Tick-Tock: Routine is Key

Chirp chirp!

Birds are singing outside your window, and you stumble out of bed with sandy eyes at the crack of noon. You recently left the coffee-fueled haze of art college (or decided to pick up the freelancing game again), and are ready to join the coffee-fueled haze of the design world.

But first, you want to warm up the day with some video games, and you have to take care of the mounting dishes. A few hours pass, and the sun starts to set. Your friends get off work, and want to hang out in a local tavern. Glad for a chance to get out of the house, you accept. After a fun evening out on the town and care-taking an exorbitantly drunk friend named Rob, you head home and prepare for bed. Tomorrow you’ll work on promos and be productive, you promise yourself.

Sound familiar yet?

This lifestyle is incredibly lethal to aspiring designers. Without a disciplined routine, design freelancers never accomplish anything, effectively ending their careers as such. The threat of being fired for being late or not keeping deadlines is absent, and many inexperienced freelancers lower their guards. So what can be done to combat this?

The simplest answer is to create a routine, and stick to it. Treat your profession like any 9-5’er does, and manage a schedule that works best for you. It is not a sin to wake up later in the morning, but realize that it means that you have to work later if you do so. Get up, get dressed, and update yourself on what’s going on in the profession; doing even these small things will help to keep you focused.

Once you square away a basic routine, leave room to play. This doesn’t mean you have to schedule the time for hanging out with people down to the minute, but generally block out times to get out of the house and exercise. The “normal people” usually have Saturday and Sunday to themselves, but it may work best for you to take a day here and there to run errands and relax.

I have all sorts of horror stories about designers who schedule 14 hour work days for 7 days straight and get burnt out immediately, so it is important to strike that balance to keep things tight. After all, if an artist doesn’t leave time to play, rest, and be inspired, what kind of art are they going to create?

Thank you for taking the time to stop by, and I hope this small write-up will be of use. Please join me next time when we examine more tips for aspiring freelancers.

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