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Austin‑based designer Jessie Farris on productivity and thriving off of routine

Meet Jessie Farris, a multidisciplinary designer living in Austin, Texas. When she’s not working with her team at the WeWork co-working space in Austin, she enjoys being productive in her more personalized home office. Get to know Jessie further as she takes us on a tour of her offices and shares why she’s most productive with a structured, consistent routine and tidy workspace.

Where do you work? Tell us about your space(s).

First off, here’s a little background on me. I work for a Boston based company called State Street, but my small team works out of a WeWork co-working space in Austin, Texas. I am the lead designer on a research and discovery team. We specialize in technology development for internal and client-facing platforms.

We love the WeWork space! It allows us to collaborate easily and provides a fun startup feel even though we work for a massive company. Since we work on confidential financial projects, we have a private room within the co-working space. I like to keep my desk pretty sparse because we operate under a clean-desk policy. This means we can’t leave anything work-related on our desks. There are a few trinkets I keep around my screens to bring a little life to my sometimes sterile office environment.


WeWork office space

My team and I love working remotely so we try to do that at least one day a week. Even though I love our WeWork space, there are days when I like to stay closer to home to avoid traffic or need a little more privacy to keep my head down and design. When I work remotely, I love to bounce around between coffee shops and my home office. Working from home is where I want to be when I have a lot of design work to get through or if I’m working on a new concept.

My inspiration usually comes from life experiences, so it's nice to surround myself with those reminders.

My fiancé and I just moved into a new home and now finally have a home office! It’s been years in the making, and it’s so wonderful to have a place to work that isn’t our living room couch. My home office is more of a creative space compared to my office desk. I love switching up the trinkets and books on my desk. It’s always a small collection of artifacts from recent travels or something that reminds me of home (South Dakota.) My inspiration usually comes from life experiences, so it’s nice to surround myself with those reminders.


What hardware and software do you use to create your designs?

I rely heavily on my MacBook Pro. I bring that thing with me everywhere I go. I have a monitor at work which helps with the squinting that comes with design, but honestly, I could probably work solely off my laptop all the time. As far as software goes, my workflow is probably pretty standard as far as product design goes. I work mostly in Sketch, Illustrator, Invision, and I’m currently trying to teach myself Flinto

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Tell us about your routine (or lack of one.) How do you structure your days to get things done?

I structure my days the same for the sake of consistency since I work better with a routine. In the morning, I try not to check work-related things until I get to work. Those fires can wait. At work, I go through my emails right away. Thankfully, I usually don’t have too many. After that, I look at my to-do lists and try to knock out the most challenging item since I work more efficiently in the morning. By the time the afternoon hits, I like to take a break and look for inspiration on Medium and Dribbble. Around 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm I seem, so I round out my days starting a new design related item on my list.


Home office

How do your space, tools, and habits benefit you? What about those things do you think needs improvement?

My workspace cleanliness is a product of my productivity. If my desk is messy, my workflow becomes a mess and vice versa. The biggest thing for me is keeping a routine. If I get stuck in a creative rut, I lean on new spaces like coffee shops for inspiration. However, those eclectic environments are hard to establish a creative area along with any routine. If all the outlets are taken, do you have a Plan B? My backup plan is always my home office. For some reason, that’s the most natural space to keep tidy, and that means I’m bound to have a productive day.

If I could improve anything in my day-to-day flow, it would be to remember to lay my clothes out the night before! Laying clothes out sounds trivial, but it saves a lot of time. That time can be better spent drinking coffee instead of trying on multiple outfits.

Want to keep up with Jessie? Find her on Dribbble, Instagram, Twitter, and at jessiekfarris.com.

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