Every web designer would like to fit more projects into their normal work day. Just think what this would mean for you? If you could complete just one more project per day, how would that affect your web design career? Obviously, it would mean more mullah in the bank. But money aside, learning how to be more productive as a web designer has numerous other benefits. For instance:
- You will generally feel better if you start pushing more work (From personal experience)
- Clients will love you for your quick turnaround times, which means you will become a superstar. Who doesn’t love a little fame and recognition?
- Your stress levels will reduce significantly. Your skin will glow
- You will have more time for hobbies, family, friends and that much-deserved drink at the end of the day
- If you’re a freelancer, you might be able to hack the 4-hour work week 😀
- And so on and so forth
The benefits are endless. Which is exactly why this post will endeavor to transform you from a sloth to an unstoppable productivity machine. If you follow the tips discussed in this post, you will be able to improve your productivity and achieve your career goals in no time. By all means, you must be willing to invest in change. Otherwise, the following tips will just be words on your screen. Let’s get to it.
The inability to choose the right projects is the Achilles’ heel of many a web designer. If you know your stuff, chances are that everybody will want to have a piece of you. You will get plenty of job offers, both good and bad.
Don’t be tempted (like many other web designers) to take every offer that comes your way. Don’t allow scarcity mentality to cloud your judgment – if you do things right, there will be plenty of well paying work for you.Avoid low paying jobs in favor of well paying projects commensurate with your skills and experience. The trick is to concentrate your efforts on a few well rewarding jobs, which leads to improved productivity.
Get The Right Tools
We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us. – Marshall MCLuhan
If you would like to be more productive, you must invest in the right web design tools. Using the wrong (read poor quality) tools will lead to wasted time, and we all know time is money. The right tools will reduce the time you spend on any particular activity, which leaves you with more time to channel towards other projects.
Work Against The Clock
Still in the time is money spirit, do you have any idea how much time you waste on irrelevant things. You probably don’t have the slightest of clues, so here is a quick eye opener: You waste a staggering amount of time:
- Checking email
- Checking social media accounts
- Answering phone calls
- Surfing the internet
- Et cetera, et cetera
To fix this problem, you need to work against the clock by timing yourself and sticking to your guns. If you dedicate sixty (60) minutes to a project, don’t do anything else within that hour without first completing the project. Set definite time to check email, tweet, return calls, chat and StumbleUpon a million websites – when you’re not working. This calls for a little self-discipline, which is a key ingredient to being more productive.
Build A Routine
Web designers (just like many other creatives) will argue routine is the death of creativity. A few of us will even go ahead and affirm the famous “The less routine the more life” quote by Amos Bronson Alcott. Well, a poor time-dependent routine will hamper your creativity and reduce your productivity. On the other hand, a relaxed time-independent routine will let you work when you are the most productive, which will boost your creativity as well as productivity. This is what I mean:
You can plan to prospect for new clients for two hours and work on any given project for two hours every Monday. You can plan to do accounting for an hour and review your progress for an hour every Friday and so on. You can work when you’re most productive instead of trying to work around time. Once you develop a routine, stick to it because you need stability. A routine gives you confidence and control. You need the two if you dream of becoming a more productive web designer.
Extra Tip: This goes with creating a plan and to-do lists.
Know & Eliminate Your Distractions
We all have our distractions. Many times, I catch myself watching funny cat videos on YouTube. For. Hours. On. End. And I laugh and laugh and laugh until I remember I have a project to complete.
What is your greatest distraction? Is it your romantic partner? Is it social media? TV? Movies? Netflix? Or perhaps you have a thing for funny cat videos as well. Know your distractions and eliminate them. Just before you succumb to to the lure of your greatest distraction, please remind yourself why it’s important to keep working. Better still, set time for distractions; we all need a break once in a while. Don’t take too many breaks though 🙂
Break Down Big Projects
Projects that seem big can intimidate motivation right out of your veins. When motivation leaves, you automatically become victim to procrastination. So you keep putting off the big project to the tomorrow that never comes. The project creates a backlog, But in true sense, no project is really big especially if you break it down into smaller tasks. We usually have more time than we like to believe. Don’t let procrastination pull the rug from under you.
Perfectionism is the enemy of progress in any field, not just creative fields. The following are very destructive thought patterns:
- What if I could make this design a bit better? Just a tiny bit better so the client will fall head over heels in love with me.
- I followed all the directions but what if the client doesn’t love this design?
- I will spend a few more days on this design because, well, I could have finished it last year but I never know when to stop. Just one more day
Don’t sacrifice your productivity trying too hard. Follow the client instructions to the letter and do your best but don’t waste time obsessing over tiny details. First, complete the job, and then revise later. Don’t shoot productivity in the foot (haha) by working and revising at the same time.
You can’t be more productive if you are not healthy. If you fall sick (because you’re not taking care of yourself), your work will suffer. A healthy web designer is a motivated designer. Period. How many times do you need the doctor to reiterate:
- Exercise regularly
- Shun junk food in favor of healthy food
- Get enough rest (Sleep 6 to 8 hours per day)
- Drink plenty of water (Eight glasses per 24 hours)
- Reduce stress by taking walks, talking to friends, spending time on hobbies and never biting more than you can chew
Your health is your greatest wealth, and if that isn’t going on for you, your productivity will suffer. Take care of your health. Live healthy.
Cut Back On Your Working Hours
Working long hours doesn’t necessarily mean you are being productive. You can boost your productivity by working less hours per day. This might seem illogical but I’m not pulling your leg. This is the genius of working lesser hours.
If you have a deadline coming up, you will be much more efficient. You won’t have time for distractions and you will achieve more. You might even work through lunch just to complete your project in time. Lesser working hours will eventually turn you into a productive machine.
Because, you have the ability to do so much in a single hour but if you always have the entire day at your disposal, you won’t ever realize this innate potential. If you work for twelve (12) hours per day, cut that back to eight (8) or six (6) hours and continue from there. Try to resist the urge to work beyond your working hours.
Picture this scenario: You get this big time client. They are really impressed with your portfolio, and they have a huge budget. This might be the break you need to take your career to the next level. You are really excited.
Everything is going well until they dive into the details. The problem is you can’t dive into the details with them for your skills are limited, and there is no way you will be able to serve them. You are stuck, so the client steps out with the web designer next door.
Guess what, being more productive does not only mean squeezing more work out of your day. You must be ready to grab all opportunities that come your way! Take time to keep up with changes in the web development industry. Learn as much as you need to stay ahead of the curve. The confidence that learning brings will help you to remain motivated and productive. Moreover, learning is great for your work and personal development.
Check out the following resources for additional productivity tips:
- Lessons Learned: Productivity Tips For Running A Web Design Business
- Productivity Tips For Freelance Web Designers
- How to be More Productive and Start Earning More as a Freelance Designer
- 10 Ways to be a More Productive Web Developer
- Increase Work Productivity at Home: 10 Powerful Tips For Freelance Designers
While everyone is different, these ten (10) productivity tips will work for just about anyone. Make a point of trying at least five (5) of these tips o improve your web design career. If everything fails, change careers or hire help 🙂 That aside, we would love to hear how you hack productivity. Please share your productivity tips with us in the comments.