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Top 10 ways to boost productivity

By Paul Hatton

Web: http://www.cadesignservices.co.uk (will open in new window)

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Date Added: 1st April 2016

Boost your workflow productivity and enhance your creativity with our list of top 10 helpful strategies...

Paul Hatton

The reality is that we could all definitely be more organised and disciplined. How many times even today have you caught yourself aimlessly browsing the internet or losing work through software crashes? We would do well to put a few things in place that are going to stop us wasting time and enable us to focus on what we love the most – being creative! Not all of these things will work for you and that's fine. Take what is useful and leave the rest. Maybe post in the comments section some of the things that you find help boost your productivity!

No 1: Clear folder structure

Let's start simple! It's important that your projects are organised and we'll take a few steps to cover what this means. This is particularly vital if you are working in a team context but it pays dividends even if you're on your own. Have a defined project structure that you use for every project and then you'll know where to find things when you need them.

Keep your files ordered and then you'll know exactly where to find them

No 2: Intelligent file naming

In our studio we name the majority of our files based on the job number, the client and then the project description. This ensures that we know exactly what files belong where and in a team context, different team members know where to look if they need to pick up a project from someone else.

Find a system that works well for you and stick with it

No 3: Save your files by date, not just iterations

Back in the early days I would just save revisions and that was fine for getting to backups, but what if a client wanted me to revert back to a set date. I could try and use the built in Windows or Mac save by date features but they can often change, especially if you've opened the file and accidentally saved it more recently. Include the date in your filename.

I find that saving my files in this date format keeps everything sorted correctly

No 4: Don't just rely on autosave

Thankfully software is gradually getting more and more reliable but we still lost work to software crashes and it's infuriating. Don't just rely on your autosave, make it a habit to save your work constantly! This is much more feasible on small projects but even on large projects an SSD can make this feasible.

Getting into the habit of saving your files will save you untold misery!

No 5: Have your resources organised and searchable

You don't want to be trawling through models and opening each one up until you find what you want. What a waste of time! Instead, keep them organised and searchable by the filename. Why not even screenshot the model and keep a JPG of what the model looks like? This will make finding the correct model much easier.

There are loads of places to get free resources. When you download them make sure you keep them organised

No 6: Email checking

I appreciate this isn't possible for everyone but I would definitely recommend turning your email notifications off and trying to only check email twice a day, ideally the end of the morning and late afternoon. This will free you up to be creative for longer sessions of time.

Turn those pesky notifications off and free up time to be creative

No 7: Assign processors to processes

This is most helpful when dealing with rendering which can lock your computer processors up. To keep working while your software is rendering just free up one or two processors from the rendering job. Do this by going to the task manager, processes tab, and right-click on the process you want to change. Go to ‘Set affinity' and assign your cores accordingly.

Give you renderer most of your cores but leave one or two for other tasks

No 8: Use the latest plugins

This is a massive time saver! If you can afford it, then it makes sense to use plugins that will enable you to do tasks ten times quicker than previously. If you don't have the money, then look out for free equivalents that will make your life easier.

Providers like Itoo Software make artists lives so much easier with their brilliant parametric tools

No 9: Have focused browsing time

We're all guilt of aimless browsing time. Try to eliminate it from your life! Instead, have focused browsing time which is purposeful and time limited. This will stop you reverting back to surfing the web every five minutes and breaking your creative flow.

Don't waste time aimlessly browsing the internet!

No 10: Have fun!

And last of all, productivity is massively boosted by being relaxed, getting good exercise and having fun! I know this is difficult for those of us who like to be sat behind a computer but honestly it's so worth it. You'll feel the benefit almost immediately.

Go out for a run, clear your head and then return back to work

Take advice

There is a load of advice out there for boosting productivity; some truly fantastic blogs which help you stay focused on your goals. I would highly recommend finding some and not just reading them but putting what they say into practice. We're never too old to be better at what we do and taking wise advice will do us good. This advice could come from a range of different sectors; it doesn't have to just be from the visualisation world.

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