Becoming a successful web designer is a fine balancing act between indulging creativity, and scheduling solid marketing. The “scheduling” part can be tricky, which is why it’s important to build up a routine that supports successful growth.
In line with that, we’ve gathered some of the daily habits that are followed by successful designers. Some of these are very specific to web design; others you may recognize as being common to creative thinkers in every line of work.
But all of them have one thing in common: developing these habits can make a huge difference in your success.
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The Pre-Work Routine
We all have certain things we like to do in the morning. Some of us get up early to exercise. Some of us need coffee before we can face people. Some of us like to spend twenty minutes or so on social media in order to catch up with what happened overnight.
Morning pre-work routines are unique to individuals, but they are almost universally celebrated as an important part of starting work for creative thinkers of all types.
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Productivity expert and author of Design Your Day Claire Diaz Ortiz states that an established, ideal morning routine is the best tool for surefire productivity. Your routine is what anchors you.
Not only does a morning routine get us mentally prepared for work, it can also lead to a higher level of productivity, and allows us to get our brains focused on the task at hand.
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Web design is constantly evolving, from the trends that are on the rise to the tools that are the new cutting edge. To provide the best services to our customers, we need to be in the know.
And since technology changes so quickly, this means that a good daily habit is to keep up on the new. New tools, new technologies, new trends, new announcements, new anything that might impact a web designer or, indeed, any of the areas of business that interact with web design.
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Use (And Analyze) The Internet
A lot of web design involves analytics: knowing what works and what doesn’t, and why, and how techniques and designs compared to others. In order to build that base of knowledge, it’s important both to be a prolific user of the web, and to pay attention to the sites you visit.
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So, yes, this daily habit is a good excuse to spend some time browsing around on the internet, looking for whatever interests you, but the usability and appeal of each individual site should be noted as you go.
Draw Things Out
Another habit of creative types of all sorts is to do something with your hands. Creating on a computer is often our bread and butter, but the ability to put pen to paper and at least scribble out our rough ideas is a vital way to fuel design.
It can be intimidating at first, if this isn’t a habit that you’ve cultivated.
But as noted economist, professor, and author Theodore Levitt wrote, “Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.”
Sometimes, that analog pen and paper sketch is the spark to a new way of thinking, which allows you to build a whole new design on top of that foundation.
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Get Into The Flow
Designers of all kinds talk about the “flow” of their work. Flow is very much at odds with multi-tasking, because flow requires a total focus on the job at hand.
But getting into the flow is important for successful work. In fact, as web designer Heath Howard states, “Entering into the flow will not only make you more productive, but more satisfied with your work.”
How you handle this depends on you as an individual, but it often is helped along by following your pre-work routine, and then by setting aside a certain amount of time to dedicate to one task and one task only. There will be other things to accomplish during the day, of course, but don’t worry — they can wait.
Communicate With Your Clients
Communication is a key element to any relationship, whether personal or business. And it’s especially important if you have an ongoing project.
True, you could maintain a dignified silence and leave it to your clients to lean over your shoulder, metaphorically speaking, and ask for updates.
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But it’s far more conducive to a good client-designer relationship to check in and offer updates when possible.
This is especially so if you are an independent designer, not working with a larger company. A reputation as a good designer often goes hand in hand with a reputation as a good communicator; and if you’re lacking in the communication department, then it’s likely that this fact will be mentioned if your name comes up for recommendation to other potential clients.
Communicate With Other Designers
Again, communication is important on any level — and it’s important within your area of expertise, too.
Keeping communication up with other designers is an awesome way to make contacts. And not only does it allow you to be helpful and share your knowledge with others when possible, it also means that you will get the benefit of other, more experienced designers.
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Don’t have the time to try out every new tool or piece of technology for yourself? Having a pool of colleagues can give you insight into the trade, which in turn gives you a leg up in knowing what needs attention right now.
This is one of the daily habits that are the hardest to cultivate: carve time out in your work schedule each day to market your design skills.
This is incredibly intimidating when you’re just starting out. But the fact is that you cannot become a successful designer if people don’t know that you design; and not only that, but building a reputation is vital in order to continue to be successful.
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Making use of any available platform is also a good habit; social media is a popular choice, and so is content-based marketing, such as blogging. But it definitely is an everyday thing.
As marketing expert Jon Buscall says, “Content marketing is a commitment, not a campaign.”
“Learn.” It’s easy enough to say, sure, but learn what? Just about web design techniques? We already covered that, didn’t we?
Learning is about more than just your niche interest. It’s a fact that when we have a vocation, especially a creative one that involves design, everything that we come into contact with has the potential to impact how well we do our jobs. So yes, learn about new web design trends. And learn about technology. But also learn about other things that drive you: creativity, how our minds work, why we are drawn to the things we are drawn to, color psychology, and what’s most important to the human race.
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And learn from yourself. As author Arthur Koestler said, “Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.” Look back on what you’ve done, look over your sketches and your ideas and your plans, and learn.
Clear Your Space, Clear Your Head
This particular habit can be done either at the beginning or the end of the work day, but it’s an important one. Having a work space that is organized and ready to be utilized is enormously helpful to productivity, and knowing where your tools and necessities are likewise.
In terms of building success, clearing your work space and clearing your head also gets you ready for the next day’s work, whether it’s later on that same morning or the next day entirely. It helps you to put your head in the game, so to speak, and be focused on your next project or obligation.
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That mindset can go a long way to building a productive, successful daily plan for your projects.
Building Success Every Day
No one can really pinpoint one particular aspect of what creates success. Even if they could, it would likely be different for each individual.
That’s why success is built up of several components, rather than one magical ingredient.
Every little bit helps when it comes to success. So these ten small habits can be ten more steps in the right direction, heading toward a successful career as a web designer every single today.
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