Be Quick, but Don’t Hurry

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“Be quick, but don’t hurry” was a favorite phrase for the admirable men’s college basketball coach John Wooden. He used this term to encourage his players to take advantage of their physical speed and agility while simultaneously remaining in control of their actions. Basketball players who are slow have a competitive disadvantage but at the same time, those players who hurry tend to be sloppy and unreliable. We can apply this advice to a lot of things in life and web design is no exception.

Despite the huge role that creativity plays for web designers very few of us will ever have the luxury to break out of the ‘time is money’ mold. Some would argue that you can’t rush art and for the highest forms of fine art there is no deadline for the perfect result. While web design can certainly be artistic at times it almost always has a deadline to meet and tangible goals to achieve. It is for these reasons that it is important that designers learn to be quick while being sure not to hurry.

Ways to be quick

Designers must often manage multiple projects and contacts at the same time in addition to the time it takes to make sure we are keeping up with the Jones’ in terms of the best methods and practices for the evolving web. Throw in some marketing for freelancers, meetings and travel and we can start to see how the designer can easily have a lot of plates spinning. At the same time, being overloaded with tasks is rarely conducive to ones creativity. So how can we get quicker?

Step 1 should always be streamlining our daily processes. There is no right or wrong method for the fastest way to get things done. For some it may be taking an hour for e-mail, an hour to dig through the articles and good reads of the day, and taking care of small tasks to allow for a large chunk of time after lunch for consistent work on a large project. Others are more comfortable bouncing around constantly between projects, dumping in 20 or 30 minutes here and there on everything. What is important is that you find the right method for yourself. Experiment with different daily schedules to see which one lends itself to more productive results.

Apart from having your routine in place it is always important for anyone working on the computer to master the hardware and software that they use on a daily basis. Could you adopt new working methods that allow you to move quickly when handling your favorite design software? Is there new software that you could adopt to help you automate time consuming tasks like invoicing, paying bills, quoting prices, and searching for new education resources?

Avoid being in a hurry

Do you ever find yourself staying up late to meet a deadline or falling behind on a project because of loads of e-mails? It can be pretty easy to get into a hurry up mentality but it can also be dangerous. When we designers get in a hurry their code gets sloppy and best practices go out the window. Photoshop layers don’t get organized, notes get lost and e-mails get passed up. As a result we quickly start losing money or clients because of a frantic pace.

One of the best ways to avoid being in a time crunch is to get your paperwork in order at the start of a new project. Try to avoid entering into a new job with a new client without having an agreement in place that contains a defined timeline and project scope. Make sure you include procedures that take into consideration what happens when one party falls behind on their deliverables or communication.

When we get in a hurry we can’t produce our best work. In the long run it will come back to us in the form of corrections and a portfolio that doesn’t represent the best of what we have to offer. In a lot of ways being in a hurry can slow you down even more.

Your Turn

What methods or techniques allow you to be quick in your work without needing to worry about being in a hurry? Can you recall times when a frantic work pace has shown a negative result?

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