Increase productivity with these tips

I’m sure you’ve read a lot of articles that talk about taking breaks and meditating, which is great, but if you really want to cut your work time in an actionable way, I have some simple tips for you that will actually work. They are easy, practical, and if you can get everything set up just right, you can greatly cut your work time and increase productivity as a designer.

photoshop actions increase productivity

Use Photoshop Actions

If you do any repetitious work at all, or you need to do something over and over again for a particular process, see if you can automate it with actions. That way, you can do it just right the first time, and then you can play the action and have Photoshop do all of the repetitious work for you.

Run Photoshop Batches

If you have a massive amount of work, look for a way to batch process time-consuming tasks. In reality a computer can do monotonous tasks much faster than you can. One reason is that it is boring and you’re likely to get distracted and take unnecessary Facebook breaks and to get side tracked. Use Photoshop’s batch capabilities to automate basic color corrections, or running actions on dozens of files.

Illustrator scripts

Run Illustrator scripts

That’s right, you can automate Illustrator, too. Illustrator uses scripts, which make it easy to process a lot of work automatically. For example, in an older tutorial, I show you how to export layers as png files, SVGs, etc. To put it simply, if you build a layered Illustrator file as you go, you can export every layer as an individual PNG or SVG file. You wouldn’t believe how fast it blazes through the process. At the end, you end up with a folder full of files, all named what the layer name is. Imagine not having to spend an hour or two of your time doing save as, or the export command to generate files individually.

Where this really comes into play is if you create a lot of icons, such as 100 or more, and you want to export them as PNG files or SVG. You run the script, and you’re done in minutes.

 

pre-made templates increase productivity

Set up Basic, Flexible Templates

I know, sometimes templates end up making more work, but I am talking about simple wireframes or basic layout templates. Use Quicklook on your Mac, or use the equivalent on a PC and your arrow keys to cycle through your different layout templates until you find the right one. Then, drop in content, images, and replace lorem ipsum. You can also tweak of completely customize the layout to your needs.

demo content

Take Advantage of Demo Content

If you’re a website designer, and you use WordPress, you can look for themes with demo content. Once you install the theme and its required plugins, you can install the demo content and it will build the site just like the demo that enticed you to purchase it in the 1st place. Then, you can drop in content, images and customize it to meet your needs or the needs of your client.

Break Down Task-Intensive Projects Into Lists

One thing that is tough to do is keep up with projects that have multiple parts. Don’t ever try to remember all of the details on your own. Make a list of everything that needs to be done and mark it off as you go. You need your brain power for solving the client’s problems, not for remembering a massive to do list. It keeps you from focusing and forces you to divide your thought process. It’s impossible to remember every little thing. This kills your time on projects, because you’ll have to stop what you’re doing to handle things you’ve forgotten.

Create a list of priority items, and item that have to be done in a specific order or at a certain time. All of the smaller, less significant items can be done second. Prioritizing and organizing the project gets you thinking about the project as a whole, and how you will accomplish each part of it. This helps to keep you from having to backtrack.

What do you do?

Everyone has their own tips and tricks for increasing productivity. I utilize professional software to get the job done. What do you do? Feel free to chime in and leave your responses in the comments section below.

I am a professional graphic designer and web designer with years of experience. I am also an illustrator and Wordpress theme creator and author of this design blog. I write tutorials and build custom websites. I do what I love, and I love what I do! You can: Follow Me on Twitter, Join Me on Facebook, & Or Follow James George on Google+

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