Time and designer: Unveiling design practitioners’ characteristics on time management, perfectionism, procrastination, and burnout

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Master's Programme in International Design Business Management
As a project-based profession that is goal-oriented, design practice brings unique challenges to its doers. Design practitioners are expected to deliver specific outcomes in a predefined timeframe. However, design practitioners as creative people, which have been discussed by scholars as having distinctive characteristics, bring advantages and disadvantages regarding time-related matters. On the one hand, they are highly creative, have rigorous effort to achieve their goals and standards, and deliver excellent work when working autonomously. On the other hand, they tend to procrastinate, as evidenced by empirical studies. Moreover, perfectionism in creative culture creates another dimension that allows time-related issues to emerge among design practitioners. This Master’s thesis uses a cross-disciplinary research approach to investigate the link between time management, perfectionism, procrastination, and burnout on design practitioners. Using psychological instruments of those variables, it explores each traits’ interrelations and their relationship with design practitioners’ attitudes and behaviors in managing their time. Additionally, the qualitative data in this research explores how to improve time management on design practitioners, avoid job burnout, and create better job engagement. This thesis identifies the significant link between time management and perfectionism, and procrastination and job burnout on design practitioners. These attributes are mediated by design practitioners’ personal, educational, and professional backgrounds. The thesis also reveals several characteristics and attributes of design practitioners that are associated with these main variables. They are tolerant of uncertainty, attached to their work, have achievement motivation, and tend to be perfectionists. There are three-layer sources of the problem that can be balanced with better time management skills and effort. To avoid burnout and procrastination, designers who have high perfectionism tendencies need to put an effort to manage their self-regulation and lower their expectations. Otherwise, they are required to have a higher level of time management skills to offset their perfectionism. The thesis then suggests time management as an effort and skills need to be introduced as early as possible through a course or in design education in order to create better job engagement.
McGrory, Peter
Thesis advisor
Hailikari, Telle
time management, perfectionism, procrastination, job burnout, job engagement, creative people, design practitioners
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