For the last couple of years I've been so busy working that there was little time available for thinking. Thinking is pretty important to a graphic designer. Coming up with concepts requires thought. Over the last couple of months I've found the time (or rather made the time) to think. It's been beneficial. I've also discovered that there are wasteful ways of thinking and productive ways of thinking. In other words... today I find myself thinking about thinking. Let me explain.
Several years I saw a comic which depicted the creative process of a designer. The designer sits at his desk with his feet up and his hands behind his head. His boss standing at the door asks "What are you doing?" The designer replies "I'm designing." Delightful!
Coming up with new designs or problem solving is an everyday event in the life of a creative. BUT... how truly creative (or focused) was my thinking? How effective was my process?
Things I've considered over the last few months have been new designs for Dragonfly, new branding, new paths, new travel plans, new adventures and how do to it all. As I was going through my most recent mid-life crisis my best friend would ask me (repeatedly) ... "Lisa, what do you want?" "What do you REALLY want." Surprisingly this is a very hard question to answer. I thought a lot about it.
I thought while I was laying in bed in the early morning. I thought as I sat in my office chair gazing out the window. I thought with a pencil in hand poised over a sketchbook. I thought on planes, trains and in automobiles. It was a lovely luxury but at some point you have to stop thinking and start doing... otherwise you are just spacing out. My preoccupation with thinking actually started to become debilitating and all the thinking wasn't really producing anything new.
There needs to be a better way. Trying to combine the time for thinking and the time for doing, I had to find a new way. For instance, I thought I wanted to start exercising again. Why not ponder my thoughts while doing a few laps on my elliptical bike? Why not think about that new design idea while walking the beach? Eureka... killing two birds with one stone.
A recent visit to see my friend Balam Soto, reminds me of how productive a person can be. Balam has probably accomplished more in his last 12 years than most of us have accomplished in our lifetime. You can read his story here. This guy spends a good amount of time thinking, but he actively applies those thoughts to the pursuit of his mission and therefore he gets a lot DONE.
There is a time and place for everything and balance is the key. While I am a big advocate of thinking, there comes a point where you must move on those thoughts to accomplish your goals or like Rodin's The Thinker, you will become encased in stone.