I thought it would be good to end this month with some tools I use to stay organized. Every January, I seem to go into hibernation to plan, organize and see what I can do differently. This year, I got started mid-December and I feel way ahead since I have been working through all the things I need to do, but didn't want to do. This includes editing photos, sales tax, updating descriptions for my art online and that kind of thing.
Ever since I got back from Spain, I've been knee-deep in getting things done. My office and shipping area is so tidy now, I often walk past the room and stop to admire it these days. I also repainted my studio before my residency so it feels clean and fresh. My studio also has way less unnecessary things and is much less cluttered this year. It is now just a place to make art and my shipping area is at home. I am still working on it a bit, but I'll show you how nice it looks soon.
Let me tell you, it has taken me a long time to get as organized as I feel these days. Rather than go through all the trial and error I did, I thought I would share with you some tools I use to stay on top of things. A big part of organization is planning and doing small chunks at a time, to prevent being overwhelmed. I think it's really important to keep things as simple as you can. I hope the random piles are gone for good this time!
So, here are some simple ways to be organized that I've found work for me:
Day Designer I am first and foremost a paper and pen person. I think it's because I am a visual person and want to see everything laid out, whenever I want. When I first heard about the Day Designer (somewhere on the internet), I was intrigued. After looking around their site, I felt it was EXACTLY what I needed to get my own act together. They have a fantastic blog where you can find articles like 7 Steps You Can Take to Make the Most of Each and Every Day or How to Schedule Time to Be Creative. I've been using mine for a week and I absolutely love the layout and using paper and pen to plan out what I need to do. The designer, Whitney English, includes a time schedule, to do list, what's due and more with this planner. It sells out frequently so get your hands on one before they are gone. Highly recommended!
Evernote For the longest time I was like "whatever, I use notes and reminders on my iPhone." The Evernote app makes it way easier than that. You can break projects down into smaller, more manageable tasks. I am still very new to it and use the above Day Designer more for mapping everything out.
Google Calendar While there are a few things I would change about Google Calendar, it's my favorite digital calendar. I try to keep it updated alongside my Day Designer so that I can get reminders for the really important things. Google Calendar really helps me stay on top of future events and dates. I just can't keep it all in my head.
Google Drive I don't know what I would do without it. Google Drive allows me to work on any computer, anywhere. I keep all kinds of records here and it's a total lifesaver. One of my favorite ways to use it is my Workflow spreadsheet. This is where I keep track of client work (individuals and organizations) organized by due date. I can go to this sheet quickly to see who, when, where and also what I am getting paid for the commission or job.
January Cure Apartment Therapy has been doing a January Cure to help clean and freshen up your home. I have not been following it religiously, but it has been hugely helpful and I refer back to days I missed. It's like spring cleaning in January. I really recommend checking it out. Hunkering down and donating, tossing, cleaning and organizing at the start of the year is already making such an impact on how I work. Here's the full January Cure list so you can get started at any time!
Good things come in 3's. Some other things to do:
- 3 things - try not to put more than 3 main things on your to do list. That way, anything extra you get done is a bonus!
- 3 pages a day - start your day writing 3 pages a day. Write what you did yesterday, what you want to get done today and maybe what you want for the future. By revisiting what you meant to do, you will start actually doing it. Writing one page is okay too:)
If you have any tips to share on staying organized, I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!