Optimising your time at home amidst the Coronavirus pandemic
Reinforcing what could only be described as a turbulent start to a new decade, this morning saw the second incidence in two months of Australian states declaring a state of emergency. First, it was the devasting bushfires that became the largest fire front in our nation's history. Now, the focus is on the COVID-19 pandemic which has taken over the media and turned the world on its head.
Amidst the frustration, there are still positives to take. Technology allows us to set-up infrastructure for remote work and has opened up new methods of communication for clients and professionals alike. New job opportunities and collaborations have emerged in a period of ambiguity, as businesses fight to conceptualise creative solutions to stay relevant, or even afloat.
Where does that leave you?
The quarantine period frees up an elusive resource - time. With commute times cut and consecutive days spent at home, most of us will have the opportunity to work from home and gain access to more flexible schedules. So how can we exchange boredom for strides in our career?
1. Deal with that portfolio
It's the project you've been putting off for what seems like an eternity. No matter who you'll speak with, portfolios are one of those pesky things that everyone wants the time to do, yet always ends up on the back-burner.
Your portfolio should be a live document, meaning it should be continually updated with relevant works that align to your career direction and goals. Because of this, constructing your page's layout in an easy-to-update format is crucial - so you can focus less time doing the formatting and more time uploading what matters, the content.
Investing some time in your portfolio framework will not only optimise the frequency in which you update it, but it will also open up doors of opportunity in your career.
2. Get organised
Expanding on a simple framework for your portfolio, the benefits of good folder hierarchy on your computer are often overlooked. As a person who prides themselves on efficiency, keeping a tidy folder structure has come in clutch during time-sensitive deliverables.
Not only is this limited to folders though - spending time creating components in software like Figma for collaborative projects optimises the workflow for everyone involved. It could be the difference between a product being developed in two weeks, or two months.
3. Learn, learn & learn some more
The biggest mistake you can make as a creative is to become complacent with your skillset. There's a myriad of resources out there and there's nothing stopping anyone taking a course and excelling in the same niche as you do.
Udemy, Coursera, SuperHi, Skillshare. There are so many different platforms to sharpen the tools in your toolkit - so sit down and take the time to upskill. And a tip: document your learnings and share them with others. Passing on your knowledge not only solidifies your learnings but helps give exposure to your expertise and brand.
4. Dust off that résumé
You know, the one you only update when it's time to apply for a new job. Keeping an updated résumé is a handy way to document your career journey and to contemplate significant milestones you may have achieved. Doing so could provide you with a burst of motivation to move you closer towards your next career goals. Which leads me to the next point.
5. Set goals
One key takeaway from 2019 was to set more goals. It's easy to lose focus on where you see yourself when things are going good. Lack of direction isn't for the want of trying - it needs to be defined with clear goals regularly.
By setting goals, documenting strengths and journaling what fulfils you, you'll out-manoeuvre career plateaus and inevitable stagnation.
6. Pursue passion projects
In a world where designers often conflate art with design, fixed-constraints, established design systems and "best practices" inhibit our creativity. Opportunities to incorporate creative flair into the design process are scarce, so it's important to undertake passion projects for sanity sake.
Take out that camera and start a new Instagram feed or grab your canvas and begin painting. Expressing creativity comes in many shapes and forms and designing around our own constraints offers freedom and unique perspectives. Like travel or a hike in the great outdoors, creative free-reign invigorates the mind mixes up the status-quo.
7. Get outside
It's important to maintain somewhat of a daily routine despite being confined to your home. Normal processes such as taking a shower and getting dressed should not go out the window, just because you can wake up five minutes before a work video conference and can take it from your bed.
Find reasons to increase your time spent outside wherever possible - just because you're isolated it doesn't mean your health needs to suffer. Go for a run or read outside to get some much-needed vitamin-D.