Okay, so the reason I'm writing this article is to share my work schedule with your readers AND to hopefully help new designers plan their own work day for better productivity.
My typical work day starts around 9:30 am with checking my Gmail (You can get a Gmail business account account here. I totally recommend it as it made my life SO much better and clutter-free) and marking the ones I need to take action on with a star. Next, it's time to start working. The first half of my day i.e. till 1 pm is usually dedicated to creating and submitting art work that I license to third-party sites like Society6, Redbubble, Casetify, Live Heroes, Fine art America, INPRNT, Creative Market etc. I try to create and publish at least one art work every day. So this takes about two to two and a half hours. If it takes less than that, I use the time left to look for inspiration on Pinterest, download design elements that I like or work on a second art that I can publish the next day. Additionally, these days I frequently receive direct email requests to license certain art pieces to individuals or stores. This is not limited to print-on-demand work, it also includes designs that I sell in digital formats like - business card templates, logo templates etc. So it takes up some time to respond to these requests, interact with potential buyers and possibly make certain requested changes to specific pieces. For example, I was recently contacted by Fox Studios, Australia because they wanted written permission and a license to use one of my arts - Sea Breeze - on a set they were creating for a new show produced by BBC. Sea Breeze & Banana Leaf Watercolor Pattern are two of our best-selling pieces worldwide.
★ 1 pm ~ Time for lunch! One of the priceless charms of living in a low-profile city is having your office close to your home and streets pretty much no traffic! So I get to go home every afternoon and enjoy lunch with my husband & 2 year old daughter. Second half of my day is spent on project work. These typically include logo design, graphic/print design and web design. At the moment I'm working on a custom logo design for a medical insurance company. The afternoon time is busier when I have more than two projects going on at the same time, which is the case for at least 3 weeks in a month.
★ 5:30 pm ~ time to head home! I mark the pending tasks for the next day. Check my Gmail and my licensed artwork/template sales for the day and head home. I never carry my laptop home because as far as possible I do not like to work after office hours unless I have a deadline that I did not plan for earlier. The first thing I do after reaching home is take my girls to the garden and watch them play! It makes me happy.
Update: Since 2017, I work only in the mornings from 10 am to 1 pm and take the rest of the day off! I love taking this time to decorate and organize our new house, play with my baby girl, go bike-riding with my 4 year old daughter, enjoy doing homework with her & her other favorite thing - swimming. I also use this time to run errands and plan stuff in advance.
How I started 83 OrangesI still remember when the company I worked for - Weblistic, LA - closed down their India operations during the recession of 2009. I really wanted to work for myself but having become used to a stable job with a decent pay and no uncertainties, I had major doubts about going solo. It was my husband who not only encouraged me but helped me to start and grow my own business. It's funny how at the time I was certain that on my own I could never earn anywhere close to what I was earning working for a multi-national company. And today I have crossed that milestone a couple of times over. And that's not even the best part. The best part is I get to choose projects that interest me and also as an artist, make art as I like whenever I want to. I am so lucky that it sells!
Why My Schedule Works
✔ I know when I’m most productive and I embrace it. I know what I like to work on around what time of my work day and that's the schedule I follow. For example, I know I make better art works if I work on them in the morning time and I make one every day so if I know I'm going to be busy with a meeting the next morning and won't have time to work on a new art piece, I don't not push the task to the next day evening but instead will try to finish TWO artworks the earlier morning.
✘ I do not use social media sites for leisure Social media sites can be very addictive & you can easily end up wasting a lot of your time before you know it. My use of all social media sites (except Pinterest for inspiration) is strictly for work. If you too are a freelancer or self-employed individual, what does your typical work day look like? Let me know in the comments below!