As an Architect-in-Training (A.I.T), I’ve become accustomed to balancing multiple tasks in a given day to keep projects moving along and meet deadlines.
While studying architecture in college, I quickly learned how much my workloads can vary from day to day. While it’s true that as students we spend long hours completing projects, it is a different story working in the profession. In the profession, there is more to deal with on projects on an immediate day-to-day basis, which requires detailed project management. I spent most of my time coordinating with other disciplines and consultants on projects.
So, how does one stay focused to make the most out of each day and keep projects on track? The best advice I received when entering the profession is that you should compartmentalize your day. This was a little hard for me to grasp at first. I am very detailed orientated and it took time to reel myself out and focus on the overall project and break them down to manageable steps. As I got more experience it got easier to break projects down into manageable sizes.
What does this look like on a daily basis? Here’s an overview of how I manage an average day.
- First thing in the morning, I check my e-mails. I break any new e-mails down and prioritize which ones need immediate attention by the projects I am managing. Then going down the list from project to project I will respond to those e-mails.
- After I’ve prioritized my tasks for the day, I will begin working on projects that I am currently designing. If I am working on more than one project I will spend half my day working on one project and switch to the other project in the afternoon. This is how compartmentalizing my day works for me.
- Through the design process, I keep a list of changes I need to make on each project. This helps with multi-tasking, so when I work on the project next time I know where to pick up and move forward. In the beginning of a project I will get rough backgrounds of floor plans, building elevations, building sections blocked out on printed sheets. I will take these backgrounds and start redlining them with more detailed information. This gives me a more complete road map to finishing the project. It also helps me indicate to the architect how far along I am in any given project. Then I can determine how far along the project is and what is left to complete. In the end prioritizing and compartmentalizing projects and their deadlines helps manage workflow.
This is how I try to plan my day-to-day workload. Some days are harder than other days to make it happen. Each project is not always a linear path and what sparks an ideal for a project may not be how the project turns out in the end. Architecture is an evolving process with each project posing unique challenges and solutions to different project types. I enjoy this about the Architecture Profession.
Matt’s project experience includes educational, healthcare, government, and recreational facilities. He plays an integral role in all levels of project delivery from design to construction administration. Most of his free time is spent with his wife and two children enjoying family time, home improvement projects, working on vehicles, fishing, folfing, and the occasional road trip.