Too much work is a true killer for creatives. This will kill a designer’s ability to multitask, maintain focus, stay inspired, and keep his clients happy. As business grows, more requests for work will come in, and it will be vital for the designer to develop a strength towards project management, assess and properly schedule daily activities, and simply learn to say no. Therefore, a designer must learn the art of balancing his projects.

  1. Respond to phone calls and emails quickly. It’s shocking how much time is wasted simply responding to messages throughout the day. Do not be eloquent or long-winded. Respond with cold-hearted efficiency, using as few words as possible.
  2. Knock out small items first. If there are a few little revisions on your to-do lists that will take only a handful of minutes, take care of those first. They are small but their weight on you and your client’s mind will be as big as every other project. This will save you from a follow up email from the client and will free your mind for more important things.
  3. Prioritize. Assess what projects to finish first. Usually, in the interest of fairness, the first work that was requested should be the first work done. However, if time is not vital for one client, it might be worth knocking out the work of a needier client and save everyone a headache (especially if the former client won’t care either way.)
  4. Check in. Clients hate a disappearing designer far more than a delay. Never avoid a client or forget about them. If you’re slammed with work, send your client a quick note explaining the delay and an updated time frame. This sort of thing goes a long way.
  5. Be fast. Speed is learned. Some people are faster than others, but all people can be faster than they are right now. The design process should be comfortable and conducive to inspiration, but there are always places for the designer to be quicker. Eliminate sluggishness, don’t waste time, and seize the day with electricity in your soul.
  6. Fire bad clients. A repeat theme in my advice for designers is to fire bad clients. Surround yourself with good people. It’s hard enough balancing a busy design schedule. Bad clients instinctively know how to take up even more time with constant revisions, complaints, long phone calls, and instant demands. Cut them loose and don’t look back.
  7. Learn to say ‘no’. If you have too much on your plate, have the courage to say no to additional work. Over committing will result in bad work, angry clients, and a burnt out designer. Conversely, making sure you give proper time to projects at hand will result in better quality and a much stronger career in the long term.