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blog I posted in a personal space elsewhere -- inspired by posts I see on Newstoday.
Depression, Procrastination and/or Lack of Focus
I’ve noticed every so often someone posts something in design forums about depression or something like it that has come to effect their creativity. Sometimes I chime in, sometimes I don’t. But, I wanted to just add a little piece of easily searchable advice here just in case. Some people don’t need or care so this really isn’t for you, but I’d like to share some of this with the people who do struggle with this. So, here you go:
I’m a converted Designer/Programmer to Producer a couple years ago. I always thought my previous work history would help me help my designers and programmers work faster and smarter on their projects as well as keep their general quality of life in a good place. Some people just don’t understand. I notice that no matter if they’ll admit it or not, designers and programmers are generally sensitive people with special needs. By special I don’t mean retarded, but they aren’t your average office desk jocky like most people we know. It’s also fairly easy to knock a designer or programmer off their groove making it pretty impossible to get any work done or focus. When creative people have trouble working or managing life, it usually means they're burnt out and I believe that can also be mistaken for depression. Compounded with the stuff that happens outside of work (which most of us do too much of anyway) it’s easy to see how it all could snowball.
Some people have full time jobs, some people are freelancers, some people do both or a combination w/ art school. These suggestions are the same things I tell the people I work with or friends that express the same problems. It may seem so simple but most of us fall into these bad habits at one time or another and it trickles down into what we do.
1. Don’t be a fucking slob: Whether you go into an office or work at home, put a little effort into the start of your day. It really doesn’t have to do anything with fashion. But, you should get up as if you’re actually going to do something. Sitting around in your “depression pants” or boxers all day isn’t going to make your day much better.
2. Rise and Shine even if you don’t really have to: We all need sunlight. Seriously. If you’re going to work odd hours that’s fine if it works for what you do, but there’s no real reason to sleep until 11 or 12 pm every day just because. I don’t think any of us would have even graduated high school if you were supposed to be doing that. You’ll be so much happier if you get out of bed before 10:30 and at the very least go outside for a couple of hours if you’re not going to go drive into an office. I’ve been a freelance producer for a couple of years outside of the office so I find myself doing this sometimes in between projects. It’s not good for you to be a lazy slob (see #1). Vitamin D and B will lift your spirits. If you’re dead set on being Count Dracula, at the very least take some supplements.
3. Freelancers: Freelancers are “free” to work wherever they want. What’s the big deal about working on your couch? That’s a pretty good waste of what freedom you’ve earned. Set up a proper home office with good lighting, or, better yet, go be around people. It’s always nice to have the choice to go into an office or not. Try going in once a week if you find yourself feeling depressed often. Just being around people during the day can change everything. Being solo all the time isn’t for everyone. There’s also lots of communal work spaces that can help with this, too. You can also get creative when you need to change it up. I like to send people to work poolside or in a swanky lobby of a local Hotel. They usually have internet there and you get to be outside... or just somewhere different. You can also do the same thing at museums like the Ghetty in Los Angeles. It's got a pretty campus and something different to look at but you can still get work done and take phone calls outside.
4. Be your own producer: I'm a big fan of lists. You can see what you have to do and what you've accomplished so far. It helps you prioritize your day with some room for organic changes to happen. Take one with you while you work outside the office. It can be as easy and having a text file on your desktop that you mark done as you go down the list. If you’re a freelancer, nobody will really hold your hand and do this for you but why wouldn’t you want to? It’s no wonder you’re depressed when you mismanage your projects and then work in a constant state of emergency.
5. Eat like a grown up: Seriously people, if your mother knew what you were eating every day she’d probably make you move back home. That includes excessive coffee, redbull and a case of pepsi every day. Sugar and caffeine keep you awake but they also make you crash. Mood swings and creative blocks usually don’t come from nowhere. Pay attention to how you treat your body and your marbles will probably also align accordingly. That leads me to the next thing..
6. Your body doesn’t lie: GET SOME SLEEP. Any boss, client, or partner will understand when your body fails, the project probably will, too. If you plan better and manage your projects better, that probably won’t happen as much. But, there is a thin line between the occasional late night or rush project and sleep deprivation/torture. I wouldn’t expect good work or smiling faces out of someone who hasn’t had a good night’s rest in who knows how long. It could also mean your overextended socially. If that means cutting down on going out all night after working all day, maybe that’s what you have to do. As we get older it gets a little harder (normally) to party like that, work and stay happy.
7. Get a hobby: A hobby that doesn’t include staring at a different flat screen playing video games.
8. Unplug: Take a vacation with no computer. Totally unplug so you don't have any distraction except to do something or nothing if you feel like -- totally uninterrupted by work/school/obligations to yourself or others. It doesn’t have to be long, just a weekend upstate. The drive could do you some good and get you out of the bat cave.
9. If you can’t remember yourself: Ask your girlfriend to crush your pills into your morning applesauce. If you really should be on meds, maybe you should actually take them. (Advice for some but not others).
10. Therapy: Therapy doesn’t always = just being an expressive artist who communicates through fontography. The following is a sweeping generalization: Male artists in particular like to bottle things in until they’re ready to explode, quit, melt down, or stab someone in while they sleep. Why does it ever have to come to that?
11. You’re not saving babies: Or the planet... so quit taking yourself so seriously and you’ll be so much happier.
12. AND FINALLY: Get over it, Diva. The only one really responsible for your happiness is yourself. The whole Diva thing can be a bi-product of many things. I’ve seen it happen to just generally unhappy people who like to take it out on the world. You might be awesome (sometimes) but you don’t have to be a cunt about it. I can see how you might be depressed if nobody actually likes you.
anybody read all of that?
I expected that would be along the lines of the first post.
Eh... it's for the archives now. If someone posts about depression again... now you can be a dick and tell them to "search for it".
Well said, shellie. Lots of good advice in there.
Except for the part about unplugging more often...definitely have to work on that.
I understand how it can be. An easy way to do it is to leave the laptop at home when traveling (recreationally) for the weekend.
Then, when you return it's almost too much effort to be bother to boot up Sunday night.
thank you for taking the time out to write and share those suggestions.
Get out of the bat cave Jaline!
It's harder when there's lots of school work. Because then I use the laptop for fun AND for leisure.
i still love you
it's good advice, but I'm not doing any of it
My name is Jaline.
And I am....an addict.