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In our last newsletter, we talked a bit about prioritizing personal projects, and this week I wanted to circle back to share some of the tools we swear by to keep things flowing smoothly at Marbury. I don’t know about you, but I’m endlessly fascinated by the practices and rituals of other creatives (there’s actually a great book about this that we’ll share in an upcoming reading list), though it’s easy for me to feel overwhelmed by all of the options available when it comes to organization and project management. I’ve definitely dabbled in my fair share over the course of six years in business, but landed on a concise system a few years back that I haven’t tinkered with much since.
That being said, everyone’s brain works a little differently, so don’t hesitate to test out a few avenues before deciding on a formula that works best for you. Read on for our top five favorites.
Basecamp is our go-to for project management software, and our preferred platform for onboarding any new client. While email is great for initial communication, having everything organized in one clear place for each project is a lifesaver. We use the Schedule feature frequently to outline our project timelines so clients know what to expect as well.
While notebooks have their time and place (see 03.), I’ve become an absolute convert to this digital to-do list. With a desktop and mobile app that syncs within seconds, you can easily tackle to-do’s on the go, and keep all of your tasks organized in one place. By organizing to-do’s by project and assigning due dates to each task, you have a clear view of what’s on your plate each day.
I like to keep a notebook on hand for random doodles, notes, and sketches, and this one has become a personal favorite for its ease and versatility. While it comes blank and lined, I prefer the grid layout to swap between a horizontal or vertical orientation, depending on what I’m sketching.
When my go-to scheduler, Sunrise, when kaput last year, I turned to Calendly and found comfort in its simplicity. I especially love how it syncs with Google Calendar (another go-to), so you don’t have to worry about double scheduling, or booking calls when you’re out of the studio.
While the majority of our projects are based on a flat-fee structure, I’m always curious to know how much time we actually spend, not only on client work, but on the day-to-day minutiae of running a business. Early last year, I started using Toggl and have had it running every work day since. With over a year of data, we’re able to approach each new project with much more clarity around the time involved (which is always more than you think).
What are some of your favorite organizational tools when it comes to running your creative business? Leave a comment, and let me know what’s making your work life a little easier lately. Have any questions about making these tools work for you? Let me know that, too!