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Coping Under Pressure

Posted on July 24, 2009

We?ve all had days like this: everything that can possibly go wrong, has gone wrong. And then some. The new, big and important customer has been amazing to work with, adding project after project after project and is keeping everyone busy and happy. But?they expect all of the additional work to be done within the original budget. And then that newish monitor (only 1.5 years old) just up and dies on you. Do you repair it or replace it, repair it or replace it? Or just make due with the smaller but still decent monitor that wasn?t being use anyway. And then there?s the computer that seems be possessed. Some days it?s fine and other days, well, it seems that it rather not be working and continues to freeze. 3, 4, 5 times a day. Add to that the normal stresses of life, family, pets, friends, finances, and on and on and on. It?s enough to send you over the edge, down the river, to the ocean and onto a small raft that will take you out to sea and away from everything and everyone.

It really is amazing how much we can take and still keep going. I believe that we are given only as much as we can handle and just when you think you?ve reached your breaking point, you find just a little bit of strength left (it?s usually hiding in your pinky toe) that pulls you through. The trick is taking that last bit of strength and using it to your advantage. While freaking out and running around like a mad-woman with her head cut off does provide amusement for the office staff, it really doesn?t do much to help you or improve the situation. Instead, I suggest trying one (or all) of these 5 tips.

  1. Find a solution. It?s so easy to get wrapped up in what is going wrong that you lose site of what the problem is. Instead of focusing on the problem, placing blame or pushing the issue under the rug, focus on finding a solution.
  2. Make a list! If you are overwhelmed by all of the work that needs to be done, all of the places the kids need to be, or all of the chores that need to be done at home or in the garden, start out by SITTING DOWN, writing a list and prioritizing. You?ll probably find out that you can handle everything that you have going on. Chances are everything will look less intimating on paper.
  3. Enlist the help of others. And listen to their advice! It?s easy to miss the solution to a problem because you are too close to see it. Take a deep breath, step back, ask for help, make a decision and move forward.
  4. Talk, talk talk. There?s nothing wrong with over communicating, it helps not only you, but anyone else you are working with if everything has a complete understanding of what is going on and what is expected. And if questions, concerns or issues come up later (such as, who ate the last piece of chocolate?), ask! You?ll only add more stress to your life if you don?t know the answers.
  5. Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Need I say more?

One final note, everyone has stress to deal with. Be kind to those around you, they could be dealing with something just as bad. Or worse. Showing just a little bit of kindness and sympathy will make their day, and yours, that much brighter.

If you are looking for a team that has the creativity to tackle the task at hand (even under pressure) we?re the team for you. Visit our web site to learn more about what we do, and how we can help you.




bOUnCInG BACK

Posted on July 22, 2009

You know the drill by now. There?s a new project in the office. Something fun. Innovative. Something that everyone in the office is excited about and wants to participate in. One of those projects that makes us LOVE WHAT WE DO. So we sketch, we brainstorm, we research. And, of course, we drink a lot of coffee. With all of our hard work, brilliance strikes! But the amazing thing is that it strikes all of us. The customer is going to be thrilled with all of the options we have to present to them!

With a glimmer in our eyes and hope in our hearts, the concepts are sent out to the customer. We wait patiently (OK, not so patiently) for their reply. And then it happens. They pick an amazing design, but?it isn?t YOUR design. It?s your co-workers. All of a sudden you?re attacked by a whirl wind of thoughts, emotions and doubt. You?re thrilled for your co-worker, of course you are! Their concept was awesome and they truly deserve the project. But there?s still a small part of you that is mourning the fact that your design wasn?t the chosen one. It?s a hit to your self-esteem, creates doubt in your creative skills and can be debilitating if you?re not careful.

What I?ve learned over the years is this: just because you?re idea wasn?t picked, doesn?t mean that it was a failure. It doesn?t mean that you lost your edge. Or that you are in the wrong career. It simply means that the customer had a personal preference for the other design. Graphic design, like fine art, is very subjective. Some people may love it, while others just aren?t feeling it. But that doesn?t mean that it?s bad, it just means that it didn?t speak to that person.

I personally will always feel a little let down when my idea isn?t picked. It?s part of my personality, and it?s part of what pushes me to do better next time. Call it competitiveness. Call it striving for perfection. Call it a little bit (or a LOT) of craziness. But the important thing is that I don?t let it affect my creativity or my relationship to the co-worker who?s design was picked. I like to see those around me succeed, and I?m OK with sharing the limelight every once in a while. That is after all how a strong team is made and how they stay together. We share in each other?s successes and learn from each other mistakes.

Do you need a new web site or blog design? A new brand identity or marketing collateral? At Moxie, you?ve found a design team with endless ideas for you and your company. Contact us or visit us at www.thinkmoxie.com to learn how we can help you SUCCEED!


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Critiques – a Learning (and Growing) Experience

Posted on July 17, 2009

I LOVE DESIGNING. It?s my passion, part of who I am. I put my heart and soul into everything I create. Yes it?s true, I?m kind of a design geek. But hey, I?m OK with that.

One of the many, MANY processes graphic designers go through is group critiques. During school, at work, in online communities. After you have put in countless hours, worked your butt off, and probably had one-too-many cups of coffee, you have to face the firing squad. And let me tell you, they are NOT AFRAID to tell you what they think.

Often times you?ll leave a critique with some helpful pointers, things that you didn?t see because you?re too close to the project. Suggestions that you know won?t work, but you try it anyway to make the powers-that-be happy. And even some ideas that you don?t think will work, but surprise, surprise, they do!
Every once in a blue moon you?ll leave a critique with grin on your face, a hop in your step and your head held high. Everyone LOVED your ideas and no one suggested any changes. They were PERFECT!!! Granted, this doesn?t happen often, but it?s something that every designer strives for.

And then there?s the dreaded critiques where no one likes your work. You slaved away for hours, put your blood sweat and tears into it, and what did that get you? Silence and empty stares as your peers attempt to figure out how to let you know what they think, without tearing your apart. It?s every designer?s nightmare and something that we ALL go through.

How we deal with it says a lot about who we are, both as a designer and as a person. We could hold a grudge, convince ourselves that our work is FANTASTIC, that the other designers wouldn?t know great work if it hit them in the face. Or we can suck it up and admit that we are not perfect. Everyone say it with me now: ?I AM NOT PERFECT?!

The truth is, a negative reaction only hurts ourself. It stops us from hearing what other designers (and customers for that matter) have to say about our work. It stops us from growing and improving as a designer. It stop us from communicating with our peers. And sometimes it can even stop us from trying.

In the real world we don?t always produce great work the first time around. Sometimes we have off days. Sometimes we just aren?t connecting with the project. Sometimes one designer can spend 30 minutes on a logo and come up with something brilliant while another designer slaves away for hours and comes up with squat. As frustrating as it is, that?s just the way creativity works.

Nobody likes to hear anything negative about their work, but I honestly think that 9 times out of 10 we knew deep down that it was not as good as it could be. Of course that doesn?t make the criticism any easier to take. But I think that some of the best work comes out of our biggest struggles. And we grow the most when we struggle. So instead of reacting negatively, we need to take that energy, turn it around and use it to our advantage. Easier said than done, I know. But if you really focus on using that energy to keep going, to keep improving, the next time around you just might have one of those PERFECT critiques.

Do you need a design team that is passionate about everything they do? A team WILL NOT GIVE UP until you are happy? Contact us or visit us at www.thinkmoxie.com to learn how we can HELP YOU!


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