January 10, 2012

2 Cent Tuesday #6: Staying Organized


I often get asked how I manage to remember everything. I have always been a tidy person and a list maker but when I started taking on multiple projects at once and trying to live my life and take care of a family I had to take it to a whole new level. I was constantly cleaning, checking my to do lists and buying more and more space saving containers. Now that there is a newborn in the mix I have had to throw some of this out of the window and not be so "type A" about things like making the bed every morning, doing the dishes as soon as they are put in the sink and getting projects done lightyears ahead of time. However there are three life saving tools in my work life that I simply cannot live without and that have actually helped me at this time when I have needed it the most. These are my tried and true organizational tools that also keep me motivated and inspired.

TeuxDeux is my number one, hands down, most favorite organizational tool. It is an online to-do list that spans days and months and years. It was created by the genius designer Tina Roth Eisenberg behind the blog Swiss Miss - so you know it is beautiful. I saved this site as my homepage so that every time I open a new window it pops up and reminds me what is going on in the week. It also has an app for your iPhone.

#2. Filing
On the first day in my graphic design program they taught us the importance of keeping your files organized. This is a skill that when mastered will make your work load seem a million tons lighter. It is also a skill that when neglected will leave you very unhappy, stressed and behind on your deadlines. Everyone needs to find their own method for doing this but here is mine - I have several main folders on my desktop. The left side of the monitor belongs to me and the right side belongs to my husband. God only knows what husband does with his side, I surely can't make sense of it. As for my side I have a column of folders labeled Pictures, Design Past, Blog, Personal and Etsy. Then I have a second column for my current projects. A folder for each project. When a project is complete I go through it, delete any unnecessary remaining files and throw it in the Design Past file. To stay on top of it there are files within files within files. It also helps to get a good labeling system down so when you go back to look for something you have an idea of what to type in your search bar. Labeling with dates is always helpful but I have found that very specific and descriptive labels are the most helpful for me.

#3. Pin Boards
These days Pinterest has made it really easy for us to spot something on the internet that inspires us, grab it and put it up on our own little digital pin board. But what about all of that great stuff that you find out in the real world? Business cards, maps, take-out menus, brochures? I used to have a drawer full of little envelopes and paper bags which were full of stickers, postcards, stamps, sketches, magazine clippings, notes from friends... and more. I swore one day I would use these things for something, or that I would be inspired by it somehow. The problem was it all got lost in the clutter and eventually thrown away. After I put it in that drawer I never saw it again. Then one day I got out the trusty old pin board and started hanging it up where I could see it. It changed my life. Of course I am a bit type A about this as well and everything has to be hung perfectly straight with a clear thumb tack (haha I really am a weirdo), but the organized mess that is my pin board helps me remember the things I found that week that truly inspired me and that I want to some how incorporate into a certain project.

I hope these little tips help. I know for me they sure made a world of difference. So, here's to a new year full of organization, happy little messes. This year I am going to learn to let go of that type A personality but cling to the few methods that save me from my madness.


Chelsey said...

Being a little type a never hurt anyone ;).

GĂ©raldine said...

Thank you very much for these tips! Being organized is one of my priority for 2012, so it will be helpful :)

abby said...

Really nice tips. A healthy does of type a is helpful. My worst thing is lists... I make tons of them, but always forget to use them (leave the grocery list on the table, lose my to do list in my email...) I am going to check out that TeuxDeux.

SARAH said...

So helpful. I'm guilty of more Type B (or Z? or what is the 'non-A' type?) tendencies, but I'm trying to behave.

californiacheryl said...

Where can I get some of that "type A" personality? It would sure come in handy!

Brit said...

Really excited to have discovered TeuxDeux, thanks!

Rebecca Waldron said...

Oooo great ideas. I can't wait to try TeuxDeux. I also like the idea of keeping you and your husbands files on different sides of the desktop. Things have definitely been getting confusing on our computer lately.

P.S. I need to meet Henry!

Anonymous said...

Honestly, this was so helpful. I am constantly surrounded by creative people who make fun of me for how organized I am. 'Am I not as creative because I'm also organized?' is the thought I'm always dealing with. But without being organized it's hard to be able to focus on projects and being inspired!

Thanks for the tips :)