Thursday, June 06, 2013

Our Graphic Designer Time Management Struggles

Being an in-house designer has some advantages: steady paycheck, health insurance, and constant interaction. But there's a downside. How do I manage my time so that I can consistently be creative?

What I mean is that in today's world people constantly request meetings, they interrupt the creative process (because most designers don't have doors anymore unless they are managers), and email demands attention. What's a designer to do?

Here's something that seems too simple to work, but is actually very effective when we take it seriously.

Schedule creative time. We need to get out our electronic calendars — that people like to use to schedule us for meetings — and block off time at least once a month to build our creative muscles. When projects get heavy, We may need to block off more frequent time, like an hour a day, so that we can develop high-quality solutions on tight timelines.

I have to block that time before requests for meetings pour in, or when I'm aching for a vacation. We all must realize that our time in creative thought and play is critical. I've learned that I must respect my job as a creative enough to take this time seriously. We are being paid to produce creative solutions, not decorate pages. Anyone can decorate pages, we develop ideas.

So, how should creative time be used?

When we have mad deadlines, our creative time should be focused on the work we need to complete. That's why it's a good idea to schedule more time during the week to process ideas. And in these times it is important to be focused in our creative process.

Other than that, we can use the time to take a walk to think through a problem, draw or sketch, get inspiration on the web or at a bookstore, and the list goes on. I like to get creative by making a list of ways to generate creative thought.

Happy scheduling!

Photo courtesy clarita of

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