Hi everyone and welcome back to another week on the Chrissie Murphy Designs blog. Today I‘m sharing some tips on how to stay organised as an artist. We live in a busy society with so many things demanding our time and attention. If you’re anything like me, you‘re active in your local church and community, you’re raising kids, working full time and you’re taking whatever spare time you can find to create. When you are trying to fit so much into your day, organisation skills are key! They are what’s going to make or break you.
There’s a verse in Proverbs 24:27 that says, “Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house“. In other words, before undertaking a project, plan and prepare for it. Why? So your time can be dedicated to it. Imagine setting out to build a house and then halfway through it your potato crop needs harvesting. Your time is divided and you can’t dedicate yourself fully to the project. Take the time before hand to plan and prepare, get yourself organised so that when it comes time to create, you just can! Today I’m going to share some apps and tools that I use to help organise and plan my day and hopefully these will be helpful for you too.
This is one of my most favourite apps ever, it’s a mind mapping tool. It enables you to dump ideas, meaning you don’t have tonnes of things flying around in your head that you’re trying to remember. You dump your thoughts into MindMeister so your mind is freed up to move on and focus on what really matters, which is creating. It’s fantastic for brainstorming creative ideas too. I went into more depth about MindMeister in this previous blog post if you’d like some more info.
Reminders for Iphone
If you have an iPhone, you’ve got Reminders because it’s a core app for the iPhone. My reminders are set up into categories, and you could explore having something similar. You could have categories set up for things like a WishList, Appointments or a To Do List, for example. I have enabled Siri to work with Reminders using the GPS on my phone. Siri knows where I live and where I work, so I can speak into my phone and say, “Hey Siri, remind me to order new pencils when I get home.” As soon as I arrive home and walk in the door Siri creates the Reminder and I do what I need to do. I need this app like you wouldn’t believe! My memory is absolutely terrible and it’s not getting any better, it’s getting worse the older I get, so I remind myself about everything. All that aside though, this is a system you can deploy in 5 minutes and you can personalise it to suit your creative processes.
This app is what’s behind all of the graphics on my blog and my Social Media accounts. Any quotes that you see on my blog as images, any of the cover photos for my Pinterest boards and the highlight images on Instagram are all created using Canva. Pssst, let me let you in on a little secret…. This is the app that creates the appearance of me being organised online! Hah! You see, it’s all smoke and mirrors my friend. When you look at my Pinterest account, you see something that looks organised. Canva is what does that! And you know when something looks organised, it starts to make you want to be organised. Well, Canva is like that, it’s like a best friend that’s rooting for you, saying “you can do it!” It has made me become more organised as an online artist, so give it a try and see what it can do for you.
The other thing I have is a planner. It’s nothing flash, just one I bought from KMart, but in it is my life!
I use it to create my posting schedules for social media and to record notes from webinars or teaching’s I watch online. It records my appointments, my Etsy orders, my website and social media statistics… you name it, there’ll be a place for it in my planner.
If you need to take photos of something as a reference for your next piece, record it in your planner, then push it to Reminders. If you want to tell everyone to come to an exhibition you’re involved in, create a posting schedule in your planner and start publicising it online. This is a great way to stay organised and the best way to ensure you have regular content being created. Plan to do it! I honestly can’t get by without my planner, I look at it every single morning to remind myself of what it is I’ve got planned for the day. It’s a 10 minute job that sets you up for success.
Another app I love for storing different things is Evernote. I have Evernote synced between my phone and my laptop, so my devices can talk to one another. I use Evernote for storing my hashtags. So, I’ve got a Notebook in Evernote called “hashtags,” and within the hashtags notebook are different notes. Each note contains different groups of hashtags. So let’s say I was going to do a post on Instagram, one of my Connect with the Creator posts which features nature photography, I would go to my Evernote Notebook for hashtags, I would go to the note that’s called Nature Photography and copy the 20 hashtags I’ve stored. I also use Evernote to store Swipe Files. As you surf around the Internet and you see some art you really like, perhaps it’s the way something is coloured or it’s composition, or you receive an email and you like how someone expressed something, it’s easy to forget what you saw after a while. I save these things to a Swipe File in Evernote. It’s a quick process… you find something you like and then you send it to Evernote (just like you’re sending an email). Then when you’re creating you can go to your Swipe File for inspiration.
Notes for iPhone
Another app that’s underrated for awesomeness is the Notes app on iPhone. I really mean this! When I write a blog post, I begin by speaking into the Notes app. I just ramble away and it dictates everything. When I’m finished I go back and edit the note so it makes sense, and then I push it into WordPress. All of my rough drafts are stored as notes on my phone in a folder, but you can have folders created to store all sorts of different notes. For example all your social media posts could go into a Social Media folder. You could have a folder for Pinterest and this could contain all of the descriptions you’ve created for your Pinterest boards. You could store hashtags you use here as well. You could plan out a daily schedule if you were participating in an art challenge like Inktober etc or you could record ideas for what you want to create in the future. The Notes app works best when you set up folders to hold your notes, it makes everything just that bit easier to find. Remember, it’s all about planning and preparing.
Lastly, the other app that’s handy as a bit of a planning tool is Wunderlist. Wunderlist is an app that stores lists. You make different sorts of lists for things that you want to capture. Currently I use it for goal setting, planning and recording things. But basically, if you can turn it into a list or fit it into a list, put it into the Wunderlist app. Then you can tick things off as you achieve them. I love the record keeping aspect of this app, it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you look back on what you’ve accomplished.
Okay, so that’s about it for today’s post. I hope that there’s something here you’ve found helpful. Maybe you’ve picked up a tip or two that you can incorporate into your processes to help you stay organised. I totally understand that being an artist, amongst all of life’s other commitments, can be difficult, so the more organised you can be, the better. But remember, it’s all about preparing and planning. As an artist you are going to produce your best work if you can dedicate yourself to it. That’s what the organising is all about, it’s about setting yourself up for creative success. If you’ve got an app or a another tip you swear by, I’d really love to hear about it. Leave me a comment down below.
In the meantime, let me tell you a little secret…. if you want the heads up on things before the rest of the world, if you’re after the latest news, shop discounts and the odd freebie or two, you’ve gotta sign up to my email list. It’s the monthly email you don’t want to miss.
Until next week connect with the Creator, let Him inspire you. His magnificence and beauty is everywhere, even in at and craft.