There is tremendous power in being organized. It frees your mind and relieves stress. It gives you focus so that you can become more productive and achieve your goals. But more importantly, it gives you power to create as an artist.
When you’re organized, you’re balanced and you have a clearer focus on what it is you are trying to accomplish. However, being organized is not always a strength for us as artists, and a lot of that comes from how our brains are wired—but it can be learned.
Information comes at us so fast now that sometimes it feels like we can’t catch up. What used to be a lot of clutter on your desks has now become clutter on your desktops. It is easy to procrastinate and let it build up on us. But when you do, I really feel that you lose so much freedom and power as an artist.
Try to look at the time spent organizing the files on your desktop as valuable as the time you spend trying to find work as an actor. I know that sounds kind of crazy, but think about it. When you open your computer and you first thought is, Ah, I need to organize this stuff, does that not demotivate you to work on a project? Being organized allows you to find information quickly and efficiently. It allows more time for you.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Put every file into a folder as soon as you are done with it or have downloaded it.
2. Create a “miscellaneous” folder for downloads you create that are temporary. Don’t download everything onto your desktop. File or delete the download once you are done with it so your download folder has hardly anything in it.
3. Keep your desktop super clean. Try to have about three or four folders and files on your desktop. Personally, I have a current headshot folder, current résumé folder, a current project folder, and two files that I downloaded that I have not filed away yet.
4. Create and use folders within your email and file every email you have. Use your inbox as a call-to-action of either things you have not read or things you have to tend to. Move everything else into a folder and don’t let any email sit in your inbox for more than a week.
Emails in your inbox and sent box should only be active emails, and once you have acted on them or someone has responded, file it or delete it.
Once you reply to an email, delete it out of your inbox. If you are waiting for a reply from it, leave the sent email in your sent box as a reminder.
5. Keep a notebook at your desk and write down all the tasks that you need to get done for the month. Don’t keep anything in your head.
6. If a thought or task comes to you while you away from home, write it down in a named file either in Notes for iPhone or use Evernote, a crazy useful software that everyone should know and use. My life is on Evernote. Get in the habit of organizing your thoughts.
7. Make a new list every couple of days with items you still have to do, but also new items. Don’t work with an overly cluttered list that has lots of items scored out and notes written all around it so that it is disorganized to look at. This will sap your energy and inspiration.