Gantt chart template for creatives

Gantt chart TEMPLATE

Essential Planning Tools for Surface Pattern Designers and Creatives – Gantt chart template

If I am a surface pattern designer/artist, do I really need to use a Gantt chart template for my planning?

The answer is simply: Yes, you do need a Gantt chart for your planning

focus on a good planning

We, as creatives and most often, solo entrepreneurs, need to acquire the best routines to plan efficiently our working days to make them more productive.

I find this process very essential in order to keep a healthy daily workflow, as it is very easy to get lost among all the different tasks that we need to attend to in our creative business.

WHAT IS A GANTT DIAGRAM AND WHAT IS ITS PURPOSE?

A simple Gantt chart template is one of the most essential tools used in project management, for displaying projects against time. 

Each activity included into the Gantt chart, will be represented by a coloured bar and its length reflects the starting date and the ending date for that project. 

Gantt chart template planner example
screenshot of my Gantt chart template with different big projects planned

To give you some historical perspective, these type of planning charts were initially created by  Henry Laurence Gantt around 1910 and got very popular thanks to its usefulness, so as you can see, it is a very old planning tool.

The good thing is that today we can rely on digital spreadsheets to create our Gantt chart templates and take advantage of all its automatic features to work more efficiently.

Planning Complex Projects vs Planning Tasks

For an optimal planning it is highly recommended to use a Gantt chart template to schedule complex or large projects and support it with a calendar (digitally or on traditional paper).

calendar planner

Calendars or planners are ideal to show in more detail all the tasks that would be included in those projects.

For example, a complex project entered in my Gantt chart template could be:

“Prepare a new online fabric catalogue”

And for this big goal we could hypothetically plan and schedule 14 days to complete it, such as in the example:

enter your projects in your Gantt chart
Screenshot of my Gantt chart with a project entered

With this first part planned and organized, then in my calendar I can break down all the tasks that are involved in that big project, dividing them up into those 14 days assigned in order to achieve my goal.

These tasks could be something such as:

“Decide on the patterns to be included in the new Fabric Portfolio”. 

“Create additional blenders and coordinates for my hero patterns”.

“Prepare all the fabric mockups that will show the patterns applied to”

“Prepare a new Template for the new brochure using InDesign”

So, my planning would be clearly organized, efficient and it would make sense, which will lead me to be more focussed in my work every day and therefore, be more productive.

use your calendar for all the tasks involved in a big project

WHAT ARE THE MAIN BENEFITS OF USING A GANTT CHART TEMPLATE FOR YOUR PLANNING?

Gantt chart templates are very useful because they will allow you to see at a glance:

-All the big projects that you need to complete

-The starting and ending dates for each one of the projects.

When projects overlap with other projects.

So in summary,  it is a tool that helps you to plan better your working time in order to successfully complete all the activities that you need to accomplish.

Mock up freepick

GANTT DIAGRAM STRUCTURE

You can find online lots of different ready monthly Gantt chart excel templates or you can create yours using a spreadsheet program.

For my planning, I have developed a specific Gantt chart template on Google sheets for surface pattern designers and creatives, that has already included rows with all the different departments involved in every creative business.

CREATIVE BUSINESS STRUCTURE

Although the purpose of this post is not diving into this matter, I need to mention it here, just to highlight some of the tasks or projects of all types that we have to perform in our creative business.

These projects and tasks can be compiled into these:

PRODUCT DEPARTMENT

In this department we work on tasks such as designing artwork, producing templates, mockups, portfolios, research for trends, etc.

SALES DEPARTMENT

In this department we have tasks such as preparing budgets and work estimates, contacting companies, submitting portfolios, scheduling meetings, visiting design markets, attending to industry trade shows, etc

MARKETING DEPARTMENT

Blogging, Social Media, Advertising, Analytics, etc are typical tasks of this department

IT & APPLIANCES DEPARTMENT

Creating Backups; keeping the hardware and software always running properly;  keeping the website up do date, or social media makeovers; plus buying all the office facilities and supplies are tasks that belong to this department.

LEGAL DEPARTMENT

Preparing all the contracts when you make a deal with a client; being on top of all the laws and regulations regarding your creative business; creating the copyrights are some of the tasks that belong to this department.

FINANCE DEPARTMENT

All the accounting & bookkeeping, invoicing, budget planning, etc, are tasks from this department

LOGISTICS DEPARTMENT

Tracking your products when you send them; researching new courier partnerships, etc are tasks from this department.

HR DEPARTMENT

Developing your skills through new classes, getting new certifications, or taking yoga classes to improve your health are tasks that belong to this department.

How to use a Gantt chart Template

STEPS TO FILL IN THE GANTT

ENTER PROJECTS WITH STARTING AND ENDING DATES

After reviewing all the previous projects or tasks, basically, now we can use the Gantt Chart to include the complex projects that we are planning to complete in a month, trimester, semester or in a longer time for each department and assign them a starting date and an ending date.

In this example, I am going to continue with the same big project that belongs to the Product Department: Prepare a new online fabric catalogue .

enter the dates for the project in the Gantt chart template

The Gantt chart will give you automatically the real number of working days to complete that big goal and it will display the coloured bar for those days.

For this project, it shows that I have 14 working days to complete it.

ENTER DAILY TIME PERCENTAGE

The following data we need to enter is the initial daily time percentage that we consider we need to work on each project, in line with its importance.

When you enter this data, the Gantt will automatically give you the daily hours that you should work on that project in order to complete the planning successfully on time.

For example, I have estimated that preparing a new online fabric catalogue will need a big chunk of my time, therefore I have initially entered a 60%.

So, my Gantt is telling me that in order to complete this project, I should work 5 hours per day on it.

This planning is quite good, actually, especially if I bear in mind all the different tasks that are included into this big project which I listed previously, remember?

Time percentages entered in the Gantt chart

Well, if I already have another projects scheduled in the Gantt chart, I can always adjust the percentages, especially those days when the projects overlap, according to my needs.

Gantt chart template with projects overlapping
DISPLAY DIFFERENT CALENDAR VIEWS

There is an option that I have entered in my Gantt chart that will give you a precise view on a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly basis of your planning, adjusting automatically the blue bars, as it is shown in the next example:

time display options in the Gantt chart
PROGRESS STATUS

As the days go by, the Gantt chart will show the percentage of the planning progress, until it is fully completed.

When a project is finished, the status column will show COMPLETED and in the meantime it can display IN PROGRESS or NOT STARTED.

STATUS column Gantt chart Template

As this is a spreadsheet document we can use filters for different criteria, helping us tremendously in our planning.

WORK SCHEDULED FOR THE CURRENT DAY

There is also an additional feature that I have included in this Gantt chart template, that it is a dynamic table which gives you the work scheduled for the current day and the numbers of hours involved.

With this information, you can again make adjustments to your daily planning according to your needs.

work scheduled for today_gantt chart template

In the video below, you can see how it works in depth with all its features.

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Published by Beatriz Pascual

Surface pattern designer & Illustrator. Creative, dreamer and in continuous learning. Degree in Advertising & PR (UCM)

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