I disagree with the above “Don’t stop when you are tired, stop when you are done” quote, which I saw the other day.
I get it. I’ve been there. Knocking out designs and mockups into the wee hours of the morning and literally falling asleep at the computer.
…But I still disagree with the quote.
The truth is work doesn’t have to reach the point of exhaustion to move toward your goals.
95% of the time this is completely avoidable at any reasonable workplace.
Not everything is under your control, but intentionally focusing on what you can control puts you in a place where burning the midnight oil can be the rare exception, not the rule.
There’s a better way.
Here are 6 alternatives:
- Prioritize the work so you are tackling the critical work as the first part of the work day. Execute the non-critical later in the day.
- Ask better stakeholder questions with design projects so you can minimize surprises that would otherwise derail the project.
- Avoid praising all-nighters and workaholism as honorable sacrifices. If you view those things as commendable you’ll keep doing them.
- Realize that perfectionism is bogus.
- Stop jacking around and avoid distractions during work time. Put your phone in a desk drawer or in another room while you’re working. Watch your productivity skyrocket.
- Try a morning schedule. Getting up early allows me to get my work done and be there for my family in the evening. Even though I was never a “morning person,” I made the switch and I’ll never go back. Now I am a morning person.
- Use Parkinson’s law to your advantage to crush your design project deadlines.
I’ll close with this quote by Jason Fried from the excellent book Rework:
“Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is home because she figured out a faster way”.