There are times when you simply do not have enough time. Other than work, there is no time for anything else. You can’t go out with your friends; you can’t relax, you can’t improve – as a person and as a web designer. The worst thing is that all the time you waste is on busy work (like sending emails and handling ‘paperwork’) which makes you a lot less productive. It’s time to stop being torn apart by all irrelevant tasks and get focused on only work that matters: the real work. “And how do I do that,” you ask? Well here are five very simple but actionable tips to improve your productivity.
1. Plan Your Day
It will do you no good if you start your day hectically. Every morning you should have a clear vision of what should be done on that day. Include everything: from emails that need responding to complex tasks that will require hours upon hours of your time. The important aspect here is to establish a routine for your repetitive daily tasks. So if you are used to going through your email while sipping your 9:30 coffee, don’t change that. Schedule meetings for early morning or late afternoons so you don’t break your creative flow and give yourself a chance to get your mind into work. The result will be less stress and more ‘brain-power’ to focus on your improvement.
2. Track your time
Knowing how much time you spend on different tasks throughout the day is paramount if you want to remain productive and make most of your day. Furthermore, your clients will have a realistic time and cost estimate, so there will be no need to anticipate when the project will be done. Not only will you avoid the pain of being underpaid, but it will also help you pinpoint your weak areas – areas you need to work on. Set limitations for yourself: if it took you 20 hours to design a website, force yourself to do it in 19, or even 18. You will start to notice ‘gaps’ in your knowledge as well as ‘time wasters’ that you should look to negate.
3. Use proper tools
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There are plenty of excellent tools and apps out there to help increase your productivity in various ways. From simple daily planners and on/off time tracking widgets to complex project management tools that offer an abundance of features in one package. From task management, and team and client collaboration, to time and cost tracking these comprehensive tools, will allow you to keep everything on track and focus on ‘real work,’ thus making more time for yourself. Be wary however as project management tools can be very pricey so be on the lookout for Asana, Wrike or Active Collab, as they can get you more bang for your buck.
4. Work when you are most productive
Are you a morning or a night person? Do you rely on early-day concentration rush or tranquility of late nights? It doesn’t matter. All that matters is getting the job done properly in the least amount of time. Things can be a bit complicated, however, if you are tied to your office desk from 9 to 5, and you peek your productivity at 10 pm. If that is the case, talk to your boss, explain the situation and see if you can come to some agreement. Agile project management allows it! Gone are the days when being present was more important than being productive. More and more web designers are working remotely, relying on project management tools to keep their deadline in check. This way they’ve got more time to perfect their abilities, and less time to waste on busy work.
5. Your brain needs rest too
Image source: Pixabay
Breaks, breaks, and more breaks. Coffee breaks, lunch breaks and regular breaks – every and single one is important, especially during creative work like design and development. They allow you to refocus and recharge your creative sources thus providing you with a flow of fresh ideas and enhancing your productivity. One of the best-known methods is a famous Pomodoro technique that will give you a five-minute break on every 25 minutes of effective work done. These work pauses don’t need to take you away from the office, or even screen for that matter – you can watch a Youtube or read an online magazine about the non-work related topic.
Staying focused on real work when you have a bunch of unimportant details distracting you can prove to be hazardous for your productivity as well as for your state of mind. Utilize these tips and adjust your working conditions to yourself, not vice-versa. It may be difficult in the beginning, but it will prove to be very beneficial over time.