Things I (and designers like me) fall into and how to overcome these obstacles.

11 11 2008
I had written this on Friday morning, but due to pursuits of school it’s been postponed until today. So here we go.

While I was stumbling upon on this Friday morning (Usually I’d be in school, but I woke up this morning feeling like crap) I came across a blog that was rather interesting to me. http://selfmadechick.com, has a bunch of information that seems down to earth and an easy read. For myself, I don’t like reading things that are extensive and filled with useless bullshit, I like reading things that get to the point. This site has exactly what I’m looking for.

As a Gen Y, my attention span is somewhat short, and I’m sure I have ADD or something that’s undiagnosed. Though I’m getting off subject, anyways I found the site to be useful, and hopefully it’s useful to you. Now to move on to the big chunk of this post.

Things I (and designers like me) fall into and how to overcome these obstacles.

All right, so I’m sure it’s natural for everyone to cruise the internet nowadays, yet for a designer it’s a blessing and a curse. It gives us easy access to stock photography, design firms, and things we couldn’t even begin to fathom 10 years ago with a few clicks and words. Though the downfall of having it readily available is getting sidetracked by it. So rule number 1 is:

1. When having to work on the computer, disconnect yourself from IMs, Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, and any other thing that gives you social interaction.

Mind you, if your job requires that you are on an instant messenger, make yourself a corporate identity for corporate friends only. This means the people you work with in close circle. Not your best friend, your girlfriend, or any other friends. It’ll cut time in half and let you focus on what you need to get done.

The second thing I find incredibly annoying is being disorganized. I think it’s one of my many downfalls of being a designer. This can be from simple files that are named the same, but have different file extensions to a cluttered desk. My point is, getting organized is something that helps us flow productively.

2. Organize your workspace/computer to better utilize your time.
The more time you spend looking for files, the more time you’re wasting. The best thing to do is set up folders where you can easily access work. My own personal files are listed according by file extension, what version of progress they’re in (thumbnails, roughs, finals) and what file to take with me when things are going to be produced. This may sound tedious and boring, but it’ll save you time and energy in the long run.

Rushing to the computer with an idea, leads to staring at a blank screen or it not coming out the way you want it to. I’ve been faced with this problem, time and time again. Where I have a great idea and rush to my computer only to be disappointed. What I’ve learned is brain mapping is key, that and it helps me set up an idea, that could sprout even more ideas in the process. So number 3 is:

3: Brain map, or back track ideas. Keep them written down in a sketchbook or notebook.
This is effective because usually the first ideas are your brain throwing up ideas. When you see them clearly on paper you know which ones to fix and/or elaborate on. That and you have a record of ideas that you can use for later purposes.

Procrast- what? You know what I mean, procrastination. It’s something we all fall into, and something that we all must overcome. We know what procrastination looks like design wise, unless you’re really good and design….but we’ve probably seen better from you. Procrastination happens when our creative juices aren’t flowing, or we just don’t feel like working. – I know how this feels. One of the ways I know how to beat procrastination is having a schedule. Just like organizing your files, having a schedule helps.

4. Having a schedule and setting up dates when things are due, helps you know what to do days prior and prepares you when things go wrong.

I usually like knowing when things are due so that I can work on them a little each day throughout the week. Working on it a little, rather than spending endless hours the night before and not getting sleep, is not only stress free, but it’s also rewarding. That and it gives you a grace period if something doesn’t work out right the first time, instead of knowing you spent the night before rushing it only to find out your file is corrupted and the printer can’t process it.

Endless hours and not feeling in the creative mode is another one of my downfalls. I find that since I’m not getting enough sleep, the morning after is horrible. I’m more cranky and unproductive. That and I find it hard to focus on anything design worthy when I’m trying hard to stay awake, so this one should be easy to understand.

5. Get enough sleep.

Sleep is good, but sleeping in late isn’t always that great. If all else fails, get yourself an alarm clock to be set on a schedule with waking up too.

Besides all this good stuff, what one of the most important thing is get away from your computer. I know it’s tempted to be in touch with technology, but if you’re like myself, I seem to spend endless hours staring/working/procrastinating on my computer. Sometimes it’s easier to just take a break and enjoy other things. By other things, I mean the things you usually put off since you’re working/procrastinating. So number 6.

6. Spend time away from technology and fall in love with the things you use to love.

I mean seriously go out and play sometimes. It could be from painting, to playing monopoly to just taking a breather. I find that when I’m not constantly thinking about design the best things happen, because I’m not pinching my creative nerve into overdrive. Why I usually carry a sketchbook/note pad with me everywhere.

The last piece of advice I’ve got to offer is, have fun doing what you’re doing. Just because you’re designing for some corporation and they’ve got strict rules, etc I say still have fun doing it. If you’re not having fun, then what’s the point really? Minus the money and being able to pay the bills. The last thing:
7. Have fun doing what you do, no matter what it is that you do.

So that’s the list, anything else I come up with will be in further posts, but as luck has it class is about to start, I’ll talk to you guys later.

– DEF

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12 02 2009
15-ish Time Productivity Tips for Freelancers | Harkins Creative

[…] draining process, so lay off. Show me your Mona Lisa and then we’ll talk. (Thanks to DEF Graphics for the inspiration on this one, and for the recent Twitter […]

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