Most designers love the work they do. There is a certain type of satisfaction in getting the colors, functions and objects on a page to all work together perfectly and be pleasing to the eye. And getting just the right look for each client can be time-consuming. It’s easy to get burned out and feel like an overwhelmed designer.
Fortunately, there are a number of applications that will either make your job easier or restore your creativity and rest to a level where you can give your all to the project at hand.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and unsure whether or not you’re hitting the mark, ViewFlux is a great website to try out some unique looks and get feedback from clients or peers. Upload your projects, add team members and get feedback. The application works best with a PC or Mac, but it also syncs with DropBox, so you can easily access feedback or add elements from your iPhone or Android device.
Small packages start at just $9/month for a freelancer with a handful of clients. You can upgrade to a bigger package as your business grows.
One way to unwind from the hectic life of designing is to read through blogs that help you grow your business or skills. Or, sometimes, you just need to read a blog for plain fun. Feedly helps you organize and quickly scan through your favorite blogs. You’ll see which ones have new posts and what topics you’re most interested in. This turns Feedly into both an organizational and time-saving tool.
Feedly works with both iOS and Android platforms. It’s free to download and use.
3. Sleep Cycle
Imagine how much more you could get done if you were well rested. Sleep Cycle may be just the solution to help you gain the most traction from the hours you’re sleeping. The app tracks your sleep cycles throughout the night. You set a time frame that you’d like to wake up for the day. For example, 6 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Sleep Cycle then makes sure you aren’t awakened in the middle of a REM cycle. You get the absolute best rest possible.
Sleep Cycle is available for iOS or Android. It’s a free download.
4. OMG I Can Meditate
Meditation has many medical benefits, creating a healthier body. However, probably the biggest benefit when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed is that it can center you and help you regain focus.
OMG I Can Meditate is an app that will help you take a few minutes out of your day to quickly refocus. The app offers daily meditations you can follow from 12 to 18 minutes. There are also medications for kids, specialty meditations and series to follow.
The app can be accessed from mobile devices (both iOS and Android) or a PC. You can try it out for free and, if you like it, can purchase the program for as little as $5/month.
Don’t you just love sticky notes? They can help you get organized, make a quick note or help you storyboard your ideas for a project. Now, you can use sticky notes digitally with this app. Clear is like a daily planner and Post-it note in one. Create lists, prioritize tasks, color-code urgent tasks and swipe to remove completed items.
It’s available for iPhone devices. Clear has a 14-day free trial. If you love it, you can purchase the app for only $4.99.
IFTTT stands for If This, Then That. Essentially, you can create recipes to make your workflow easier and save you time and effort. For example, let’s say you run a blog to attract new clients and inform others about design. Each time you post a new article on your blog, you could spend an hour going to each social media site and sharing a link and some info on the article. Or, you could set up IFTTT recipes so that this happens automatically.
For example: “If I post a new article on my blog, then a link and image is posted on my Facebook wall.” You will have to spend a little time initially creating the recipes to do this work. Once you set up an IFTTT, it will work seamlessly in the background for you.
There are many other recipes you can use that will save you time, such as sending emails from a specific client to DropBox for archiving. They offer a number of ready-made recipes on their website, or you can create your own.
Using apps can speed up your work, help you relax, keep you organized and make life easier in general. Technology is something people never get a break from these days, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use it to your advantage and work faster without working harder.