Do you have any tips for managing your time?

Adam Tickle
Do not work too hard. Remember what is important to you in life.

Adrian Shaughnessy
No. Design, like all creative endeavors, takes over your life. Anyone who has a problem with this should get a job with an insurance firm – insurance people work 9-5.

Andrew Blauvelt
I’m the wrong person to ask.

Dan McCarthy
When I’m designing something, I get really involved and won’t think about anything else for days. When I think it’s done, I step away from it for a day or two and look at it again with fresh eyes to see if it needs any tweaking. If you work from home, treat it like a 9-5. Get up early and try to keep yourself busy with something art related. Take weekends off.

Ed Fella
You’ve got to have a life. I have children and grandchildren. Design and art are my life. It’s so fascinating to do. In last 27 years alone, I have made about 8,500 drawings. That’s three quarters of a drawing each day. It adds up. I haven’t worked professionally for 20 years. Everything I do now is my own. You’ve got to have a life, though.

Eric Karjaluoto
On the first point, I think it’s all about concentrating on the big tasks and leaving the small ones for the end. That way I’m not caught scrambling at the last moment. As for balancing design and the rest of my life, I have few insights. Design is a very large part of my life and I find the two inseparable. That being said, I’m happy, so I suppose all’s well.

Evan Leake
You just have to know when things need to be done and you can do whatever you want whenever you want as long as you’re willing to make the certain sacrifices to get things done on time. If I wanted to go play Wii and nap all afternoon I could, I would just have to stay up all night so I can still have things emailed out before my clients get to work in the morning.

Experimental Jetset
To answer the latter part of your question: there is not really a ‘rest of our lives’. Everything we do, we immediately relate to graphic design. Going to a movie, seeing a show, watching a documentary on television, hanging out with friends, even sleeping: it instantly becomes part of the design process. Always being alert for new ideas, new ways of looking at things. It’s certainly not a 9-to-5 job; to us, being a graphic designer is a very conscious way of living our lives.

The fact that we are not only colleagues, but also best friends, and even neighbors, only adds to that. At times, we do feel like a gang, or even a cult. It is so much more than a job.

As for the first part of your question: we are really the last persons on earth to be advising other people on time-management. We are so bad in managing time, we can’t believe we are actually professional graphic designers, rarely missing deadlines.

It is as if we concentrate all our rationality in the work itself, and then have none left for our own life. There is a really strange contrast between our work, which seems quite structured and clear, and the way we live, which we experience as absurdly chaotic and stressful. We have these long periods when we feel exhausted, almost lethargic, followed by these short bursts of hyperactivity... It’s definitely not a good example of time-management.

Use iCal, calendarize each week. Take the necessary amount of time to finish each job, don’t tackle 2 or more at the same time, focus. Design is an integral part of our daily life, it is outta living that most of our inspiration comes from.

Flip Flop Flyin
Turn the computer off rather than leaving it sleeping.

Friedrich-Wilhelm Graf
Computer says no.

Yes, we work and love to work so much that sometimes it consumes us out of pleasure. Its important to maintain balance of life, eating well and cooking, and your friendships and family. They are the most important things after your passion.

George Lois
If you want to be a great designer, you have got to put the hours in! (In between life and family time, of course, reading, movies, museums, playing chess, and playing basketball.)

Hula Hula
Hmmm. The line between designing time and the rest of my life seems to have vanished some years ago. Don’t expect any guidance from me there. I’m a declared workaholic and that has worked for me so far.

Ian Stevenson
Sometimes it cannot be managed when there is lots of work but then when it’s done you can rest.

Jeff Domke
There is no such thing as a shortage of time — only a shortage of priorities. I recommend that you think about your time and priorities in terms of the 80/20 rule. Spend time on the 20% of tasks that will produce 80% of the results you desire.

Justin Ouellette
I wish someone would give me some tips. I’m terrible at managing my time; I’m surprised I get anything done at all, honestly.

Lance Wyman
I try to balance work with play - not that work isn’t fun, but it can be exhausting at times.

Milton Glaser
Spend more time on what you find most difficult.

Please Let Me Design
Damien: Don’t work with Firefox, Mail, MSN & iChat open. I know how hard it is. To be honest, I can’t smile.

Pierre: Work at the Office, not at home.
I’m also trying to avoid working during the weekends. Not always possible, but hey, I’m working on it.

Rick Valicenti
Find the balance that works for you. Be patient, your career is as long as your life.

Wolfgang Weingart
To be lazy, because I worked the last 40 years, seven days a week.

Zoe Bather
I’m getting better at the balance between work and home. I think if you work in design you’re always going to do late nights and weekends (well from my experience of working for a small studio and then running my own). I’m making an effort not to take my work, or my whinges about work, home with me. If you spend the whole time talking about work then it feels like you are constantly at work.

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Fill/Stroke is a collection of three individuals who have always been good at collecting content, but never really good at sharing it. We formed in early 2008, and have been honored to interview some of the greatest designers of our time.

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