It can prove difficult to perform productively day in and day out for anyone. This is especially true for CAD designers who tend to do complex projects that require attention to detail, with very fast turnarounds. In order to perform at your best, you need to be as productive as possible, with the absolute minimum margin for error.
But how can you make sure that you are working at your best?
CAD designers need to embrace productivity enablement for themselves, in the same way sales and marketing associates use tools, such as sales enablement, to achieve efficiency.
If you're already a designer who plans your days, builds in breaks, continually improves your skills, has a clean and clear workspace, and focuses on one task at a time; then you've cracked the code.
If not, read on and learn our top five productivity tips to boost your CAD workflow.
1. Plan it out
Creating a plan is key to your productivity. It not only gives you the confidence to prioritize, but also creates a blueprint from which you can measure your productivity. People without plans tend to get to the end of the day and look back confused or unsure of what exactly they've accomplished. This, not only, leads to a sense of dissatisfaction, but also means you're more likely to have neglected some tasks which should have taken priority.
Making a plan can be as simple as creating a task list, even a rudimentary paper and pen task list, where you prioritize the most important tasks that you need to concentrate on for the day. You can also find many task management tools that will help you to get organized and keep track of your tasks. Making use of these will help give you the motivation and direction that you'll need to start working and stay on track.
Not having a plan will result in a less structured day. This inevitably leads to prioritizing less important tasks for most of the day and means you push higher priority tasks to the side.
It's useful to make plans both at the beginning and end of your day. Start your day with a five minute review of your task list: adding or amending, tasks that have changed overnight. End your day with a five minute review of your list, crossing off tasks that you've accomplished and re-prioritizing for the next day. This way you can do a quick task check when you start work and get going straight away, maximizing your efficiency and productivity.
2. Maximize your skills
Maximizing your skills works in two ways; selecting the best tools for the job and improving your own abilities. As a CAD designer, you should be taking advantage of the very best software available in the market. In the same way a hosted contact center ensures efficiency by sourcing the very best IVR , you need to make sure your software is aiding your productivity. This will facilitate you to, not only improve your own skills, but also ensure you're maximizing your efficiency.
The software you use should allow you to arrange connections and components with maximum accuracy and enable you to implement complex designs with the best schematic strategies. You can also source software that will measure your teams', and your own, productivity using productivity metrics. This will help pinpoint areas that you perhaps need to concentrate on further in order to maximize your productivity.
While sourcing the best software is important, what is even more important is improving your own skills. Look to take advantage of the multitude of resources and learning tools available, both free and paid. Online learning tools, platforms, and blogs will enable you to keep up to date with best practices and the latest capabilities without having to leave your desk.
Taking just five minutes out of your day to learn a timesaving function online will pay dividends when it comes to your current, and future, productivity. For instant results, find an online on-demand reference tool you can use to troubleshoot design challenges to get an immediate answer. This will allow you to carry on with your project and build your skills for future projects.
3. Take a break
When you're trying to reach a deadline or facing a tough design challenge, it can be easy to force yourself to motor on through well past the point of fatigue. But, taking a much-needed break is essential to both your productivity and ensuring you're doing your very best work.
Focusing for long periods of time actually decreases your ability to focus and has a negative impact on your performance. The solution to this is to take frequent short breaks, to reset your focus and ensure that you're giving every task your all.
It's also important to make sure these breaks are productive in and of themselves. You don't want to be taking the limited break time you have browsing on the internet or picking up your phone. Instead, use this time to refresh and energize. Step away from your workspace and online temptations. Go make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy it in a different space, or take a walk outside.
These breaks can be used to look after your mental and physical health which is essential for you and your ability to perform at your peak.
Taking breaks works best if you plan them into your day, helping to divide your day and keep your tasks in a structured plan. It's so easy to lose track of time when you're knee deep in design work or even implementing a workforce optimization system, and only emerge when you've finished the task. Plan some shorter and longer breaks into your day and set timers or reminders to safeguard stopping points. Another positive of this approach is that it gives you a series of mini deadlines to work towards, which can push you to finish tasks more quickly.
This doesn't mean that you should only take breaks at pre-planned times. Don't ignore your own needs in the search for productivity. Remember: you work best when you're at your best. If part way through a task you feel yourself drifting or losing concentration, try to pinpoint where this is coming from and take some time to meet that need. This will allow you to fully concentrate and perform better in the longer term.
4. One thing at a time
Multitasking can be a very useful skill to have in your day to day. However, with design work, this can kill your productivity. If you want to perform efficiently, you really need to be focusing on one task at a time. This is true if you're a freelancer or work collaboratively as part of a team.
It's common for designers to choose to multitask, thinking that it will help them get more done, more quickly. Though this seems like a good idea, it's actually less productive in the long run. There are many studies that prove that completing tasks individually will allow you to finish your projects quicker and to a better standard.
If you're focusing on multiple things at the same time, none of them are getting your full attention, and you're more likely to make mistakes. And, when you're working on an important project there is very little margin for error.
When you multitask, it's also a lot easier to get distracted. When you allow the space in your brain to switch from task to task, you allow gaps in your focus. It's much easier to take tangents, procrastinate, or get stuck on lower priority tasks if your focus is already split.
5. Optimize your workspace
Have a look around you. Is your workplace organized to allow you to optimize your productivity? What would that even look like?
Staying organized in your workspace is incredibly important, as it leads to increased productivity and a better quality of work. This is true of wherever your work space is -- be it online using various SaaS examples of platforms, remotely, or in an office.
It can be difficult to make time to do this, though, especially if you already have an excess of clutter. But when you do have that excess of clutter, your brain gets distracted, and this leaves less bandwidth for your tasks at hand.
When you're organized there are far fewer competing items for your focus and that makes you more productive. Other benefits of organization include eating, exercising, and sleeping better, in addition to reduced levels of stress. All of which allow for increased productivity.
This isn't limited to your physical workspace either. Have a look at your digital workspace; your desktop, emails, filing systems. It can also apply if you have your own website, especially if this is representing you to the outside world -- the more organized your website is, the better your conversion rate.
As a whole, organizing your workspace will allow you to work smarter and keep on top of your workload. And, while it may seem like a monumental task, the time and focus saving that it brings will benefit you every day.
So, what are you waiting for? Have a go at implementing these top five tips and boost your CAD workflow productivity. You can thank us later.