideas of things I want to make throughout an average day, but I usually forget to write these down, or I doubt their validity. Focusing on those ideas allows me to think freely, and then I challenge them when sitting down with a colleague.

So the lesson I have learned in the past 8 months or so, is to slow down and think. The brain is a powerful thing when you let it work.

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