Original 3Dconnexion research based on a survey of nearly 2,000 CAD workers indicates that the top three challenges CAD professionals face are all productivity related.
That means working faster in 3D is a must. Here are three ways you can do just that—and free up more time for professional work, side projects or maybe just a little R&R.
1. Streamline Your Work Processes
Designing more efficiently starts before you even fire up your CAD software.
Excessive email. Meetings. Non-essential web browsing. Social media. These are all distractions that seriously impact productivity.
You might be surprised to find out just how much time these activities cost: it takes the average worker 25 minutes to refocus on a task after an interruption, according to The New York Times.
Staying distraction-free starts with smart work processes. Try the following to get started:
Block Out Productivity and Email Time
Carve out one- to two-hour blocks of time to focus on your to-do list. Treat these blocks as sacred: no email, web browsing or other interruptions allowed. Securing these blocks of time isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.
The same strategy can be used for email: Schedule two to three 15-minute blocks throughout the day to process, delete and respond to emails, instead of allowing them to interrupt you constantly.
Beware Meetings—and Justify the Ones You Attend
Without an agenda, time constraints or proper preparation, meetings waste valuable time and produce few results.
Request meeting agendas in advance, if possible. It’ll force everyone involved to clarify the meeting’s purpose. This will also help you determine whether or not to attend. If you can, say “No” to meetings that aren’t mission-critical, send someone in your place or read a colleague’s notes after the fact.
Take Full Advantage of Productivity Tools
Try out some of these software tools to defeat procrastination and distraction.
Website Blockers, such as StayFocusd for Chrome, block time-wasting websites (think social media) for a certain period of time, making it impossible for you to stray from your appointed task.
Internet Blockers like Freedom completely cut you off from the internet. They’re radical, but effective, options—especially if you’re strapping in for a long design session.
Looking for more tool recommendations? Check out our free productivity ebook.
2. Master Software Shortcuts and Hotkeys
Tricks, shortcuts and hotkeys for your preferred CAD software are your best friends when it comes to working faster and more efficiently. Here are resources to speed up your work in five different CAD software packages: SolidWorks, SketchUp, Inventor, 3ds Max and AutoCAD.
- Get Faster at SolidWorks Design - Top Ten Speed Moves — This post shares speed moves in SolidWorks learned while studying for SolidWorks certification exams. They’ll help you do more in less time, even if you’re already certified.
- SketchUp 2013 Keyboard Shortcuts — Bookmark or print out this handy reference: it collects all the popular SketchUp keyboard shortcuts in one place.
- Autodesk Inventor Tutorial: 8 Tips to Make You a More Productive Designer — Save time and money when designing in Inventor with these 8 pro tips to work faster and more efficiently. Complete with video tutorials!
- How to Speed Up Your Workflow in 3D Studio Max Using Hotkeys — Who doesn’t love hotkeys? Find out which ones in 3ds Max will supercharge your design workflow with this comprehensive tutorial.
- The Best, The Rest and The Rare: 100 AutoCAD Tips You Should Know — Think you know AutoCAD? Think again: this monster list of software tips is sure to teach even veterans something new about working faster with the software.
What other software resources have helped you speed up your work? Let us know in the comments!
3. Use a 3D Mouse
A 3D mouse is the one hardware peripheral built to speed up design sessions. Used by top designers at companies like Boeing, BMW and Airbus, a 3D mouse works in tandem with a standard mouse to navigate 3D content smoothly and intuitively. This two-handed work style reduces mouse clicks, movements and overall design time.
Some 3D mice such as the SpaceMouse® Pro include programmable buttons which you can easily assign your favorite hotkeys to, speeding up your workflow even more. In fact, an independent study confirmed that professionals who use a 3D mouse see average productivity gains of 21%.
Improve Your Creativity Starting Today
Creativity isn’t a gift. It’s a skill. And you can improve it—beginning today. The Creativity Handbook for 3D Professionals is a manual packed with habits, tools and hacks that will make you more creative, more often.
This handbook has 25+ pages of information that will help you boost your design creativity and improve your career. Get started today.
Image Credit: LoopZilla via Flickr.