10 Reasons to Take us Back to School

Your school life, whether you had a happy or sad one there’s bound to be times you can look back on fondly. Whether it be the fact you ate all your sandwiches in morning break which left you nothing for the rest of the day, or that Friday feeling that seems to feel like no other when you are at school.

But what can we take away as adults from our school life that we’ve forgotten about? Plenty.

  1. 1. We prepared the night before. Whether it was as simple as putting our pencil case in our bag or making sure we had the books we needed for the next day. We negated that tiny element of stress that can now creep up on us as adults when we find we’ve lost our favourite pen or iPhone headphones as we are walking out the door to work.
  2. 2. We arrived to work at a clean and tidy desk each morning. I am really bad at this, and I bet I’m not the only one. At school we were forced to clear down everyday, remove everything off our desk and start a fresh the next day. I get to my home office desk in the morning to find at least a coffee cup and random pens, paper and bank cards strewn across my desk, which I envariably end up tidying up each morning, why didn’t I just do that when I finished yesterday?
  3. 3. We took regular breaks. Ding ding -end of morning session, nip outside for some fresh air and come back in again 20 minutes later (after a packet of crisps) feeling refreshed and ready to start your next lesson. Remember that feeling after morning break? As adults, especially adults that work infront of screens all day, remember to take a break, and get some “Skips” or “Wotsits” in just to be nostalgic.
  4. 4. We had a schedule we had to stick to. Double French. Possibly many peoples nightmare, my personal favourite oh oui- by the by…we had an hour and 15 minutes for double lessons, and looking back now, it’s amazing how much we got done by just focusing on one task. Section your day into smaller tasks if you’re the type of person who gets easily distracted working on one large one.
  5. 5. We took an hour for lunch. Working from home, I rarely take an hour for lunch, I tend to grab a sandwich and work straight through sitting at my desk. I need to go back to taking an hour for lunch, walking the dog and coming back in ready to start work for the afternoon, and so do you if you don’t already!
  6. 6. We read books. Remember in English Literature when you had a whole hour to read a book? Ok so it might have been “Animal Farm” and possibly not your choice of reading material nowadays, but how often can you say you took an hour out just to read? I know I don’t do it enough.
  7. 7. We were able to explore ideas without feeling stupid. Remember doing a brainstorming session at school? Envariably all sorts of weird and wacky ideas would come out, often genius ideas, because no one was afraid of looking stupid. We were young, therefore didn’t know any of the answers we now think we know and threw caution to the wind.
  8. 8. We looked forward to 3.30pm. How quickly 3.30 can now come around in the adult working world, I feel somedays I can wake up, blink and it’s that time. Whenever you get to 3.30pm remember just how much you would have done in one day had you been at school, and then take a look at what you’ve achieved that day, somedays it can be a real eye opener and a boot up the bum to get going again.
  9. 9. We never wanted to do homework at weekends – and quite right too, I always thought weekends were sacred, our time to relax from the school week however, too scared to have not done my homework I always ended up doing it on a Sunday night while my parents watched “Heartbeat”.  As an adult, I now try to limit my working at the weekend, for the same reason. If you have to work at the weekend, make sure you schedule something nice to do that gets you away from the screen to balance it up a bit.
  10. 10. You hated Monday mornings. Well…..I guess some things never change.
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  • School life seems so easy when you look back now, nothing to get stressed over. It’s amazing to think when you own/run your own business that the 10 point list above quickly goes out of the window without strict discipline.

    I know for a fact I work too much, and yet I feel lost when I don’t work.

    Life balance isn’t one of my strong points.

    p.s. Pink custard and chocolate cake (reminiscing).

  • Dan

    You’re seriously on to something here, Sarah. An enforced school-like work flow could be very beneficial to web designers, and indeed many other vocations as well.

    Of course not all routines from school years will be welcomed, such as having your ass handed to you by your elders as soon as it snows and having to run cross country. But a structured work-day with regular short breaks and a solid hour for lunch can only aid in concentration. Our attention spans were never shorter than they were when we were kids (in my case it’s stayed uniform throughout my life.)

    I think the way to go would be to split the day into 60 minute blocks with no more than 2 consecutive without a 10 minute turn-off-monitor-and-put-down-pen break. Plan your week so that you give all your current projects enough time slots depending on their urgency, indeed this process could be the final 60 minute block of the previous week. If something is very urgent such as a big-paying client deadline or doing your tax returns then give it double periods.

    A bonus of this kind of structured work day is that it allows you to easily quantify your chargeable hours and make sure you’re not neglecting certain projects.

    Again, great post.

    Dan

    PS, Is it true that you, Drew Mclellan and Andy Clarke are doing a podcast? If so, you have a listener here. Sounds like it could be a power-house! 🙂

  • I stumbled upon you on twitter, and then hit your blog. I have to say it’s in my fav’s list now. Oh, and before you say “you’re using a wordpress.com site”…yes, this blog was just a test. Seems to be working, so will be working on a “real” blog site soon.

  • Nice idea for a post, good points and well made! Just a few responses from me

    2. I’m so glad to hear the state of your desk can be similar to mine in the morning! After seeing a photo of your desk once (in the background of a photo of your new moleskins) I thought – wow! so tidy and organised! and looked in despair around me.

    3. I *really* need to take more breaks. And that doesn’t mean firing up Tweetdeck. I go through good phases, but sometimes when I’m in production I get carried away, but inevitably I end up cranky and frustrated after 4 hours hammering away at the keyboard.

    4. David Seah’s Emergent Task Timer is a really good way of creating a ‘timetable’ for your day, so you don’t spend too long on one particular task.

    10. You know, if we followed all your points 1-9, we wouldn’t hate Monday mornings – at least in my more organised periods (and after a relaxing, work-free w/e) I look forward to getting to work on a Monday.