As a website designer, one of your top priorities is maintaining a high level of productivity with all your projects. Whether you’re using waterfall, scrum, agile, or any other methodology, you need strategies to help you be more efficient in your work.
Let’s face it. Developing a website can be a time-consuming process, and your clients expect nothing less than a highly effective web platform. There are a lot of parts involved, and there’s always pressure to deliver a product custom-fit to the client’s requirements.
But it doesn’t have to be stressful. We share useful tactics to streamline your web design workflow so you can create better work and become a more productive web designer.
You Can’t Afford Not To Have A Plan
The famous Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” This statement holds true, no matter your career level, industry, or lifestyle. Starting your day without a plan is a recipe for disaster.
Just think about it. How can you have a productive day with nothing to guide you? No plan, no schedule, or even a list of things to do? You probably have several clients, each with unique projects. Planning your day helps you stay organized and provide a precise map of how to accomplish your goals for that day.
A plan can be as simple as a to-do list, prioritizing all the tasks you want to get done the next day. You can create the list the night before or early in the morning. Just be sure to focus on one task at a time.
Multitasking might trick you into thinking you’re getting more done, but studies show that it actually makes you less productive by 40 percent.
Create A Schedule
Having a plan isn’t enough. See, a plan determines what and how much work needs to be accomplished. A schedule, on the other hand, involves assigning times and dates to the specific steps on your plan.
Creating the right schedule that actually fits your work-life habits is not easy. A good schedule should embrace your most creative, focused hours. Fortunately, with the help of a time tracking app, you can keep track of your time and learn to set boundaries.
Additionally, you’ll develop a routine that makes you more productive. For example, if you work from home, you have more flexible time. If you find out you are most devoted to the creative process between 5 a.m. to 12 p.m., let that be the time you do your most important work.
Use this time to focus on client projects, website layouts, branding, and any other part of your web design work that you love to do. Keep in mind that there will always be exceptions, and your schedule may need to change from time to time. For instance, if you take on new clients, you may have to adjust some steps in your process.
Automate Your Processes
How do you keep your productivity flowing when you have several clients and products to manage? Automating repetitive tasks is the answer. As a web designer, you probably create a Scope of Work (SOW) with every client.
What if you could create a proposal template that you can modify for every new project? You won’t waste time creating an SOW every time. Instead, you can focus on doing the actual design work.
You can do the same for onboarding a new client. While website design is unique to each client, the information you need to collect from them is the same.
Start by formulating a framework that you can use. Then, find out the details that apply to all projects and those that only apply to certain projects. You’ll also need to decide how you’ll store the information for easy access.
A free tool like Google Drive allows you to share your SOW at any time with clients. It also enables them to upload graphics, branding photos, and even add comments. If you’re looking for a solution to send large files over the Internet, consider file transfer services.
On the same note, invest in the right tools to facilitate your website design job. There are several, such as Marvel, Sketch, Avocode, and more.
Identify The Source Of Distractions And Eliminate Them
Distractions are part of normal life, whether you work from home or in-office. Unfortunately, distractions are a morale and productivity killer. A CareerBuilder survey revealed that cell phones account for 52 percent of distractions in the workplace.
Another recent study found that the average adult spends more than three hours on their smartphones every day. And the worst part is that it takes roughly 23 minutes to refocus after getting distracted, according to research by the University of California Irvine.
The only way to get rid of these distractions is to identify them. Once you do, schedule them in your day. If it’s part of your schedule, you won’t need to check your Facebook or Instagram when working on projects.
You could also try using productivity software to fight distraction. Forest motivates you to put your phone down. The idea is that as long as you don’t pick up your phone for the next 25 minutes, your tree will grow fully and survive. Over time, your tree will grow into a forest.
Browser add-ons like Cold Turkey Blocker allow you to activate a customized filter that will block out websites you find too distracting when trying to focus.
Just Don’t Do It
As much as you’d want to accept all projects and clients coming your way, sometimes it’s simply not worth it. This is particularly common for people fresh in the world of web design. Before you know it, you end up with piles of low-paying projects that eat your time and energy.
Expert advice? Learn to say “no” to projects that don’t bring much value. Now, we know it can be hard to say no, especially if you want to build a reputation. But you don’t have to literally use the word “no”. You can say “yes” but later.
If you’re part of a team in a remote work setup, it’s easy to get swamped with work. You can say “yes” but preface it by saying you’ll start working on it as soon as you complete existing projects/tasks. It shows you want to take on another commitment but not before you finish what’s on your plate first.
Prioritize Your Health
It’s the norm to prioritize tasks in our work-driven culture. Unfortunately, it leads to burnout and fatigue, which affects your productivity and overall performance. As a web designer, you might feel like you don’t have enough time to complete your projects, let alone do personal stuff.
But here’s the thing. The more stressed you are, the less productive you will be. It’s time to just stop and take a breath. Your health should be on top of your list if you want to improve your focus and get more work done.
Creating a schedule can prove handy here. You’ll always know what your day looks like and can find time to squeeze some “me-time” moments. Here are some ideas:
- Start your day with a jog, Peloton workout, or a 25-minute cardio routine.
- Sign off work early when your creative brain feels overwhelmed.
- Mute all work-related notifications over the weekend to enjoy uninterrupted time with family.
- Take breaks throughout the day. Try the Pomodoro technique to break work into intervals, typically 25 minutes long, separated by short breaks. You could also use a time tracking spreadsheet to set blocks of time, including breaks, and use it to monitor your work. For example, you can customize your time tracking spreadsheet, such that you have a 25-minute break after working every two hours.
- Schedule mini-vacations after hitting certain targets and consider them a “reward” for your achievements.
When your mind and body are healthy and fit, you’ll always come to work rejuvenated and have the capacity to achieve more.
You’ve probably read tons of tips on how to increase your productivity as a website designer. However, most of them aren’t easy to apply in your day-to-day life. We’ve filtered out the rest and only shared tips that can really push you to be more productive.
Oh, and a bonus tip. Take advantage of usability testing. That way, you can resolve design problems early in the design process and get feedback from potential users on your designs. That way, you won’t have issues to deal with later, thus speeding and streamlining your workflow.