Decluttered By Design

Keeping Organized: A Proven Process

I have always been taught that everything has its own place: from my books in my room, to the dishes in the cupboard and the laundry in the basket. These habitual tasks helped me form a systematized mindset. Yet, there is still room to improve. My desk still gets messy and I accumulate stacks of binders and books. But it has come to a point, where internal bells ring when it is time to reset, clean and organize - not out of responsibility but necessity.

As a freelancing designer and solopreneur, my time and energy is precious. The work falls on me to manage, plan and create. Staying on schedule, prioritizing my time and applying my skills has to be efficient in order to succeed. The times in my life that I have been disorganized have produced poorly executed projects, overwhelming work loads and stress. I have learned from these experiences, that you either continue in this cycle of disarray or get organized!


Organized Design

In college, I had an instructor that was very adamant that we keep our files organized. Looking at how he named and filed his documents was so precise. Any progress to his work, such as a design or video, was individually saved - even to the hour of the day it was made. It seemed ridiculous until he spoke of clients changing their minds, referring back to or requesting versions from days to even months before. I was not into the habit of filing my designs in this way, but decided from then on it was a good idea.

When working as a contracted production designer, the design firm I worked for heavily implemented file naming conventions. They had a definite system that corresponded to their workflow. I experienced how a file name could be a vital piece of information, even a language or code when working in a group. Keeping organized does not just affect you, but your team or your client. And if you want to be a team player or reliable designer, staying efficient and relevant requires that you play by the rules - the rules of organized designing.


Organizing My Focus

Staying organized is a seamless mindset and action. To be organized is just that, a state of being. And it is not an easy state to be in. I still find myself re-organizing and trying new methods to make myself more efficient and aware. There are many business management procedures, design processes and workflows out there. Try one out, see if it works for you.

To stay on top of things, I personally take notes. This skill helps me keep track of my hours, schedule my tasks and further design my projects. In my opinion, everything has its place. And if there is not a place for something that I want, then it is up to me to create that space or reality. With time and practice, you too, can organize your focus to do just about anything! ■

Patricia Atienza