May 9, 2022
(updated April 17, 2024)

Streamline Your Design Workflow with These Time-Saving Tips

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From banishing scope creep to chasing emails, invoices, and content, sometimes being a designer can be so overwhelming! If you’re struggling to stay on top of everything, here are a few tips for folks who want to streamline your creative workflows so you can scale your business without sacrificing your time.

The Spare Parts File

You know those awesome bits and pieces you accumulate over a brand or web design project that don’t make it to the final round? No use in them going to waste!

Create a file named Spare Parts – {{YEAR}}.ai and then just paste in the elements you liked but didn’t use and return to it later. This file is also good for keeping design elements you use often in a central place.

TIP: Start a new file every year to keep it fresh and aligned with your taste and current style.

Keep your task list up to date everyday

If you’re not keeping track of your tasks somewhere then you’re letting stuff fall through the cracks. And just like everything else in life and business, your task list needs to be tended consistently to be of any value.

This is actually one of the few analog processes in my business.

I sit down every night and write out my list for the next day. This process helps me stay on track and make sure things actually get done instead of having mountains of half-completed things languishing about.

I have a few standard categories that I sort my daily tasks into – Morning, Clients, Money, and Tracking.

Anything that didn’t get done during the day gets moved to the next day’s list. On days when I’m too low to be productive get relabeled with the next working day’s date, with as much grace as I can manage to give myself.

Establish a file naming convention (and then follow it)

A standardized naming convention makes it easy to find what you’re looking for inside your client folders.

Include relevant identifiers in the name like who it’s for and what deliverable or asset it is.

I use [Client Name] – [Asset Type] – [Version or Set Number].

For example:

  • Client NameWebsite
  • Client NameSquare Ad3.png

Keep your files organized

Structure your client folders in a standard way to keep everything easy to find next time they need an update.

To save time when starting a new project, make a folder named _New Client (the underscore is so this template folder is always sorted to the top of the list). Under this folder, create additional ones for Branding, Internal, Marketing, and Website.

Export assets into folders sorted by file type housed within related sub-categories.

_New Client


  • Primary Logo
  • Logo Variations
  • Elements
  • Icons
  • Fonts
  • Photography


No sub-folders here. I keep signed proposals and other legal documents here along with any files the client has sent for content or anything else that doesn’t fit in the other folders.


  • Blog
  • Facebook / Widescreen
  • Instagram / Square
  • Print
    • Business Cards
    • Flyers
    • Holiday Cards
    • Swag


  • Backups
  • Prototype
  • Website Assets
  • WordPress Files

Once you have your starter folder made, duplicate it for each new client to save time.

Need help streamlining your service business?

These are just a few tricks to help streamline your design workflow.

If you want to know exactly what you need to do next to scale your business while freeing yourself up to spend more time living in the life you’ve built here’s what I have for you –

I do these 15min System Audits. This is a free NO PITCH CALL where I look at your existing systems (website, CRM, PM, emails, or whatever you’ve got) and give you specific insight and feedback on what needs to be optimized in order for you to scale your zone of genius – while freeing up your time.

And then if you want to know more about working with me (offers, payment plans, details, etc.) – we can hop on a separate call for that. OR – you can just take what I give you on the System Audit and implement it away. It’s your call.

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