Why Staying Organised as a Designer is Essential

December 13, 2018

Athar Majeed

Even though designers' work is often considered to derive from the chaotic properties of art, every professional observes an unconscious level of systemic conduct. We put things together to give them more meaning and a better flow. So even when there is no sense of order, there actually is which then guides our creativity and constructiveness.

For a designer to be a successful creator, he or she has to put together building blocks in order to fashion a natural flow that improves efficiency. Even in a simple logo, the flow of visual components is an essential factor. It is no wonder being organised becomes part and parcel of a designers work. 

Read Also: 6 Useful Tips to Start Your Career in UX Design

User experience design is never static with the technology advancement being the wheel force behind the changes. How users behave with a design today won't be the same tomorrow. Thus, adapting to new methods and tools in designing new products requires a sense of organisation. It's a crucial tool that will help in crunching complex processes and designing faster.

So exactly why does a designer need to be organised?

When thinking about this question, it becomes notable that the same benefits the organisation affords this scenario seem to transcend every aspect of life. Therefore, if we are to realize the benefits of being organised, we should look around us and mostly beyond having a clean desk.

One of the most notable benefits a designer springs from being organised is how much it helps to improve time management. Whether you are a designer or a CEO of a large corporation, time will always be an important resource. When time, in itself, is properly planned and organised with every second being accounted for, we are able to make the most out of it, thus increasing our productivity. Sometimes we may get too absorbed in an activity and lose track of time, this can definitely lead to disorganisation when it comes to handling other activities where we find ourselves rushing through them just because of not planning based on the task at hand.

Time Management

Making the most out of every second of the day ensures that we are able comfortably and voraciously eat deadlines for breakfast, and create spaces in our schedules that can be used for other purposes. As we grow up, our time becomes more precious, and we are limited in our ability to indulge our hobbies.

With a proper organisation, it is possible to create time for these indulgences, which then feed out imagination and creativity.

For a designer, this is essential since this ignited artistry is a crucial part of the job. Furthermore, being time sensitive is a culture that can be easily espoused by simply making a habit of checking your watch every now and then in the bid of tracking and estimating time.   

Thus, setting up schedules on a daily basis with reasonable milestones set according to extent of the task at hand is a start in increasing productivity.  
Being organised also helps to reduce clutter. What do I mean by clutter, you may ask? Well, in simple language, it means having no sense of plan regarding the location of various things, importance definition is tuned to relate to the scenario in question. This, however, does not give it any less weight than it portrays. When things are cluttered, they not only look ugly, but they also make handling them quite difficult. Imagine looking for a book in a library where items are not organised in any fashion. It would be a total nightmare.

So why do we want to reduce clutter?

First, it makes it easy to locate various items, thus saving on time and reducing the stress we feel when looking for something that is misplaced. There is nothing more unproductive than wasting several minutes in each encounter when you are trying to locate something on your desk or on your computer. The nerve-racking search even makes you more disorganised, cutting your patience and zeal into the half. These minutes lost could have been pooled together to create an opportunity to do something more productive.

Secondly, clutter makes the presentation difficult. Imagine a PowerPoint presentation where the slides have been shuffled. Presenting it would make no sense. For a designer, the organisation goes past the personal level to the ability to deliver an understandable product at the end of a project. Clutter makes it difficult for the target party to take you seriously. Therefore, as a professional, show everyone that you are serious by eliminating clutter. Keep your work clear, consistent and most of all easy to understand.

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We should note, however, that clutter transcends mere presentation. Clutter can occur at a psychological level where a designer is unable to organise his/her thoughts, thus causing some level of confusion.

Clutter is also evident in how we plan for our resources. Randomness, the core of clutter, makes it easier to waste resources and thus limits our ability to get the most out of a significant number of scenarios for a designer.

How do you stay organised as a designer?

Now that we are conversant with why we need organisation, a question remains. How do you stay organised as a designer? Different (graphics, UX or UI) designers have different hacks that have allowed them to retain a sustainable level of organisation.

To develop a universal answer to the question posed, we will have to consider the points at which the techniques used by different crowds overlap. However, and of most important that you are allowed to create a system that works best for you. This is just a suggestion for someone who needs that little bit of help.

The first step of being organised is acknowledging your goals.

"As a designer, you may want to have a successful career, add value to your clients and a fulfilling social life. So what is preventing you from achieving this? Identify all the barriers between you and your goals."

Next up, formulate a series of acceptable conducts both on and off the workplace. How well our lives are balanced has a direct impact on our output in our profession. Small things like organising things on your computer desktop and arranging things in an orderly fashion on your workspace could be a great place to start. From here, work your way up to more practices that are specific to your job and lifestyle.

It is also important to take note of how much time you have since it is key to the eventual structure you want to adopt.

Based on the conducts that you established and your time allocations, design a plan. In this space, your profession comes in handy. Since your profession is to formulate acceptable structures to serve specific ends, you already have sufficient technical skills to guide the plan you want to develop.

After designing and developing the plan, go over it and determine if the conducts it specifies align with your goals. You should also ensure that the goals and milestones are attainable. You know yourself best and, therefore, are in a better position to really know what can be done and what cant.
Now that the plan is in place, it is up to you to stick with it. Note that repetition is an integral part of establishing a habit. If you stick to the desired conducts that help you become more organised, you will eventually get used to it.

Be your own critic. Occasionally, look at what you have achieved and where you have failed. Make corrections where possible and learn from your mistake throughout this endeavour.

Lastly, do not compare yourself to anyone else. As was stated earlier, only you know yourself best. Adopt organisation levels that are suitable for you. This is not to say that you should be lenient with yourself. Instead, it emphasises the importance of personal specificity in being organised as a designer.  

Please, share with us your comments and any questions you may have in the comments below. 


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