How To Power Through Designer Apathy

Sometimes you don’t give a damn anymore. The worse thing than designers’ block is designers’ apathy, that sinking feeling you get when you realize you don’t care about a particular piece of work anymore is disheartening. The dread of going back is paralyzing.

There can be many reasons why you can stop caring about your work. Maybe you have just done the same thing too many times in a row, maybe a client is insisting on asking for things you know won’t work for them. Maybe something important just happened in your life and you’ve got bigger things to worry about. You can be discouraged by the apparent “sameness” of bandwagon-hopping designs.

Whatever the reason, we all experience times when we know exactly what we have to do, we just don’t care. 

So what do we do about it? First, answer this question: who is the project for?

For a Client

If the project is for a client, it has to be done, there is no way around that. You made a commitment. You are going to follow through and give it your best possible effort because you are professional. anything less will be wrong.

However, that does not mean you have to just power through with only coffee and misery. There are things you can do to make the work easier on yourself. The less miserable you are while working, the better quality you can deliver.

For Yourself

It is perfectly fine to give up on personal projects when you stop caring, it is your free time, why spend it on something you do not care about?

On the other hand, is a commitment made to yourself any less important than one made to someone else? Many people seem to be fine with breaking promises to themselves when they’d never willingly do that to a client.

The deciding factor on a personal project is will it have some sort of lasting benefit? If yes, then it absolutely needs to get done, even when you don’t feel like it. Otherwise, call it a learning experience and move on.

How To Power Through

For whatever reason, whether you have to or you want to, you have to power through. Here are ways to do it in style:

  1. Start
    The hardest part of doing work you don’t care about is starting. This is when you will be tempted to procrastinate until the last minute. Try not to.
  2. Switch to a different part of the project
    If you can work on different aspects of the project without causing any problems, try that. The variety, the break from the work in front of you before, can boost your morale. Working on a different part of the project can give you ideas of getting the most troubling bits done faster and more easily.
  3. Do something old in a new way
    This one has pros and cons. Pro: you can look at the project as a chance to try out a new tool of some kind. Injecting the process of discovery into an otherwise bring project can make it a lot more fun and even make you look forward to working on it. Con: You may need to plan for extra hours, as bringing in a new tool into play is almost guaranteed to make something interesting go wrong,
  4. Outsource it
    As a last resort, you can always outsource the project to someone else. Make sure it is someone you can trust with the same quality of work you would normally provide yourself. Or you can outsource the bits of the work that you don’t like. This is a risky strategy because whoever you outsource to might experience delays, or ironically, not care about the project.


You can do it!