5 Resolutions Every Design Firm Should Make—And Keep

By Jessica Morrow

As we ring in the new year, we find ourselves thinking about things we could have done differently over the past 12 months. This is a habit we here at NeigerDesign are trying to break. Why wait another year to wonder what we could have done differently? Let’s anticipate the struggles we deal with on a regular basis and be more productive. Let’s work smarter and leave no room for regrets. 

Instead of making resolutions for the next year, we are striving to make (and keep) resolutions for many years to come. Will you join us?


1. Take more accountability

When you are appointed managing a project, try not to forget that you were appointed this position for a reason—take ownership of the project and make sure it's finished with a happy client. As stated by authors Tom Smith and Roger Connors of the book The Oz Principle: Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability, “you can be given responsibility, but you have to take accountability." If you notice a project you are responsible for is getting close to the tail end of the budget, it's time to take a step back to evaluate what has already been accomplished and how you can finish without going over. 

2. Be more productive

There are only so many hours in a day, and those hours are valuable. Be sure to value your time and not waste it on distractions like (insert your biggest Youtube video vice here). When you keep track of your time and allocate it wisely, you will be more likely to meet your deadlines. Applications like DesignSoft offer a timekeeping system called StopWatch that allows users to start and stop time being spent on certain projects throughout the day. Once you are finished, you can log your time into your time sheet and move on.

Keeping a clean desk can also help productivity. When there are too many sketchbooks, notepads and folders laying around, you can become over stimulated and more inclined to think about more than one project at once. Focusing on one task at a time will not only help you work better, but will help keep track of your time as well. In an article written by Jayson Demers at Inc.com, he writes “Excess clutter is one of the easiest stressors to get rid of, and getting rid of it is one of the most stress-relieving actions you can take… Clean up your pile of paperclips, rearrange your papers, and throw away anything you don't need. For mental clutter, write a list of everything you need to take action on and everything that's preoccupying your mind. Then, prioritize your system and cross off anything that doesn't deserve your attention today. Both strategies will put your stress in perspective and help you focus on the remaining work in the day.”

3. Pay closer attention to detail

The adult attention span is somewhere around 8 seconds, according to Microsoft (source). Remind yourself to slow down and make sure you are paying close attention to detail on projects. Small mistakes can make a big impact on a client. People appreciate the care taken to make things well. In an article written by Josh Bersin he writes, “if you don't focus and try to pay attention to detail, your mistakes will define you. And that is a reputation you don't want in your life.”


4. Ignite your passions

Don't forget to stop working every once in a while. Although most of us can't turn our brains off (and then have nightmares about finding a spelling error), we need to remember that it's ok to have other passions outside of the office. It's ok to love what you do for a living, but here at NeigerDesign we pride ourselves on not only loving our jobs, but having other passions outside the office as well. When we started implementing the Studio//Shift atmosphere, we noticed big changes in our day-to-day lives. We are more focused at work, and feel accomplished at the end of the week, knowing we did something for ourselves.

5. Learn more

With the speed at which programs continue to develop and change, it's hard for designers to really say they are masters these days. It's never too late to continue honing your skills. Encouraging your employees to develop and grow will only make them smarter and better at what they do. With websites like skillshare.com and lynda.com, it is easier than ever to continue our design education without needing to leave your home—or office.

These are a few of the resolutions we think are most important, but why stop there? Let us know other resolutions you'll begin this new year on Twitter!

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