It may be difficult to believe, but even graphic designers sometimes hit a brick wall when it comes to creating. And, just like the rest of us bootstrappers, designers naturally run out of ideas from time to time. Luckily, many tips bounce around online and in the design industry, a few of which we look forward to sharing with you. We hope there are several on our list that you have not seen, thought of, or tried.

farrel-nobel-103393-unsplashLimit Email Time

There is nothing that can eat up time like our incoming emails. They seem to grow like a virus leaving us nervous that we have missed a message from a client; lost a directive from our team leader or colleagues, or have deleted an email from a prospective client. Those who are in the business of solving these sorts of problems suggest the following steps toward taming the mighty email giant:

  • choose a particular time each day to respond to emails and stick to that schedule at all costs to focus on your work
  • make any replies concise and direct
  • turn off Internet connection if it is not needed

apple-computer-decor-326502Use Two Monitors

Workflow can be exceptionally streamlined when your creative program monitor is on at all times, and you are using your second monitor for visual inspiration and communication apps. If you are switching from one screen to another on the same computer all day long, you are probably losing valuable creative time.

harpal-singh-396280-unsplashGet Organized

Whichever programs you use to create, you need to find one method to store, import and locate your creations, branding assets, logos, and other favorite items. You need to make time to organize your products in a single library that is easy to use and fast to maneuver.

black-blogger-blogging-6469Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Eliminate the strokes and clicks that are unnecessary while you are working on projects. If time is money than keyboard shortcuts are worth millions. Memorize and implement the alternatives that are available to speed up your daily workflow.

Brain Dump

If you have ideas whirling around in your brain, write them down and come back to them later. When you think of something to share on Facebook or Twitter, write these thoughts down, as well. It seems these thoughts need to be dumped so they will not distract our attention and we can get back to work.

rawpixel-com-569607-unsplashStep Away from the Computer

Yep. We need a pause from time to time. Get offline and let your thoughts marinate; take your time, slow your pace. It is not always a new app that will improve your productivity. Sometimes it is not using any apps at all.

nordwood-themes-387855-unsplashUse Appropriate Tools

Origami Studio – This tool, used and designed by Facebook, allows designers to create modern interfaces. It effortlessly creates “prototypes with layers” and brings layers from Sketch and other venues. The device is free and comes with an excellent tutorial.

Toggl – Using a time-tracking interface allows designers to block specific sections of time for each client and project. This tool can also be integrated into other services, as well. Toggl can also set up an amount of time to work, signal time for a break for the designer, and repeat the process.

agenda-concept-development-7376Whiteboards – There is something of a revolution taking place in the graphic design industry. Simple whiteboards are being used by thousands of organizations for brainstorming, sketching, doodling, and boosting creativity and productivity. These dry erase boards require no special skills; are reusable; encourage participation; assist in concentration, and increase interaction. Bootstrap boards are inexpensive, lightweight, and difficult to resist. The boards can be used to create unique and engaging advertisements, instructional videos, and many other design projects. This new and hot medium is bound to catch the interest and imagination of designers across the globe.

We hope that some of these tips will help improve your productivity and give your creativity a boost. Designers have such an extensive and varied arsenal of apps and tools at their fingertips that the possibilities are endless when applying some of these suggestions to their daily production.