Throughout the month I've been working on the 30 Day Creative Cleanse, in an attempt to refresh my design business and get more organized.
This project is an interesting mix of very tangible tasks--like cleaning out your inbox--and brainstorming and planning prompts, like developing goals for the next year. I appreciate this because many people will naturally gravitate toward one or the other--I like the concrete tasks myself--and it's important to realize that both are essential elements for success.
I have not followed the checklist in order because the broader brainstorming tasks really require the kind of time and attention I only have on the weekends, while tidying up my desk is something I can still find the energy for at the end of the day. I've also rarely done 1 task per day, but bunch them up as I can make time for them.
One of the tasks I really need to tackle, but have so far put off, is to develop an accounting system for my business--while I was operating more as a "hobby that brings in pocket money," this wasn't essential, but if I want to approach design as a true business, it's a must. I sell patterns through Ravelry, Craftsy, LoveKnitting, and Etsy (and, soon, Kollaborra), as well as my own site, and while each of those sites collects information on sales, I haven't developed an efficient way to bring all of that information together. And don't even get me started on trying to track the royalties that come in through patterns sold on other sites.
(It gives me a headache just thinking about it, but I've been up since about 3:30a and JJ's suddenly running a fever, so today is probably not going to be the day I figure it all out.)
The biggest task I have tackled is goal setting. I've found myself getting sidetracked from planned projects by other projects, and realized I need to bring some focus to my design process, rather than just knitting on things willy-nilly until a deadline comes up and then knitting until my fingers cramp in order to meet it. So I've developed some hopefully-obtainable goals for the rest of this year, and some longer term goals for the next year, and written them up in a handy goal planning worksheet, which I try to keep with me when I'm working so I don't lose focus.
The last major task is to come up with a calendar system that actually works for me--including developing checklists for daily/weekly/monthly etc. tasks that need my attention. I already have a basic weekly checklist, but it needs fine tuning, and I also need to work on streamlining and/or automating whatever tasks I can.
Overall, I've found this process very valuable, but I still have plenty of work ahead of me!
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