The cost of saying "yes."
I must say, "Yes Man" is probably one of my favorite movies (definitely my favorite Jim Carrey movie). It's about a guy stuck in a rut in life who attends a seminar that essentially instructs him to say "yes" to any opportunity that presents itself. He is initially very hesitant to the idea, but soon discovers how many fun things can happen in life when he just says "yes" to them. Soon, he becomes dependent on it, and learns that saying "yes" isn't always the answer. That's what I have been starting to feel like, when it comes to my life as a designer.
As a young designer, right out of school, I felt the need to say "yes" to every project or opportunity that presented itself. I figured that if I said "yes" to everything, something good is bound to come from it. Even if the final project wasn't cool enough to put in my portfolio, I would at least gain a little experience and maybe a few valuable connections. That's got to be worth something, right?
Well, I started a new full-time design job in December, and since signing that offer letter, I've been the busiest I've ever been. Designing all day, full-time, then coming home to design even more is starting taking its toll on me. I don't feel like I'm putting out the level of work I want to be making. So now I have to ask myself, "what's the cost of saying 'yes' to this project?" I'm not talking about in terms of money. I'm talking in terms of rest, a personal life, and how much is this project going to take away from another one I've already committed to. Can I really give this project everything I have? Don't get me wrong, I love freelancing, and I'd never give it up completely. It gives me the opportunity to do projects that I would otherwise never get the chance to do at work. But, I have to know the limit of what I can take on while still committing myself to my job, the other projects I have going on, and most importantly, myself.
So, I've decided to try something new. I've decided that I will not take on any freelance design projects until April 1st, not matter how how much fun it sounds (unless Nike comes calling, of course). I will also spend the month of February finishing up all the other projects on my plate. I want to spend the entire month of March (my birth month) doing 0 client work outside of my full-time job, and using that time to explore and experiment creatively. Hopefully, this will give me the recharge I need, and allow me to produce my best work yet!