* We'd like to share with you the ironic humor that is this post being the last one executed. Go figure.
The best of us struggle with GTD. If you don't know what GTD is, it literally translates to "Getting Things Done." The very popular and trademarked phrase and acronym title the work-life management system and book by productivity guru David Allen. Procrastination gets you nowhere, so we've got some nice hacks for you to try out. The only way you lose is if you're too lazy-boned to click on the links in this post.
Besides taking advice from Mr. GTD himself, there are a few other tricks to try that involve visual fires-under-the-ass. Let's start with celebrity wisdom. Jerry Seinfeld's unending fountain of sarcasm doesn't flow as effortlessly as one would assume. He swears by his Don't Break the Chain strategy that involves marking off calendars and perfecting consistency. You can also exaggerate your To Do list and bask in your own done-ness.
In the end, even the most heinous procrastinators somehow get stuff done. But reaping the benefits of controlled productivity is more than worth skipping the extra hours watching TV, spacing out, picking noses, and contemplating doing the work that you're too dang lazy to do. You'll also be more well rested and will have achieved a great sense of accomplishment over and over. So GTD! Don't break the chain! Do what's To Do! Bask in your own done-ness!
There are some people who say that "when you know, you know." But sometimes it takes a little conversation to find out if you've truly discovered your designer soulmate. Here's our little cheatsheet for you, divided into 3 groups of 7:
Sometimes you just feel like going oldskool and sketching things out on some classic graph paper. But instead of buying the pads, grab a stack of sheets from the recycling bin in the department head's office and print your own. Bonus feature: This site's got pdf's for dots instead of squares (good for those join-the-dots games), as well as guitar Tabs. Rockin'.
The perfect drawing tool can be anything: charcoal or graphite, rolling ball or ball-point, razor point or wide nib, fountain pen, cartridge pen—even, if all else fails, a number two pencil. Whatever it is should fit comfortably in your hand, making you want to use it constantly. It should move smoothly on the surface of the pages of your sketchbook, like it has a mind of its own, a free and independent destiny.
For anyone studying the design disciplines, drawing is as essential as breathing. (It may, at times, be more essential.) Drawing is a language with which one achieves fluency only through practice: it benefits from a kind of persistent engagement, an ongoing stride. There's a kind of aerobic state you reach in drawing when you do it for hours on end, when the rhythm of the line feels like an extension of your hand.
Best of all, you learn by doing. Forget everything you ever learned about the concept preceding the form. Now, start to draw, and watch closely: this is where form begets form, the iterative, generative process unfolding and taking you along for the ride. Jettison all the preconceived notions you have, and watch closely. Your ideas take shape, disappearing and resurfacing, shifting and reconstituting themselves while you work.
Fuck the computer. Start with a really good pen, and keep drawing until you die.Jessica Helfand is a designer, writer and educator. A founding editor of Design Observer, she is partner at Winterhouse and a Senior Critic at Yale School of Art. Her favorite pen is the Pentel EnerGel.
One of the classic note taking devices got a shot in the arm when 43Folders posted their now infamous Introducing the Hipster PDA instructions. There are a ton of hacks out there to customize it (tabs, pen holder, starchart pdf)--there's even a flickr set of the organizers.
Feeling a bit more ambitious? Try PocketMod.
Look no further than hardtofind800numbers.com, an alphabetized listing of free numbers to every business that makes you dig for it. (Unless you actually want digg, in which case you're out of luck. Maybe one of you can submit it to the 800numbers site?)
Terrible crit? Alias all-nighter? IBS? Whatever's got you down won't stand a chance (for the duration of this video) against the Dramatic Prairie Dog (aka LOL of the year, 2007). It's so played out that it's funny again!
This one is stupid simple. If you've got a question about what glue to use when bonding two materials, or about writing a resume, or about design in China, or about what you should do with your life, just throw it up in our discussion boards. The community is super-helpful (though admittedly tough at times), and responses will be quick.
"The one and only Yo" has some well-timed advice for students that he posted a couple weeks ago, and it's perfect timing. Our favorite is "Do whatever (WHATEVER) it takes to get at least 2 internships, even if you do one for free a couple of days a week in the summer."
A few of our recent faves:
Want to fill a wall with projection but can't afford the gear? Make your own with an overhead from the supply closet and an old LCD screen out of the dumpster.
Web 2.0 Backpack: Web Apps for Students is a consolidated list of very useful web apps for you to check out. Categories are Office Replacements, Notetaking, Mind Mapping, Studying, Bookmarking, Collaboration, Calendars, Calculations, and Other, and links to everything from OttoBib ("Enter the ISBN of a book, and automatically have your bibliography entry created in MLA, APA, Chicago, BibTeX, or Wikipedia style") to Stikipad ("A collaborative wiki service that you can use to keep track of group notes on a project.")
To be in design school is a privilege. You are learning about how to make things better, how to leverage and exercise the power of design, and how to influence our world. Understand the responsibilities and joys that come with that, and take it seriously. Then have some fun.
Thanks to all the hack-2-school contributors: Jeannie Choe, Allan Chochinov, Glen Taylor, Julian Friedman, Alissa Walker, Ralph Caplan, Alice Twemlow, Steve Portigal, Jessica Helfand, Steven Heller, Scott Klinker, Sam Montague, and Jill Fehrenbacher.