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Time management tips for designers

If you struggle to manage your time as a designer, we have some tips and tricks for you to practice which can help cultivate healthy work habits that will boost your time management skills.

UX/UI Design
3 minute read 

From tackling your personal life to staying on top of your career, managing time can be a complicated, clumsy and long-term process where finding your sweet spot is critical. Since every day is different and the design process is not a straight path, this is particularly troublesome for designers. Some designers have been described as: never on time, always rushing, pushing for deadlines, lazy and disorganised. It might be true for some, but many designers are quite the opposite.

If you struggle to manage your time as a designer, we have some tips and tricks for you to practice which can help cultivate healthy work habits that will boost your time management skills.

Discover your distractions

Time management is a skill that takes practice and some level of organisation. It requires uncovering your habits like knowing how your energy shifts during the day and acknowledging potential distractions you encounter.

To get comfy with your energy flow, pay attention to the following signals:

  • Deep concentration
  • Feeling fresh and energised
  • Feeling confident and relaxed
  • Negatives
  • Restlessness and jumping from task to task
  • Feeling dull or too sluggish
  • Feeling distracted and forgetful

After noticing these jumps and slips in your energy, you can keep a log to discover trends. If you've nailed down the patterns, do your best to label and connect your positive and negative marks to their triggers. This way, you know if they are triggered by something in particular and can adjust accordingly to help balance them out.

You might notice certain feelings such as these:

  • Feeling sluggish after a heavy lunch or when 2 pm hits.
  • Feeling super tired after meetings and struggling to concentrate.
  • Miss lunch and get brain fog around 3 pm.

After learning your behavioural patterns, start scaling your day-to-day schedule based on these shifts and clean up anything distracting and unnecessary from your routine. Don't forget to save those super energy boosters you encountered; this can help you concentrate and keep you energised when you need it most.

Learn your management tools from head to toe

There are loads of time management tools to choose from. Whatever the product is, get supa cosy with it to obtain all its benefits.

Look for features that can help with the following points:

  • Reminders
  • Day blocks
  • Workload blocks
  • Task list
  • Push notifications
  • Pomodoro timers

We encourage you to make the most of any calendar feature inside or outside of the management products you are currently using. Use them to set visual blocks to help navigate what is achievable and what is not in a specific period. Time blocks can also help you express your availability for remote sessions. Remember to block time for focus work, lunch, or anything regarding your availability. Also, remember to schedule time for breaks and rest.


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Establish a routine for planning your day and check in with yourself

Many time management gurus advise to plan the night before, others will say that to-do lists are horrible and are good for nothing. But they agree that building a routine to check in with yourself and your day is key to healthy productivity.

You can build this routine by following these supa-fast steps:

  • Plan your day at the same time every day.
  • Pinpoint the tasks that need to be done first or are more critical.
  • Take breaks every 90 to 120 minutes.
  • Keep your personal and work to-do lists into two different blocks, but still visible to you.
  • Use reminders to return to your plan often.

We know that building a solid routine is challenging. Start with small steps and keep building your way up until you feel comfortable and accomplished.

Final thoughts

There's a lot to chew on when it comes to time management since it depends greatly on personal rhythm, energy, culture, and experimentation. Your sleep quality, rest, and mental health can highly impact how you perform and perceive time. We are all human and make mistakes, and that is ok! Be kind to yourself during your learning process and check in often.

If you are looking for more good reads on time management and habits, we recommend the following books:

Give our blog a good look to find more inspiration, tips, and advice from our talented team. See you in our next post!