No matter what profession you have chosen, you have to deliver the goods with consistency every time. As graphic designers, this is especially true. We have to be consistent in our time management skills as well as the product we produce for our clients.
Do you set a schedule for yourself to separate your personal time from work time? Or do you fly by the seat of your pants leaving your best ideas to come at three am when you know you have a seven am deadline? Do you work the same way, using the same work patterns every time? Is there a method to your madness? And when was the last time you saw the top of your desk?
These are all part of creating an effective atmosphere to do your best work. Let’s explore the reasons behind wanting consistency in your work habits.
Set A Schedule To Separate Personal Time And Work Time
Do you set a schedule for yourself to separate your personal time from work time? Most of us work from home at least part of the time and life has a way of interfering with the work process, whether it’s kids, the dog, or the phone. All of it cuts into time we could be using more effectively.
Success can be measured by the amount of consistency in your life. Post a calendar on the office door and put a work schedule on it. Even if it’s only two hours a day, be consistent. Post reminders on the refrigerator and the bathroom mirror. Tell all your friends and family not to call during that time unless it is an emergency. Put the dog out, go get a drink, go to the bathroom if you need to, before it’s time to go to work.
When you work out in the real world, these are things you would do without thinking about it. These are all patterns of consistency.
Be Consistent, Be Organized, Increase Efficiency
Do you work the same way? When you sit down at your desk to work for a client, do you approach it the same way for every client? I know you’re sitting there saying to yourself it can’t be done because all clients are different, right? And you are partially right, all clients are different, but the manner in which you take care of them has to be consistent.
Do your clients have organized folders, or is it the pile near the file cabinet, next to the pile of research material you were going to read last week? Did you create thumbnail sketches and took notes when you meet your new client? If you didn’t, it will make your job a lot harder to start as well as finish.
If you get into a habit of being consistent with every client, you will develop habits, and you will forget fewer things that are important to each project. This leads to increased efficiency. And increased efficiency leads to working smarter, not harder, which has a direct connection to your bank account. I personally like that last part about having a direct connection to my bank account. I like to get paid, as I’m sure everyone else does too.
Clean Your Desk – Make More Money
When was the last time you saw the top of your desk? Has it been months, possibly years? Here’s a heads up for you. A cluttered desk is not the sign of a clear mind. Recently, the Today Show did a series of reports on organized people vs. cluttered people. According to the report, people that were organized made more money.
I don’t remember the exact day, but it was during February, 2008. What an epiphany! If I clean my desk I will make more money. This simply adds weight to what I already suspected, organization pays. It is absolutely amazing the amount of work I can get done if I know where to find things. Therefore, I have added another step to being more consistent and it works.
Purchase an inexpensive box of manila folders and a small filing cabinet (about $5 at the thrift store), get an ink pen that works and step up about once a week. You might be amazed too.
It Takes Time And Efforts, But It’s Worth It
Consistency takes time and effort to work. It’s kind of like planting grass seed. Everyday you look at what you planted and think it is never going to grow. Then one day you look out and you need to mow it. By doing a little planning ahead, setting a schedule, and keeping your work area uncluttered you will be able to provide the same quality to your last client as you did to your first. Before you know it, you’ll be mowing down objections, clearing a path of creativity, and raking in more money.
Take a thirty day challenge using some or all of these tips to increase your efficiency. See if consistency counts for you too!
About the author: Lois Knight has been a freelance writer and graphic designer for the last two years. She designs predominantly for small start up companies and non profits in need of design services that could not afford them otherwise. She has a background as an entrepreneur for over twenty years and has dedicated herself to educating people interested in graphics as a career. She also write on All Graphic Design.