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Under Pressure

Many designers have different views on whether working under pressure effects their productivity in a negative or positive way. Of the design professionals I asked, the majority would agree that pressure helps them achieve better creative results. However, due to the lack of time, the execution or completion of the project is not always the best. 

A recent study done by Ari Putkonene of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management at the University of Oulu, Finland, found that professionals in the design field work well under tight time constraints to a certain point. Deadlines can have a positive effect on productivity in the beginning. However, in the long run, constant mental overload has negative results on creative professionals and on the work that is produced. According to Putkonene, ìtime pressure and mental workload affect the overall performance, quality and innovativeness of design work. This ultimately affects the lead time of the entire project.î

I've worked under pressure many times. In fact, design professionals are often forced to turn around projects in a quick time frame. Itís the nature of our field. I admit, I agree with my fellow designers. I do feel that in certain instances, crunch time produces better creative results. Iíve surprised myself at how well Iíve worked under pressure. However, if I were given the choice Iíd much prefer working with more time than under pressure. Unfortunately, Iím not always given this opportunity.

If you are one of the people, like me who does not enjoy working under pressure, consider making a ìto do listî. Prioritize and write down everything that needs to get done. This way, youíll know exactly what projects needs to be attended to immediately and how much time youíll need to put aside for each task. Cross off each task as soon as you accomplish it. This gives you a sense of satisfaction. And last not but least, donít panic!  Everything will get done!  Maybe not in the way you had hoped, but all will eventually work out for the best!

May 31, 2009
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