Architects are often noted for having bad work-life balance, a lot of stress and little free time. How can you take time off while still improving your skills as an architect? Can that time off even give you an extra edge? Compared to other fields, architecture stands out as a field in which you need to “know a little bit about everything.” Thus, in order to live up to our name we must also do a little bit of everything, and as they say, a little goes a long way. So with that in mind, here are 5 activities which, while not obviously architectural, just might make you a better architect.
1. Follow 3D architecture design blogs and read design books
With pouring information on social media of 3D architecture design, I think we all need to realize that setting aside some time to browse and get inspired is nothing to feel guilty about. It can kickstart and remind you why you’re doing what you are whether that be learning architecture or any other subject. Being able to understand drawings and have a deeper perception of what they mean will serve you in a variety of ways.
2. See the world through “design goggles”
Treat your ability to identify good design like a muscle. Like every muscle, you need to train it to make it stronger and better. Don’t think it’s something you need to be born with. You can learn it.The rule is simple: browse 3D Architectural design projects every day. Start your day by going through the most recent design showcases and examining the work of other talented and experienced architects. Study well-designed buildings and try to answer the question: “What makes it so good?” Focus on specific design elements (like site plans, climatic parameters, etc.) and compare them with other projects.
3. Focus Your Time
Time is the one resource that cannot be created or stored. It’s our most precious commodity. Guard your time and use it effectively in 3D architecture design learning – you can’t make any more.
Try working fewer hours, not more. This forces you to focus on the most important tasks. Plus research show that working more than forty hours is downright unproductive. Keep a time log. Record how you spend your time during the course of a typical week. This log should be more detailed than a timesheet. You want to record everything you do during the course of the work day. Writing an email to a client, surfing the Internet – record it in the log. Do this for a whole week and you’ll have a really good picture of where your time goes.
4. Manage Your Information
Minimize meetings. Before scheduling a meeting, ask yourself: “Why are we having this meeting? Is it necessary? What is the objective?” More meetings means less work is getting done. Use an agenda to state the purpose and desired outcome of the meeting. Keep the attendees to the absolute minimum and set a fixed time limit. If you need to meet regularly with your project of 3D architecture design team, consider a stand up meeting.
5. Automate Repetitive Tasks
Create templates. Do you send similar emails frequently? Save a copy of the email as a template. Do you use similar documents from one project to the next? Save a copy as a template. Same goes with CAD and BIM. Create a template BIM file that contains all of your standard sheets and details. You can save a ton of time and reduce errors by standardizing the documents you produce. Reuse everything.
Remember to have fun. We all got into this profession because of our love for designing and building. Research has shown that maintaining a sense of play in our work is essential to reaching our full potential. Not all of our work is fun, but approaching it creatively and with an open mind to working smarter, not harder can yield better results and more satisfaction.
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