Avoiding burnout, architect edition

Burnout is a real thing that many professionals (not just architects) suffer from. Over the last 30 years, we have shifted from phone calls at your desk and overnight FedEx deliveries to a state of always being available via email and cell phones.

Those who came of age before the times of always-connected may feel more burnout than the younger generations who are used to always being connected, but everyone will be affected. It isn’t healthy. But there is something you can do to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed: set and adhere to rules of engagement.

Each person has a different life situation, but the pandemic taught us that we can be productive from just about anywhere and we can have the flexibility to work when it makes sense for us. Granted, we have to follow some industry rules like client work hours and on-site contractor work hours. But otherwise, most of us can be flexible.

I encourage you to work with your firm and your clients to develop the rules of engagement — and keep in mind this is a collaborative process, you are not a dictator. Then I urge you to stick with them. Everyone’s rules will vary based on their life situation. 

For me, I am most productive in the office or on the job site so that is where I work. I am available when I am at work and I will stay late or arrive early if necessary. However, I am not available via email when I leave for the day so don’t expect a reply. I’m also fully offline during vacations or days off. I tell co-workers and clients that they can call me if there is an emergency and I will do my best to respond.

Generally, I have found that most people respect your personal time when you clearly state the rules and you remain flexible to adapt when true emergencies come up.

For more, check out the podcast episodes in first “news” item below.


Do Architects Work More Than Others?

If you think you work more hours than other professionals, listen to Bob and Andrew look into the numbers. They also touch on hard work vs talent.

Life of an Architect Ep 116: Workaholic

And as mentioned above, you may want to also check out episode 97 on burnoutand episode 103 on the art of being happy as an architect.

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Construction Cost fell in December, but Still up YoY

According to the Associated Builders and Contractors, construction input prices dropped by 2.7% in December compared to November. Unfortunately, prices are still up 7.9% compared to December 2021. There is still some volatility in prices so we need to keep an eye on this.

Construction input prices log biggest drop since April 2020

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The Reality of Politics Shaping Our Cities

This article is about LaGuardia’s new Terminal B, but it goes well beyond that. There is a political balancing act between badly needed infrastructure spending and badly needed spending on affordable housing. And there is disagreement on where to spend our money.

This isn’t new, but is worth reminding ourselves that we must continue to take the small steps to help make our projects better for people.

The new LaGuardia Airport is another reminder that architects work at the whim of larger political forces

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AIA New York Design Awards

The New York chapter of the AIA announced their annual design awards. Be sure to check out all four categories.

2023 AIANY Design Awards

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And for a bit of fun

I think all of us can relate to this post from Tyler Suomala regardless of what generation you are from. Tyler is worth a follow on LinkedIn. He always encourages architects to think about their value, including avoiding the burnout that I wrote about in the intro to this newsletter.

You might be a millennial architect if…