When's the last time you took a break?

data viz tip Mar 01, 2023
A banner image with the text When's the last time you took a break? and a set of three graphs - a line graph, a slope graph, and a pie chart.

How often do you let your visualizations rest?

That might be an odd question - what I mean is, how often do you take a break and step away from your graphs before you publish them?

The importance of rest has been on my mind a lot lately, and I've been thinking about the ways my work improves when I step away for awhile.

When I take a break, I come back more inspired and with a slightly different perspective.

Looking at a data viz with a fresh perspective after taking a break helps me see where it could be made more effective or engaging.

For example, after stepping away, I can see where a chart's title could be made clearer, that the color palette I originally selected isn't quite working, or that a different graph type would be a better fit.

It doesn't have to be a long break.

Try closing R, Tableau, or whatever program you use for visualizations and switching to another task for an hour or getting up to stretch and take a short walk.

(Honestly, the stretch and walk option is much more effective for me, but I often forget to do it.)

Then come back to the data viz and see what you notice. What stands out? What new ideas do you have? Is the message you intended coming through?

Make improvements to your graph based on the answers to those questions.

Give taking a break a try, and let me know how it goes.

If you want to learn all of the ways you can use design to improve your graphs (and make creating graphs easier and faster), then Data Viz Design Essentials is for you.

This post originally appeared in my newsletter, the Studio Scoop. Want more stories and data viz tips like this? Subscribe below.

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.