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Top Organizing Tips for Creative Professionals
Home Family Careers
By: Joshua Zerkel Email Article
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As someone whose previous career was in the design industry, I know how much of a challenge it can be for busy, creative people to get and stay organized. When youre faced with meeting client deadlines and marketing yourself to find your next gig, it can seem like getting organized is just "one more thing" on the ever-growing to-do list. But taking the time to get organized can help you and your business in a variety of ways:

Recognize the benefits of getting organized. When I work with creative professionals of any stripe, one of the concerns they raise is that getting organized could stifle their creativity. In fact, what Ive seen with my clients is that getting organized can enhance creativity by letting you focus on whats important to you rather than the details of "wheres that important client file" or "under which pile of stuff is my extra printer ink." Getting organized takes a little time and focus up front, but can save you lots of time and stress down the road.

Set aside time to organize. I know youre busy with design projects for your clients, but remember, taking care of the administrative end of your business, including managing paperwork, billing, and email, is critical to the success of any endeavor. Unfortunately, your admin and organizing-related work wont do itself, so schedule time to work on your organizing projects. Once theyre completed, build a regular appointment with yourself into your calendar to maintain your systems. One rule of thumb it takes about 15-30 minutes each day to deal with that days worth of new paper. Make sure you have enough time set aside to process your paper especially client billing!

Get creative with your organizing tools. When Im working with designers and other creative folks, I frequently hear this refrain: "but the organizing tools are so ugly!" Unfortunately, its mostly true many of the containers and other organizing gizmos out there are pretty bare-bones and focus on functionality over form. That said, there are ways to make sure that your organizing tools match your aesthetic sense. One technique I like to use is to get clear containers, and then line them with decorative paper from a high-end paper store. By doing this, you can completely customize the look of your storage, rather than trying to find an off-the shelf solution that fits. Look for organizing tools that you can customize in various ways either by decorating, painting, or using in new and unexpected ways.

Give things a home. One of the most important concepts when youre organizing is to recognize when your supplies, files, and other stuff dont have assigned homes, they simply cant be put away they have no homes to go back to, and they become clutter (or "homeless stuff," as I like to think of them). Make sure to take the time to assign homes for each of the things that are around your design studio or office. That way, when its time to find things, its easy to do so and its equally easy to put things away when youre done with them.

Joshua Zerkel, CPO is the founder of Custom Living Solutions, a San Francisco-based productivity and organizing consulting firm. Joshua specializes in helping busy entrepreneurs save time, be more productive and make more money by getting organized at home and at work. for your FREE copy of "The Top 12 Mistakes to Avoid when Getting Organized".

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