To be a successful architect – first, start with yourself

Many young architects start their career journey with the idea to become highly successful artists. Others – just feel comfortable taking their own place in an architectural studio and enjoy implementing what they have learned in a daily routine. Whatever your personality, one thing is sure – to make big or small steps forward and to develop your skills – you’d better start with yourself.

Have you ever wondered what the successful architects do? And what particular actions have led them to the top?

Sketch

Drawing by hand is a skill that you have to keep. It’s like writing with a pen sometimes instead of using the computer keyboard. Using your hands in your daily architectural work has many benefits. It develops different areas in your brain and gives unexpected perspectives sometimes. Get used to sketching when you have a discussion with a client. He will understand you better. Additionally, he is more likely to remember what you have shown him. 

 

Find your style

Not everyone in architecture will end up being the next Zaha Hadid, for example. However, it is crucial to know yourself and to show the world your special weapon. Every interior designer has a different approach to his work. Sometimes the too-loud voice will scare some clients. However, those who stay will be your best ambassadors. So dive into knowing yourself – develop your unique skills and abilities. Design isn’t about copying someone’s great ideas. Have the courage to raise your own voice and to show the world how you do it. Be honest and tell your own story. The right clients will follow. 

Accept criticism

Walking on your own path and working with people will make you face certain criticism. However, don’t be upset, and don’t stick to your ego. People are different. Try to walk in their shoes and remember – whatever the critic, it is rarely something personal. Try to understand others and don’t get offended. Whenever a criticism steps in the way, try to find a piece of advice in it that will help you to get better. It is not about being right or wrong. It is about doing your best while working on a project and find the tiny balance between your expertise and your clients’ expectations – especially when they are not into architecture at all. Yes, you are the architect. But may you be the professionalist that is kind and polite whatever the obstacles.

 

Evolve

You cannot enter the same river twice. The world and technology evolve. Therefore, try to be one step ahead. Be the change yourself. Read articles, magazines, seek inspiration, contact with other architects and designers, share knowledge, be part of professional groups in social media, be proactive. To widen your horizon, read other things too – maybe you enjoy Forbs or prefer National Geographic. Your different interests will only be of help in your everyday work. Education Doesn’t End in School. Don’t let the world pass you by.

Be a team player

People are social animals. No matter how great you are, learn to be part of a community. Or build one yourself. Networking is a crucial skill when it comes to the architectural profession. Be a useful part of that community – add value, give advice, offer help. It is more likely to find more new clients if you are a member of a local architect group than to be a single isolated master-mind. Give and you’ll be given too.

 

Stay humble

Whenever your success finds you, make sure you are prepared and stay the same humble and polite professional as you were before that. What matters is the personality behind the business. Be inspired by the next generations and don’t grow up grumpy. Be a positive and optimistic human being, ready to help, and be open for discussions. Professionals are not meant to be passive.  

Don’t live to work

Go out. If you ever feel stuck in a working issue – go change your perspective. Don’t just hang out with architects. Broaden your horizons and learn from other professionals, businesses, and people. Additionally, move away from your desk to keep your work vital and inspirational – make site visits, talk with clients in the field, observe your construction team. You are not just the person drawing – it’s worth seeing your ideas go to live. How else are we supposed to be of value to society if we are not part of it? 

 

Don’t burn bridges

Sometimes it just happens – you get divorced with clients, partners, even ideas. And there is nothing bad. This means you move forward. However, just make sure you get out of a toxic professional relationship with dignity and kindness. The architectural world is small. Your actions will be surely remembered and it’s likely to meet your old friends in a new working situation. Whatever the issue, make sure you listen to your partners and clients. If there is no way to save this project or a relationship, don’t burn the bridge – just use it to pass by. 

Stay curious

Technology will lead the way. So should you. Stay curious about new opportunities, software updates, ideas, people. Try that new tool. Read that new article. Join the latest webinar. Don’t let the inertia work on your behalf. 

