Designers whether self employed or working in a design agency, have loads of different kinds of work always at hand and most of them require equal attention. Each one of them fights for your attention and sometimes it can get frustrating where you can’t seem to decide what to do first and what to do later. From working on a project for one client; replying to emails and recording finances to managing payments, these and all such works are the ones which have equal importance in your work.
Where you have yourself involved in so many different things and an over-flowing to-do-list, thinking of how to prioritize them effectively can be a big challenge. A day spent doing productive stuff is important but what’s more important is how to prioritize them ‘effectively’ so that it leads you to a successful routine where you end your day with having a feeling of fulfillment. In our article today, we will look at some of the most important tips to make you learn how to manage your time in the most effective manner. This will tell you how to manage all those loads of tasks so that each gets its due attention and you get them done on time.
The main purpose of work piling one over the other is because there is a struggle to meet deadlines. So for most of the tasks, the priority depends on its deadline. If the deadline is approaching, you should speed up the task a bit as designers know how important it is to meet deadlines to have a positive working relationship with the client. Deadlines form a major basis for most designers when it comes to prioritizing work.
Setting Milestone Deadlines:
The deadline that you have received from the client can be broken down into smaller parts to help you manage the time until you reach the final deadline. This way you will know what pace you have to keep to submit the project on time as most of the times you lose track of time and realize that you have a very short time left for loads of work. These smaller steps will also help make the task look easier instead of when you have to do all of that in one go.
These milestones are something which you have set to make your task easily manageable so they need not be shared with the client. Working like this will also have a positive effect on all of your other tasks. When you don’t have all the work jammed for the end and is going on a steady pace, you will be able to work on other task as well and there will be no forcing of time on more than one task simultaneously.
Considering the Consequences:
There are times when you are suffering from a dilemma of how to manage everything in the time given. One thing that can motivate you to speed up is if you consider the consequences of not getting the work done on time. There are chances of more damage than you think as the client has given you a deadline after giving a thought of the processes which has to come later after you submit your project. If you get late in submitting, it can lead to other tasks getting late and all that can fall back upon your shoulders.
Another thing that you should consider in the consequences is your relationship with the client. Depending upon the situation, if you have worked with the client more than once, it is more likely that he will understand if you are not meeting your deadline just this once. However, if you’re starting a new relationship with this client, he may develop doubts about your reliability and if you were planning on gaining referrals or more work from this client, it will fall in jeopardy. So you will have shuffle between all the projects in such a way that it doesn’t affect your relationship with the client.
Considering Time Required:
Where you have tasks one over the other and all of them does not require the same amount of time, you can do the tasks which takes lesser time first so that you can pay more attention to the ones which are longer and requires more efficiency. Once the small ones are crossed off the list, you can divert your attention to other tasks with a peaceful mind.
Taking Out Time for Personal Projects:
There is life beyond working with the clients. This life requires as much or even some of the importance and your time. There are tasks such as working on the betterment of your skills like learning through a tutorial or reading a book, working on a blog or editing your portfolio which need to be worked on too buy they get delayed as they carry no urgency. However in the long run, you will realize their importance in the development and improvement of your work.
You can manage them in the best way by setting aside a small portion of your time for these tasks and making sure that you do utilize that time for your personal projects. It shouldn’t necessarily be every day, once a week for personal projects can be a good enough time. If you don’t set out the time properly, it is most likely that personal tasks will keep getting pushed aside as there will always be more tasks coming up.
Setting Goals and Working Backwards:
It is a trait of successful people that they set goals which helps them to determine what the tasks are that has to go on the to-do-list. Before forming a to-do-list, it is always better to take a look at the big picture, the final step that we are aiming to reach. Set a goal of things to be done for the whole month. Categorize these tasks according to urgency and keep the most urgent ones for the first week. The ones that have the shortest deadlines or the ones which hold foundational importance for other tasks should get the most importance. Once the tasks for the week are decided, you can manage them more easily for that specified time.
This is an excellent way of prioritizing work as instead of simply picking up an urgent task randomly which can also lead to skipping some important task, you know what are the tasks for later days and what needs to be done.
So it all comes down to the point that it is always better that you make out to-do-lists, not only for the day but also for weeks and months so that you have all the tasks set out properly. Where your payment and relationship with a client depends on your meeting the deadline, you will have to learn to do so effectively. Managing the tasks that you find loads is not a rocket science. You just have to learn how to prioritize the most urgent tasks and how to take along all the other tasks simultaneously so that each gets its due attention. Not to mention, your projects are the most important but you should always take out time for personal projects as well.