One of the biggest problems that graphic designers face is effective time management. You've probably often found that a project takes you much longer to complete than you thought it should. If you want to get ahead in your career and make more money, it is essential to learn how to use time management tools. As a graphic designer, you are a creative person, and one drawback of creative people is that they are generally not as aware of time as the average person. It's not about working harder or longer, it's about learning how to use the time you've already got much more efficiently. Here are a few time management techniques.
The most successful people in business always work from a list. Every weekend, you should create a list of the things you need to do during the upcoming week, and every evening you should make a list of the things you need to do the next day. When you make a list, it programs your unconscious mind to allocate your time automatically so that you complete the list. Work on one item at a time to completion, and check it off your list.
Another time management strategy is to work on one single thing for an uninterrupted block of time. One of the most powerful features of the human mind is its ability to fully focus on one thing. If you are continually switching around and working on different tasks, you don't get to tap into this power. Every time you are distracted, it takes the mind about 20 minutes to get itself back on track. Aim to work on one thing for 90 minutes at a time. Then take a 10 or 15 minute break, and then work on something else for another 90 minute block.
Have you ever noticed that when you are faced with an impending deadline, your productivity suddenly shoots through the roof? What if you could work that productively all the time? The key is to manufacture artificial deadlines for yourself. Always maintain a sense of urgency with your work and you'll get more done in a few weeks than most people get done in a year. The length of a job is dependent upon the amount of time allocated to it.
This may sound unappealing, but it works. When you want to train your dog, you reward him with a treat for good behavior and a punishment for bad behavior. Training your dog is a lot like training your unconscious habits. Reward yourself with a treat, such as a coffee break or a cookie, every time you complete a project or a task. This will encourage you to complete your tasks quicker because you unconsciously want to get the treat.
Any one of these techniques can easily boost your productivity by at least 25%-50%. If you combine all of them, you'll soon find yourself among the most successful and highly paid graphic designers in the country.