General

88 Ways an Architect Can Simplify Their Life

Introduction

Being an archi­tect and design­ing the built envi­ron­ment is an impor­tant job, and impor­tant jobs can usu­al­ly be stress­ful. You have to con­scious­ly make efforts to main­tain peace with­in your­self and not let the pres­sures of your work weigh you down. When the days seem like too much, use these tips below to sim­pli­fy your life and make your career in archi­tec­ture a lit­tle eas­i­er.

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At Work

1. Delegate — When you have a pile of lit­tle tasks that keep build­ing up, del­e­gate the work to qual­i­fied employ­ees.

2. Use organizational tools — Web­sites and apps like Ever­note, Trel­lo, and Google Docs help you to man­age your notes and doc­u­ments all in one place.

3. Calendar tools - To help you plan and keep appoint­ments, dates, calls, and more, make use of cal­en­dar apps that can sync with all of your devices.

4. Close tabs and programs — When your day is over, exit out of pro­grams! Some­times it is dif­fi­cult to reopen pro­grams because your file is very large, so at least exit out every oth­er day.

5. Automatic save — Pro­grams like Auto­CAD and Revit allow you to set up reminders at what­ev­er inter­vals you want so that you can save your hard work.

6. Keep your workspace tidy — Cre­atives claim to flour­ish in the mess our work, but even cre­atives can work bet­ter in a clut­ter-free space.

7. “Home” desk drawer — Keep a work draw­er with tooth­paste, a tooth­brush, snacks, bot­tled water, maybe even a change of clothes.

8. Plan your days — Bul­let jour­nals or a detailed dai­ly block sched­ule can help you stay on track and be account­able for cer­tain tasks dur­ing the day.

9. Be ok with plans changing — If things don’t go as planned, roll with the punch­es, and get back to your planned sched­ule once the hec­tic times are over.

10. Measure twice, cut once — Dou­ble check all of your work and get things right the first time.

11. Show respect — You will always have to work with oth­er pro­fes­sion­als, so make each inter­ac­tion a good one whether you agree or dis­agree with them.

12. Streamline your processes — If you have a sys­tem in place to han­dle your rou­tine work, it will make it a lot eas­i­er. Make a how to” lay­out to help you remem­ber all steps in a process.

13. Automate — For things that are rou­tine and can be han­dled dai­ly, week­ly, or month­ly with­out inter­fer­ence, set up automa­tion.

14. Don’t multitask — Stud­ies con­sis­tent­ly show that our brains can­not focus on more than once thing at a time.

15. Enjoy the profession — Take moments to enjoy and be in awe of the work that you do.

16. Hire freelancers — Hire free­lancers to help with your archi­tec­ture firm’s non-design jobs like mar­ket­ing and account­ing.

17. Use new technology — Incor­po­rat­ing the lat­est archi­tec­tur­al tech­nol­o­gy into your work rou­tine will sim­pli­fy your day. Don’t be afraid to learn new tech­nol­o­gy or hire some­one who spe­cial­izes in it.

18. Update software - Installing new soft­ware updates for pro­grams like Auto­CAD and Revit because they fix any bugs that the pro­grams may have and update them to include new fea­tures.

19. Stand up at your desk — This sim­pli­fies your life by help­ing your cir­cu­la­tion, less­en­ing how seden­tary you are, and help­ing your health.

20. Take breaks — Sched­ule breaks into your day. Allow your­self to have a few min­utes of down­time so that you can reset and return to work feel­ing refreshed and recharged.

21. “Cloud” storage — Make life easy for you and the peo­ple that you work with by mak­ing doc­u­ments avail­able on the cloud.

22. Block schedule — Set a spe­cif­ic time dead­line, or a block” of time, for tasks through­out your day on your sched­ule.

23. Know how long it takes — Learn how long it takes to com­plete cer­tain tasks so that you can ded­i­cate just the right amount of time to them in your sched­ule

24. Know your time limits — Don’t over­sched­ule your­self or try to do things that you have no expe­ri­ence in if you don’t have time to learn how to do them.

25. Decorate with inspiring images — For moments when you need inspi­ra­tion, make it easy for your­self. Hang inspir­ing images in your work area to remind you of what makes you hap­py.

26. Subscribe to useful email newsletters — Stay up-to-date on the lat­est news in the archi­tec­ture indus­try by sub­scrib­ing to help­ful newslet­ters.

27. Unsubscribe from junk newsletters — If you nev­er read newslet­ters from a par­tic­u­lar web­site or brand, unsub­scribe!

