Any designer, be it a graphic designer, home interior designer, or web designer, uses their creative mind to consistently create new ideas and bring out impressive and unique design work. Designers also need to find the balance between creativity and productivity to excel at their job.
As a designer losing your productivity edge can be a huge setback because you will not meet work goals and deadlines. You will always struggle to deliver quality work, and this may cost you your job if you are working with a company or your clients if you are a freelancer.
So if you feel like you’re struggling at work and your productivity is at an all-time low, you have come to the right place. In this article, we outline practical tips to help you improve your design productivity.
1. Establish a routine
Increase your productivity by setting a routine for your entire day. You can start by setting up a to-do list to outline everything you need to get done by the end of the day. This will help you keep track of your progress, and once you are done, you feel mentally rewarded. If you create a schedule and establish a routine, you will learn that you will be more focused and not procrastinate.
If you are in the middle of working, put your phone on silent and close your social media tabs for at least an hour and focus on your work. These distractions will slow down your productivity. You can have a thirty-minute break to check your emails, texts, and social media then you can get back to work. However, this should be as a reward after you have achieved something for the day.
If you repeat this process throughout the day, knowing when to work and when to take breaks, it becomes a routine, and within no time, it becomes a habit with productive results. What seemed like a challenging thing to do will be so easy to work on.
2. Break down big projects
There are weeks where you’ll be managing lots of projects at a time, or you may have one big project that may be overwhelming you. Trying to do too many things simultaneously may burn you out, and you may experience a slump in productivity. On such days when you have a lot on your to-do list, you can try breaking down your project into small manageable tasks. Once you create a milestone for each stage of the project, it will be easy to micromanage them.
So every time you work on the smaller tasks and finish them, you move on to the next, and with time or by the end of the week, you will notice that you have achieved a lot. Prioritize and give yourself time to work on your project every step of the way. This way, you can keep your work in control and your productivity in check.
3. Use design tools
Working is not always about working hard but instead working smart, so if there are tools that you can use to make your work easier, then use them. Whether you are a web designer or app developer, ensure you have software tools to help you work. Designing is not just about having a creative mind but also knowing how to implement the right tools.
Nowadays, there are different tools to help you work much easier and faster. For example, if you create images for your website or presentation and need to edit them, there are tools to help you remove the image background in one click. Another tool that can help you is Canva, an amazing software to help you find the right color combinations for the website or graphic images. Illustrator is also another tool that will help you create logos, icons, and you can sketch easily.
4. Take breaks
Continuously working long hours sitting at your desk may saturate your brain and burn you out. This may hamper your creativity, therefore, affecting your productivity. Your brain can’t work continuously for long. After some time, you will start losing focus, and you will slow down or even make minor mistakes that may cost you, clients.
However, taking breaks throughout the day helps your brain recharge, and your productivity stays constant. Eat well during the day, remember to rehydrate, drink lots of water because your health also matters and will affect your work. You can take walks for 30 minutes or go out for lunch with colleagues. If you are working from home, you can take a break and make yourself something to eat or go out for an errand.
5. Set aside time to improve your skills
If it’s a certification you need, take the course. If you need to read a book on the latest design strategies, do it. It may be hard to set time to do these things, especially if you are always working, but you can always take time for growth and development.
There is no right time to do it, but the time you set aside for your breaks, you can read the book or take an online course to improve your skills. Thirty minutes daily can make a lot of difference. When you set time aside for your development goals, you are improving your skills as a designer.
6. It’s not about perfectionism
As a designer, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to make the perfect logo, the perfect website, etc. the problem of trying to do one task repeatedly in pursuit of perfection may waste your valuable time and affect productivity.
Try and get the first draft out because sometimes what you thought wasn’t good enough maybe what the client was looking for. Plus, the sooner you present the first step in the design process, the sooner you can start making changes and tweaks based on the feedback you get from clients.
The next time you feel overwhelmed and stuck, try to use the above skills to improve your productivity.