Productivity is an essential part of getting any job done correctly. But even when you are driven, it can be tough to stay productive. As a graphic designer, you must keep a good balance between being creative and being on schedule. Yet, the stress and workload often put you in a productivity trap, and you end up missing the deadline.
So, how can you make the most out of your time? The key to finishing a task in time without sabotaging the quality is to follow a workflow efficiently. Here are some tips shared by designers from iBoysoft, and you should combine these into the whole design project process.
Tip 1: Use a Design Brief Template
At the beginning of every project, you need to review the design brief containing essential information about the task. A well-structured brief template can help you organize the critical information for easy future retrieval and provide an overview that you can work from.
It should include the background information about your client, the product or niche and the target customers, the goal of the project, and other necessary basics like font, logo size or color scheme, etc.
It would be best if you were well prepared to communicate with the client, ensuring you are doing the right thing.
Tip 2: Organize Project Files
If there are only a couple of files, it won’t be too hard to find the one you are looking for, but imagining searching for an important file among a bunch of randomly named documents and the frustration when you need it to confirm an idea urgently.
So, you should build a system to store all the files and information you gathered for the project. Start with a clear folder structure by adding subfolders and naming the files properly. Also, it’s advisable to keep a copy of the files on a different device so that you can recover a Word document on Mac quickly when you accidentally delete it.
Tip 3: Create Client and User Profiles
A graphic designer must present the desired message accurately and effectively, which requires a deep understanding of the message and its audiences. Keeping profiles of your analysis of the client’s needs and users’ behaviors or cultural backgrounds will be helpful to avoid misunderstanding and an excellent source for reflection.
Tip 4: Get Inspiration by Viewing Qualified Design Galleries
Often time, creative burnout is the biggest obstacle to making the deadline. That’s also why many seasoned designers are regular viewers of qualified online galleries. It’s recommended to keep visiting platforms for designers and artists as a habit or entertainment.
Tip 5: Keep a Notebook or Sketchbook
Memory fails. Don’t let an idea slip away simply because you are too lazy to grab a pen. Write things down or draw a sketch when a design idea strikes your mind. You can also use the notebook to dump other things that are currently occupying your brain.
On top of that, noting things down is a great way to externalize the thoughts in your head and steer you on a clearer path.
Tip 6: Collaborate with Others
You or your team may be masters with some specific skills, but sometimes you may not have a particular skill at present. Instead of starting the project after you master the skill, you can collaborate with others or ask for suggestions from them.
Tip 7: Set Achievable Goals
Breaking the big project into deliverable smaller goals with time restrictions can prevent you from focusing too long on something that may end up being unimportant. Focusing on one thing at a time is the best way to get things done. You can use software (simply as the Apple reminder) or a notebook to make a checklist for tasks you should complete daily, weekly, or monthly.
Tip 8: Prioritize Tasks
Always keep the most urgent and important tasks at the top of the list. This way, you can start a day with a clear direction and thus avoid wasting time on less important stuff that may compromise the whole process.
Tip 9: Know Your Energetic Hours
Some feel the most energetic in the morning, while others may feel the opposite. That’s because our circadian rhythms are influenced by not only light and dark but other factors like genetics, exercise, food intake, etc.
You should be conscious of the happy hours of a day when you are energetic and full of ideas, then schedule it with the highest priority tasks.
Tip 10: Manage Your Time
If you don’t manage your time, you will often waste hours on social media, short videos, or online games. However, if you track your time, you will realize how much you spend on non-productive activities and make changes. You can utilize time management software or set timers for tasks to use your time more efficiently.
You should also be prepared or schedule the process before a meeting to avoid idling away time on meaningless things. It’s also a good idea to reduce the frequency of checking your phone for emails or messages at working time.
Tip 11: Give Yourself Regular Breaks
Working non-stopping feels good but taking some time off may give you surprising inspiration. What many famous designers choose to do when they are stuck is to take a break and do something that cheers them up while keeping the project in the back of their minds.
Accordingly, they come up with creative ideas while showering or taking a walk. So remember that letting yourself off the hook for some time and doing something not work-related is another way to remain creative.
Tip 12: Use Keyboard Shortcuts
Creating keyboard shortcuts is also beneficial if you want to squeeze more time into your project. You can memorize the default keyboard combination or create your shortcuts for frequently used actions. If you haven’t been using shortcuts for graphic apps like Photoshop, it will boost your efficiency after mastering them.
Tip 13: Be Empathic
As a graphic designer, there must be times when you cringe at certain feedback you get. In that case, some choose to follow the orders and let the employer deals with the consequence; others insist they know better.
But the best way to handle it is to calm and concisely explain the reasons behind your decision, ask them about their opinions, and discuss an alternative that you both feel is reasonable. You will gradually realize that being empathic should be a necessary part of your daily work and life.
Tip 14: Avoid Distractions
It’s hard to focus on any serious work if you are in an environment full of chaos and distractions. Instead of forcing yourself to concentrate, it’s easier to block outside distractions by turning off app notifications, isolating yourself from the open office, and organizing your desk.
It takes more time to finish a design project if you are not on the right track. Fortunately, you can boost work efficiency by following the tips mentioned in this post. Lastly, don’t forget to keep a positive mental attitude no matter what you do!
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