Who are you:
Hi, my name is Michael Čečetka, I’m a 28 years old Digital designer and Art director.
Your current job
Well, after some 5 years in digital agencies, I’ve switched to a full-time freelancer that gives me the opportunity to choose projects that I would like to work on. Agencies and start-ups hire me as a Digital designer and Art director, and my main specialization is web and mobile apps. Right now I’m in the middle of a project for a travel agency based in Maui, Hawaii.
In which city are you located?
In beautiful Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.
A word to define what kind of worker you are
Tough question, I would say that I’m a reliable and responsible person who understands not only the clients’ needs but also the importance of deadlines and agreements, and is capable of keeping them. I always try to find balance between the creative side of the project and its effectivity for the client.
Thanks to many years in design agencies I’m also able to switch visual styles according to the specific project and its purpose, although you would find some common signature in my works.
What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)
No. 1 is definitely Photoshop for me, Illustrator of course, Invision, Dropbox, Typekit and inspiration combo Dribbble and Behance.
What does your office space look like?
With my friends I’ve co-founded a private co-working space named “n23”. We were tired of freelancing from our homes and co-working center's didn’t accomplish our specific needs so we decided to take it into our hands and started to work on our own creative place.
We are located right in the city center of Prague in a smaller and calm apartment/office/design studio and currently there are seven of us. n23 is still in its beginnings as we started just 3 months ago, but we are trying to make something new by ourselves every month with quite a tight budget. A lot of stuff are made in a DIY way, sometimes we just need to close the Photoshop and make our hands dirty to make some things happen. And we love it here!
Our long term goal is to create a space that is comfortable and inspirational for us as both people and creatives.
What kind of music do you listen when you are working?
Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work?
I’m trying to get up every day at the same time and get to the office early in the morning. Mornings work just great for me and I’m able to do a lot of work before lunch. I’m also trying to schedule meetings and calls to the evenings, in worse case to the mornings, to have a long and uninterrupted blocks of time just for design work.
I’m also using a simple to-do list and some basics of GTD method.
What tips would you give to improve productivity?
For me having an office outside of home works pretty well. I’m definitely more productive in the office, plus, which is much more important to me, I can easily separate work and personal life. The other advantage is that you’re among other people, other designers, and you can go for lunch with anyone.
You're better than your colleagues to:
I’m not the right one who can judge this.
What is the best advice anyone has given you?
Not sure if someone told me this in person or I found it by myself eventually but that doesn’t matter so much. What I consider the best advice is “Make your work and your brand visible”. You might be a super skilled creative person with an awesome list of projects but when nobody knows about you, it might get a bit harder to get your hands on new offers or jobs that you would love to work on.
Although our work is not about getting likes and “nice” comments on Dribbble or Behance or other sites, these are still great platforms to show your work and be noticed. Don’t worry about the number of likes, just show what you do and that you’re good at it.
What is your best tip for saving time?
I think this is “super easy”, just try to avoid Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks and at the end of the day you’ll have much more work done. Turning off all the notifications on the phone or in the browser also helped me to stay more focused without wasting my time with every single notification.
What is your routine start and end of the day?
Nothing special, I guess. Some days I go to the gym in the morning, to clear my head and shape my thoughts, the other days I’m trying to get to the work as early as possible and not to waste my productive morning hours. At the office, I usually quickly check emails if there are any important updates and then I dive into the design work.
Everyday I’m trying to leave the office around 6pm and I don’t stay there later in order to stick to some daily schedule and to have my personal and work life well balanced.
Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?
Well, I basically don’t need anything else than my computer and phone.