Tag “thinking”

Multitasking sucks

There were times when I loved doing several things simultaneously. I could make a soup and at the same time discuss another website layout, write a newsletter and watch a TV show. Over time I’ve realized that multitasking almost always sucks, and here’s why.

  1. Only few people in this world can multitask and deliver great results. There’re almost none.
  2. The desire to complete two different things at one is a pathetic attempt to buy some time. Both are likely to be done badly.
  3. Multitasking is often used in the wrong places. It leads to mistakes, sometimes fatal.

To figure out when it’s okay to multitask and when it’s not, I follow a simple method.

If the task doesn’t require thinking and analyzing new information—cleaning, washing dishes, walking through the park—it can be combined with another activity. For example, I make half of my calls and team meetings on the go, because I can move my legs without thinking about it.

However, if the task requires you to immerse yourself into the topic, to constantly assess the situation, to watch for safety—meeting with a new client, playing basketball, or driving a car—you'd better put everything else on hold and focus. Otherwise, you might miss a crucial idea of the talk or get hit in the face with a ball. And if you’re checking your phone while driving or crossing the street, you may die eventually.

I’m not a fan of multitasking, and I hate it when it is mispresented as a criterion for success. But at the same time, I love variety. I enjoy running several projects at once, meeting new people every day, and visiting different cities. The variety is in the spice of life! It inspires me and gives me food for thought. But doing several tasks at once — fuck this. It’s highly likely to turn out to be bullshit.

The most important step in your life ★

We tend to plan everything, to foresee all possible options, to calculate all risks, to think about ways to retreat in advance. Most often in vain. This strategy is ineffective, 'cause most of our fears never come true. But there will always be something we couldn’t anticipate.

Our brain constantly wants certainty, otherwise it begins to think we are in danger. But visualizing the future in detail is too costly for the brain. And when our expectations don’t match reality, it’s also painful for the psyche. Instead of trying to predict our future we should focus on the next step. It’s a gentler approach, with no pressure and stress.

The most important step in your life is the next step. Not the one from five years ago, not the one you’ll take a year from now. Just the next step of yours.

If you have a big goal or task in front of you and you have no idea where to start, how to approach it, try not to think of it as a big goal. Instead, think of what your next step might be and take it. This little trick will help you overcome the numbness and begin to act.

Make a plan

Having a plan helps our mind avoid panicking and makes it easy to star acting. Stop wasting your time, make a plan. It’s the first step on the way to your goal.

Never be daunted

It’s hard to think clearly in difficult times. Fear paralyzes, impotence suppresses the mind, you feel dropped out.

The main principle that helps me keep my mind clear and sound is: “Continue going your way and don’t lose heart. Never lose heart.”

Not to lose your way, manage your focus and keep moving towards the goal when the world is on fire is an invaluable skill and strength. To remember that difficult times are not forever is a sign of incredible resilience.

Be strong and resilent. Continue on your way. Never be daunted.

Trends are a trap

Never follow trends. Any design should start with a blank canvas, any copy should begin with a blank Google Doc with a blinking cursor in it. Solutions are born in the head, not on the screen.

It’s no use aligning your work with trends or reading another top-10-design-trends-of-the-coming-year article. No one who walked a well-trodden path has ever invented or explored something new.

The only way to create something unique is to think out of the box, to develop your own thinking that will lead to ideas completely different from those that trends dictate.

Trends are a mental trap. They limit designers to a range of customary, safe solutions that don’t excite people. How else to explain hundreds of thousands of identical landing pages, dull logos, and Corporate Memphis illustrations. All this is the result of following trends.

I publicly declare that trends are bullshit, and I allow you to score on them. If you look for a novelty, swim against the tide.

Hegarty on creativity: There are no rules

In London I bought a book by John Hegarty, an iconic British PR-manager and advertiser. The book has only 125 pages, but it’s the most captivating piece on creative thinking I’ve ever read. I ate it during my three hour flight to Moscow, and funny but literally can eat this book, 'cause it’s printed without ink.

Hegarty breaks all templates and familiar patterns that stuck in our heads, and reminds about simple truths we know, but we are too afraid to follow.

The book is written in a modern and clear language. Anyone with an intermediate level of English can easily read and understand everything Hegarty says. Here’s one of the feature quotes from the book:

Screw the rules, go hard.

The layout of the book is spectacular

I will not write a summary of the book as it’s too short. I outlined some quotes that stroke me with its power and certainty. Some of them are perfect to be typed in a beautiful font, printed and hung over your working desk.

Quotes from the book

  1. The greatest strategy you can employ is the truth. It is handy also, because you can always remember what you’ve said.
  2. When I’m asked, When do you do your best thinking? My answer is always, When I’m not thinking.
  3. When you are intent on putting a great wrong right, creativity will often exceed all expectations. Out of conflict comes purpose.
  4. Use juxtaposition.
  5. By looking in the opposite direction, you might just find something new.
  6. We must always remember technology is not an idea. It’s the means to express an idea. So under no circumstances should you become overawed by it.
  7. Don’t be afraid of technology
  8. So be careful. Don’t surround yourself with people who want to bury your ideas.
  9. The greatest creative people are great precisely because they hold on to a childlike simplicity and urge to question everything.
  10. So ask yourself. What excites me? What drives me?
  11. So take off your headphones and let the world in.
  12. Read shit, you’ll think shit and you’ll create shit. There’s no doubt you get better when you surround yourself with great things and great people.
  13. So, do respect what’s gone before. But revere it? Never.
  14. Constantly chopping and changing your speciality with hinder your success. Keep your focus!
  15. Practice only makes perfect if you make progress.
  16. Collaboration is great for sex not for creativity.
  17. Our brains still operate in an analog world.
  18. Spotting a right idea is as important as having it.
  19. Henry Ford said, “If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”.
  20. You can make your own timing.
  21. Plan on failing. But when you do, don’t dwell on it.
  22. Money doesn’t have a soul. It’s a tool not a philosophy.
  23. Don’t read anything about yourself or your work in the press.
  24. Doing something quickly is not the same as doing it well.
  25. Every McCartney needs a Lennon.
  26. Your success will, in fact, distance you from the very world that stimulated the ideas that make you successful. It will isolate you.