Time really does equal money. If you don’t have time to put in the work, you won’t be able to reap the profits. For designers, inventors, and creators, this hits home harder than most. You’re creating something from scratch, in hopes that it will fulfill a need that you see, and if it doesn’t sell, then that time and money is lost. You’ll get some great experience from your process, learn new strategies for product development, but without being efficient, that time counts for lost money. If you’re having trouble thinking up ideas, then we have tips for you here. However, for those who have the idea in their head and not on paper, we’re here to help make your brainchild a success. That’s why we created this list of 5 design tips for increasing your efficiency.

Tip #1: Create a Project Workflow

We’ve all been there: It’s 11:00 p.m and you are looking at a blank piece of paper. It’s the scariest feeling in the world, and you’re overwhelmed with the amount of work that lays ahead of you. The scope of your invention is magnified, making it seem like an impossible feat for you to handle. This is when a project workflow is crucial not only for the success of your project, but also for your sanity.

Project workflows can help you to look at the project in sequential steps, each with their own deadline. By creating a project workflow, you are able tackle portions of your never-ending tasks one by one and have time to reflect on each part of the operation. Plus, you will be able to see concrete progress on each step once you sit back to look at the bigger picture!

When creating a project workflow for yourself, we recommend starting off with the basic structure of six steps: Think, Research, Draft, Create, Revise, Reflect. By following this structure, you will be able to think clearly about your vision and research the necessary information that you need in the beginning. Next, draft your ideas on paper with pencil and when you have a solid idea in the works, create this draft in the medium the project will be presented in. Then look back at your research and revise your invention design to fit your ideal image. Finally, and this is the most important step, make sure to reflect on your work. Reflection is where we find our best ideas come to mind, so make sure to do this each time you have finished a working product. If you stay in line with each step, we can be sure you will experience a massive decrease in stress when looking at that blank piece of paper. Why? Because you will know that it is just a matter of time.

Tip #2: Know Your Audience

You are one individual with a dream. However, most likely you will not be the only person interacting with this product. It is more important to look at the design process from the viewpoint of who will be using your product, rather than what the small details that you think are necessary. If you follow the workflow above, you can use the reflection stage to ask yourself, “will consumers enjoy my product?” After you have answered that question with what (we hope) is a definite yes, ask yourself, “Why will consumers enjoy my product?” and get to revising!

Tip #3: Draft, Draft, Draft

We can’t express this enough. It’s better to take the time in the beginning to get your product right on paper then jumping into creating the prototype. You will save so much time and effort. If you spend a bit more time operating on paper, then you will thank yourself in the end. Now, you don’t need every detail on paper, just the draft of the product. But that one idea can result in multiple drafts on paper, and that can be extremely helpful for the final product. While you’re drafting, make sure to check out our tips on better product design. Make sure not to go overboard, but keep in mind that a draft can always be erased.

Tip #4: Keep Your Work-Space Tidy

Distractions are everywhere in the world. They seem like they constantly multiply, with the sole purpose of taking you away from your work. That’s why it’s necessary to have a workspace that you can escape to where distractions are minimal. “Escape” is the key word here – it helps to have a room away from the rest of your house so that you can get into your productive mental state easier.

Also, this workspace should be kept tidy and organized. Try to minimize the amount of extraneous paperwork sitting around and keep your work in order. It also helps to have a notebook lying around so you can jot quick notes down without thinking. These notes might be the key to a problem you have in the future, you simply never know.

Tip #5: Avoid Multi-Tasking

Do not let anyone tell you that multitasking boosts productivity. The myth that multitasking helps efficiency has been circulating around for years but trust us, it’s not the case. Rather, multitasking is a myth in itself; it actually doesn’t exist. What you are really doing is “task switching” as noted by psychologist Guy Winch. Our brains work off a finite amount of space for tasks not associated with automatic behavior such as eating and walking, so there is a finite amount of attention that can be given to one task. When you “switch”, your brain needs to spend energy on switching gears, which ultimately lessens productivity for both tasks. Plus, you have a higher chance of making mistakes when you’re not reflecting on one project but two. All in all, save yourself some time and don’t multitask. You’ll thank us later.

If you’d like more help creating just the right conditions to bring your new product idea to life, contact us here at Pivot today. We can help you at any stage of your project, from idea to manufacturing and beyond.