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Some freelance graphic designers get paid on a per-project basis. So the more projects you complete, the more money you make.
The thing is, you only have 24 hours in a day to allocate to the different projects you need to complete, your family, and yourself.
If you want to take on more projects so that you can make more money, you’ll need to take steps to increase your productivity.
One way to do this is by using the SECAR method.
What is the SECAR method?
The SECAR method is a five-step methodology designed to streamline the different processes required to complete a project. SECAR stands for: Simplify, Eliminate, Combine, Automate, and Relocate.
It also helps project managers find ways for their team members to become more efficient in completing the tasks assigned to them.
Why should a freelance graphic designer care about the SECAR method?
Since large financial corporations primarily use the SECAR method, you may be wondering: “Why should a freelance graphic designer like me use this?”
The SECAR method helps you complete your design projects faster by identifying and addressing bottlenecks to streamline your project’s workflow.
As a result, you now take on additional projects without feeling burned out.
The sooner you get to complete your projects also means that you can spend more time with your family, enjoy your favorite hobby, and feel more fulfilled and accomplished as a freelance graphic designer.
5 steps of the SECAR Method
Take a good look at the different processes you carry out from the moment a client asks you to complete a project until you submit the final design.
Jot down how much time you spend on each task. Highlight those tasks that take the most time to complete.
Then go through each one of these tasks and ask yourself: “How can I simplify this?”
For example, if discussing the details of the project eats up a significant amount of time, you can simplify this is to create a Google Form with all of your questions and send it to the client to fill out.
That way, when you meet with your client, you can now focus only on the parts that you need to clarify or confirm.
According to the Pareto principle, only 20% of the tasks you complete directly affect your freelance graphic design business’ growth and income levels.
Again, go through the different tasks in your workflow and ask yourself: “Is this task necessary?”
If your answer’s “no,” then you can stop doing it. The lesser tasks you need to complete a project, the sooner you can finish it.
Distractions are another thing to eliminate.
Distractions are a freelance graphic designer’s worst enemy. The moment you lose focus, it can take a while to get the ideas flowing again.
Worst, you can lose the idea that you initially had in your head forever.
RescueTime is a helpful tool to help you stay focused and eliminate distractions while working on your graphic design on your computer.
It comes with a Focus timer that will prevent you from accessing websites and apps not related to your work while the timer’s on.
Combining similar tasks within a specific time frame makes it easier for you to plot out your schedule.
It also helps further eliminate you from getting distracted while doing your design work.
For example, if you plan to do your grocery shopping on a specific day, think of the other errands that you can do while you’re out like paying bills that you can’t pay online.
When you know you’ve set aside a day and time for these chores, they won’t nag at the back of your mind as you do your design projects and cause you to get distracted.
There are many tools and apps freelance graphic designers can use to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks.
For instance, you can use a scheduling app like Calendly to help you set appointments with potential clients.
You can also set automatic drafts on your bank account or credit card to pay for your utility bills.
Freelance graphic designers like you need a constant stream of ideas and concepts that’ll meet (or exceed) your clients’ expectations.
If you’re struggling to come up with a design solution for the project you’re working on, consider changing the place you’re working now and then.
It could be in a co-working space, your favorite coffee shop, or even in a park near your house.
Changing your environment allows you to see things that can become a source of inspiration for the design project you’re working on.
Freelance graphic designers work smarter with the SECAR method.
Applying the SECAR method to your freelance graphic design business also means that you’ll have to stop doing certain habits and processes you’re currently doing.
That takes time and commitment. So, if you find yourself slipping back, don’t be too hard on yourself.
If you keep on practicing the steps to the SECAR method, you’ll eventually develop new work habits that’ll make you a more productive and fulfilled freelance graphic designer.
(This is a guest post.)