Organisation and creativity may seem unlikely partners; but in my experience, one is the less sexy driver of the other. Whilst juggling working from home and the various needs and deadlines of clients, I've found that my creativity flourishes best when I'm organised. And I don't just mean this in a day-to-day way. When I know: what I need to do for the next month, have detailed plans, use the necessary tools for the task & have time to lean into my ideation process, I create better work.
So rather than hoard all my favourite resources to myself, I'm sharing five of the platforms, businesses and apps that help me stay focussed and creative. (Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I only share companies that I am actively using and truly believe in.)
An Organised Life
I have been encouraged many times to lean completely on digital calendars and workflow management tools, but I don't think I'll ever be brought over to the dark side now that AOL are in my life. I love nothing more than putting pen to paper and highlighting items off the list once they're complete — so it makes sense why my forays into digital workflow management platforms has felt flat and lack lustre. Once a Moleskin advocate (I still hold them in high regard - but they just don't offer me what AOL can!), I'd say I'm a full convert to An Organised Life's weekly diary, monthly planner and notebooks. I use the three systems to: look at my week in detail and process my goals and achievements, create a monthly overview and keep my ideas and notes filed for future reference. And the fact that an Organised Life also has downloadable challenges and documents to help organise my personal life is a huge bonus! I'm currently completing the 30 Day Challenge and loving the sense of accomplishment it brings to the end of each day.
Whilst paper trails might not be as useful to creatives managing teams, I cannot recommend An Organised Life more for your personal workflow. Here is 10% off An Organised Life to get you started — or to put towards your 2022 diary.
My only regret about Flodesk is not having been introduced to it earlier. I've tried MailChimp and Active Campaign; the former felt too clunky and the latter too sophisticated for my needs. And neither allowed me to create elevated, designed emails in line with the rest of my brand. Flodesk is designed beautifully with click & drag boxes and simple workflows that help me send emails that are tailored to my audience. I'm now spending less time creating my email marketing and newsletters and feel confident that I'm only sending out emails that are on brand. If you're needing to overhaul your newsletters and want to try Flodesk, this code will give you 50% off your subscription.
This might be the least exciting suggestion I'll make. But Xero has been a lifesaver for my business accounting and has certainly freed me up from the least appealing side of running a business (for me). I resisted using an accounting program for a number of years but given how much time I now save processing my business expenses and payments and how easy it is to run reports, I can see in hindsight that was a mistake and cost me valuable creative time. I had my bookkeeper set up my Xero account and now all I have to do is allocate funds to different accounts which is a once fortnightly job. And what a blessing it is at tax time!
I love taking photographs on the fly on my travels and for Instagram so Lightroom is my best friend when I'm editing photographs to ensure they look cohesive and complimentary to one another. I used to spend hours editing my images; and then re-editing images for different platforms. But Lightroom allows me to save presets and apply them to every image — saving me time and back and forth checking whether images are complimentary.
There comes a point in every small businesses' development when putting your hand up and saying you want to learn more or you need help is not just advisable; it's necessary to grow. If, like me, you don't come from a family or background of small business it is good to be able to lean into the wisdom & support of mentors who are a few steps ahead. And part of organising is having future vision for what is to come. One of my best mentor experiences came from Pru Chapman of High End Hustlers. Pru has mentored a variety of small business owners — many of whom you will be familiar with — and I found the course game-changing in terms of reconfiguring the day to day running of my business, changing my financial mindset and being liberated to succeed. I'm still in regular contact with other business owners who I went through the course with and we keep each other accountable to our business goals.
And I couldn't recommend Alicia from Harper Collective also if you're looking to reinvigorate the marketing of your business. With practical, friendly guidance on what you need to do to achieve your marketing goals, Alicia will put easy to follow plans together to achieve the ideas you have in mind for the next 6 months.