Productivity Hacks for Designers: Finish the Year Strong
The year is winding down and so is your energy. As a designer, the final weeks of December often mean tight deadlines, long hours, and high stress. Burnout is lurking right around the corner, ready to sap your creativity, productivity, and motivation.
In the coming weeks, focus on self-care, prioritize ruthlessly, and maintain strong boundaries. You've got this - now go end the year on a high note! The holidays are almost here, so take a quick break to recharge and renew your passion for your craft.
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Recognizing the Signs of Burnout
The long hours, demanding projects, and looming deadlines can take their toll. Here are some signs it may be time to recharge:
•You're irritable or impatient. Little things annoy you.
•You're having trouble concentrating.
•Your creativity feels stifled.
•You feel physically and emotionally drained.
To combat burnout and finish the year strong:
•Take time off if possible. Even taking an extra day or two around holidays can help you rest and renew. If time off isn't an option, try to leave work at work when you go home each day.
• Prioritize self-care. Make sure to eat healthy, exercise, engage in hobbies, and pursue other personal interests regularly.
• Limit distractions. Minimize notifications on your devices and try to avoid multitasking. Focus on one thing at a time.
• Ask for help if you need it.
• Take a step back. Make sure to maintain perspective on what really matters. Not every little deadline or issue needs to be a crisis. Learn to let go of perfectionism and avoid micromanaging situations that are outside of your control.
Setting Reasonable Goals and Expectations
The end of the year often means crazy deadlines, extra projects, and long hours for designers. It's easy to feel burnt out and unmotivated. To stay energized and productive, set reasonable goals and expectations for yourself.
Focus on high-impact tasks
Prioritize the work that really matters. Ask yourself what will have the biggest impact and make the most difference. Say "no" to anything that isn't a high priority.
Break big projects into smaller milestones
Don't feel overwhelmed by huge, long-term projects. Break them into smaller, more manageable chunks to keep you from feeling defeated before you start.
Leave work at work
Make time for yourself and your relationships. When you're off work, be fully present and do things you find personally fulfilling.
Changing Up Your Routine
Changing up your routine can help reinvigorate your mind and boost your productivity. When you do the same tasks in the same order every day, it’s easy to become bored and burnt out. Shake things up by:
Switching up your workspace. If you typically work from home, head to a coffee shop or co-working space. If you’re usually in an office, work from home for a day.
Rearranging your schedule. Move some of your usual morning tasks to the afternoon and vice versa. Starting your day differently can make you feel like you have a fresh start. You may also find that certain tasks are more energizing at different times of day.
Taking an intermittent break. Rather than powering through your work and taking longer breaks, take short 5 to 10 minute breaks every 90 minutes or so. Step away from your desk, stretch your legs, get a drink of water or cup of coffee.
Learning a new skill. Pick up a new hobby, read a book on personal development, take an online course. Exposing yourself to new ideas and ways of thinking exercises your brain and boosts creativity, which translates to your work. Even learning a seemingly unrelated skill can have benefits.
Speaking of learning new skills, we also have 2 exciting design challenges going on at Design Buddies!
AI + UX challenge with StratMinds VC with $2,000 in prizes + in-person opportunities to take your ideas to the next level:
The goal is to investigate how enhanced UX design can significantly improve the overall experience of various AI systems, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing human-centered design in AI. You can also use this for your design portfolio!
Deadline: Mon Dec 11, 11:59 pm PT (UTC-8)
Deliverable: Deck showcasing your process and solution
Join our channel on Discord for more #ai-ux-challenge
Creative Design Contest with MiriCanvas with: $4,000 USD of cash prizes and more
Theme: Things That Make Me Happy
Deadline: Dec 25, 18:00 UTC+9
The key is staying focused on what really matters - your priorities, your progress, and your self-care. Don't get distracted by year-end stresses or unrealistic expectations.
Stay organized, block out time for creative work, take real breaks when you need them. And remember, while the holidays are a busy time, make sure to schedule in downtime to recharge. You've got this!
🎉 Design Buddies Events
[New live co-hort] Content Creation for UX Designers - Standing Out in a Competitive Job Market (Jan 2024) with Grace Ling
50% off discounts for students and folks who were laid off are available. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
[New] In-person, San Francisco on Wed Dec 6, 6 pm PT: Founders, Investors, & Creatives Social
Tue Dec 5, 9 am PT (UTC-8): Standing out as a designer through personal branding & content creation with Grace Ling
Wed Dec 6, 10 am PT (UTC-8): Getting hired: Personal branding, content creation & networking 101 with Grace Ling
Thu Dec 14, 8 am PT (UTC-8): Typography workshop with Elizabeth Lin
Every Saturday, 10 am ET: UX Book Club by Haidita and Steven in #design-book-club
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