Zen and the Art of Technical Drawing

No one can create technical drawings productively and with their full concentration indefinitely. Like all things in life there is a balance.

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey discusses four personal values that must be kept in balance to maintain your effectiveness. In this post I will try and relate their balance to the role of the Drafter within the CAD Office.

Balancing the four values for productive CAD


We all know need to look after ourselves physically in order to work effectively and enjoy life. We should Eat healthily, drink only in moderation, exercise – the list goes on. Drafting is a sedentary discipline. It’s not healthy to sit at a computer all day – but it’s kind of hard to get your work done without being there!

Sometime we think that we don’t have the time to exercise – we don’t have the time not to! Exercise helps keep your brain alert and your energy levels high. Don’t wear yourself out at work to the point that you have no energy to exercise. It’s counter productive. Exercising can actually give you more energy!

Fitting exercise into your day can be tricky. It’s always easier if you can make it part of your routine. At the very least, make sure that you take a 5 minute break every hour or so, just to focus on something other than your computer screen.

Can you walk, run or cycle to work? Could you get of the bus a stop early or park the car a little further away from the office? Can you get out in your lunch break? Could you encourage your colleagues to join you in a set of early morning callisthenics!

How do you keep your body fit and your brain alert?



Many of us think that we’ve given up learning when we leave school. In the drawing office we know that this is not he case. The software vendors continuously come up with ‘improvements’ to our CAD software to sell more seats help us in our daily work ;)

At least we must look into these new tools to see if they can help us work more productively. At most, we have a constant stream of new information to incorporate into our workflow.

But now you have the habit of challenging what you know, why stop with your CAD software?

Do you know your national/industry/company CAD standard as well as you could? Are you up to date with the the latest building regulations? Could you write better? Could you present better?

learning is a discipline in and of itself. Not only is knowledge  useful, but knowing how to study can also be extremely beneficial. And fun!



We don’t always get along with our colleges at work, but we know that we should. Teamwork isn’t simply about people who have to work together – it’s about people working together to produce a result that is better than anyone involved could have expected.

There’s no ‘I’ in team. But there is a ‘yoU’ in C___!

Could you make more of an effort to understand the people you work with? Have you ever really listened to their problems? Have you asked yourself what success looks like to your colleagues? Could you come up with a suggestion that results in a win/win situation for all involved?

How do you go about making those difficult office relationships work?



Do you remember why you wanted to be a Drafter? Have you always enjoyed drawing, or did you just get frustrated with the drawings that you were receiving and decide that you could do better?

Drafting is a high stress job. We have many ‘customers’ and we can never please everyone. We know that if there are any problems, people will always blame the drawings. Working as a Drafter can make you defensive, crotchety and jaded. Can you still say what it is you enjoy about drafting? You can? Hang on to that thought – it’s important.

In this context the ‘spiritual’ value isn’t about religion. It’s about creativity. It’s about having a passion and a drive. It’s all too easy to have that drive worn down. Keeping your spiritual side in balance is about remembering to remember what it is about drafting that you love.

Nurturing your Spiritual side could mean popping out into the workshop to see work being built from your drawings, or visiting site to see the final product installed. It could mean going to a famous building, a museum or even a trade show to gain some inspiration.

Nurturing your spiritual side doesn’t even have to be work related. Creativity is often about cross pollinating ideas. Reading a novel, watching a film or listening to some music could be just what you need to reinvigorate your flagging spirits.

Do you find yourself making sarcastic comments to your colleagues? Do you have a reputation for being aggressive? Are you unwilling to suffer fools gladly? Do you need to get out and smell the roses?

What do you do to take a break from the high pressure world of technical drawing?


The Book

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Note that these are affiliate links. If you decide to purchase ‘The 7 habits’ from Amazon after clicking a link, I will get a small commission. You won’t have to pay any extra. If you are just curious click here.

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