How to Be a Productive Illustrator

September 2021
Tools and Resources
in 5 minutes
Eleanor Wright

Working from home isn’t a new concept for all of us illustrators, but making the most out of your time to exceed productivity is something we all want to do.

This is sometimes easier said than done…we know, so that’s why we’ve pulled together our top 3 tips for maximising productivity like a boss!

#1 Brain Dump

Brain dump? Yes, it’s important to empty your brain of any rogue thoughts you may have if you want to put all of your efforts into the work you’re currently creating and avoid any subconscious distraction. 

We find that one of the best ways to do this efficiently is to grab yourself a notepad and jot everything down in the form of a mind map! Mind maps are a super-effective way of making sense of your thoughts in an easy, quick and coherent visual. 

The benefit of a mind map is that you can create them with doodles, notes, paragraphs and bullet points to pull together your thoughts and create a personal artefact of your thoughts and thought processes. Another huge benefit to writing your thoughts down is that you can jot them down as soon as they pop into your head. Stopping your current work to quickly add to your mind-map enables you to clear those thoughts from your head for you to come back to later and avoids disturbing yourself with distractions whirling around your head whilst trying to concentrate!

Once you have emptied your brain and created a facility for thoughts to be logged, you can begin your work knowing you’re going to be fully present (both physically and mentally) with your brain not having to work overtime on the wrong things.

#2 List It Out

Who doesn’t love a to-do list? Even if you’re not a fan, you can’t argue with the fact that planning out your tasks just makes life easier – it’s all about working smarter not harder! 

As your start your week one of the best ways to maximise productivity is to create a to-do list of all the things you want to achieve by the end of that week, this way you can see your goals plain as day and refer to them as the week progresses. Then at the beginning of each day create a more detailed to-do list of all the things you’re wanting to achieve that day. 

Creating a list of goals allows you to visualise your workload for the day and break it down into manageable chunks. As you go through your day you can then tick off each of your tasks as you complete them, allowing you to see what you have achieved and what you have left to do.

It sounds silly, but ticking off a list is actually a really great way to celebrate the little wins and ultimately makes your working attitude more positive.

#3 Chunky Not Grumpy

Breaking your workload down into manageable chunks and rewarding yourself is much more effective than trying to do 1000 things at once. Doing one thing really well at a time is a hell of a lot better for you and your workload than trying to do lots at once and less well. 

Breaking your work down into bite-size chunks and rewarding yourself for completing each task is the way to create a work-life balance within your working day – it’s all about the little wins!

By breaking down your day by your to-do list you know what goals you want to achieve, you just need to break it down into more achievable chunks. Setting task limits with small rewards has been proven to improve productivity, you’re managing your workload effectively by competing each task set at a time and allow yourself a moment to rejoice in that achievement before proceeding to the next chunk of work. 

You will be less grumpy if you allow yourself little rewards, enabling you to come back to your work with a good attitude. 

Some ideas for self-rewarding in the workday include – 

· Reading a book or magazine
· Going for a walk
· Watching TV
· Making food or a drink
· Having a moment away from your screen
· Working out
· Listening to music
· Checking social media 

Rewarding yourself creates a positive working environment where you can see the goals you’re achieving and by scheduling these breaks you can smash through your day – ticking off those important tasks to end your day on a high knowing you’ve met your personal goals.

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