Five things I’ve learnt while not on placements (and one thing I learnt while doing work experience)
DPS started and my structure was gone. I didn’t have to be in uni, I didn’t have tutors giving me briefs with non-negotiable deadlines. It was on me and honestly I struggled. Now this isn’t to say I’m not motivated or can’t organise my time, I can. I’ve never handed in a project or essay late, never missed an exam, but I realise now that those had direct and tangible consequences. If I didn’t hand in a project on time my grade would be capped, but if I send that application in tomorrow instead of today, would it really make a difference? They’re probably not going to reply to me anyway…
After some time wallowing in self pity I decided (well my flatmate told me) that I needed to actually utilise my time between placements. So here are five things which I’ve started doing to help keep me motivated and feeling accomplished, while stuck in cold wet London.
Plan tomorrow and plan five years from now. Have a to-do list of things you want to achieve, this may vary from the small, of putting on a load of washing, to the big of of dream job. Whatever it is write it down. If it’s too big a task break it down into manageable steps. It’s much easier to do something when you know what it is you need to do.
2. Find someone to be accountable to.
Once you’ve written this list tell it someone, whether they be your mother, childhood best friend, or flatmate (or in my case all three). I hate disappointing people and just the act of telling someone what I plan to do makes me far more likely to do. I don’t want to have to tell them I wasted my day watching old episodes of Doctor Who.
3. Keep a schedule.
I try to work (or at least do something which is relevant to my vocation) between the hours of 10am and 6pm. I chose these times because they are the standard for work in the design industry and because I get to avoid rush hour if I am going somewhere.
4. Get out of the house.
There are a lot of hours in the day when you don’t have a job and it becomes all too easy to spend these hours moping around the house. I’ll tell myself that I’ll ‘work from home’, that I’ll be productive while still in my pyjamas. I won’t. I’ll be much happier by the end of the day if I’ve actually seen some people and breathed some fresh air, however hard it is to get out of bed when I can only see grey out the window.
5. Find a work environment which works for you.
As previously mentioned I find it incredibly hard to work at home. Instead I’ve started frequenting local coffee shops and going into uni. In my head these spaces are where ‘people work’ and so it is much easier for me to actually start ticking thing off my list and not get distracted by wanting to reorganise my paper collection.
+1. Achieving a major goal feels fucking good.
I recently got some work experience in the art department of an ITV show, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Just having an ITV pass to get into the offices made me smile. While it may seem like you’re just sending emails off into the void, something will work out eventually and when it does it’ll make all those hours of drafting emails and rearranging your portfolio worth it.