 

Love what you do

Whenever you feel exhausted and lost the direction, try remembering why you first started – maybe it runs in the family or your father has taught to draw. Or your mother was a great interior designer without even knowing it… You have the right reason to start your career in architecture or design. When tough times come, remember what made you do it. Love what you do and do it with all your heart. Once in the architectural profession, do your best to save it. Leave a decent mark after yourself. 

 

Pay it forward

Teach, share, show to others how architects improve the world. Additionally, you will discover something new for yourself during the process. Don’t forget where you started from. Now is the time when you can be someone’s mentor. Help the next generation and share your expertise. There is no need to worry that someone will steal the craft from you. Architecture is a two-way street. So make sure the people you meet leave with a smile.  

5 Steps to a More PROductive Workflow with ESCREO

I wake up and, before the coffee kicks in, I am already scrolling in my mind all the things that need to be done. The important ones, the urgent ones, and all those that go into the not-a-matter-of-life-and-death list. My cortisol levels rise and I am alert, ready to face the challenges of the day. My brain doesn’t need that coffee to function, for it is already speeding down the road of productivity lane. But I have one anyway. Call it morning routine, call it gustatory satisfaction. I have it long with milk. 

I wake up and before that coffee kicks in I have already mind-mapped the most efficient way to approach the duties of the day. Sometimes I wish I could glimpse at how the people I work with think. Do their brains function the way mine does? How do they approach productivity? I wonder because I care both about those people and about ESCREO—the company I co-founded 4 years ago.

Proactive as I am, I did something about it, rather than wonder.

Instead of fussing around Christmas gifts and resolutions’ lists, my team and I embarked on the task to create another type of agenda—one that aims to help busy professionals. It is, in fact, just a bonus to the essential—ESCREO’s new e-book “5 Steps to a More Productive Workflow”, which is a short, clear and fun guide to an optimal workflow designed for professionals with a vision.

And what is common between visionaries like Elon Musk, Arianna Huffington and Warren Buffett, besides success?

The answer is that they read, and they read a lot. Some read a book a week, others read 500 pages a day. Yet, in this fast passed business environment, how realistic is it for any manager to spend enough time and catch up with the big names in the business?

The market is saturated with books that explain how to optimize the workflow. The overwhelming choice and need for a hygienic filter of information require the most precious of all – our time. We thought about it and extracted the essence of all the information out there, by proposing 5 easy and proven steps that lead to a more productive workflow. In the new online book, you will find universal solutions and their ESCREO value-added proposition.

  1. It will inform you:

According to a study conducted by the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAVO), workplace chaos is directly linked to financial loss.”

2. It will make you smile:

Unless your employees are Buddhist monks undercover, chances are they will have a hard time to concentrate with all the noise.”

3. And it will make life easier for you:

You’ve picked up the phone and hired a trusted interior designer. You’ve chosen from a palette of colours and are all set to refurbish, but something is bothering you. You want a colourful, yet functional wall and whiteboards are out of the question. ESCREO Clear Whiteboard Paint is the solution you seek, as it preserves the original colour of the surface, while transforming it into a writing canvas.

The “5 Steps to a More Productive Workflow” eBook will reveal secrets like:

  • How prioritizing increase productivity?
  • Why is it important to remember the company’s vision and how to make the most out of it?
  • How does the office interior affect productivity?
  • How to keep that precious focus when it’s noisy?
  • What makes a tidy workspace so much more than a nice Instagram background?

Part of ESCREO’s mission is to help businesses operate more efficiently. In the dynamics of the modern business, coordinating a team and keeping up the fire of productivity is a challenge. Intelligent leaders know to to make the most out of all the tools that help communication flow. ESCREO offers such tools. Much more than that, we are committed to exploring the heart of the problem, so we could provide holistic solutions.

We live in a society ruled by an unwritten law: one is more, when one does more; the busier one is, the more important and successful.” Yet, to what extent is more synonymous with productivity and a prerequisite for success? Are we busy with being busy (mostly with insignificant tasks), or are we engaged in productive activities?

The alarm rings. It’s Monday… or Thursday. It doesn’t matter. Maybe, you need a coffee first. Take your time and prepare, before you embark on the mission to lead your business.

