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Why Designers Procrastinate

Whether you’re an in-house graphic designer, or you’re a freelance designer out on your own, we take on a wide range of projects. Some design projects are small, only taking an hour or two at the most. Other projects may take days, or even weeks to complete. One big problem that designers face is the ugly monster called procrastination. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why designers procrastinate and some ways to avoid it.

We Are Overwhelmed

I don’t know about you, but one of my biggest Achilles heels is the fact that I am so ambitious. I run several design blogs, and I write for many others. I design client websites, as well as print projects. My day is filled from start to end with a variety of projects. I’m always busy, and some would argue that I am too busy. This is definitely something that I struggle with, and I’m sure some of you do, too. It’s important to remember not to bite off more than you can chew. This is especially true when working on your own. There’s no one there to share the workload with, unless you decide to outsource a project or two.

Other Projects Are More Interesting

Not every project that we take on makes us want to turn back flips out of excitement. This is one of the biggest reasons why I procrastinate. Sometimes we just take on projects to pay the bills. It isn’t glamorous, but when you have kids, they have to eat. Sometimes you just have to get it in your mind that the job has to be done.

The Project Seems Too Big

When a project seems like a lot of grunt work, it can cause designers to procrastinate. Of course a lot of design consultants would like to make $500 for an easy session with their client. However, that’s not always the case. Also, large projects can tend to be intimidating. Following these helpful tips will help you get through it.

  • Divide the project into manageable chunks.
  • Spread the project out over several days if possible.
  • Avoid doing a project all at once, especially if it’s a massive one.
  • Don’t put it off until the last minute. Give yourself plenty of time to get it accomplished.

We Hate Working With That Client

Usually, the clients I work with are delightful. I’ve been lucky to work with some great people over the past few years. However, there have been a couple of clients that have made me want to pull my hair out (if I had hair). You may go in trying to knock out a project quickly, but your client may drag it out for days or even weeks. Some clients are lazy, failing to deliver important information in a timely fashion. There’s 1 million reasons that you can hate a client. The objective is to get your career to the point where you can pick and choose the clients that you work for. Your work days will be much more fulfilling when you get to this point.

We Under Estimated a Project

This is often a rookie mistake. A client comes to you with a project. They ended up not delivering all of the details to you, so you give them a smaller quote. When you find out that the project is a lot more involved than you add anticipated, it can cause you to want to put it off until later. The best thing to do, is to go back to the client and adjust the estimate. You’ll be much more willing to work on the project, when you’re getting paid what you should be. One thing you have to learn is to be upfront with your clients. If not, you’ll always be doing a lot of work for very little money.

Helpful tips

  • Divide large projects into smaller pieces.
  • Make sure to put a clause in your contract where you can adjust the price.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
  • Look at outsourcing projects that are less interesting to you.
  • Avoid all distractions while working. This could be social media, email, etc.
  • Work on other projects while you’re working on project deliverables.


Do you have trouble with procrastination? Are there reasons why you put off projects until the last minute? You could be putting yourself in danger of not delivering a project on time. This could really hurt your career and give your business a bad name. If you’re an in-house designer, it can cause you to get fired. It’s hard enough to get a design job in the first place. If you follow these helpful tips, you can avoid procrastination and get things done. Do you have any helpful tips to help designers avoid procrastination?