Creatives love to spark joy (hi there, Marie Kondo!) with their music, words, and art. But does that mean us creatives are doomed to live in a disorganized, but creative, world? Not necessarily!
We’ve rounded up 20 tips from creative people with major hustle (including Patreon creators) who are ready to help you get your universe in order and enable even more creative awesomeness in your world.
- Make a schedule. No, really. That sounds very uncreative, but a schedule will help you target priorities and prevent you from missing something important. Patreon creator John Whal of Mega Dads says “Time is the most precious commodity we have; whether your Patreon is your full-time job or a passion project, it’s important to plan out and schedule projects and stick to it.”
- Tidy it up, people. You might be madly in love with Marie Kondo, or you might think that folding your underwear is the definition of insanity. But either way, she’s right about one thing: “Tidying your physical space allows you to tend to your psychological space.” Spend just a few minutes at the end of your day to pick up, wash those dishes in the sink, and put your shoes in your closet. Your creative mind will thank you.
- Define your vision. Do you know where you want your business to be one year from now? Making a vision board can help you to get some big dreams organized and written down, helping you be more accountable. After all, in the wise words of Oprah: “Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.”
- Check it off. Jon Stewart had a keen observation about checklists, even if it’s on the sardonic side: “I watch a lot of astronaut movies...Mostly Star Wars. And even Han and Chewie use a checklist.” If Han Solo needs a checklist then so do you, my friend. Want to feel satisfied? Write a checklist every day. Did you do something that wasn’t on the list? Put it on there and then check it off! It’s a great way to stay organized AND it will provide that sense of accomplishment when you get to check things off.
- Take note. Take lots of notes, in fact. And take them in a way that you’ll be able to organize them and track them. For many people, that’s still a notebook. If you’re looking for a more tech-friendly version, Evernote is a great option that lets you tag and organize your content for easy viewing later. And it’s not just for quotes or thoughts; Haus of Layne can show you how to organize business receipts, yay for tax time!
Ready to turn your creative passion into a thriving business? Get started on Patreon today.
- Send an e-mail. Melyssa Griffin is out there totally killing it as an online entrepreneur, and she says you need a mailing list. Want to know why? “Social media is absolutely essential to growing a profitable and engaged blog or business. It connects you to your audience, allows you to share relatable pieces of your life, and drives traffic back to your site. But it does have one big flaw: you can’t control it.” Your mailing list? That you can control. It’s not subject to changing algorithms or tanking stats because you are going on vacation for a week and not posting. Give your patrons the option to join your mailing list; chances are, they will!
- Organize your mind. A little meditation, yoga, a run to clear your head...all of it will help your brain calm down and be more focused when it’s time to get back to work. “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” ― Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life
- Have a morning routine. The New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hollis is a firm believer in morning routines. Her recommendation is to get up at least one hour before you have to get up and take time for yourself. Study, exercise, drink your preferred beverage, plan your day. Your whole world will feel more organized.
- Build efficiency. Getting organized is an investment; anything you’re organizing should make it so you can work faster, more efficiently, and happier. “A good system shortens the road to a goal.” -- Ralph Waldo Emmerson.
- Use a forum to connect with fans. MCrider by Kevin Morris experienced some awesome growth last year. Morris is dedicated to answering his fan's questions, but it started to get overwhelming and hard to keep track of. Instead, he instituted the Patreon Discourse Integration to create a forum for his fans to ask--and answer--questions in an organized way that made answers available to his whole community. "When you have 2,700 supporters on Patreon and 120,000 subscribers on YouTube, you start getting questions from every direction. And I found I was spending a lot of time just to answer one-off questions instead of being able to develop videos. Now I've got other members who are jumping on the board and helping new riders out. A lot of times, I don't even have to answer the question anymore, and it's taken a big load off of me."
- Make it fun. Organization queen Alejandra Costello says “Organizing is just one big game of Tetris.” It doesn’t have to be a week of tearing your house apart or two hours a day of administrative tasks. Find the pieces that make the biggest impact in your life and organize those first. Win the game where it counts, don’t bury yourself with tasks that won’t make a difference in the long run.
- Remove obstacles. Mark Twain said, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” Some of the obstacles might include email alerts, text messages, or other ‘ping’ noises in your day that can distract you from what you were doing. Remove some of those obstacles, silent those alerts, and allow yourself organized time to focus.
- Also, remove stuff. Clutter is not your friend, whether it’s your office, your backpack, your purse, or your bedroom. “Your home is living space, not storage space.” -- Francine Jay, The Joy of Less. Pick one space and get rid of at least 5 things that you don’t use. Repeat often, until what’s left is contributing to your universe in a meaningful way.
- Share your plans with your community. Patreon creator Angela Anderson has over 2,000 followers for her detailed acrylic painting tutorials. But by being organized, she can still take time off because she tells her community in advance. Of her last vacation, Anderson says “My patrons were very supportive. Anytime I do take a break, I make sure my Patreon obligations are met.” So take that schedule you built and share it with your fans in relevant ways. They’ll love knowing when to expect new content and they’ll appreciate your openness about when you’re taking a break.
- Declutter your online presence. We’re talking about your business here, so your Patreon page, Instagram, Facebook, etc. all deserve to be organized, too. Take some time to remove outdated contact, update photos, and tune up your welcome pages so that your followers are seeing the best, most current version of you. “Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.” - Nathan W. Morris
- Actively manage your finances. Organizing your finances is just an app away. Tools like You Need a Budget, Mint, and more will help you build and maintain a budget. Your bank or credit card provider also likely has an app that can help you tag, organize, and categorize expenses. Money guru Dave Ramsey says “A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” Don’t neglect your finances when you’re getting organized!
- A place for everything. Long before Ms. Kondo was sparking joy, Benjamin Franklin taught us that there should be “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” Think of what the three most common items are that clutter up your home--mail, keys, purse, phone, shoes, the list goes on--and designate spots for those things. A hook for your keys, a shelf for your purse, a shoe rack for, well, the shoes. Getting your most used objects organized will make a huge difference.
- Make your bed. Remember when retired U.S. Navy Admiral Seal William H. McCraven taught us all that we should be making our beds? “It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.” Organizing this little piece of your world will start your day on the right note and help you be more prone to organizing throughout your day.
- Take action. Don’t say that you’ll do it tomorrow! Being organized means you take action now. Building a bias for action is a powerful way to stop letting time get away from you. Mel Robbins is the queen of this, with her 5 Second Rule. It’s super simple: you count down, 5...4...3...2..1… and then you do the thing. Period.
- Make organization a habit. Zig Ziglar said “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” The same is true about being organized. It’s a daily habit that deserves to be maintained!