Journey of an Architect is a blog started by Tim Ung to share his architecture and design ideas through speculative projects. His posts focus on his design process, thoughts, struggles, and successes throughout his journey.

Confession from a workaholic Architect

Confession from a workaholic Architect

From the 9th grade onward, I’ve always been self-motivated and competitive in every aspect of my life. During my time in high school, I was an avid computer gamer who was addicted to one of the first massive multi-player online games. I would set my alarm to wake up 2 hours before I had to leave for school. After returning home, I’d quickly log back onto my computer and play until midnight.

Once I found my passion for architecture in my junior year of college, I found myself falling into the same habit of staying up late and waking up extra early to work on my projects. I knew that if I read architecture books like I’d read gaming forums and practiced designing with as much effort as when I played video games, I’d be able to quickly progress as an Architect.

These habits helped me get ahead in my career

After graduating from architecture school, I began my career as an aspiring Architect and worked at a mid-sized practice. Every day, I would wake up a few hours early, make a delicious breakfast, and get into the office an hour or two ahead of time. I’d work until 5:30pm or 6:00pm and head back home to make dinner and take care of any other errands.

Once I started taking the Architecture Registration Examinations, I would devote 1 hour of my evenings and 8 hours on the weekend to study for each part. Even with my important goal of passing all of my licensing exams, I continued going into the office early and leaving later in the evenings. I also scheduled my exams on a Saturday so that my time wouldn’t interfere with my work at the office.

Why do many of us put our careers and work ahead of our health and well-being?

Now that I’ve obtained my license to practice as an Architect in New York, I decided to pursue multiple projects that are theoretical or for a competition submission. While designing these projects, I also take time to brainstorm ideas for my future practice. With any additional time, I quickly go through all of my personal errands like mowing my yard, gardening, cleaning, and even eating so that I could free up more time for architecture.

If we look at how I’ve prioritized my life, a significant portion of my days are spent on career development and my health and wellbeing are just an afterthought.

Have you ever felt this way about your life and your career? I’m sure this applies to many creative professionals as well as people in other industries. Let me know in the comments section below!

Who would’ve thought that I’d feel guilty about taking a break?

After my week long road trip around New York, I started to feel burned out both mentally and physically. I had my daily agenda filled with tasks and my heart knew that I could get every task done. However, my brain and my body refused to produce anymore work and it felt as if they were protesting against my work plans.

My week of traveling was done on Thursday and my Friday was surprisingly productive. I was able to get all of the tasks on my daily agenda done and I spent the remainder of the night watching YouTube. On Saturday and Sunday, I spent about 3 hours working on a competition with my fantastic team and the renovation project for my friend’s building. Once I completed a majority of my tasks, my brain was done and I couldn’t get myself to work on anything that required too much mental effort.

So I have to confess, this weekend, I spent a few hours working on my architecture and entrepreneurial projects and I decided to take a break for almost an entire Sunday, which made me feel so guilty.

Why did I feel guilty about taking a break?

There was a part of me that felt as if I could get ahead in any of my other projects if I just took a few hours to work on them. With this thought in mind, anything that I did that wasn’t in line with producing more work just felt like I was procrastinating.

However, this thought quickly subsided when I acknowledged the fact that I needed to take some time to recharge both mentally and physically as an Architect. This meant that I could do anything other than architecture, which included chores and binge watching Netflix.

After accepting the fact that I wasn’t going to get anymore architecture work done this weekend, I thoroughly enjoyed my time watching TV series with the auto-play feature on Netflix and random YouTube videos.

Honestly, I feel pretty refreshed after taking a day to work on my yard, going for a run, to the gym, and drinking a bottle of apple cider. I know this probably doesn't sound like relaxing, but they definitely helped me clear my mind and recharge my spirit!

Workaholics need a break too

So if you’re similar to me and you live your life constantly trying to attain more success, remember that you’ll reach a point when you need a day, a week, a month, or more time to recharge. Once you’ve taken the time to kick back, you’ll re-enter your passion with more focus, speed, and accuracy.

Thank you so much for reading and for joining me on my journey as an Architect!


Architects and the power of questioning and collective thinking

Architects and the power of questioning and collective thinking

Designing a narrow studio apartment

Designing a narrow studio apartment