Five Ways to Get Organized in Your Creative Business
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your physical or mental space? Do you forget to do things because you don't have a central location for your projects and tasks? Does managing your business finances give you butterflies?
If your answers were YES, please know that you are certainly not alone and I am here to help you straighten that all out. My superpower is organization and I have FIVE tips to help you organize your work and your business! Organization will save you time, money, and stress.
Organize Your space
Create a space for yourself that is organized, clean, and tidy - at least once and a while! Shelves, storage bins, roller trays, and spare boxes are great to keep all your materials in one place...easy to grab at the start of the day, easy to put away at the end of the night. Keep unnecessary items out of your work space. Designate a shelf, box, or file folder for important papers or notes.
[TIP: take time to clean up your space once a week - you will feel so much better when you can find everything and it will save you time each day when you aren't hunting things down!]
Organize Your Time
Use a calendar (paper or electronic) to keep track of important dates, deadlines, and personal events. I like to have both a monthly and weekly view so I know what's coming up and what is important for today.
Designate time to work on your most important project or task - preferably during your most productive time of the day. Block off time to work on your artwork, if that isn't your other 'most important' task for the day. Schedule time for emails and other admin tasks, including social media posts, blog writing, finances, inventory, invoicing, etc.
[TIP: Try designating a 'Daily Three' - your three most important tasks for the day. Three tasks that if you complete only those three things for the day, you will still feel accomplished.]
Organize Your Tasks
There are so many different ways to keep your projects and tasks organized...
Paper to-do lists
Project management software (like Asana or Monday)
Sticky notes all over your walls
It doesn't really matter which system you choose - just pick one and use it consistently. I'm notorious for having lists on 10 different scraps of paper, which then have to be condensed into one big list at some point. So far that has worked for me because sometimes I get an idea and need to write it down on whatever is available - if I don't write it down, I won't remember it later.
[TIP: Keep everything in one place and prioritize your tasks so you don't get overwhelmed by the volume of what you have to get done.]
Organize Your Finances
Create a system for keeping track of all your expenses, receipts, and income. This system can look however you want - an extensive collection of file folders and hand written records, an online software system like QuickBooks, or a color-coded Excel spreadsheet - but you need some kind of system.
Even when you first start your business and your income is low (and especially if you're making significant money), you need to track every business expense, record your receipts, and keep records of your income. Block off time each month to properly organize your financial information - tackling this task more often will make tax time far less stressful.
[TIP: I recommend designating two days each month to enter all your information into the system you have in place. This should also be the day you pay yourself!]
Organize Your Artwork
Keeping track of your artwork can be challenging - especially if you have work in multiple locations. Just like in all the other areas of your business, a SYSTEM will help make this part of your business easier.
There are online programs out there specifically to help artists keep track of their work (like Artwork Archive). I use a very simple Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my current inventory and designate when work is in a gallery or at an exhibition. I also recommend keeping a visual inventory file...photographs of your artwork.
[TIP: Create small, medium, and large (resolution) images of each piece for different uses. Small files work well for social media, emails, and websites. Medium files are best for show applications and submitting to galleries (though each will have its own specific requirements). Large files are best for reproductions, print on demand options, and licensing.]
Organization may seem like one of those things that you can put off until 'tomorrow', but once your business is organized and systematized, you will have more time for creating your work! Most of these tasks will take less time than you assume, but will save you more time than you realize. Trust me!
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