Your efficiency as a freelancer can make or break you. Many times it can be hard to see how much more efficient you can actually be if you spend some time fine-tuning a couple of things. In this article we’ll have a look at some of my top tips on how you can give your efficiency a major boost. Let’s get started!
Why boost it?
- happier clients
- keeping deadlines easier
- room for more projects/clients
- earning better
- more room for the family / friends
- less stress
- a healthier creative mind
- and more!
Picture by Patrick Hajzler
Take your job seriously!
Some people tend to think that freelancing is a walk in the park. These usually don’t make it for long, basically because they’re wrong. Make sure to take your job 100% seriously and do your best when you’re working. The second you notice you’re not giving all you can, your efficiency has dropped a whole lot. So make sure to remind yourself of why you’re doing this and do your best to stay focused while at work.
Stick to the plan
Picture by Dominik Gwarek
Don’t allow yourself to be distracted. If you’ve made a plan for the day, stick to it as long as possible. Once you start doing other things than those you’ve planned, it’s easier to keep doing it. Before you know it, you haven’t done more than a fragment of what you were supposed to do that day. Planning is obviously worthless if you’re not sticking to it.
Taking smaller breaks during the day can be a hard thing to remember, but it’s very important. This will make you perform better through a long day. It’s also important to your overall health. So remember to take those breaks, preferably at least five minutes for every hour.
Taking some time off
Picture by Faey Szeuw
Taking time off occasionally, will definitely make you more efficient when you’re supposed to be working. On one day off you’ll get your batteries charged and have a lot more energy when you’re back again. It can be hard to do this if you have a lot of ongoing projects, so try to include a day off or a vacation in your plans a couple of times yearly. It will do you good in many ways!
Look at others
Read up on blogs and forums. What do others do? There are thousands of freelancers out there who all have had their share of challenges along the way. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, you can harvest a lot of valuable information that’s already out there. There are also lots of articles on efficiency and on how designers make their websites, logos, brochures and so on to try be more efficient.
Picture by Carlos Paes
Sometimes it will definitely pay off to upgrade your software a bit. Depending on what you’re designing there could be alternatives out there that do certain tasks a lot quicker than what you are doing today. Adding a plug-in for example, can boost your work-speed, the same goes for creating actions/macros for tasks that you spend a lot of time doing over and over.
Know your software
It doesn’t help that you have the top of the line software if you’re using it the wrong way. Even though you may have spent years working with Photoshop, Illustrator or other programs, that doesn’t have to mean you’re effective. Remember to keep yourself updated regularly. I always give fellow designers the advice of checking out new tutorials on the software of choice and doing these. More often than not, you may discover new techniques and easier ways of doing things.
Knowing the market
Picture by Dominik Gwarek
Reading up on blogs and websites related to your field will save you a lot of time when it comes to researching. By knowing trends, new technologies and so on – you will have to spend less time researching as you already have a good clue about what’s going on.
By setting very specific deadlines, most of us can be quicker and more focused in what we do. Not only should you do some planning, as mentioned earlier, you should also break it down into specific deadlines.
Learning from your mistakes
Picture by Michaela Kobyakov
Take the time to evaluate your projects. Make a list of what is working in order to hold on to those things, along with listing what doesn’t work in order to eliminate those elements in future projects.
There are probably many things you can do to boost your efficiency. Check out some of these tips to see if they can be helpful. There’s a good chance you will be surprised by how much more you can get done in the long run just from changing what could seem to be minor things.
Have any comments or suggestions to other tips? We would love to hear from you in the comments section!