Working from home might look like a perfect solution for a creative professional like a graphic designer. However, this lifestyle, is not without its challenges. Establishing a good routine, boundaries and adopting a few useful habits, is just what you need to realize your full creative potential.
- Get Good Internet and Be Available to ClientsIn order to create great working relationships with your clients, you need to be available. That means, you need excellent internet connection that can handle large files shared via Dropbox or other file sharing tools. Sometimes, you might need to jump on Skype with a client, and do a screen share with them, so slow or unreliable internet is not an option. You need to prove to your clients, and your boss if you have one, that you are available and they can easily contact you.
- Create a Dedicated WorkspaceOur lives are full of distractions, so try to create a space that is entirely yours. One that is away from the hustle and bustle of your home life. Find a space where you can concentrate, and where you aren’t going to be in the way of others in your household. Organize the space for maximum productivity, whatever that means to you. Stock it up with supplies that you will need to do your job effectively. Pretend that you are in an office, and stock up on pens, post-its or bottled water, the things you would have easy access to in a traditional office.
- Create a To-Do listHave a to-do list that will keep you focused and if your client asks you where you are in the project you can easily share with them the progress and your list. If you are between projects at the moment, still create a to-do list. Fill it with things such as updating your design software, updating your portfolio or your website, or cleaning and organizing your office. Cross things off the list, as they get done, it is deeply satisfying.
- Manage Your Time WellSitting in front of the computer doesn’t always mean working, we all know that. Turn off your wireless, put your phone on silent (or better yet, put it in another room), and set a timer if you need to. Follow these simple steps and you’ll see yourself working faster, and more efficiently.
- Get DressedGet dressed in the morning; you will be much more productive if you aren’t working in your pajamas. Even better, if a client needs to get on a quick Skype call, you won’t have to scramble to make yourself presentable.
- Set Regular Office HoursYour office hours don’t have to be the traditional office hours. After all, that’s one of the perks of working from home. Dedicate blocks of time to get your work done. This will also help set boundaries with others within your household.
- Schedule Breaks and LunchGet away from your desk to eat lunch, do a quick workout or take a short walk; just remember to stick to the schedule and get back to work when the break is over.
- Don’t Bring Clients to Your Home OfficeFind a coffee shop, a co-working space or meet with clients where they are. If you are meeting a client in an off-site location like a rented boardroom, make sure the space has everything you need, things such as a projector, good internet connection or a large table where there is lots of space.
- Don’t Be a HermitSocial media is great for staying in touch, but it shouldn’t replace human interaction. Every few weeks, you can schedule client meetings or lunches with friends. Get out of the house to see things beyond your four walls.
- NetworkWorking from home doesn’t mean never meeting other professionals in your field. You can network online or in person at various conferences, meetups, and other networking events.
- Get OrganizedOrganize your digital assets and create a method that makes sense to you, e.g. to find your favorites quickly. Dedicate some time to organize logos, fonts, and creative inspiration, across digital platforms you engage and utilize.
- Feed Your CreativityAs more and more designers move into the digital space, many have abandoned the pen and paper. Sometimes, to get your creative juices flowing, you need to get out your drawing supplies and start doodling. Make sure to take a couple of breaks throughout the day and just draw and create anything that comes to mind. You never know when the inspiration might strike, and what great discoveries await you on paper.
These are just a few suggestions to get you started. Take action to become more productive today by adapting a few of these tips. It is through trial and error that you will find what works best for you on the personal and professional levels.