28. Prioritize — When you have a lot of dead­lines to meet, each task can seem like it is the most impor­tant. Pri­or­i­tize by ask­ing your­self

29. Say NO — It is ok to say no to things that aren’t ben­e­fi­cial to your work, your goals, or your time.

30. Say YES — When you’re afraid you won’t do well or start to ques­tion your­self, say yes. You will find a way to make it work.

31. Limit distractions — When you are in a block of time that is ded­i­cat­ed to work­ing, do things to lim­it your dis­trac­tions. Put a sign on your door or turn your phone on Do Not Dis­turb” to help min­i­mize dis­trac­tions.

32. “No Questions” hours — Set a few hours each day for your employ­ees and cowork­ers to work with­out dis­tract­ing each oth­er.

33. Make your bed every day — This small action helps gear your brain to be pro­duc­tive for the day because you have accom­plished the act of com­plete­ly mak­ing your bed.

34. Recycle — Set up an orga­nized recy­cling sta­tion at your desk or in your office. You can recy­cle things like paper, plas­tic bot­tles, straws, and more.

35. Donation box — Keep a box that you slow­ly add things that you no longer use to and when it is full, see next step…

36. Donate — Donate work­ing items that you don’t use any­more, such as clothes, fur­ni­ture, and elec­tron­ics.

37. Curate your closet — Curate your clos­et so that you can make sev­er­al out­fits with a small amount of items over­all to make it eas­i­er to get dressed each day.

38. Purge — Get rid of clothes and items in your home and at work that you don’t use.

39. Break down tasks — Make large tasks more man­age­able by com­plet­ing them in a lot of small­er tasks.

40. Learn to stop — Don’t overde­sign. Learn to stop work­ing on projects and accept them as com­plete.

41. Get a mentor — Hav­ing a men­tor in the design field will help guide you through­out your career.

42. Quality of quantity — For work and your per­son­al life, strive to pro­vide qual­i­ty over quan­ti­ty

Communications/Emails

43. Check emails once — If you set aside a time in your block sched­ule to check emails, it will enable you to fol­low this rule. Only check an email once and respond to it imme­di­ate­ly.

44. Set up an email response time (or a few, unless urgent) — When you’re not in the time block to respond to emails, DON’T RESPOND TO EMAILS!

45. Automated email responses — Automat­ing your email respons­es dur­ing a busy time can allow the email senders to know that you will get to their email as soon as pos­si­ble.

46. “Canned” emails — Gmail has a clever sys­tem called canned respons­es” that allows you to send a saved response for gen­er­al inquiry emails.

47. Keep emails brief — Make your email respons­es brief by sim­ply pro­vid­ing all of the nec­es­sary infor­ma­tion so that the email is com­plete.

48. “To Respond” email folder — For emails that require more time to respond to, cre­ate a fold­er to save them in so that they won’t get lost in your inbox, and you’ll remem­ber that they require a response.

Time Management

49. Plan tomorrow’s goals today — At the end of your work day, assess what you accom­plished and write out what needs to be accom­plished the next day.

50. Reconsider your to-do list — Is every­thing on your to-do nec­es­sary? Could some­thing be del­e­gat­ed? Reex­am­ine it to see how you can make a bet­ter use of your time.

51. Shorten your to-do list — A long to-do list is very daunt­ing. Try mak­ing mul­ti­ple small lists for dif­fer­ent times of the day and week and focus on the few tasks on them dur­ing their des­ig­nat­ed times.

52. “Most Important Tasks” list — Make a list that includes the most urgent tasks that you need to com­plete.

53. “To-don’t” list — A Don’t” list can remind us to make the most of our time. For exam­ple, don’t work on tasks that you’ve del­e­gat­ed to oth­ers.

54. Only handle things once (OHIO Method) — For small projects or things that don’t require much thought, make a decision/​do the work the first time and be done with it.

55. Use templates — Make tem­plates for recur­ring projects, paper­work, pitch­es, etc. When you have to do the task over and over again, you won’t have to start from scratch each time.

56. Do the hard thing first — Once the hard task is done, all oth­er tasks will feel like they aren’t hard to do.

57. Themed days — For exam­ple, make Mon­days for city codes paper work, Tues­days and Wednes­days can be for meet­ings with clients, Thurs­days and Fri­days for exe­cut­ing projects to com­ple­tion.

58. 45 minutes on, 15 minutes off — Work hard with no dis­trac­tions for 45 min­utes, rest for 15 min­utes.

59. Pomodoro technique — If 45 min­utes on and 15 min­utes off doesn’t work for you, try the Pomodoro Time Man­age­ment tech­nique. This method requires you to work in short­er time inter­vals — work for 25 min­utes, take a short break, then work for 25 more min­utes.

