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How to stay organised and be productive

I get a new idea almost everyday. I try to explore and develop those ideas but if I have other things going on at the same time,  it is difficult and I usually leave them like that. Only ideas.
Is because of that it is so crucial to be organised and to have all your ideas and projects clear in your mind and also (very important!) in a planner.

As a freelance illustrator, artist and designer I always have several projects in my hands.
I need to have the process of each project clear and I need to know the progress, the points and the times.

For me the best way of being productive is notting everything down in my planner.
But of course, it's  not as simple as it seems. I need to keep it up to date.

Paper or digital? 
I use a paper planner because I like to make things by hand :) but also I use google calendar because I can have it always with me. If you prefer a digital planner there are a lot available! I have tried Wunderlist and I think is a good and free alternative.

So let's see what I consider is the best way to be productive and stay organised.

1. Have clear your goals and define them with to-do lists

You need to know what you want to achieve before doing it.

Sometimes we just start working on something that we don't have really clear or that we don't know how and when will end.
Other times we just don't feel the motivation and we give up the project.
If you set your goals and spend some time thinking about them you will get better results.

I recommend you to set weekly and monthly goals. 
In my case I try to set weekly little goals every Sunday night. I decide what I want to complete or achieve the next week and then I am able to create to-do lists to make the goals happen.
This to-do list have to be very specific. You need to focus on the detail and put step by step what you need to do.
I usually change or add those points of the to-do list during the week, because while I am working I realise that I need to do something else or that I need to change some part of the process.
But all of this is ok for me because it helps me to stay focused on what I need to do.

2. Focus on one task at a time

If you have different projects in your hands as I usually do, the best advice I can give you is to separate the time of each project well. I like to have 1 or 2 weekly goals at most, so what I do is define the to-do list for each goal and try to set the time I am going to spend for each one. The simplest form for me is doing one task during the mornings and another task during the afternoons. As simple as that.
I try to work on my paintings and illustrations during the morning because I like drawing and painting with natural light :) and I spend the afternoons with the computer, doing digital work, updating my website and the blog, etc...

Many times I am not able of doing this because if I have a timeline I need to work more hours on something and I can't divide my tasks that way. But as always, it depends about the week and the goals I need to achive.

3. Work in a friendly environment 

For me this is very important, and I think the place of work really matters.

Now that I am selling prints of my work I have a temporary warehouse in my studio. I literally am running out of space, and because of this I need to be more organised than ever.
Even I have millions of prints, cardboard rolls, folders, papers, brushes, etc..... in my studio I try to have all tidy and clean. Otherwise I couldn't move :D

So yes, to have your mind organised you need to have your environment organised as well.

4. Save time

Another important thing of being productive: don't waste time.

It's very difficult not to be distracted if you are working on the computer. Or even if you have the phone close. Notifications, emails, research, internet always is calling you... But once again you need to be focused if it's time of working on a task.

One thing that saves me a lot of time is to post on my social networks at once. I just post a picture on Instagram and with the website ITTT the post appears on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest too.
This is really useful because you can have your social networks to update all at once by just posting in one of them.

In my planner I have a monthly, weekly and daily part. I think this is really useful to create the steps of each goal. In the picture above yo can see my monthly calendar. For the moment I just have put an Scotland trip for April :p but I will put my goals for that month soon! And also the planner had some month of 2016 and as I am not going to use them in 2017 I have used this part to put some ideas and notes.

Back to the planner parts, for instance if you yearly goal is to prepare an exhibition, you can divide in months each part of it, like "to think about the concept", "look for galleries", etc and in weeks you can put more detail on that division as "make a list of London galleries", "prepare and send an email to London galleries" etc...

I hope all of this is helpful for you and please feel free to tell me what do you think and some of your tips to stay organised in the comments bellow!

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