Five on Design  |  Episode 22  |  March 20, 2018

Dump the Daily Grind Feeling

It doesn’t matter if you’re a graphic designer, or if you show up and flip burgers at a local restaurant. It’s one of the things I think almost everybody can relate to.

No matter where or how you work, it can be a grind showing up at nine and leaving at five, rinsing and repeating five days a week.

It’s a trap that feels like it is very difficult for a lot of us to get out. I discovered this was particularly true after I went back from freelancing to a full time job. The excitement initially was there and I felt things were great. But after a while, like everyone else, things catch up to me. Before I knew it, I felt like I was in the grind.

On this episode I want to talk about what I discovered helped me push through. It made things so much better when my days weren’t such a monotonous boring, just another day in the week” kind of feeling.

One of the first things that helped me out was bringing a sketchbook to work. When you’re on a computer all day, it’s very easy for people passing by to expect you to be working on something. Maybe to some degree, that’s true. You should be.

But if you’re a creative, you can’t be on” 100% of the time all day, every day. What I realized was keeping a sketchbook nearby for that odd idea — whether or not — it related to work was helpful.

I tend to daydream when I’m sitting around, especially if I have a window to look out of. I found that having a sketchbook helped channel some additional creativity off to the side. It didn’t necessarily need to be anything important or fun. Sometimes my my sketchbook pages are nothing more than doodles of random things that come popping through my head.

Even so, it was fun to see how that helped break up my day a little bit more. In some cases it broke up my week a little bit more!

I also put a focus on learning new things. In some cases, this was usually a tutorial I found on YouTube or an article somewhere that looked interesting. If I had ten or fifteen minutes, I’d explore it a bit and try out a new technique or approach to my work.

Even if I didn’t end up using what I learned or find it useful, being able to try something different got my mind thinking in a different way.

It not only helped with the grind blues,” it even helped me grow and even approach projects that I was working on a little bit differently.

I know in some cases, this might be difficult for some people. Maybe your office blocks YouTube. Maybe it blocks Lynda if they’re monsters. Maybe it’s some other kind of matter.

In any case, take the time to learn something. Anything.

Recently, I learned about what people brought over when they emigrated to the United States in the late 1800s. It was just something new, different and exciting. It got my brain chugging in a different direction.

As creatives that’s something that we need to focus on from time to time, because it’s so easy to get in that drive where have to be creative or come up with something new all the time.

One of the last big things that helped me was taking on side projects (which I’ve talked about in past episodes.) It’s great if you can’t do anything at your desk during the day, or you have an office environment that isn’t conducive to having a sketchbook nearby.

By the time you get home, your brain might be racing with new ideas you can’t try at your day job. Maybe you’ve got some idea cooking in the back your head somehow or somewhere. Create a side project that you can turn your attention to, focus on, and use that as that outlet.

Not only is it a creative outlet to break things up, but it’s something that helps when you have a long week. Being able to have something that you can come home to and even spend a few minutes or an hour on helps.

It’s something that breaks things up a little bit, adds a little bit of excitement to the work week, and makes it feel like you’re not only doing the boring old nine to five.

So I hope these things help a little bit and that you can consider when you’re having one of those weeks that doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere.