Everyone needs time off, and this is especially true for creative professions. The brain is like any other organ in your body: when it gets tired, it doesn’t work nearly as well. Keep going when your brain is tired, and it’ll start thinking daft thoughts like, “Maybe if I put some cocaine in my Adderall CoffeeTM, I can invent the next great framework after I finish up this site for my uncle’s business.”
Very rarely is anything of worth accomplished in that state of mind, and when it is, it’s an accident. You need rest. You need a long holiday, then a few days of vacation when you get back to recover from the holiday. Go. Do it. Doctor’s orders.
Here are a few handy clues to let you know when you absolutely need that rest:
- When the kerning in a movie title ruins the rest of the movie for you.
- When you ironically make the client’s logo take up half the page.
- When you forget to be unironic, and submit that version of the design.
- When the client signs off on it and says, “Good job! It’s like you read my mind!”
- When you’ve slept on your keyboard often enough to figure out which bit of it is most comfortable, and leaves the most flattering indentations in your face.
- When you’ve actually memorized all of Photoshop’s shortcuts. All of them.
- When you find yourself making songs out of inspirational design quotes, e.g. “Keeeep iiit siiiimple, stuuupiiid…” [This is to be sung as a country song of some kind.]
- When you actually sing those “songs” out loud…
- …in front of people.
- When you start coming up with your own inspirational design quotes because the ones you have just aren’t doing it anymore.
- When you’d rather spend hours going through your inspiration collection than actually designing anything because actually designing a thing means making decisions and making deciSIONS MEANS YOU COULD FAIL AND OH MY GOD YOU’RE JUST NOT SURE YOU CAN HANDLE ANOTHER EMAIL FROM THE CLIENT ASKING FOR MORE REVISIONS YOU ONLY HAVE SO MANY IDEAS TO WORK WITH and how the hell do you just make something pop anyway?
Or maybe that’s just me.
- When you find yourself looking for typographical ways to represent a small panic attack…and you succeed.
- When you’ve run out of CSS/JS frameworks to try. Take fifteen minutes off and there’ll be another one along. Take a week off, and you’ll have plenty to do when you get back.
- When you seriously consider just deleting all the HTML/CSS and starting over for the fourth time.
- When you seriously consider bringing up file naming syntax in a meeting.
- When you realize that no file should ever be labeled with the word “final”. That kind of growth as a person should be rewarded.
- When you start to envy developers. Developers have to use math, and should never be envied.
- When you start to speak aloud in ways reminiscent of your marketing copy, e.g. “Wanna go out with me? I’m a dating rockstar/ninja!”
- When you see things misaligned in real life and think, “Who would just leave it like that? That’s 200 pixels off! What is that in ems, anyway?”
- If you’re thinking of printing this article out and posting it in the office.
Bonus round – here’s a classic: Any time someone says anything like “My nephew/daughter/middle school teacher could do that in PowerPoint for free.”
That’s right. By the power vested in me by absolutely no one, I declare that any designer who hears anything like that should get a week of vacation, no questions asked. I’m off for a few days. Don’t call me.