Most of the creative people I know, myself included, have to juggle their artistic pursuits in the midst of day jobs, multiple projects, and other daily responsibilities. My day job involves marketing and programming at an arts council, and I constantly feel like I'm drowning in a sea of never-ending tasks. When you combine that with my art career, I'm currently managing eight social media accounts, two websites, two committees, and who-knows-how-many meetings, exhibits, etc. It's a lot to handle, and sometimes I feel brain dead by the end of the week, but it's also made me incredibly diligent about creating systems and organizing my life.
I am by no means an expert on the subject, but I'm kind of a dork when it comes to planners, office supplies, and organization, and the chaos of this current year has forced me to make peace with organizational technology, something I had been resisting for years. (I'm a tactile person, and I love the feel of writing on paper.) These are some of the organizational tools I've added to my arsenal, and they've been an absolute godsend.
The Dailygreatness Journal
You know all of those things you're supposed to do every day to be successful? This handy journal takes all of them and combines them into daily pages to help you plan your actions and keep yourself accountable. Daily gratitude lists, goals, inspiration, exercise, meditation---it's all here. Write your appointments in your daily calendar, write down your goals, and see if you're on track for your 90-day plan. I'm not gonna lie, they're a bit on the spendy side, but if you click here, you'll receive a code for 5% off your order.
If you're overloaded with sticky notes and to-do lists, Trello is a great option for organizing all of that information into one handy, and FREE, location. You can download it to your desktop and your phone, and you'll never have to worry about losing your info again. I use Trello to manage info for newsletters and emails at work, to-do lists for each of my jobs and my personal tasks, and to manage calls for art and grant application deadlines by date. It's easy to use, and you'll probably be able to see your desk for the first time in years when you get your information entered into it.
Planoly is a great app for planning and scheduling your Instagram posts. I use the free version, which allows you to manage one account and schedule up to 30 posts at a time. If you're an Instagram Stories user, Planoly can help you manage those, too. Social media can be such a time suck, even when you're just using it for business purposes. Get your photos together, plan your posts for the next several days or even weeks, and let Planoly do the posting for you. It'll free up your time to make art, write that next grant application, or even, you know, cook a decent meal for a change.
Out of all the tools I use, this one is the easiest to create and gives me the most realistic picture of my productivity. I simply created a chart in a Word document, and every time I apply to a gallery, a juried show, a grant foundation, or a shop, I mark it down on my log, along with the date sent, the date I received a reply, and the answer. It's great for keeping track of which opportunities I've already responded to, and how often I'm putting myself out there. They always say that if you're not hearing "no" often enough, you're not trying as hard as you should be. Once you start tracking your activity, you'll realize how much you're actually doing to promote yourself. (And as a bonus, you'll realize that hearing "no" is not nearly as painful as you thought it was!)
How about you? Is there anything you've been using that you're absolutely in love with? I'm always excited to hear about new tools and tricks, so feel free to leave me a note in the comments with your favorite organizational secret.