In an evolving and crowded design market there are plenty of factors that can inhibit your work besides the competition and the sometimes quite steep expectations your clients can have. Consequently these can affect your creativity. And if you’re a freelancer you’re also exposed to daily pitfalls that you might not even be aware of.
But don’t worry: we gathered here a list with the most common ones to help you identify yours and avoid them, keeping your productivity intact.
Whether you’re focused on creating a logo, designing a website or writing, being interrupted during the actual creative process is not the best thing that can happen. Either it’s a phone call from one of your clients, an email notification or a message on some online chat, any interruption affects the fluency of your work.
You probably know how frustrating it is when you’re about to conceptualize a great idea and something comes up distracting you from what you were doing. Such interruption may have your creativity temporarily blocked as during the creative process continuity is essential. And that is also time-consuming, as it will take some time for you to get 100% back to your work.
Now, in order to ensure your work is safe from any perturbation, there’s a very simple solution: restrict your access to any communication while working. Switch your phone to silent mode, log out of email and close any chat service.
You should set a time frame for your communication with your clients, when you can also handle other miscellaneous tasks. As with any other rule, there are exceptions: in urgent situations the restriction obviously doesn’t apply. However, by far most requests should not require a response within a couple of hours so be careful not to be too quick to label something as urgent.
Image source, image author: kougar
We, humans, are sinners by default. As the ‘Great Internet’ is for most of you the work environment, you tend to sin when there are Facebook, Twitter or any design blogs around. If the distractions previously named are somehow out of control, in this case there’s no one to blame, except you.
I know these social platforms are eventually beneficial for your work – you get your design inspiration resources from the blogs you follow, you find out what’s new in the field, meet other designers or prospective clients – but try not to mix things or you’ll probably mess up your work.
As much as we would like to think about us as being able to multi-task, remember: we’re humans, so focus on one thing at a time.
Image source, image author: A Hand Made
Burnout is somehow the opposite of distractions. While mixing your work with browsing the internet or chatting on Skype is not beneficial for your work, neither is it spending too much time working on a project.
In this case, occasional distractions and rest are really recommended otherwise your productivity may suffer, as exhaustion can eventually get you into a creativity blockage. Take your time to relax, sleep 8 hours a night and don’t think about it as being a waste of time – it’s the amount of time you need for you to feel fine, healthy and be able to deliver great work.
Image source, image author: Kris Van De Sande
Spending long hours in front of the computer is harmful to your health. Besides this, eating unhealthy food, neglecting your diet will also not do any good to your health. Apart from the well-known effects these habits have on your health on long-term – they can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart diseases – your brain can also be affected.
According to a recent article published by the American Heart Association journal Stroke (based on a study lead by Hanneke Joosten, MD, at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands), cardiovascular risk factors are associated with cognitive decline not only in elder groups, but also in young and middle-aged adults (35 to 44 years).
Since your success depends on your capacity for delivering high-quality work, if you know you’ve not paid much attention to these aspects lately, you should definitely review your habits.
Don’t miss any opportunity to exercise and go for a healthy diet based on fruits, vegetables and low-fat meat. If you’re not so into gym, you can go jogging or play basketball with your friends. Try any sport you think would suit you, so as to improve your physical state and consequently, keep your cognitive level unaffected.
Image source, image author: Ashley Reiter
Any aspiring freelancer dreams about the day when his regular job routine will disappear and there will be no one to report to. However, working on your own little routine is sometimes necessary.
It means that you need to discipline yourself and properly organize your personal space, so that you make sure you efficiently spend time on your work. Set a fixed working problem: assign a certain number of hours exclusively to your projects and respect those daily hours. That way you’ll get into a work rhythm and managing your time will be much easier.
Also, it will be helpful establishing a border between your professional and your private life. Try to arrange a working space separately from the rest of your home, a little corner where any home-related distractions will be avoided, but still, where enjoying a comfortable, homey environment.
Image source, image author: rhi
How many times have you promised yourself you’d not leave a project for the last minute? There have been a few times, I guess, as this is one common issue freelancers (and many others) have: procrastination. As already stated, discipline, in fact auto-discipline is the key in freelancing. Since there’s no one to control you (lucky you!) it’s all in your hands.
A project on which you’ve been focused enough time will always be more qualitative than any other done in a hurry. Working in a hurry means supplementary pressure and stress, both of these affecting your productivity and creativity. Therefore if you really want to avoid them, ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ must be replaced with ‘I’ll do it now’.
Hence, each time you start planning your to do’s for the following day, when you should start working hard on ‘that’ project, do yourself a favor and stop postponing.
Image source, image author: bxlee
We’re all fallible, that’s a fact. Making mistakes is like sleeping – it cannot be avoided for long and it’s repeatable. Maybe it’s not the best comparison, however I’m sure you understand what I mean. As some failures may affect your work, you should try not to let them overwhelm you by changing the perspective from which you evaluate mistakes.
Although you’ll probably tend to over criticize yourself when a client tells you, for instance, that the logo you’d worked really hard on isn’t exactly what he asked for, don’t be too hard on yourself. Your logo may be truly great, but not respecting the requirements, so it means you should pay more attention when getting a design brief!
That’s what you should do instead of obsessively thinking that you were wrong – identify the cause, try to fix it if possible and learn from every mistake.
Image source, image author: elycefeliz
Which of the situation described sounds familiar to you? Let us know how you’ve managed to overcome it and be welcome to add any other daily pitfalls or creativity killers of yours, as this is an open list.