For the past couple months, I’ve been in transition mode during my family’s move from Maryland to Alabama. I didn’t all the way stop working, though I tried for a minute. I put most projects on hold until I got settled again, and that time is almost here!
I had developed a reliable routine before things descended into chaos. I want to make it easy to fall back into the good work habits, so here’s a few I’m focusing on.
1. Visual reminders
My mind tends to get stuck in a loop of things I need to do. The more important the thing is, the more it repeats in a loop.
This can be really irritating and annoying especially if I can’t actually start on it yet, the only way I’ve found to kick it out of the loop is to write it down in multiple places.
I can’t wait to set up my new office and put my marker board back up!
This tremendously helped me stay on task. My physical planner is helping me stay grounded in the mean time. I also use index cards to write down ideas I have on projects while I’m working on other projects. So much of my work is done on the computer, I think that’s why having other physical mediums helps.
2. Start Early
Nothing can buy the feeling of waking up naturally without an alarm at 6 or 7AM and looking forward to the day! I noticed this was easier to do when I could get outside for a walk the day prior. It’s GORGEOUS where I am in Alabama and I’m looking forward to seeing some sunrises before work.
3. Epic Instrumental Music
On particularly difficult projects, I have to turn on some epic instrumental to get in ‘the zone’. This may seem trivial, but finding anything that helps you focus is gold.
4. Mindful Organization
Every so often, a client I worked with when I first started will come back to me for a quick project.
Every time I open that folder of projects it’s painful.
Last year, I started working with a teacher on her game. Then that relationship evolved into making t-shirt designs for her Amazon Merch store. …I was lazy with file organization in the beginning and I’m still paying for it. The reason why this is important is if you have any non-embedded images (say images for reference), moving the file around to a different folders will mess all that up, so you can’t just go willy-nilly moving things around. So, lesson learned.
Be mindful with file organization even on ‘quick’ projects.
5. Be Aware of Time
I care about the work I produce. A lot. Sometimes too much putting too much pressure on myself.
Caring is time-consuming.
I started working under some time restrictions and my work actually got better faster because I was more focused.
Me and Time haven’t always got along, there’s been lots of misunderstandings. But I think we’ve both finally reached a point where we can appreciate our differences and work together.
So, there you go. Hopefully, this will help any other independent worker out there as well. Even though this post is mainly for me. 🙂 Now I can refer back to this when I feel confused (which happens more than I care to admit) or want to ‘improve’ with the latest idea I found on the internet. Speaking of…
Niching didn’t work out so much.
And also kind of did.
Almost instantly after I changed my logo everywhere and announced I was niching down into card/board game design, a bunch of previous reliable clients contacted me for work. As a freelancer, the feeling that someone WANTS to work with you and not just because you’re there in the moment is invaluable. So, I couldn’t turn them down.
I’m keeping my Hello Holly Design as my main identity (modified a bit to compliment the game branch..and because I can’t leave things alone), but also starting out a sister site of “Multi-Player Digital Design” for the games because, …I want to have fun with it. I also got a couple new projects in that area so I think it warrants it’s own thing. Stay tuned for more on that!