How To Not Let Stress Get The Best of Your Creativity
So you’re a designer? It’s hard to put structure and creativity together, especially with a tight deadline. There are big and small things that stress that out like preparing for a presentation and even perfecting the tiniest details of your design.
Not All Stress Is Bad
Stress can be good when it motivates you to do better, but when it’s a procrastinating kind of stress or when we don’t know how to handle it, it can affect our performance, the company’s goals and even our health.
Learning how to manage our stress effectively keeps us from being unproductive, unreliable and even crunch on the tasks that need to be done.
I don’t blame you do for being this stressed because the design world is full of pressure to excel and there’s always room for criticism. However, if that stress can be minimized, it will really do wonders for your soul and your project.
Stress can occur emotionally, mentally and physically when you are doing too many things all at once, when you’re not sold out to a vision or goal or when your body and soul is exhausted from too much work and thinking.
Whatever stresses you out, here’s some practical ways to not let stress get the best of your creativity.
Identify Time-bound Stress Triggers
Have you ever sat on your computer only to find out that you have multiple deadlines due on the same day? I’m sure you have. In fact, just saying tons of emails that need response after the weekend can suck the life out of you when you try to get it all responded at once.
The most important thing to remember when managing stress is to manage your time. Whatever work schedule you have, always remember that you own your time. List down your priorities not just for the day but for the week, get a calendar, and if you receive something that’s out of scope or out of your schedule, politely say no and ask to have it that task moved. But be wary that you can’t keep on moving the task also. You must commit to accomplishing it at the timeline you intended to.
Identifying time-bound stress triggers helps keep your mind relaxed and spilling out creative juices as it should be.
Set Boundaries and Follow Them
Physical boundaries on the streets serve the purpose of regulating traffic and the same goes with for your time. Setting boundaries such as working only up to a certain time for those with a flexible working schedule and doing only the things that are assigned to you not only saves you time but keeps you in a good working relationship with others. There might be times that we want to over deliver as designers and working in a team can be tricky. Our expectations might not be the same as the others, and we tend to result to working out other stuff on our own which may cross over the responsibilities of the rest of your team members. Setting boundaries gives a culture of respect to your co-workers and empowers you to do what you do best.
Set a Regular Routine
They say it takes 28 days to form a habit, and if you find yourself in a cycle of stress, perhaps you need to set a new routine. Break the cycle of stress which may be anger issues, impatience and an awful backache with a regular routine. We know how frustrating it is for designers to just sit all day thinking of ways to improve and illustrate a particular project, which is why it’s best to set short breaks from time to time which may be getting out of your chair and continuing your pattern of thoughts by the window where you can see greenery or just taking your eyes off the PC and on your food! You choose the best routine for you.
Dealing With Criticism
Here’s one big chunk of stress that can overtake our minds and make us anxious. It’s normal for a new designer to get stressed with feedback. Veteran designers on the other hand, ask for feedback whether good or bad because they know that it will be a basis for helping them improve their work. So, instead of being stressed out with the negative feedbacks you just got, learn from those above you, ask for feedback ahead of your presentation, so you can work on the best you can. And keep in mind, we can’t please everyone, but we can choose to be better every single day.
Useful Tip: Doing a power pose before a presentation can lower your stress levels and anxiety. Practice good posture and smile to lessen nervousness.
With destructive criticism, psychology tells us that when people are stressed to, they tend to say negative feedback about our inner characteristics than the situation we are in, so it is not to be taken personally. People also remember negative feedback than the positives, so the next time someone tells you something you don’t like, understand that they too are stressed.
When It Feels Like Everyone Else Is A Better Designer Than You
We all have our seasons. Sometimes we win, sometimes we fail, and we have to accept this truth. Comparing yourself to others can be an inner stress that’s hard to break when you don’t have other things to shift your focus to. There will be hard times and when things are not working as it should be, we can fall into this pit of comparison, but don’t lose hope, allow yourself to feel for a moment and then shift the focus to something you love. It could be a hobby like painting, biking or talking with a friend. Whatever takes you off that pitiful feeling, do it for as long as it can benefit your soul.
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Andrews, Ward. “How to Manage Your Time (and Your Stress) When Creating.” Design.Org, Design Org, 24 May 2021, design.org/how-to-manage-your-time-and-your-stress-when-creating.
“Dealing With Stress As A Designer: Here’s What Research Says.” Smashing Magazine, Smashing, 22 Dec. 2017, www.smashingmagazine.com/2017/12/dealing-with-stress-designer-what-research-says.