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A Designer’s Guide to Staying on Top of It

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Being on top of your workload and organization skills will save you tons of time later and maybe even a serious talk with your boss. Even the tiniest efforts can make a huge difference in your everyday work life. Here are a couple of tips to help you stay ahead of the game.

Organize your notes. Personally, I like to write all over a piece a paper when taking notes during a meeting. After a meeting, I go back and organize my notes in a Google document so information is easy to access and I can search keywords later if there are a lot of notes. Organizing your notes can also help you build your presentation if you’re presenting your designs to a client or boss.

Break up your workload. My professor once said, “don’t try to eat an entire sandwich in one bite.” Try to spread the workload of a project over a couple days. This will also leave you room to work on other projects and stay efficient. I like to block out time during the day devoted to a project to help keep me focused.

Put everything in a folder. This honestly changed my life. Before I just stuck everything from one project into one folder. I’d say this is pretty much equivalent to putting everything on your desktop. Have a separate folder for copy, design, images, and other links all in one project folder so they are easier to access. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.

Save edits as separate files. Why not just save edits on the original document? They are edits for a reason, right? I asked myself those same questions. However, in my experience, you’ll run into situations where a client or boss asks you to make an edit then ask you to revert back to the original. This happens and it’s best to be prepared for it because it’ll save you time and tears.

Make housekeeping a weekly routine. Clean up your hard drive often and get rid of the unnecessary stuff to open up some space. I’m a Mac user and I can’t keep track of how many times the “your startup disk is almost full” message has popped up. If you don’t want to put everything in its own folder while working on your project, taking an hour out of your week to go back and organize will still keep you on track.

Send a “recap” email. Send one of these after every meeting. This will make you look professional and help clarify that you understood what was said at the meeting. If there was any miscommunication during the meeting, this will clear the air and save you time in the long run. This will also give you the opportunity to ask additional questions you forgot to ask during the meeting.

Bonus, but very obvious, tip: Backup everything! Be cautious of the fact that your computer/laptop or external hard drives are not invincible. They can break at any time and the last thing you want is to lose everything. I like to backup my files in Google Drive so I can access them from any computer.

These tips are tiny efforts you can implement into your everyday work life. They will boost your organization skills and make you look like a professional designer. Wouldn’t it be nice to feel on top of it? Now take these tips and start today!

Graphic Created by Suhey Campos

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