What TIME habits DOES an Architect need?

-Time management is important for architects.

  • Yes, I agree. So, now what? Wha do I do?


Following is a list of some actions that you can take to make your everyday life easier and manage your time more effectively.  This list is a comprehensive list. You may not need to do everything. Perception of time is different for each one of us as well as our contexts are different. Choose out of this list what you wish to do and do it one after the other.


Time for Personal habits


1: Health is wealth!

Your firm will remain healthy till you are healthy. It’s said that ‘eat well, sleep well, exercise well and drink adequate water’ and you will be fit and fine.


2: Take a break

Periodically, relax and take a break from work to rest your mind. Get out and enjoy vacation, get rejuvenated and recharged for the time ahead. You know, we can’t escape from the lifestyle we have chosen but we can prevent it to cause less harm.


3: Put it on the paper

Do not trust your memory much in era of information overload. Writing things down on paper will give you control of the projects and will keep them in order.


4: Be Active

Remain active. An idle mind is devil’s workshop. Spend quality time by doing activity of your liking. You know active body keeps the mind sharp.


5: Keep pace with the time

Learn every day. Brush up on your knowledge. Make a habit to read at least one magazine /book /website etc. of the trade. Learn new things, take training, and attend seminars. Increased knowledge will not only keep you ahead in the market but will prepare you to compete with new firms.


6: Evaluate your time

Get the fair idea of how you spend time and evaluate your uses of time.  Make necessary changes to get rid of the time wasters.  C


7: Learn to say ‘No’ when needed

No need to be overloaded with too many commitments. You can choose the jobs of your liking and avoid which may make you stressful for a few dollars more. This is costly business in the long run.


8: Have a positive attitude


Time for work habits

9: Understand your priorities

Priorities keep changing as per the time and circumstances. You can’t set your goals and priorities once and can work forever on same track. Maintain a habit of revising and reshuffling the list of priorities as per changing time. Don’t get surprised, if your priority was to become a leading architect of the city and you may end up being a most preferred design-build firm. That’s the power of time, and changing yourself with the time is your power of adjusting with time. Understand your priorities but be flexible.


10: Creativity has many meanings

Offering right design for right job is also creativity. Don’t waste time in making every design innovative for the sake of it, when it can be done simply. 


11: Be clear about your goals and priorities

Goals constantly need monitoring as they need to be amended as per the changing time. So are the priorities. You may have started a journey with the goal to become one of the top then architectural firms in the city but you may end up as best design- build firm after 10 years. People change track during journey, it’s natural.  What requires is to revise original goal plan and list of priorities.


12: Is asking for help make you weak?

No, not at all, don’t hesitate to ask for help where required. Nobody knows everything, not even masters. Masters are in a high position because they ask, they questions, they seek help but do things right. Ignorance is not a bliss when you have responsibility to make someone else’s dreams real.


12: Check your posture while you are sitting

It’s said we spend almost 15 hrs /day in sitting / performing several activities like dining, working, relaxing etc. These tasks ask for ergonomically designed sitting arrangements. Poorly designed chair gives bad posture and bad posture creates back pain, fatigue and tiredness - resulting into less productivity and wastage of time. 


13: List down the workload and deadlines

In the era of information overload and stressful living you can’t trust more on your memory. The best way is to write down ‘to do’ list. This will not only help in tracking and control the activities but will make you more organized. ‘TO-DO’ list will also help you focus and spend more time on important work.


14: Create adequate working space

Being a designer we know what is right for the workplace, but somehow due to the financial constraints or any other reasons , we  compromise and provide too much or too less working space. Too much space demands getting up or stretching hands for getting small things. This is tiring and annoying. Whereas too small space creates clutter and makes impossible to work efficiently.  Provide adequate space which makes working a pleasant experience.


15: Provide effective and comfortable furniture arrangement

In workplace, people of all sorts thin, fat, tall sort etc. work and it’s necessary to provide comfortable furniture to all. Today more and more designers prefer modular and adjustable furniture so that workplace can offer comfort to all.


16: Design adequate lighting

There is nothing pleasant like a uniform lighting than having dim light / harsh light/ glare on the eye while working. Poor light creates dull and negative effect whereas too much light makes habitant irritatable and uncomfortable. Appropriate and adequate natural as well as artificial lighting will increase your productivity and will make the working a pleasing experience.


17: Regular management of HVAC system 

Shouldn’t we be more concern about indoor air quality?  Poor ventilation and thermal control causes fatigue, perspiration and drowsiness in to inhabitant. This results in to poor productivity and wastage of time. Well maintained HVAC system makes the inhabitant comfortable and healthy. I feel other indoor qualities like noise, odor and glare should be well managed too. They indirectly affect the efficiency and health of inhabitants.


18:  Overflowing storage space

This is one of the most time waster activities if not properly designed.  It’s said that almost 30 % productive time is wasted in retrieving data. The experts also says that we do not look again at  60 to 80 % data we store. It’s time you adopt appropriate data management systems from day one. Learn what is important / is required to be stored and what to send in a trash bin. 


19 Employees’ feedback

Take regular feedback from employees and improve the workplace environment if you want to retain them for longer period. Your employees are from the same field and they may not complain but they will not appreciate and move on the next better opportunity as soon as they get. Loosing a well trained employee is a big loss of time and money.


20 Manage interruptions

Noise, phone rings, email alerts, movements, loud music, odor, clutter desk etc. are few interruptions which break the concentration while working. Isn’t it one of the major time wasters One of the best ways is to identify interruptions and avoid as early as possible. Sometime such interruptions require simple solutions.


21: Prevention is better than cure

First Deal with the problems when they are small. Problems are like termite; if unattended, they will spread wide and will become difficult and damaging. A small crack in a building if remains unattended may lead to seepage and building may collapse one day. A timely effort will prevent more work later.


22: Make a long- term calendar for your office

Time management is like a creating a design from pieces of mosaic. Like a big mural which needs small pieces of mosaic to find its shape, you need to put together your daily work plan and important dates on your year to find a complete picture of your yearly time management strategy. For a big picture, you can begin by preparing an annual calendar, for achieving sub- tasks, you can break teh annual calender into monthly plans and further you can break it in to weekly plans to care of  smaller details. For smallest detail, you can prepare a daily ‘to do ‘ list. Create a yearly plan of your projects, treat it like a big beautiful mural and break it in to small mosaics to build it easily.


23: Maintenance and upgradation

In 21st century, machines are our companions. But, they are only useful when they rightly work at the right time. All equipments like computers, air conditioners, printers, etc shall be well maintained. Try tp take annual contract with an agency to maintain your office equipments and technologies. Break down of even one computer wastes a lot of time. These are hidden time wasters which go unnoticed and eat away your time and profit.


24: You don’t need a time manager or any fancy time management tool

Time management is a habit. You can't ask your friend to do exercise if you want to loose weight. Bringing good time management habits in your personal life as well as developing a culture in your firm, is the only way you can improve time management ability. You do not require an expert. You do not require a fancy tool. You only need commitment to treat time with importance and understanding. 


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Image Copyright: Kiran Gandhi