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The best remedy for stress is taking time off.Being a graphic designer can be a very stressful profession. Especially if you run your own home-based graphic design business. Not only do you have the demands of being creative, you also have to deal with the day to day tasks involved with running a successful business. There will inevitably come a time when the stress will start getting to you and the best thing you can do it take some time off. Luckily, if you run your own graphic design business it means you are your own boss and you can take time off whenever you want.
When I say take some time off from your graphic design business I'm not talking about vacation. Yes, we all need vacation time in order to relax and unwind, but what I mean by “time off” is simply stepping away from your daily routine for a while. Be it a day or just a few hours. It's amazing how taking a little time off, some “me” time if you will, can recharge your mental and creative batteries and allow you to dive right back into work at 100% efficiency.
How do you take time off from graphic design?
Get out of the office.
There are various ways for you to take time off from designing. The simplest way is to get out of your office. Find some chores or housework that needs to be done and go do it. If that's not good enough for you, try getting out of the house. Go for a walk, run some errands, go visit a museum. This last one is especially good at getting your creative juices flowing.
Tackle often neglected office tasks.
If you can only take a couple of hours off and don't feel like leaving the house, consider tackling those often neglected tasks around your office. Clean your desk and your drawers. Update your computer's OS, software, RAM, hard drive. Run some maintenance programs to help speed up your computer.
You could also take some time to purge unwanted files and applications, or archive old client files that don't need to be taking space on your computer. Clean out your e-mail inbox or organize your fonts. My software of choice for this last task is Suitcase Fusion by Extensis.
Find other ways to be productive.
If you are feeling too guilty to take time off but are still feeling the stress, take some time for self-improvement. Try experimenting with some of the less used applications on your computer. You know, the applications you purchased as part of some graphic design bundle. You may have bought the bundle for one or two specific programs but that's not to say the others couldn't be put to good use if you knew what they did. Destress by taking the time to learn those applications.
You could also improve yourself by watching webinars or taking courses. A great place to learn about design and business is through Lynda.com. Lynda offers a wide variety of professionally produced courses that could really help you and your graphic design business.
A way to get out of the office and still be productive is to go visit some clients. Just stop in to say hi and see how they're doing. What's great about this idea is sometimes by seeing you, the client will remember some project they were thinking of and ask you to take it on. I've walked away from several surprise client visits with new projects to add to my schedule.
Taking time off is all about improving your work.
I'm always dumbfounded when someone thinks graphic designers sit around all day drawing pretty things. People don't realize how stressful our lives can be. We potentially hold the success or failure of companies in our hands depending on the branding we create for them. That's a lot to place on an individual. It's no wonder the pressure sometimes gets to us. Luckily, graphic designers tend to have short reset times and simply taking some time off is all we need. Even if that time off is a single day, an afternoon, or just an hour, when we finally get back to our workstations, we're eager to dive right back in and get creative.
What do you think?
What do you do when you take some time off from your graphic design business? Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.
Questions of the Week
I have another Question Of The Week to answer. If you would like me to answer your question in a future episode please visit my feedback page.
This week’s question comes from Sean,
Should you ask a client for their budget in the initial project questionnaire?
To find out what I told Sean you’ll have to listen to the podcast.
Resource of the week is Photos For Life
EDIT: It looks like this website doesn't exist anymore.
Photosfor.life is a “charity photo bank” where all the stock photos are created by cancer patients and survivors and for other cancer patients. Each of the models you see in the images was personally affected by cancer in their own lives. “They love their lives and want to show it to the world!” the website says.
Prices range from $8 for non-commercial use up to $850 for use in an advertising package.
What makes Photos for Life different from other stock photo services is that 100% of the proceeds from the photo sales are used to finance therapies for other cancer patients.
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Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org