James Abell, FAIA, held an impromptu round-table after the AIA Louisiana Design Conference in Lafayette. Below is a short synopsis of the topics discussed.
work smart. Avoid too much 'business socializing' on the clock so work gets done early, so time can be spent with Family. Many are already good time managers and juggle career and life well. Focus on office priorities, be the model of productivity.
Can you possibly save $100 one hundred times? You'll have $10,000 in the bank! Most knew their grocery budget immediately, but "got" the idea of saving $100 again and again over time on major purchases.
Open a Roth IRA. Tax-free money later in life.
Winning awards and having a practice just never quite compares to the priority of a loving family life. Invest in family like you do for career. Everyone agreed on this topic.
Add Circles of Friends:
to keep yourself well rounded and well-grounded, consider a lifetime sport like swimming, tennis, or golf to develop a circle of non-designer friends. Volunteer for socially responsible causes and meet neat people who might one day become a client! If you play an instrument or sing.... nothing finer to relieve stress and have lifelong friends in music. Make friends at the University in other disciplines than design. Consider gardening groups to grow healthy food, consider being an Arbor Day advocate for your community each year, learn about the natural world and landscape architecture beyond "tree stamps".
Hand out lots of business cards and follow up, follow up. Target one good quality client like a school board and attend their meetings once a month. Don't do "free sketches", but do provide industry literature or case studies to the school board on topics of interest to them. Keep your name in front of them. Be a marketing resource for the firm you are working for, and in time, it will launch you into a partnership, or into your own firm.
The human animal was "made to walk". Brisk walking 20-25 minutes a day will add 20 quality years to your life. Continuously elevate your heart rate for 20-25 minutes about 115% of resting pulse. Relieves stress, lets you "see" the neighborhood. Use food "as medicine" as PBS's Dr. Fuhrman suggests. Avoid fad diets, take a nutrition class. You read the manual for Photoshop, let's read the manual for operating a healthy body!
Only one person did not have a clear ambition statement. Most agreed that they did not have a clear "Five Year Plan", and most agreed that updating this Five Year Plan each and every year was a good annual tune up.