Creative Boundaries In Design, Projects And Business
It's hard to operate when you have an unlimited amount of choices. Especially in creative fields such as design.
Imagine you wake up early in the morning and have no exact tasks in this morning. You sat down at the kitchen, opened your laptop and what's next?
The lack of starting point and boundaries is poisoning you. You don't know what to do. And first thing in your mind is to return back under the blanket. So, maybe you'll come up with ideas later. You don't!
To move from this death point, you simply need to start moving. You can't steer a parking car. So set tasks and start moving.
Setting up tasks will create boundaries. But we need to think and create tasks right to make this method work.
First of all, we need to concentrate on end goals. What do we want to accomplish? How our project will look like when it succeed? These are important questions and basically, we can finish up this article with those questions, but I want to immerse you in details and working methods.
A concrete goal will create boundaries. You can set up income that you want from your project or the concrete amount of user engagements. But you can't say that you want, for example, good looking website. Where is the end goal here? What do you want to get from a good looking website?
When you set up a goal for the project and you know your starting point you can define what steps do you need to do to get a final point and accomplish this goal.
You still don't see boundaries after you know your goal for the project and wrote all the tasks?
Let's highlight several methods to help you with this.
1. Make your solution narrower, you can add features after
Focus on what is most important now, but not on what will be good to have. Your project should solve someone's problem. So, cut unnecessary features and focus on main functionality, design solutions. Additional phases of the project can be added later.
2. Set deadlines for each task
If you don't know what to do now, but you have tasks. Create an order and set deadlines for your tasks. In this way, you can see timeframe in what you operate and Its easier to think about a project on the time basis. So, for example, you can understand when you'll end up with some of the phases of the project and when you'll finish the whole project. This can look like a personal progress bar.
3. Each task should give you visible result
Create your tasks in a way when you can see visible results when you accomplish it.
For instance, if you create a wireframe for home page its visible task. So, you can see the exact result. But sometimes we can have an intangible result. For instance, you interviewed several designers for your project and you didn't make a decision who will be the best fit for your project. In this case, I recommend you to create a report during each interview. As a result, of an accomplished task, you have materials. So, you can operate with them in further tasks.
Or, for example, you had a meeting or brainstorming session with a team. How you'll know that you accomplished this task? Simply, make a note and at the end of the meeting or similar event you also have something tangible that you can use in the project and it's a visible result of your productive work on a meeting.
4. Create your own rules and principles
Write a guideline document which inform all members of the team about project goals, their roles in this project, timelines, instruments and inventory that you can use during the work on this project and much other specific for your business facts and methods.
For instance, designers can set up design principles for their work which consists of platforms where they operate (i.e. web environment, mobile devices), screen sizes, software that they use during the work, methods, step by step process of work. So, you can have similar boundaries in your projects and business at all.
5. Use calendar or Gantt diagram
This method allows you to see visually time frames for the project at all and it passes. When you add all your tasks, for example, in a calendar, you can manage them in the time space. Optimize time off work if you still have free time slots or separate complex tasks on smaller to make them easier to accomplish.
6. Get out of the vacuum
Don't stick to one thing all the time. Let the fresh air come to your working environment. Visit conference or webinar, speak with advisors or people with exciting achievements in your industry who can give you pieces of advice.
Of course, you don't need to do all these points alone. You can hire professionals who can handle these methods and work in a similar way as described in this article. So, you can have time frames managed by this kind of professional and know about each phase to manage it smoothly with all other members of your team.
One of the classic methods of a good business approach is economy: using less to accomplish more. This economy extends to behavior: a simple set of tools that allows you to accomplish great things.