Personal life, health, & mental well-being

60. Play classical music — Clas­si­cal music is known to spark cre­ativ­i­ty, boost mem­o­ry, and reduce stress.

61. Read - Keep your favorite archi­tec­ture book handy and browse the pages of it when you need a men­tal break.

62. Celebrate the small wins — When you’re able to cel­e­brate the small things, it makes dif­fi­cult work more plea­sur­able.

63. Meditate — Prac­tic­ing med­i­ta­tion helps you to stop wor­ry­ing and feel­ing help­less and to under­stand and appre­ci­ate the sim­ple things in life.

64. Exercise — Whether it’s yoga, sal­sa, bik­ing to work, or run­ning on your lunch break, work your body in the same way that you work to keep your mind sharp.

65. Meal prep — Prepar­ing your food in batch­es saves you time and mon­ey and can also be very healthy.

66. Unplug — Take a break from social media, tex­ting and the inter­net. When you elim­i­nate the urge to con­stant­ly check your apps and mes­sages, you auto­mat­i­cal­ly sim­pli­fy your life.

67. Wake up early — When you wake up ear­ly and get every­where on time, you reduce the most com­mon first stres­sor of the day: run­ning late.

68. Go to bed early — An ear­ly bed­time helps you to be more pro­duc­tive, avoid get­ting sick, and have a safer com­mute.

69. Get adequate sleep — Con­sis­tent­ly get­ting a good night’s rest increas­es your cre­ativ­i­ty, sharp­ens your atten­tion, and low­ers your stress.

70. Drink water — Drink­ing more water has amaz­ing health ben­e­fits that will enhance your qual­i­ty of life, such as increas­ing your ener­gy and boost­ing your immune sys­tem.

71. Morning routine — Estab­lish­ing a morn­ing rou­tine will help you to get up at a set time, do the same few things, and get out of the house and to work on time each day.

72. Worry about only what you can change — Don’t waste time or devote ener­gy to things that you do not have the pow­er to change. Instead, focus on mak­ing the sit­u­a­tion work, and also on oth­er things that you can change.

73. Don’t binge — Binge watch­ing, binge drink­ing binge work­ing all have a ten­den­cy to lead to burnout. Do things in rea­son­able dos­es ver­sus bing­ing on them.

74. Live in the moment — Be present for the cur­rent moments in your life. Think­ing about the past too much or too far in the future can take a toll on you, so live in the now.

75. Realistic expectations — Real­is­tic expec­ta­tions can still be good and high expec­ta­tions. Hav­ing real expec­ta­tions details know­ing what you can and can’t con­trol, and being ok with it.

76. Ask for help — Get­ting help makes you more pro­duc­tive and relieves stress.

77. Don’t over plan — Don’t pack your day with back to back meet­ings; leave time for breaks, trav­el­ing, relax­ing, and more.

78. Question the purpose of all things — Before accept­ing things into your life, be it a new client/​project or a new movie for your col­lec­tion, ask your­self how will it impact you. If the impact is neg­a­tive, don’t indulge in it.

79. Find your stress reliever and use it — Fig­ure out what helps you to decom­press from stress and use it. Some exam­ples are yoga, jog­ging, danc­ing and enjoy­ing nature.

80. Be grateful — When you prac­tice being grate­ful for what you have, ver­sus con­stant­ly yearn­ing dif­fer­ent things, you will be hap­pi­er.

81. Create a Continuing Education (CE) folder — Don’t for­get about your con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion require­ments because you don’t keep up with them. Make a fold­er with a check­list to remind your­self of when you need to take new cours­es.

82. Need vs. Want — You don’t need every­thing that you want, so learn to dif­fer­en­ti­ate between the two.

83. Work from home - When pos­si­ble, work from home to cut out com­mut­ing, reduce fuel and pub­lic trans­porta­tion costs, and get a break from the work­place atmos­phere.

84. Set professional goals — Hav­ing goals in your career helps you want to be bet­ter, work more effi­cient­ly, and helps cut out dis­trac­tions.

85. Listen to audiobooks — When time doesn’t allow for sit­ting and read­ing a good book, lis­ten to the audio­book ver­sion.

86. Tell the truth — Tell your employ­ees when you need them to per­form their job bet­ter, or tell them when they’re doing an awe­some job.

87. Respond — Tell prospec­tive clients no when you feel like they won’t be a good client or if you don’t have time to work with them, instead of nev­er respond­ing to them.

88. Give praises — Show appre­ci­a­tion when it is due.