24 October 2009

Reboot



We got out of our meeting late, past 3:30. Any other day and it wouldn’t have mattered, but I had to leave at 4:30 to get home to prepare the meal for dinner group. TR (client) wanted a new draft with last-minute changes. I told my manager the situation. He just said, “I understand if you have to leave. But do the best you can.”

I truly believed there was no possible way to finish in time, but I felt my reputation was at stake. I rushed back to my chair, throttled the mouse, and frantically started closing open windows. My computer started to lag, and I reluctantly decided to reboot. I clicked restart, let go of the mouse, and leaned back in my chair.

While Bill and crew reset the RAM, I thought through my design process. Normally we create tables in Photoshop so we can precisely match pixels, but there is really no worse program for the job. It hit me that I could create a table in Word and import it. Of course, it wouldn’t be pixel perfect, but it would get the job done in a fraction of the time. I thought about the layout of the data, the export process, and who I would email it to. When Windows and Photoshop had loaded, I hit the ground running. I was still a little frantic, but my mind was focused. I emailed the new draft with fifteen minutes to spare.

Sometimes the most time-effective work flow, ironically, requires a few minutes of not working. Sometimes you just have to reboot.

(This attitude was partially inspired by The 4-Hour Work Week, a fantastic book.)