Over the past few months a whole host of exciting projects have been keeping us on our toes. This had us pondering upon busyness and the pros and cons of a hectic schedule. Whilst we are always delighted to have many plates spinning, we’ve discovered that being busy is a challenge. We asked ourselves is it possible to be too busy and can it ever be damaging to a business?

Well, the answer is all about how you handle the busy periods.

Being busy at Made in Place

For almost all businesses, a large workload can, at times, feel rather scary. We joke in the design studio that occasionally during the year we could do with increasing our staff tenfold – an impossibility in reality but something that our workload often demands.

So, as a team we have developed a method of approach to our schedules which allows us time to breathe – remaining on top of our heavy workload whilst retaining a sunny disposition.

The solution we found to overcoming the most challenging aspects of ‘busyness’ was actually far simpler than most would expect – although ‘simple’ doesn’t always mean easy.

Bite-sized chunks

Breaking our workload down helps enormously. When approaching a project we apply the ‘break-down’ method – separating our days tasks into sizeable chunks and focusing solely on the immediate job at hand.

Multi-tasking is seen in today’s society as a necessity. It is a skill rated highly by many and those who get it down to a fine art often excel in their line of work. Developing architectural and interior design for the retail sector means we’re no strangers to multi-tasking, and at high speed, so it came as something of a surprise to us when we found that the ‘break-down’ method often increased our productivity.

Of course, on a larger scale, we are still required to multi-task – the nature of our work demands it. We have tailored our approach to projects, attacking critical path items by simultaneously working from the start of the design process and back from the end of the process. This ensures that our designers became aligned with long lead items and the effect that they can have on the construction phase programme as early as possible.

Thankfully, at Made in Place we are sprightly things and we adapt easily. We work well on the road – developing store and office designs one week and eco-homes and furniture the next – we are able carry on wherever we are.

Any business operating at the highest level, and especially when busy, needs an approach from those in charge similar to methods employed by an elite sportsperson. The right mind-set needs to be adopted, you need to be focused, dedicated and have faith in your abilities. The only difference for Made in Place is that we don’t get a cheering crowd when we come up with a really good idea

Look after yourself and your customers
The key is to stay on top of your game mentally and look after yourself physically – making time to rest and eat properly, which can often be hard while on the road or working on construction sites.

I am very glad to say that we are lucky enough to constantly be developing new projects and being a small company can actually work as an advantage.

It affords us the opportunity to get to know our clients well, immerse ourselves in the development of architectural or interior design for the individual client and deliver a personal service that is second to none. Clients in turn can rest in the knowledge that they are in the hands of experienced and professionally minded people

We support customers through every stage of the process, assisting in design, cost management or manufacturing and construction; absorbing their pressure and removing the uncertainty that so often surrounds design and construction projects.

Many design studios are very hands offand studio bound. This may work for them, but it just isn’t our style. In being hands off you inevitably abdicate final responsibility for the outcome of the concept that has been developed, which we feel defeats the object. We feel that retaining control of the design process is imperative – it means complications and miscommunication are avoided. This ensures ideas are correctly interpreted and that the best possible results are achieved.

Ultimately, the reason we succeed when things get hectic is because we have a real passion for design and truly love what we do. We have learned to manage the busy periods with a very focused attitude and this mean that, for us, there is no such thing as too busy.

Have fun, be brave, work hard and above all, free your mind. Once you let go of the fear of busy, you will find everything runs smoothly.