Your Mood Should Not Dictate Your Manners

When things are going great we all have a positive attitude. We are polite and nice to everyone around us. We are helpful and cheerful and smile back when people smile at us. The story is not the same when things start going south. Whether it is in a project, in your work life or in your personal life you will come up against challenges which will affect your mood.

How do you handle yourself when you are under a lot of stress? Do you snap at the next person who stops by to say hi? Do you take your anger out on the first person you see?

The true gauge of a professional is how they handle themselves when things are not so great. Keep your calm and don't let outside influences change your manners. 

Of course this is easier said than done. The only way to get better at it is to realize when you are in a stressful state and consciously not to let the situation affect you. The more you practice this approach the more you will feel in control to weather any storm. 

Here are some ways to keep your mood in check:

  • Practice mindfulness
  • Take mini breaks
  • Exercise regularly
  • Communicate your thoughts and feelings

How do you cope with stressful situations? Share your ideas on Twitter.

Ideal is not always the best

As designers we love to show content laid out perfectly on pages. It starts with sketching the right amount of lines to show content blocks. Next come the wireframes, so we add lorem ipsum text to the designs and continue to show the exact amount of text. All is good so far. We then move the wireframes in to visual design and now we can see our design in it's full glory. 

There is a problem however.

We accounted for the perfect amount of text to be placed in our designs and as we all know content doesn't always turn out to be the exact same length we plan it to be. 

Some of the elements we need to account for various lengths are:

  • Names
    You started out with John Doe as your text placeholder. Will your design adjust to longer, multi-syllable names?
  • Headlines
    You accounted for just two lines of text. How will your design look with three lines? 
  • Subtitles
    You accounted for one line but now you need to add three lines. 
  • Text Blocks
    If you accounted for only 10 words and not a word more. How will your design handle 15 words?

So as we can see ideal is not always the best.

We love to see the ideal amount of text in our designs. However it is important to keep the imperfect lengths of text in mind throughout the design process. This will help prevent bigger issues during the later stages which take more time and effort to correct.

Running is my Muse

Every time I go for a run in the morning I get nervous. Thoughts rush through my mind. How will my run go? Maybe I shouldn’t run and go to work early instead since I have a lot to do. Still I push myself out the door.

As I start running, I start tackling each thought that is on my mind. Sometimes it is a challenging design problem I need to solve. Other times I’m organizing my tasks for the day. Running gives me the opportunity to spend time thinking, solving problems and clearing my mind.

As I cool down after the run I feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day.
Running helps me clear my thoughts, organize my day and help me solve any challenges I face.

Timeboxing for results

When I first tried out time boxing while sketching I panicked. Time boxing is allowing yourself a set amount of time to perform a task. How could I possibly be creative with tight time restrictions? Surprisingly, knowing that I only had a set time to deliver the sketches it helped me focus. It kept me from getting side tracked. Going through the exercise and seeing the amount for sketches I was able to come up with made me feel great and completely changed my mind about time boxing for results.

Want to learn more about time boxing? Here are some websites that go into the process in more detail:

Timeboxing (Wikipedia)

Timeboxing - Zurb

15 Time Boxing Strategies to Get Things Done

Personal Projects

Client work might not be fulfilling enough for some. This is where Personal Projects can be a life saver or as James Victore puts it, work that feeds your soul. These side projects can help challenge you and be very satisfying at the same time. You don’t need anyone’s approval and no one can tell you to change it.

It is vital to keep your creativity flowing on a daily basis. Whether it is an app idea or a solution to a real world problem, you should start a personal project as soon as you can to help you improve and hone your skills. 

Have a personal idea you are working on? Let me know