Oil and Water Don't Mix but Can Coexist


Every time a beautiful structure like the Oculus (pictured above) at the World Trade Center is completed, it is also the culmination of a tug-of-war dynamic behind the scenes between the architect (who designed it) and the builder (who constructed it).

In general, architects care about the aesthetics and function of the building. Builders, on the other hand, care about speedy and correct implementation, as that directly affects their costs as they pay their workers by the hour.

Work smarter by compartmentalizing

The two roles have tasks and responsibilities that require different mindsets and conditions to most effectively carry out (which is why architects and builders generally have different personality types). A person can be good at both, but even so, each still requires different situations to hit peak performance.

That is why to develop your strengths most efficiently, it is best to compartmentalize your time to not be constantly switching between tasks. That explains why we often see athletes play three sports in high school, then only a few will play both college football and baseball, but at the professional level people specialize in one sport.

Oil and water

Architects need autonomy (e.g. make the facade out of metal, glass, terra cotta, whatever you think will accomplish the desired goal of creating a sexy building) and resources (e.g. all the sample materials are already in the library, no need to go source them) to be creative. Progress is achieved over a period of time in spurts. It's like writing. Some days you come up with nothing. Other days you write three blog articles.

Builders need minimal distractions. It's all about efficiency and streamlining (e.g. here's what you do, you've done it a million times, we’ll give you 10 uninterrupted hours, install as many doors as you can in those 10 hours). It’s like editing. You take the afternoon and edit as many drafts as you can.

Go hard and smart

“Work smarter, not harder” is a buzz phrase we hear all the time. But that’s a cop-out. Why can’t we work both smarter and harder to accomplish the most?

Working harder is a must. It is just as important to work smarter by compartmentalizing your tasks. To improve their chances for college acceptance, many high school students participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities. Different activities require different optimal conditions, so use your time wisely and perform your best at everything by grouping similar tasks together.

Are you creating situations to perform at your best in everything you do?

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