I’m not used to working with just one monitor and one computer. Usually, i have 3 running simultaneously so i feel a bit ‘lost’. All of my design work is done on my Windows PC. That’s right, not my Mac mini. Despite the fact i’ve been using a Windows PC and a Mac simultaneously for over a year on the same desk, i still regard windows as ‘home’, therefore most of my work is done there. But right now i’m forced to use just the Mac…
Time seems to move slower these days, probably because i can’t multitask as much as i usually do. Over the past couple of days i’ve done some offline work. Printing stuff out, using a pen & paper, cleaning & reorganising my desk and the layout of everything on it. It’s as if i’m waiting to get back to normal and trying to keep myself busy in the mean time. That’s what habit does to you.
My habit of multitasking has resulted in boredom & frustration with just one monitor & one computer, hence my uncharacteristic use of pen, paper & print. I spent some time today moving stuff around trying to maximise productivity. Up until now i’ve deliberately kept space to the right of my desk free as i’m right handed and that’s where i’d naturally turn to do offline writing and reading. Today i decided that was wasting space because due to my ‘natural’ seating position, it was high value space… space which shouldn’t be allocated to doing offline stuff. If it’s worth reading or writing about, i’ll document it in digital format.
So i shuffled my monitors about bring them closer to me and sharpening the angles they sit at, so as to create a more ‘immersive’ experience. It has created the illusion of more monitor real estate, which is always good. It’s a bit like RAM… the more you have, the more you’ll use. You can never have too much.
Out of all the applications i use on a daily basis, i miss photoshop the most. I have it installed on the Mac but because i don’t use it that often, i don’t have any of the shapes, brushes, styles, fonts etc.. that i’ve built up on my PC version. A default version of photoshop isn’t much good to me and because i’ll only be without my PC for another day or two at most, it doesn’t make sense to start customising it & installing stuff. I just have to wait it out.
Not being able to create designs quickly though is a real killer as i’ve been spending the last few weeks doing exactly that. Day in, day out. Instead, i’m just jotting down ideas on paper or emailing them to myself in text format. I’ll probably never get around to doing anything about them but it keeps the creative side of me happy. I’m not designing, but i’m visualising… same thing really only when i’m designing i’m limited by my skill set.
Because i get tired looking at just one monitor, i’m taking more frequent breaks or looking around the room more. I’m never idly looking at something or day dreaming about nothing, i’m always thinking about something. Earlier i picked up a document and started to read it, highlighting important stuff and jotting down some notes. Within minutes i had the whole thing read, critiqued and i was in the middle of typing out my thoughts. Usually, i’m not so efficient with my time. In college if i had an assignment, i’d read the brief and let it simmer for a while, then research it a bit and let it simmer some more. I’d only really start to push myself as the deadline would come closer, not because i liked leaving things to the last minute, more to give myself time to think things through thoroughly before i’d hit submit. It’s easy to get distracted though with three monitors open and several applications running in the background, springing up auto-alerts every time you get an email or an @reply on twitter.
Today however it just seemed so easy. My thought process was more fluid and there were no distractions. Things seemed simpler. I’ve no doubt that’s because i’m down to one monitor and not as mentally stimulated as i’m used to… the ‘benefit’ of that is i find it easy, or perhaps necessary to focus on something rather than let my mind sit idle. Anyway, upgrades that allow for more multitasking & faster multitasking are on the way, so there’s no going back 🙂