Organization Shall Set You Free

Organization. It’s unsexy. It’s the bowl-haircut next to the spikey tousled “do” of it’s hot cousin: creativity. But guess what? Organization is the engine that drives creativity. Without it, you don’t have any of the elements to see your design vision through to completion:

  • Time-management Didn’t budget in enough time for that? That’ll cost you. Every designer has that 13th-hour decision, where they have to compromise and sacrifice. But that should be the exception, not the rule. Being organized allows you to have the luxury of time — and the foresight to know when you don’t have enough for extravagance.
  • Multi-tasking Show me the designer who has the luxury of working on 1 project at-a-time and I’ll show you a poor designer. Time is money and being able to juggle multiple jobs is a necessity. Coordinating different jobs and different schedules adequately turns a stressful situation into a pensive one. You have to do it, so do it right.
  • Knowledge It’s 3:47pm. Do you know where your ABC account image file is (you know, the one where you spent 2 hours color correcting  the doctor’s arm)? If you have an intelligent file system — one that you religiously adhere to — you do.
  • Systems Work has a flow to it. When you are organized, that flow is harmonious. You are relaxed and have the ability to effortlessly prioritize. A proper system means that you have a trusted holding bin for everything that you should not be focused on at the moment. You can focus on the task-at-hand. Proper organization has a calming, almost meditative effect. I find myself in a better creative place when I don’t have to worry about remembering to email this client later in the day; or not to forget to change the images to CMYK before it goes to press tomorrow. I can relax and focus because I trust my holding system to collect what I need and have it available for when I need it.

So, despite what you may have heard, organization is actually for the lazy. Better to have the discipline to do a few small steps now to save you from several wasteful steps later. And, at heart, aren’t all designers lazy, slacker artists? Or, at least that’s what my mom thinks…