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6 Ways to be a more productive freelance web designer

We could all do with being a bit more productive, right? We go on Awwwards for some inspiration and 2 hours later we’re playing on Pottermore. Or we hit up Slack for some knowledge, and the next thing you’re 200 messages deep about that cat video on YouTube. But there are some things we can do to increase our productivity and help us become better web designers, or at least, more efficient! 

Follow these tips and I can personally guarantee from experience, you’ll save time and create more and better work, as well as becoming an all around more productive web designer – let’s get started.

1. Create a Library of Code Snippets

Depending on what IDE you use, you should already have this set up – but if you set up a ton of snippets for code you write all the time, then this becomes a no-brainer. I personally have a ton of snippets set up for things like WP Query, WPNavMenu, CPTs, Taxonomies etc…. but also for things like container divs, I can just write _contain and voila, the code spits out. It saves me minutes – but add those minutes together throughout the day and they make up hours

2. Work in Sprints

If you don’t already, then this is my TOP TIP. Work in sprints of 25 mins, with a 5 min break at the end of each sprint. Do this for 2 or 3 sprints at a time, then take a longer break. If you focus all of your attention onto one task per sprint, then you will be surprised how quickly your work output increases. There are some great apps for sprint timers on the App store or just around online.

3. Disable push notifications

Yep, you heard that right. Turn them off. You need to plan out your day better so you’re more proactive and less reactive. Plan your email checking time around your sprint sessions. Don’t react immediately to each email that comes in, especially if you’re in the middle of doing something else. By turning off external distractions, and focussing yourself, you’ll get so much more done.

4. Take Breaks

As well as working in sprints, make sure you take breaks. As a fellow web designer, I know how hard it is to tear yourself away from your screen. But your brain will thank you for it if you take regular 5/10 min breaks. Don’t take a break by looking at YouTube or Facebook either, get away from the screen – go for a quick walk, take a stretch, rest your eyes – do something other than sit at your desk.

5. Don’t over-plan.

Contrary to above – you can plan too much. If you plan things down to the minute, then there’s more chance of something going wrong and throwing it all out of whack. Plan your day in three parts – Urgent Work, Important Work and Nice to Get Done Work. If you only focus on getting the urgent work done, anything else is a bonus.

It’s also ok to re-plan your day after a few hours, depending on how things are going with certain projects. Just don’t obsess with getting things done down to the minute – cut yourself some slack!

6. Don’t rush

It’s great to get that project out of the door. We all know that happy feeling. But if you rush, you’ll end up spending a lot more time bug-fixing than if you just did it right the first time. Spend extra time browser and device testing so you don’t open yourself up to unexpected bug fixes down the line, which will throw your future days into disarray. Do it right. Do it once.

Wrapping Up

Everyone is different and has their own process. I don’t expect you to take each of these tips as gospel, but if you’re a fellow web designer then I highly recommend implementing a few into your day to day routine.

If you have any tips on productivity,  then please do share them in the comments section