Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Art is Never finished, only abandoned”. Considering the many masterpieces he completed in his lifetime, I have a feeling Leonardo knew a thing or two about time management. In marketing where we’re always working on multiple projects simultaneously, one simply cannot tackle one project at a time, expect to create perfection, and then move on to the next. You first have to master time management.
Not all matters urgent come with a time stamp. Sometimes you have to prioritize a list of high priorities, none of them with a deadline. Sometimes your entire workload is moved aside due to urgent matters, yet, you know all those other tasks are expected to be completed somehow. You keep lists of your projects, check them throughout the day. So what do you do? Mix it up! Don’t get stuck on any one item for too long. Knock those quick fixes off your list in between larger projects. Get a project started as soon as it’s assigned, even if it means just setting up a directory and a Photoshop file with the specs and project name. This is psychologically beneficial too. Starting a new project can be overwhelming – where do you begin?
You start by just setting it up – that’s simple enough. When you return to the task it will seem easier too. Also, while working on a project in bits ahead of time, it can be completed very quickly once the deadline nears.
Are you having trouble conjuring content from the nothing, text and all? From the abstract description of a client or other? “Can you make something that pops, something unique, jazz-it-up?” A creative brief can be helpful, but it’s not used in all situations. Sometimes all you get is a company higher-up giving you instructions over the phone. He/She expects you to wave your magic wand and produce something based on nothing. What do you do? This is a problem many designers face. It seems like such a hard task for some clients to produce direction, offer some verbiage. But you know what’s easy for them? To critique existing work! This is where you start; you create a placeholder project and watch the comments roll in. But don’t just create a dummy project for the sake of soliciting engagement, do your best – produce something nice, text too, not Lorum Ipsum. All of a sudden you’re getting detailed input, text highlighted in red and examples rolling in. It works every time.
But here’s the thing – projects that rely on client engagement take time. This is another reason why you get a project started early. The interaction cannot start until they get something to go off of. Don’t wait for their input – give them yours. Get the ball rolling!