An ancient, long-forgotten trick for doing good work

Tobias van Schneider
2 min readJul 26, 2022


In this industry, we live and breathe productivity. We tap our forearms and inject articles about optimization and efficiency into our veins.

We are rabid for hacks, tips, shortcuts, templates, tutorials that allow us to accomplish as much as possible, in as little time as possible. We praise the people who consistently ship new work.

We are conditioned this way. Rewarded for coming in under hours, under budget, ahead of the timeline. We are taught to create workflows and follow standards that allow us to function like Ford factories.

And all the time, we wonder: Are we doing good work? Can it be better? Are we proud of what we’re creating?

No matter the industry, we want the job to be done fast. Production increases, profit margin improves, money flows.

But the secret to truly great work — work that lasts, that is noticed, work that makes a difference — is taking the time it requires.

“Sometimes magic is just someone spending more time on something than anyone else might reasonably expect.”

—Raymond Joseph Teller

I pride myself on the ability to work fast and work well. But when I look back on some of my best work, the projects that changed my career, it wasn’t the work I knocked out under budget. It was the work I spent laborious, painstaking time on.

Sometimes, the secret to great work is simply time.

Time you didn’t scope for.

Time the client may not have budget for.

Time that doesn’t necessarily make you the most productive, efficient designer in the business, but does make you a better one.

Thank you for reading!

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