Manage Your Time As a Design Professional
Whether you’re a graphic designer, a web designer, or an app developer, time management is essential. The more you get done in less time, the more money you can make. It’s tough though, because we face a lot of different challenges in our work day that can get in our way of efficiency and productivity. Let’s take a look at some time management tips for designers.
Block Off Time For Specific Tasks.
It’s imperative that you block off time for different tasks, so that you aren’t constantly hopping around from task to task. Any minute interruption in our thought process or flow can bottleneck our ability to get things done. Every time your mind has to stop and go in a different direction, it takes time to adjust. Here are some tips for getting rid of distractions.
- Set aside a specific time or times to check your email during the day and stick to it.
- Set aside a certain time to make appointments. If you can’t turn your phone completely off, set it to vibrate when you need to concentrate.
- If you work from home, turn off the television of go into a room without one.
- If you’re a writer or a designer, do these things when you’re inspired, and in the mood to do so. Forcing yourself to be creative when you’re not in the mood will hinder productivity.
Keep A To-Do List
I have multiple clients, multiple projects, my own projects, articles to write, bills to pay, invoices to send, and much more. I have 2 systems. For long term tasks, I use a free app called Wunderlist to keep up with articles and sub-tasks that have to do with projects.
Then, for daily tasks, I have a legal pad where I write out everything that needs to be done each day. I put it on its own line. The key here is that I go back and number each task in order of priority and urgency, to the left of each task. This ensures that you get the tasks done that are the most important and most lucrative for your business.
Stay on Task
I know it’s tough. It’s something I struggle with, too. However, there is a way to have a little fun without losing your whole day. You can set aside some time on your lunch break, especially if you’re not going out, to check out social media, read funny stories, etc. Once the lunch break is over though, you’ll need to have enough discipline to get back to business.
Set An alarm
Designate a certain amount of time per task, and set an egg timer to keep track of time. Focus 100% on that task and go full blast until the alarm goes off. You’ll have just enough pressure to force you to make quick decisions, without making them so hastily that you make major mistakes.
Try to Schedule Meetings in One Day
I know some people who schedule meetings nearly every day of the week. It’s much better to set a specific day each week for meetings. The reason is the same as when you hop around from task to task. It takes your mind a while to get into the groove. Imagine coming in from a meeting, sitting down at your desk and trying to solve a problem. You’ll be tempted to check your email, peruse Facebook, or do something else unproductive.
Get Plenty of Rest
I know it may seem impossible to sleep when you’re worrying about everything you have to get done, but it is essential that you get plenty of rest. When you’ve slept well, you think clearer. Your mind has had time to reboot and refresh. It will work faster and more efficiently, much like a computer that has been fully shut down and proper rebooted.
Plan, Plan and Plan Some More
Have you ever sat at your desk and asked yourself “What the heck am I supposed to be doing right now?” I know I have. I still do this sometimes. Plan most of your day out ahead of time. Remember that to-do-list I mentioned earlier? That often helps to steer me back on track.
Your work and time should manage you out of your day. You should easily be able to manage your time to get thins done, with plenty of time to spare. Do you have any tips for managing your time? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.