Being a Creative Director for a small business is rewarding. I often don’t know what the day will bring. With the number of services we offer, I could be working on a logo, a website, social media graphics, a video, photography, email marketing, designing a restaurant menu, having client meetings, or a combination of all of them. The first thing you should know is I am a creature of Habit and love routine. It's always gym, breakfast, work, lunch, more work, exercise, dinner, downtime, and then bed. I know what you might be thinking, “Some of those things have nothing to do with graphic design or being a creative director!” To that, I would say you’re right, but it is all part of the carefully calculated routine I have to be able to do my job to the best of my ability each day. Without further ado, let’s jump into my day as a Creative Director here at Pacesetters Marketing.
5:15 - First Alarm for Gym
When my alarm goes off at 5:15 in the morning, I’m not one of those people who jump out of bed ready for the day. I’ll turn that alarm off and fall asleep for 3 extra minutes until my 5:18 alarm goes off. I do have a 5:21 alarm set, but usually, I can get going after the second one. I have my clothes set out the night before because that’s just too much work to pick them out in the morning. Especially since I have to leave my house by 5:25 for the gym. That’s right, I give myself a maximum of 10 minutes to get out the door from my first alarm. Most days it works. On other days, I’m texting my gym buddy that I’m on my way later than expected. No matter the time, I still show up and get a workout in. The gym is less crowded early in the morning and makes me start my day right.
6:40 - Arrive back at the Apartment and eat Breakfast
After the gym, I will come home, make breakfast, and eat. Breakfast is peanut butter toast these days with a protein shake. I will then shower and get ready for the day. Most days, it’s a cozy clothes day at home with my computer and a chai. On other days, it’s working from Starbucks or traveling to a client’s business to have a meeting or do a photoshoot. I really couldn’t tell you which one I prefer. But I’ll walk you through a typical day for the sake of this post.
8:00 - Start Work Day
With both a laptop and desktop computer, I often switch back and forth depending on the project. Starting the work day always consists of checking emails and responding to emails if necessary. After emails are checked, I grab my work notebook and make a list of things that need to be done that day. I love lists and I love crossing off tasks even more. Being prepared and feeling organized can make a chaotic day look like a breeze. With multiple ongoing projects, being able to prioritize is key. I will have Adobe Illustrator already open and ready to start new projects or continue older ones. I will then decide whether I want to stay home or go to Starbucks for a few hours.
8:15-11:30 - Work
I will dive into the projects I have that day starting with anything I need to finish up from the day before. After that, I will look at my prioritized list and see which project to start on. I like to get little tasks out of the way first before I get into a bigger and more complicated project. From being in graphic design for many years now, I intrinsically know how long each task will take roughly. I know that designing an email will take no longer than 30 minutes and can be done in one session. On the flip side, a logo design can take up to 6 hours with multiple sessions throughout the day or week.
11:30-12:30 - Lunch
This break in the middle of the day is essential for my brain to keep going. This hour break usually consists of food, calling friends, social media, putting a load of laundry in, or a walk if it's nice outside. With being at home, it’s nice to have the freedom to decide what that hour is going to look like day to day.
12:45 - Revisit the Task list
After lunch, I like to see what else is left that needs to be done for that day. I reprioritize and go from there. Personally, I like to save the afternoons for more complicated projects that need me to be hyper-focused and in the zone. I will have my headphones on listening to a podcast or have my work playlist on Spotify. Having background noise helps me focus on the tasks in front of me.
4:00 - Finishing up Projects
Being a graphic designer, there’s always gonna be a next project. The last hour of the day is devoted to finishing up last-minute things, getting to a stopping point, or closing out projects. This last hour is devoted to making sure I have a good starting point for the next day. Rarely, do I have meetings scheduled during this time. I write out any last emails that need responding to or any emails that need to be scheduled for 8:00 the next morning. This might be my favorite time of day because there’s a sense of completion and a job well done. It’s a good way to leave your work for the next day.
5:00 - End of the Workday
I will shut down any programs I have open and shut down my computer for the day. It’s a good way to signify that work is over and just enjoying being home is beginning.
5:15-6:00 - Go on a run/walk
After every workday, I love getting my workout clothes on and getting outside. I will either walk, run, or a combination of the two for at least 3 miles. It’s a good routine to clear my head and get any stress out from the day. It’s also a perfect time to catch up with family or friends on the phone while I get some exercise.
6:15 - Dinner/Wind down
Cooking is very therapeutic for me. Recently, I’ve been cooking Hello Fresh meals for my roommate and me. Given that my roommate is in Medical School, dinners have become our time to chat and catch up with each other. After dinner, I will either watch tv, clean, read, or do some other activity.
9:30 - Bed
Given that I get up pretty early, going to bed early has become a necessity to function. I strive for 9:30 but I can never seem to get to bed by that time. In a perfect world, I would be asleep by ten every night. We all need goals to strive for and getting enough sleep has been a goal for a long time. I long for sleeping at least seven hours and not dream about color palettes or layouts.
Being a creative director means having to wear all the design hats and being creative and innovative. My day in the life changes so much depending on the day of the week and what projects are going on at the time. It’s a privilege to be able to have a job where each day looks a bit different than the next. I never know what projects will be coming down the pipeline, but rest assured that I will be able to prioritize and complete them to the best of my ability.