A week ago, I was invited to speak as part of a panel of professionals in at The School of Advertising Art (SAA), to first-year design students. We were asked to weigh in on a non-design related topic, but an important one — time management.
Although you might not think being creative and monitoring your productivity naturally go hand in hand, when you are employed as a professional designer, time is money. Now I’m no designer myself, but I’ve worked with quite a few over the years (I’ve also sat by and waited for them to finish their work, so I can send it to the client — sometimes patiently, sometimes not so patiently.
As others on the panel were former-designers-turned-project-managers, we had some unique perspectives to share. We covered four main topics for students.
Know when to take a break:
Sometimes, more work is not always better. You may be more productive (and more creative) if you can leave your project for a bit and come back to it with fresh eyes.
Pay attention to your personal productivity and energy levels:
Some people do great work after 5 pm when it is quiet. Others are exhausted by then and spin their wheels. Try to plan your day to maximize your productivity as much as you can. Be realistic and honest with yourself about what you can do and when.
Stop before you think you’re done:
Most people overdo it. Stop before you think things are exactly right and show your project to someone. You may have already hit the nail on the head and not realized it. Or, a little advice from a higher up or colleague may be just the thing you need to take it the last 5%. Don’t spend extra time trying to make everything “perfect.”
Build in time to do what you want:
No one can work all the time. When you focus your attention on something you truly enjoy, your passion and motivation will spill over into your billable projects. You and your clients will be better off.
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