The world of web designers is project-based. Work focuses not just on daily tasks but also large projects with long-term deadlines, and no matter what method you use, staying on top of your productivity is critical.
If you’ve been in the web design space for some time, you’ve probably encountered a few productivity blunders.
Incorrectly estimating how long it would take to complete a project, overestimating your capacity, or underquoting a job that ends up taking twice as long. However, all this has likely taught you a few crucial lessons when it comes to planning a website.
The bottom line is that you need to be productive if you want to make money and be among the top Magento developers, and productivity stems from a healthy work-life balance. Therefore, the productivity tips you’ll find in this article are not what you might expect.
Instead of caving to the “hustle” culture of the modern workplace, we invite you to prioritize your health, keep your work schedule sustainable and automate as many processes as possible. If you like the sound of that, keep reading!
Top 3 Productivity Tips for Web Designers
We believe that finding what works best for you is the number one rule of productivity. Obviously, you can learn a lot about the industry by talking to people who have been doing this for a while. However, whether that insight works for you will depend on many factors, including your habits, lifestyle, character, and goals.
Do not force yourself to wake up early to exercise if you are a night owl. Conversely, if you’re an early bird, don’t stay up all night attempting to finish a project. There is a caveat with every productivity tool you come across. Ultimately, it’s you who has to do the work.
Below, we will review some productivity tips that have worked for us, but ultimately, we want you to think about how you can use those principles in your career.
#1 – Prioritize Your Health
Identify what “healthy” means to you and make it a priority. Phrases like “burning the candle at both ends” and words like “burnout” are often heard in our profession. Stress is a byproduct of our work-driven culture.
Web designers commonly have to complete large projects in record time. The constant drive to accomplish each task compounds, and you become less effective the more stressed and overwhelmed you are.
Licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Russell Thackeray, who consults with Trello on productivity, explained that people who take care of themselves generally display better cognitive performance, showing better focus and more productivity.
Your definition of self-care may vary depending on the day. You may have a list of options that you turn to, such as:
- Taking the kids outside when the weather allows it
- Taking a lunch break
- Turning notifications off to spend more quality time with loved ones
- Signing off early to conserve creative energy
- Having a daily exercise/meditation routine
These are just a few ways to prioritize your health over getting things done. They’ll not only help you rejuvenate and rest but also boost your creativity and focus when you are at your desk. In other words, prioritizing your health leads to a much greater capacity to achieve your goals.
#2 – Stick to a Sustainable Schedule
Finding a schedule and time tracking method that work for you takes time. The system falls flat if you don’t keep track of your time despite having a written schedule you love.
A sustainable schedule is more than just blocks of time on a calendar. You must set boundaries, learn to focus, and prioritize your goals. Let’s look at each of these aspects in a bit more detail:
- Setting boundaries — If the only way to stay on top of things is to set Mondays aside to perform business admin tasks, do it. Do not budge even if a client asks to meet early on a Monday morning. The only thing that keeps your schedule from falling apart is your boundaries.
- Learning to focus — Within your current routine, what hours of the day are most productive for you? Devote these hours to creative work. Suppose you are most productive between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. In that case, that’s when you should focus on web design, working on website layouts, branding, client projects, and everything else you love to do.
- Prioritizing goals — Would you like your business to grow? How about spending some time building a marketing plan? But don’t just resort to doing it whenever there’s time — put it in your schedule. Knowing your goals and making them your top priority will allow you to set boundaries, bringing this whole process full circle.
#3 – Automate Whatever You Can
The key to remaining ultra-productive is not getting distracted by menial tasks or tasks that can be automated.
Every web designer’s first step with a new client should be to prepare a Scope of Work (SOW) and proposal. Despite the differences in every project, your SOW must be created the same way for maximum productivity.
Establish a proposal template that gets updated for each new project—also onboard new clients this way. Even though the website you’re designing for them will be unique to their business, a lot of the information you need to collect is the same.
Ask questions first.
- How much information do you need before you can begin a project?
- Are there any details that are specific to certain types of projects?
- What is the best way to store this information so it can be accessed easily?
Then, you can begin automating your process. Design your SOW and proposal templates. Prepare an onboarding form for every client that contains all the project details, along with any space necessary to include questions unique to each client.
Finally, develop a storage system to keep everything neatly organized.
One way of doing this is to share a folder on Google Drive with each client. In this folder, they could access their SOW, upload photos and graphics, and share other branding assets.
When using an email template, you can communicate timelines, share updates on ongoing web designs, and follow up once a project has been completed.
The bottom line is this — make sure you automate anything that can be automated in your business! With more time and capacity available, you will be able to accomplish more important tasks. Your brain and productivity will both thank you for this.
Get your web design business off to a fast start by applying these basic principles, but don’t forget to add your own productivity tricks into the mix. Personalize each step based on your own experiences and objectives.
Remember, if you are struggling with productivity right now, it’s probably time to experiment with a new approach. Make an effort to step outside your comfort zone and create a routine, system, plan, or schedule that moves you away from bad habits and distractions and towards a healthier work-life balance.
If there’s only one thing you take away from this guide, it is to prioritize your health and self-care. We may all define productivity differently, but we all need to stay healthy and well-rested, regardless of our profession.