Happy Monday to all you guys! I had a wonderfully relaxing weekend – reading, salt baths, a visit to Trader Joe’s and some much needed time spent at the gym, and it helped reset myself mentally and physically.

This year I promised to myself that one thing (in addition to many) I would focus on, would be to become more organized all around – at work, at home and with personal endeavors/projects. In the past I haven’t fully appreciated the lengths to which organization can soothe one’s mental state. I’ve come to understand that for me personally, a messy and unorganized surrounding, contributes to an unproductive mental state. As a creative professional I constantly have a ton of ideas, half-baked project concepts and rules of composition and typography, floating around in my head, but it’s important to take control of what you are able to and to organize yourself.

I’ve complied 3 things, ahem a short list of tips, which is by no means finished or comprehensive but has really helped me keep myself neat while at work and at home.

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1. Clean out old junk folders
One thing I’ve been terrible with is throwing a ton of files into general folders, just to keep up the appearance of a clean desktop. But rather than throwing everything into general folders, I now like to create sub-folders that are super specific. This way when I’m searching for something, I can find it quickly and easily. There’s nothing worse than trying to find that picture of a pattern you need to retrace and you can’t figure out if your ass threw it into the “work”, “side projects”, “patterns” or the “work in progress” folder. For example, I have vacation photos sorted into folders by place and day of the trip. I keep old design work from college organized by the classname and the specific week of the assignment and I keep inspiration in “food”, “style”, “interiors”, “seasonal”, etc.

2. Use proper naming conventions for files
Rainboots_edit.psd is about as helpful as a porcupine in a balloon factory, and i’ve learned that the hard way. I used to save files very sloppily, but I’ve been working on ironing out these bad habits since I graduated school. You see, I’m no longer designing with just myself in mind. I work in an art department where it’s essential for anyone to be able to locate your file in case they need to make changes to it. Now I save files with the name of the job, the version of the file and sometimes the date, if appropriate. Then the files get shuffled away in proper folders for maximum organization. C’mon peeps, get on this level! It feels good.

3. Finish things you start
While this might not seem like physical organizing, it’s another important aspect of staying organized mentally. It’s important to finish things that you start. Yes I realize this is opening up a can of worms because for some creatives, having a multitude of projects/assignments going on simultaneously is essential to keeping them on their toes and creatively stimulated. However, for me I prefer to begin a project and see it through even it it takes awhile before I can truly focus my attention on another long term project. If I have a bunch of things that are half finished and sit for awhile, I lose the momentum I once had, as well as the drive to finish them. However, there will always be those projects you just fall into a rut with and it’s okay to put those ones to bed if you feel like they are no longer working. Think of it as just another creative exercise rather than a failure. Design in subjective, we hardly FAIL or WIN in this arena people, it depends on who you ask and the day you ask it.

I hope this is a lll helpful to whoever is out there reading this. I derived inspiration from my own experience, fellow designers at work, as well as this awesome article http://www.fastcocreate.com/user/rae-ann-fera

Now go out into the world and keep being your awesome selves!Image

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