In these uncertain times, it seems everyone’s got thoughts on how best to look after yourself. Start that side project, pick up that unheard-of hobby, or source the stamina to complete that 5k you said you’d always do.

But if you’re anything like me and don’t like being told what to do, then this is the article for you.

(I also get that weighing in on this is, in itself, highly ironic. Sssh.)

Productivity propaganda

Places like LinkedIn and Twitter can be really bad for what has come to be dubbed ‘productivity propaganda’. As a social soapbox, anyone can weigh in on what we should be up to. And what with freedom of speech, they have every right to.

However for those who have a responsibility to young and emerging designers, we should expect better.

Take AIGA, the oldest and largest not-for-profit design organisation in the United States, for example.

In early April, their magazine AIGA Eye on Design published ‘I’m a Design Student–What Happens Next?’, interviewing worldwide educators about what new graduates should do whilst stuck at home. And it went… badly. A storm of backlash came their way after they aired Jonathan Baldwin’s assertion that we should all::

“Be prepared for interviewers to ask ‘what did you do during the pandemic?’ If your answer is that you played on your Xbox, or even just that you learned to code, you’ll be viewed poorly..."

Oh man.

The advice worth listening to

At a time when even the commute from one end of your flat to the other feels tough enough, people forget to mention that finding the headspace to do anything can be nigh on impossible. 

Tackling the 3D animation you want to make but don’t yet have the knowledge for would be great if you didn’t feel like you had your hands in the kitchen sink for 23 hours a day. Refining your portfolio also seems like an equally good idea until you’re waking up from unusually bad dreams, Spielberg-ed up under the anxiety of it all.

This is a pandemic, not a sabbatical.

A global crisis, not a holiday.

It doesn’t have to be an opportunity to expand your CV.

Leeds agency Tall say that in the midst of this pandemic, it’s just as “important to focus on yourself as [...] your work” and they’re not wrong. So do whatever you feel is right. Play Xbox all day if it helps. After all, I’ve just put mine down to write this.

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