The Tools We Use

tools, collage, task management, iphone, making ideas happen
tools, collage, task management, iphone, making ideas happen
spot what’s wrong with this picture, leave a comment, and i’ll write a blog post about how you have great eyesight

We creative people need our tools. If you have ever read “Making Ideas Happen” by Scott Belsky of Behance, you know that creative types need both kinds of tools: that which creates your work and that which keeps your work organized. 

As a creative, I am normally a highly disorganized and messy person. Being Type A and now identifying myself as an actual adult, I compensate by forcing myself to make habits to stay organized. Part of that is taking copious notes. I love writing things down – it’s soothing partly because in a digital world, it’s nice to switch to analog and partly because an idea or thoughts feels much more concrete when written down. However, this love for writing things down can get a bit out of hand. I save every free blank notebook I get. When I’m having a bad day, I buy a notebook. When I need to write down thoughts while on the train and don’t have a notebook, I use old receipts, envelopes, whatever I could get my hands on and then collect them all on my nightstand. I recently organized both my home desk and office desk and realized I have a collection of blank notebooks in each. (Getting real honest – I’ve switched to jotting notes in my Evernote app).

However, once I started my career and especially now that I manage other people, writing things down doesn’t always help. When you are working on solitary projects, a notebook is your best friend. When you are working on a project with a whole team with many moving parts, it’s necessary to use a tool that allows for collaboration. Myself and one of my colleagues are now using Trello which has replaced our need for an account person (when you work in smaller agencies / startups, you don’t always have the luxury of having a dedicated account person). I’ve now started using Trello to help me organize my creative and personal projects we well.

But I still have to act on my love for notebooks, so I was happy when last December during a particularly stressful workday, I took a trip to McNally Jackson in SoHo and fell in love with the Muse Diary Scheduler from Mochi Things. It’s a fantastic little book where you can write in all of the dates yourself, has both lined and blank pages, calendar, project tracker, and even a mood chart! I decided to use it solely for creative projects at home. What I love about tracking my progress on creative projects is noting how quickly you finish it and how you feel. When you feel like you constantly have creative project ideas, it helps to be self-aware and know what kinds of projects are enjoyable in both the journey and final product.

What sort of tools do you use on a regular basis? Are they digital or analog? What sort of daily organization have you stuck with?

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