Where to?

The direction is success, of course, but how do you accelerate your business there?

Start by downloading the new ESCREO eBook “5 Steps to a More Productive Workflow”.

 

Author: Elena Nikolova | ESCREO
Find the Bulgarian source HERE

Need more time? Here you are! How to optimize all 24 hours a day

The summer is over and the vacation now lives in the past. So welcome the season of full to-do lists, delayed tasks and so much more responsibilities at work, school and home. Do you have enough time to do everything you want to? Do you feel being busy all day without satisfying results? And why there are people able to fit so much more into the same time-space?

This 5-minute read will give some proven tips on how to manage your time and to feel content at the end of the day.

 

Rule Number 1: Prioritize Goals

Setting goals will help you determine how much time should be focused on a specific task. Setting unrealistic goals will lead to demotivation. Therefore, it’s crucial to set realistic and achievable goals. Set goals that are clear, particular and measurable. They should matter to you and also align with bigger overall goals in the long run. Moreover, remember to set deadlines too. This will help you to focus on the important tasks and not let you be overwhelmed by urgent everyday tasks.

 

Rule Number 2: Say No

Learn to say No and don’t take decisions on the rush. Choose wisely which task or meeting is really important and useful for you. When you say Yes to something you don’t like, you say No to yourself, to a better offer, to your time, to your dream achievement. So take conscious decisions and learn to control your impulses and actions.

Socrates said, “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” Use the 80/20 rule to your advantage. The rule says that 20% of the causes gives 80% of the effects. So always spend your attention on the top 20% things which give the most profits.

 

Rule Number 3: Recharge

Start every morning taking time only for you – 5 to 10 min exercise, a cup of coffee, a walk with the dog. Try to be alone without distractions and you will feel that you have time. Sleep is also a very important part of our life. Our mind needs time to restart and to recover its full capacity. Different people need different sleep time so know what is your optimal one for physical or mental recovery. And remember to take regular breaks so your mind gets clear and it will reward you with more focus, efficiency, and productivity.

 

Rule Number 4: Be Smart

Don’t be afraid to use technologies, if you use them properly they really save time. You can write an email for 30 seconds instead make a phone call for 5 minutes. It saves you time and energy. Online bank accounting, online hotel booking, online shopping, car navigation… there are so many web applications for time-saving. But only if you are smart. Because there’s always a risk to get consumed by modern technology, to get addicted and distracted. So turn off your phone to stay focused when you need to, stop checking e-mail every 2 minutes and keep yourself away from drowning into the social media.

 

Rule Number 5: Manage Your Energy

Life is a marathon, not a sprint. So avoid draining your energy at the start. The most successful people are those who seem to be having an unlimited supply of energy the whole day. And in spite of a heavy work schedule, they yet manage to have a social and personal life also. Time management saves a small amount of time, but energy management gives you much bigger results. Here are some tips about how to spend quality time and have more emotional, motivational, physical and intellectual energy:

  • Monitor your high energy times, understand when you are more productive and use these hours to work.
  • Schedule time for the activities you love like football, reading, dancing, cinema. Your favorite activities energize you and make you feel refreshed and full of energy.
  • Reward yourself for every step. “Can I have your attention for 5 minutes only? – said the Motivation”. And it’s true, we need to keep up motivation regularly. When you are working on a big project it is easy to lose motivation. So break the big project down into mini-projects and celebrate achievements on every step.

Sometimes the problem is not that we don’t have time, but that we are wasting it for things that are not important and don’t give us anything – on pointless social channels, empty talks, and even too much thinking without the result. Here is an inspiring TED talk “How to multiply your time” by Rory Vaden with very useful advises how to create more time in the future.

It sounds like science fiction, but it really works, and it’s very simple. Just give yourself emotional permission to spend time on things today that will give you more time tomorrow. So follow the steps and enjoy a life with more space and freedom.

