When you get comfortable in an occupation you begin to develop a unique way of getting things done. Through trial and error and experience you develop a workflow which makes your work easier and makes you more productive. Part of this development of efficiency involves identifying the best tools for different jobs, learning how long certain tasks will take or even how best to interact with different people. The problem, however is that many times our ideal workflow is interrupted and we have to improvise to get things done.
As a website developer and graphic artist I use tools such as Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator all the time. I am accustomed to the software so it is easy for me to use. It also produces work that can easily be transferred to the desired medium whether online or in print. However, there are occasionally times when I have to work without my preferred tools and I am forced to use alternatives which are not as well suited for the job. Here are a few reasons that we may be forced to improvise our workflow:
- The tools that we are accustomed to are not available
- The customer insists on using a specific tool or system
- Our current workflow is incompatible with the job at hand
- The scope or budget of the project does not justify the time and effort of using the normal workflow
It is easy to refuse to change our workflow and there are some situations when this is an appropriate response – if a specific change will adversely affect the quality of the job and in turn misrepresent the quality of your brand for instance. There are situations, on the other hand, when we need to adapt and do the job regardless of the situation not being ideal. When I am working out of the office I am at the mercy of the whichever internet connection I end up using. If it is not as fast as I am accustomed to I have to adjust and find a way to get things done. I may do more graphic designs than website work to compensate for the poor internet access. Improvising is a way of staying productive when conditions
Sooner or later there will come a time when we have to improvise on the job. It may be an uncomfortable situation and an unwelcome change. Being able to adapt to different situations can help us through these stressful periods though. Try using an alternative tool in a non-critical situation to get familiar with it in case you have to use it some day. Practice operating in less than ideal conditions to learn how to react with both the conditions and the emotional impact it has on you. Practising how to improvise will help to make it second nature when it is really needed.