How to get over "Portfolio Paralysis" so you can build your graphic design portfolio faster

This is the “brain fuel” for the exercise. You can download and print it from the entry form below.

This is the “brain fuel” for the exercise. You can download and print it from the entry form below.


Feeling paralyzed when it comes to your portfolio? You’re not alone. Every designer knows they should work on their portfolio, but they don’t know where to start once they finally hunker down and decide to do it. I’ve tried this exercise a few times and I have found it is getting some traction with helping people who feel stuck. 

The idea is pretty simple– your brain is full of ideas and you aren’t quite sure where to start. This exercise is designed to just be a “brain dump” that allows you to externalize your thoughts so you can get over the “hump” and get some traction on your portfolio. 

Download the Jump-starter PDF here:



  1. Download and print out the Jump-starter PDF. If you don’t have access to a printer, write down the 4 questions from the image above on sticky notes and put them up on a wall.

  2. Set a timer for 10 minutes and write as many answers as you can. Setting a time limit on this is important, so stick to it!

  3. Take a break if it makes sense. Then come back and look at your answers. Does one of them seem like an idea that you might want to tackle as your “entry point” on how to get started? If so, awesome, you are “unstuck”!

  4. Still feeling stuck? Try generating questions of your own and run the exercise again until you feel like you have externalized enough material to configure an approach to your portfolio.

  5. STILL feeling stuck? Sign up for this FREE portfolio prep course that will help you build a strategy to tackle your portfolio.

Hopefully this will help externalize all the thoughts in your head and help you feel less paralyzed. Good luck!


chris hannon

I’m Chris Hannon. I help digital product designers become more valuable by teaching them how to change their design mindset. By day I am a Creative Director at a digital product development agency. For 15 years I have been lucky enough to work with fortune 500 companies to help guide their creative vision to create amazing digital products and experiences.