 

 

Author: Lalka Nikolova

The Productivity Tips No One Told You About. How to do more with less

24 hours a day! That’s what we all have! However, different people have different productivity level. The saddest thing is that the most effective coworkers often are “rewarded” with more and more task because… well, they can do it. Life isn’t fair. But is there anything other people can do to take their share of the duty. There is always more to be done, more that should be done, always more than can be done. Let’s take a look at some tips for an easy-breezy working day.

One meeting a day

For most people, work meetings are simply a waste of time. Even the necessary ones break your flow and eat both of your time and productivity. Therefore, if you do run a meeting, keep it short and to the point. The ultra-successful people value their time because it is one of the few things money can’t buy. The meeting of the day is the most important thing for them so the whole attention is committed to the person on the other side. And this one meeting really matters. If you have a full schedule for weeks ahead it doesn’t mean you are a hard worker. It means you cannot properly manage your time at work. There is an interesting story about a meeting between Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. When one of the most successful investors of all time has shown his calendar to Gates, there was nothing on it.
“You know, I had every minute packed and I thought that was the only way you could do things,” says Gates.
„But Buffett taught me the importance of giving yourself time to think. To dream really big. You control your time. It’s not a proxy of your seriousness that you fill every minute in your schedule.” So take a deep breath and clean your calendar. Start to prioritize your daily tasks and think about which meetings are really important, which tasks are most urgent, which problems you can solve by yourself. Then think again and choose the most valuable meeting from all that are waiting. What you can do today?
  • prioritize your daily tasks
  • keep meetings short and to the point
  • schedule time in your calendar to think and dream big
 

Simply Simplify

Multitasking is never the right answer when you have a To-Do list because the human brain cannot fully focus. When people attempt to complete many tasks at one time, “or shift rapidly between them, errors go way up, and it takes far longer—often double the time or more—to get the job done than if they were done sequentially,” states David E. Meyer, Ph. D. from the University of Michigan. This is mainly because the brain is compelled to restart and refocus. With each switch, the brain makes no progress whatsoever. Therefore, multitasking people not only perform any task less well but lose time in the process. So less is more. If you simplify your to-do list, your wardrobe, even your daily meals, you will have more time to focus on the important things. And accomplish one single task at a time. Set the timer for 20 minutes! Ever wondered why TED Talks are 18 minutes? This is how long you can concentrate on a task before losing focus. You will be more productive, successful and feel fulfilled. What you can do today?
  • stop multitasking
  • stay focus on one task for 15 minutes
  • set you free from unnecessary stuff

Eat The Frog And Beat The Clock

As Mark Twain once said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” The first thing you should do at work is to get your to-do list and finish the most unpleasant task of the day. Always. Once you get started, you’ll quickly find your flow and get that task out of the way. Whether it is the phone call with a grumpy customer or the meeting with the boss, the boring accounting report or the unpleasant talk with a colleague. This is the task you should check out first. Either the problem will be solved or you’ll see that the situation is not as horrible as you thought. And when that one task is done, the rest of the day will be an easier ride and you will get both momentum and a sense of accomplishment at the beginning of your day. For many people, the art of delay is the reason for a high level of stress and low productivity. And instead of finishing with the job right away they check the inbox again and again, or make unnecessary phone calls or even watch something on the net, delaying the task that should be done. But the brain remembers uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. And a lot of resources and energy is lost by procrastinating. So stop wasting your time, focus on a particular task and eat the frog. What you can do today?
  • do the dirty job first
  • complete that task and forget it
  • stop delaying
 

