Help me help other architects! This blog is an excerpt from the first draft of my book: Breaking the Box: Explode out of Architecture School to a Successful Career as an Architect. You can help by leaving a critique in the comment section below. And if you are just starting I suggest you check out the table of contents for an easy road map. Thx you rock! -Steve
Architecture School Surgery
When you were in architecture school did you ever accidentally cut yourself with an X-ACTO knife while building a model? Of course you did! Everyone got a piece of that action. Cutting your finger or hand while building something in architecture school is a right of passage.
Did you notice that these sorts of mishaps tended to happen late at night, often after several hours of work? Our brain and body need a break. When we push it too hard, bad things can occur. We get tired and we slow down. And unfortunately that can cause lapses in judgement, like using an X-ACTO with an extremely dull blade.
Architects Need Breaks
Fortunately, the professional architect does not spend much time wielding knives, however breaks and rest are still important. Architecture is serious business and you need your highest cognitive function. I find that I can focus on one task for about 40 minutes before I start to get antsy. Sometimes that focus period is even less.
This is normal. We are not robots. Our brains need a break.
I recommend taking a small 5-10 minute break at least once an hour. This is a good time to stretch your legs, use the restroom and refill your water bottle. And if you have subscribed to email and phone batching, this is an opportune time to check email and voicemails.
My Smoke Break
One of the favorite parts of my day is my ceremonial smoke break. (FYI, I don’t smoke.) I try to take one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I take 5 minutes away from my desk, walk outside and stand on the corner of King Street. The fresh air and sun give me an incredible boost. In just a couple minutes, I am recharged and ready to get back at it.
These little breaks away from the desk improve my productivity and keep me happy. When I get back to my desk I am right back at it clicking on all cylinders.
Beware of the Naysayers
Similar to email batching, you may find opposition from your superiors about taking a break. The ‘ass-in-seat’ mantra is another badge of honor that the old folks will cherish. The way I see it, I have about 50 minutes of work in me for every 60 minutes of the day. If you think, you are doing more than that than you are fooling yourself. If you can accept that you have 10 minutes of non-work time every hour, then you should spend it in re-charge mode.
Work Smarter not Harder
Designing architecture is complicated and requires intense cognitive ability. Avoiding multitasking, embracing email batching and taking breaks are simple tips that have amazing impacts on your productivity and mental well-being.
These are tips that I have found to be very impactful to my career. I would love to hear your focus and productivity tips.
Flip the page to How to Multiply Your Hands: The Power of Delegation
Another chapter in the books!!!!
Chapter 20 by the Numbers
· 1,698 words
· 6.8 – Translates into approximately 6.8 pages in book form.
· 3 – Blog Posts
· 12 – Hours to Write and Post on Blog
· 14 – Stretched over 14 calendar days.
· .48 – Average book pages written per day.
The Book by the Numbers
· 35,634 – Total Words
· 142 – Total Pages
· 52 – Total Blog Posts
· 220 – Goal for final page count.
· 124– Days Since Starting
· 1.14 – Average book pages written per day.
· 73 – Estimated days to completion of first draft. (220-142) / 1.14) = 68
· 17– Chapters down.
· 11 – Chapters to go.
· 0– New subscribers to the Breaking the Box Email Newsletter
· 48 – Total subscribers to the Breaking the Box Email Newsletter
Welcome to BUILDINGS ARE COOL!
Hello, my name is Steve Ramos. This site is about what it's like to be a young architect in Charleston, South Carolina. In 10 years, I will write about what it is like to be a middle-age architect.
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