Blog : Thinking in Moderation
College students have found a new buzz word to hide their tendency of postponement; thinking is now synonymous with procrastination. Thinking is often used as a cover to hide the fact that little to no time has been spent actually thinking about the project. It sounds good, but that is about it. It isn't coincidental that many times projects come together under the influence of a pressing deadline. It's when the project can no longer be put off, one has to make a decision and go with it, hoping that it doesn't lead them down a dead-end. The process of doing something and moving forward does more for thinking than any amount of screen starring. Often, the original sketches are tossed, but they began the process that leads to a solution.
Like caffeine, thinking is a drug which many students often indulge in heavily. With both, moderation is the key to gaining the best effects. Too little thinking will leave one's work static and unoriginal, rehashing the same ideas over and over again with no innovative changes. Too much will leave the user a quivering mess with nothing of concrete proof to show for the hours of time spent in hyper speed.
Process and experimenting are important to streamlining the thinking process. These steps are the equivalent to cleaning out one's head. When just sitting there staring at a screen or blank notepad, ideas tend to not be very far-reaching or deep; this becomes truer the longer the session. Playing out the ideas rolling around your head accomplishes one of two things: finding an idea is impossible to create and relate, or finding a bit of success, coupled with a new inspiration and tangential direction that might be better than the original. As these ideas are worked out, they are swept out of the clutter, uncovering better ideas hidden beneath the standard solutions.
Time is often a great advantage to a designer. In theory, if one is given more time to develop an idea, the idea should be better. This is in part accomplished by giving the mind enough time to mull over an idea before spouting ideas onto paper. There are restrictions to this approach as well. First, one must work while the idea is fresh in the subconscious, otherwise it will quickly be set aside and the inspiration will be lost. Secondly, this process works in the subconscious. It doesn't work when staring at the screen trying to get an idea, but when working on other projects. It's a background process that is only effective when the conscious mind is distracted.
Not all uses of the word thinking are spoken with honesty. One context implies procrastination and lack of effort, while poorly utilizing the mind. By trying to perform the sole act of thinking, one spends more time on the process of thinking than actually doing it. It's useless trying to isolate an activity that inherently works better while multitasking. By doing something, one is thinking in a more natural and effective manner, a manner which ultimately offers them proof of the time they spent.
*Below is the poster designed to accompany the essay. The complete essay is weaved through the mind map serving as a foundation for the image.