Kaizen, One-minute Principle

In Japanese culture, there exists the practice of Kaizen, which includes the idea of the ’one-minute principle’ for self-improvement. The word means Kai (change) and Zen (wisdom). At the heart of this method is the idea that a person should practice doing something for a single minute, every day at the same time. Clearly, it shouldn’t be any trouble for absolutely anyone to carry out a given task for such a small amount of time. We used to find excuses not to do something and carrying it out for half an hour or an hour a day, but it’s much easier to do for just 60 seconds. Kaizen is a philosophy that can lead to success in personal life and in business also. When our time is limited to 1 minute the tasks don’t seem so hard, on the contrary – they bring joy and satisfaction. And with small steps, we improve ourselves and achieve greater results. If one minute seems not enough, you may follow the 2–Minute Rule from David Allen’s bestselling book, Getting Things Done. If you see a task or action that you know can be done in two minutes or less, do it immediately. It works for big goals as well as small goals because of the passivity of life. Once you start doing something, it’s easier to continue doing it. This rule isn’t about the results you achieve, but rather about the process of actually doing the work. The focus is on taking action and letting things flow from there. What you can do today?
  • start first, then continue
  • practice, practice, practice
  • schedule that one minute

Get a Rest to Do Your Best

Susan Butcher is an American sled-dog racer and trainer who dominated her sport for more than a decade, winning the challenging 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska 4 times. In 1986 Butcher came in first with a record-breaking time of 11 days 15 hours 6 minutes. Until then the competitors were racing twelve-hour without rest, and slept all night. Or the opposite – racing through the night and resting all day. But Susan changed the strategy. She knew the dogs’ physiology so well and trained them like real athletics: four to six hours of racing and the rest with the same duration.
Many great athletes use this method of training – intense workout followed by the same time-off.
This is the optimum model for the human body to achieve the top of physical potential. Our brain works the same. It needs breaks. K. Anders Ericsson, Professor of Psychology at Florida State University writes in his book “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise” that dramatic improvements are achievable if we apply the principles of deliberate practice. And one of these principles is to take time to recover. Because the full attention, with maximum mental and/or physical effort, can only be sustained for a short period of time. Laboratory studies of extended practice have discovered the GOLDEN RATIO
1 hour per day, 3-5 days a week
and real-life studies have seen reduced benefits when practice sessions exceed two hours. This level of intensity and concentration makes recovery time important. What you can do today?
  • rotate working and resting cycles
  • take that lunch break
  • split smart workout and recovery time
 

Do Nothing to Do Something

People often mistake laziness with doing nothing at all. But that’s not true. Actually, lazy people listen to music, read magazines, watch TV, browse the net, shop online… they do so many things to get distracted from the thing they should do. So laziness is in fact useless action. How to get rid of it? Generally, stop doing anything at all. Just sit or stand in the room (don’t lie down to prevent from falling asleep) in the next few minutes you will feel that you can get to work, everything gets clear in your head – what needs to be done right now. And you will start to do it. If you feel lazy again, stop doing anything. Soon you will return to a healthy state of mind. This method can be applied to any business. Don’t try to convince yourself that you need to work. Forget about controlling your thoughts. On the contrary, let them flow freely in any direction. This will last about 7 minutes and it goes away, often giving you very useful insight. What you can do today?
  • avoid doing useless actions
  • stop the distractions
  • allow yourself a few empty minutes before every task
  Here are some very popular tips for better productivity. We all know them but how many of them we actually do? Let’s check:
  1. Take care of your body – sleep and exercise regularly, drink water and eat healthy food
  2. Stay focused on the task without distraction at least for 15 minutes
  3. Delegate tasks and stop being such a control freak, other people will manage to do it too
  4. Know your limits and say NO to the tasks you don’t want to and no need to do
  5. Stay calm. Our brain gets exhausting not from mental work but from emotions too
  6. Don’t meet or talk to people that waste your time
  7. Use productivity tools to reduce the amount of time you spend in front of a computer
  8. List your results of the day and reward yourself
  9. Select your top priorities. You cannot be perfect in more than 3 areas of life – choose wisely and be happy
  Even though if you still can’t stay motivated to do your tasks on time and properly, don’t blame yourself. Maybe the area you work in is not you purpose. Maybe you are in the wrong place and you are just wasting time and energy. If your job doesn’t bring you joy and your heart is heavy every morning on the way to the office try to understand what is the one that inspires you. Remember we spend one-third of our time working, so go for it! Leonardo da Vinci, Mark Twain and Maria Curry definitely wouldn’t be the most successful sales managers in engine oils for Central Europe, right? 😉