Productivity Hacks for Designers in 2021
Updated: May 6
Considering the times that we live in today; work dynamics have majorly changed as well. Meetings and classrooms have become virtual and office desks have been replaced with home offices. Now, everyone’s work style and needs are different. While some may work better confined within their four walls, others need a lively work space. Especially, when it comes to creative professions like fashion designing, having the right kind of space is of utmost important. These professions run on creativity, which affects their productivity. And, what we need for consistent creativity and productivity is an ongoing flow of inspiration. While your productivity as a designer may fluctuate from time to time, just like with any other career, it is important to have a protocol to amp it up, if need be. Because hey, deadlines and the world doesn’t wait for us to overcome our creative blocks, right?
Having said that, there’s usually a lot of misconception around the concept of productivity. So, before we get into how you can improve it, let’s understand what exactly is it.
So, What is Productivity?
Well, productivity is your efficiency of creating or providing your services with quality and optimum speed. Say, as a designer, when you spend a day working on a design diligently and produce the right quality within the set time frame. This is when you could say that you were productive. At the same time, when you just can’t get yourself to complete even half a design for any reason, you could say that it wasn’t exactly a productive day. Now, as you dive into productivity hacks as a designer, it is also important to remember that:
1. You are different and so is what personally works for you
Everyone has a different set of work prompts and requirements. What may work for others may not work for you as effectively. So, it is important to first acknowledge that you are unique and then go on to recognize what you need or what makes you perform better. It could be something as simple as soothing music in the background or, on the other hand, some quietness.
2. It is okay to take time off so you can come back stronger
We understand that it is a highly competitive and high-paced world out there, and you are expected to be high on productivity at all times. But hey, you are only a human after all. And just like everyone else, you do need and deserve some downtime. So, while you prepare yourself to be productive this year as a designer, consider some time off also as a part of the process.
3. Find inspiration to accelerate productivity
Like I said before, a source of inspiration is a must for a career as a designer. And lucky for you, you have access to all the inspiration in the world right at your fingertip. Thanks to the internet. So, go back to the first reminder above, understand what you need and dive into the right inspiration sources. It could be articles, movies, documentaries, influencers, and of course, books! (can hyperlink the word books with that book suggestion article)
Now, that we have established the ground rules, let’s move on to the concrete tips that will help you hike up that productivity in 2021.
1. Make a to-do list everyday
Setting up solid routines and to-do lists everyday is underestimated, but it is one of the most effective productivity hacks. It not only helps you stay motivated throughout the day but also keeps you on track with deadlines. The trick is to make a work routine the night before and sticking it up your wall or notebook. When you get to work the next morning, take a quick look at that to-do and you’ll find yourself fuelled with a new-found energy.
2. No screen time for the first two hours of the day
Well, this is the digital age, where virtual everything is the only connection to the world. We understand that, but while that is true, it is also true that digital detox is an antidote to mental exertion. Your productivity is equally proportional to your mental energy. You don’t want to deplete all your energy engaging with your phone and the hoard of internet chores. Whether you realize it or not, internet and screen time does affect you adversely. It leads to physical and mental exhaustion both.
So, as you wake up and before you immerse yourself into your day’s to-do, gift yourself with some downtime. Keep your phone at a bay and avoid exposing yourself to the laptop and TV screen for the first two hours of the day. You could utilize this time to just be, with your family or with yourself. Give your mind a break with some reading, exercise, or some creative mental wandering. While you give yourself time off the screens, you may also end up being inspired by mindfulness and have a ground-breaking design idea.
3. Take regular breaks
As important is the break at the beginning of your day, these frequent and small breaks through the day are just as crucial. The key is balance here. Just because you gave yourself some free time in the morning or the evening, it doesn’t mean that you compensate by overworking through the day. Of course, that also doesn’t suggest the opposite. Give yourself space and time to move away from that design or collection conceptualization for a while. So, when you come back to it after a few minutes of doing nothing or pursuing a hobby, you’ll look at it with fresh eyes and mind. That’s all that any creative piece of work needs – it needs freshness and time. And, that is something you’ll only get when you give it that space to breathe and when you give yourself that space to breathe.
4. Remind yourself why you started
It is natural for any professional and in your case, as a designer, to lose track of their true motive and passion, from time to time. The pressure from the real world of work out there can make that happen. Passion may convert into plans for money-making. Creativity may change to desire to please your seniors or the audience. But, you got to remember that you are different; your ideologies, values, visions are different, and that’s what makes your work different. Having said that, it is also important to remember why you started with this career path in the first place; why you chose it, what drew you to it. And, there’s you answer and your best motivator.
You need to remind yourself of these raw passions again and again, which you can do by translating it all into a mood board or a vision board. Compile quotes, pictures, or drawings that reflect the mood of your authentic dreams and passion. Let it reflect the WHY behind your work. Let it reflect your uniqueness and individualism. Create a digital or physical mood board for yourself and place it at a location where it is visible to you everyday and every time you need a wakeup call.
5. Find and create a time and setting works best for you
As mentioned before, everyone has a different need, and this also applies to productivity needs. If its night time that makes you focus better, then don’t force yourself to produce productivity during the day time. Of course, you can’t get away with that sometimes, but try to infuse a balance here. Recognize the time and setting, where you find yourself the most inspired, motivated, and hence, productive. What time of the day is it? Where are you working? Living room, bedroom, an office space, a café, or a desk. Observe these things and make note of it all. Moreover, while you observe the time and place, also recognize the elements around you that may be contributing to your mood. Music, a certain smell, a certain view, certain tools? More often than not, it could also be your work paraphernalia. Secondly, set deadlines for yourself. No, we don’t mean client deadlines. Impose certain timeframes for yourself, by yourself. This not only helps in keeping you disciplined but hikes up your productivity!
So, while you try to incorporate these hacks into your daily work like, first try to introspect and find out what works best for you.
Feeling inspired yet?