It’s 1:00 in the afternoon. You’ve just gotten back from your lunch and have a deadline due at 5:00 this afternoon. You have no ideas and what you’ve come up with so far just isn’t cutting it. You’re so stressed out that you can’t think of anything and everything you do come up with isn’t working. It’s almost 2:00, now. You’ve broken three pencils and already tried to flee the building. What do you do now?
All designers have been in this position; a project needs to be out the door as soon as possible and there seems to be no solution in sight. So, what do you do when your client needs that project right now and you’ve got no ideas?
Here are a few methods to make you feel Less Stressed and More Awesome (don’t worry, none of these steps involved stopping, dropping or rolling in dirt)
- Take a break Step away from what you’re working on and just relax. Take a walk around the building, check out some blogs, have a post-it war with the neighboring office… It doesn’t really matter what you do, so long as you give yourself a moment away from the project.
- Go back to your thumbnails Sometimes we all need a quick trip back to the drawing board. Sit down and look through your thumbnails. If you need to, make a few more sketches for different directions. Stepping away from the computer helps your brain reboot.
- Consult with another designer Getting feedback and discussing your problem with another designer can help break the creative roadblocks caused by stress. If you don’t have another designer available, look up examples of similar projects and see how the problem was handled. It might give you the breakthrough you need. And of course…
- Don’t Panic!
Stressful deadlines are tough to handle, but making it work can make you feel like a superhero (Exact-o-Man?) and make for innovative solutions you probably wouldn’t have thought of without a little incentive. I wouldn’t say I want to be stressed out every day, but it’s definitely nice to feel Awesome once in a while.