Always strive to improve workflow. Work smarter. Not harder.
Here’s a couple of tips:
1. Study shortcuts. Practice shortcuts. Use shortcuts. I’m not sure why they don’t quiz this more in college.
2. Create templates so you don’t have to create the same piece again. Store them. Use them.
3. Label everything rationally. Someone who has no idea about the design world and the projects you are working on, can’t open Adobe files, and is dumber than a box of rocks should be able to find the most recent piece you’ve created, the poster about coffee shop promo from 2010 with the green birds on it, the brainstorming file you made to remember the notes everyone suggested. Version control, people.
4. Create a go-to Illustrator file housing all of your vectors – shapes, objects, icons. Open one file to pull from rather than a boat load of little files. Scanning an Illustrator file is much easier than scanning a folder of unopened .ai files.
5. Back-up your stuff! This is a no-brainer, but are you really doing it? Consistently?