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When you are working with deadlines, it is crucial to have a time management system in place to ensure that work progresses smoothly. Yet sometimes, things get out of hand which results in poorly managed projects and frustration. For professionals that work primarily around deadlines, this is a disaster. This is familiar territory to many graphic designers. It is important for designers to work on their time management skills and put a solid system in place.
Here are a few proven tips that will help designers manage their work load and ensure that deadlines are met.
Keep a Daily Calendar – People generally look at calendars to record events. Designers should do the same when it comes to deadlines. Have a calendar nearby and mark important details about your projects on it and when it’s due. This will give you a good idea of what lies ahead and help you manage your projects accordingly.
Use a Smartphone… Smartly – If you own a Smartphone, chances are it comes with a daily planner. Use it. From a client meeting to feedback sessions, you should record it in your Smartphone. Some of the most successful graphic designers consult their planner on a daily basis. You have to be smart about utilizing your time throughout the day and Smartphones are crucial to achieving that.
Set up a Base Camp – Yes, you heard it right! Setup a base camp on your computer, which is a software that graphic designers can use to simplify management of their projects and to collaborate with other designers and clients. While using it, graphic designers can oversee multiple projects at a time and get a very good idea of their workload up ahead.
Organize & Categorize – This seems easier said than done. Sometimes in an effort to do things quickly we just copy paste or save files to our desktop, thinking that we will remove them later. This leads to a huge mess of files. Take some time out every week and clean up the mess! Organize files into folders and categorize them according to your needs. Keep separate old and new files, images, upcoming projects, client contacts etc. Trust me; you will thank yourself for this later!
Learn to Say No – Some designers often make the mistake of signing up for too many design projects at the same time. This might seem rewarding initially, but it’s actually a very bad practice. Too many projects can easily overwhelm any designer. Even though no one wants to let a good opportunity pass by, you have to be honest with yourself.
If you think that you will be unable to deliver a quality design in a quick amount of time, then you need to pass on that opportunity. Learn to say no, politely. It will save you time and more importantly, it will keep your reputation intact.
I hope that these time management skills will help improve your work ethic and make you more efficient. It surely will be noticed by your peers and clients and establish you as a credible, competent and objective driven graphic designer.