Residential design and construction is an industry founded on urgency. We have not met the owner who has commissioned a new home and said, “no rush; whenever the house is finished is fine with me.” When someone decides to invest in and build their dream home, yesterday is not soon enough.
A careful study of the time, quality, and money balance would suggest that an over focus on urgency may have a net negative effect on any project. Urgency pushed further becomes haste and leads to mistakes, sacrificing either quality and design considerations, or costing money through unnecessary corrective work.
But that is just a clinical argument. More significantly, haste destroys the creative process. A rush to finish solely to meet the demands of a client, boss, building and municipal rules and regulations, or contractors, often produces substandard results.
We recently tuned in to a TED Talk by Adam Grant on “Original Thinkers” and I am pleased to report that successful residential architects may be the perfect blend of ‘pre-crastinators’ and ‘pro-crastinators’. Many of our best ideas and solutions come at times when we are not specifically focused on the specific task at hand. For me, I wake up at four in the morning with an idea, or mull one over in the shower, or while walking to work. Slowing down and letting ideas percolate is not necessarily a sign of laziness or a lack of drive; sometimes it’s the most direct route to the best answer.
One of our favorite images is that of the duck paddling like crazy underwater just to stay afloat. I think the duck’s serene above-water bearing is to be nurtured and is why we thrive, while the work of paddling goes on without public awareness. Speaking for my team, learning to slow down and think is much harder than driving each other to work harder or to meet specific goals.