7 Ways to be an Organized Creative

Audio and video equipment is laid out on the floor and organized.
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Being creative doesn’t mean you have to have a messy workspace. Here are seven ways to stay organized without staunching your natural creativity.

Audio and video equipment is laid out on the floor and organized.

Creative and Organized. It’s possible to be both.

I hear it almost every day. People “need creative chaos” or say, “I’m a creative, so I’m just not great at organization.” It’s a common sentiment, and I used to say the same thing. Then a friend of mine mentioned that organization is just a skill. I love taking classes and learning new skills. But I had spent my whole life ignoring the one skill that would clear my head and make my life feel more manageable.

Organization is a skill, and it can be learned like any other. Don’t get me wrong, it’s gonna take time to get good at it, but that’s true of anything. If you’re a creative professional who owns your own business, and especially if you’re a freelancer, then I urge you to put in the time and get organized. 

When thinking about organization, it is important to keep a few things in mind to make your efforts take less time to enact and to make them last. Below are 7 things to help get you on track.

Time and Timing

It takes time to learn how to organize. So the first step is to figure out the best time to try something new. For instance: if you run a retail business, you will likely be slowest in September. If you’re a parent who works from home, try to figure out a time when your kids will be in school or away at camp. Your days won’t ever be completely open, but starting a new routine or process during a particularly hectic or unstable time could be a recipe for disaster. It will also take some time to research what you really need to keep. I suggest making a list of every frustrating thing that bothers you for a week or so. Use this to track  what has the biggest effect on your days, and in turn figure out the biggest reward when you fix them.

Trial and Error

Pens and Post-It notes can help with creative organization.

Not all programs will work for you. Period. One person may like to organize all of their paperwork in binders. Another person may lose things constantly when they are in binders. One person’s schedule may make it easy to organize their things all at once.

Another person may find it easiest to keep things organized as they go. Try to think about your lifestyle and what has seemed to work for you in the past and try that. If you find that something isn’t working for you, figure out why and try again until it works.

Hire an Organizing Expert

Really overwhelmed? Hire someone who is particularly good at organizing as a skill. This option obviously isn’t for everyone, but making your team more well-rounded will help with this. You may even have someone who is really great at organizing on your team already.

Don’t be afraid to tap into your existing talent pool, but make sure not to take this person for granted. If you have a team member who steps up, make sure to get them the support they need. Also keep in mind, your organization needs may be bigger than one person, so spread the workload if necessary, but keep the system common.

A creative professional photographer takes a picture.

Be Un-Original

Feel free to use organization hacks that you’ve seen work for others. Even if that particular organization hack turns out not to work for you, you may learn something about your particular needs that will help you narrow down your efforts.

Use Your Creativity

I don’t mean paint all of your file folders meticulously, but sometimes all it takes is a little tweaking to make an existing organizational structure work perfectly for you.

Think About Efficiency

What are the things you need easy access to? What are the things you’re likely to lose? How much easier would it be to be able to find them all? How easy is it to put these things back? Things like production equipment are much easier to return when they have a designated place. There is nothing worse than being on-set only to find that someone hasn’t put something away and you need to find one in a pinch. For tips on gear organization check out this blog.

Automation

Use technology in any way you can! Many of us work in a digital space or use mobile apps etc. An app to automate some of the organization efforts will free you up. Some tasks can’t or shouldn’t be automated, so go focus on them! Computers haven’t rebelled on us yet. Don’t fear them, and be sure to keep your information fully backed up.

Whether you’re working in video production, film, animation, or any other creative field, staying organized will put you in a great position to make your clients happy. With so many video professionals in Atlanta it can be difficult to stand out. What better way to stand out than to be the most organized creative?

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