It seems like Benjamin Franklin got it a little wrong when he stated, "'In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." I think we have to add to that "work". Work seems to consume us and tends to over take our lives. Luck for most of us, we are in a profession called design that we enjoy and well at times seems more like "play". But even though we enjoy designing 24/7 we need to spend time for us. Stefan Sagmeister, who I know truly loves to design, took time off for a year to charge his batteries and his skills to become a better designer. Now I know taking time off for a year would be wonderful but impossible for most. So how to you spend your time to become a better person along with becoming a better designer?
For one, turn off that computer and get out. Our off time is precious for most of us and I know the office will still be there when you get back. Turning off and refreshing can be for a day or several or more. Most of those emails can wait but if you have to answer a few don't let it take away from your mission, to enjoy life.
One way I have found over the years to revive that passion for design, family and life is travel-
Travel always comes to the top of my list. I make it a point to get "out of town" several times a year. These getaways range from a day at the zoo or art museum to a weekend to several weeks and from close to home to more distance road trips or flights abroad. One thing I have learned, if you don't plan it, it will not happen.
One of the places I have found that brings it all back into focus for me is our National Parks. A visit to someplace like Yosemite National Park will amaze your mind's eye and bring creative passion to your soul. A morning hike or a refreshing sit by a stream will work wonders. The vast history that your can explore in our parks will also amaze and put it all into perspective. You can also take advantage to observe one of the most successful design systems in our National Parks, the Unigrid System, originally designed by Massimo Vignelli.
John Muir wrote "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul."
You can find a National or State park nearby at this link to Oh, Ranger!
Go explore a city near or far. Plan a visit to their local art museum. Wonder around town and look at the architecture and signage. Explore a ride on Mass Transit (San Francisco's Cable Cars and a NYC subway ride are musts for everyone to put on your list). Explore new restaurants and let your taste buds be amazed by the local luscious eats. Remember to take in a show or music event to easy away the cares. Take creative photos that inspire and that you can use for your next projects. Need a new set of background textures for your stock, click away, and you will save a dollar instead of having to buy stock images.
Once you return refreshed, with plans already in progress for you next adventure, put your images together and self publish a book or decorate your walls at work. Share your experiences with friends and family. Everyone loves a great story. Reliving that adventure will go along way when the pressure is on.
I would love to hear what inspires you on your time off. Remember, spend time both wisely and carefree. In the end, its all about the roads you take in your life's adventure.