I’m usually very organized, and have enjoyed bringing order to other people’s chaotic closets and/or papers. There’s a certain satisfaction derived from neatly arranged drawer contents, shoes lined up in rows, piles consolidated, clutter contained. I can’t control when agents/editors/casting people will call or when or which jobs I’ll book, but I can control how neat my stuff and place are.
Though my clothes hang by color and type and even my junk drawer isn’t messy, keeping track of computer files still proves a challenge. Especially when I’m multitasking to meet impending deadlines and so working 12 hour days (completing 4 VO e-learning courses, a non-fiction manuscript with a co-author, Web site for said manuscript, workshop proposal, auditions, etc.), orderliness devolves into disarray.
1. I think I’ll remember the name of a file and where I saved it. But then when I need it, where did the darn thing go?
2. drafts: my co-author and I are trying to use a ‘book to date’ method. But if she sends snippets to insert or a draft of a single chapter…I get confused by what goes where and end up comparing versions to make sure I’ve gotten all of the updates and answered all questions.
3. flash drives: I have a bunch…and since they’re so small it’s hard to label what’s on them like you could floppy disks.
4. E-mails: going through chains of e-mails to find important bits can be tedious, especially if the subject doesn’t describe the contents.
5. Passwords: I know they’re supposed to be strong (mix of caps, numbers, symbols), etc. And you’re supposed to change them frequently. These days it seems more and more sites want you to register…so the list expands.
6. I have Excel spreadsheets for auditions, jobs, writing submissions, expenses. They can get unwieldy if there’s too much info. On the other hand, sometimes I want more than I’ve entered. Or if don’t update them regularly, going back through correspondence or notes can take a while.
I need to invest some time on to improve my system so I can save time and frustration in the future. Check out these suggestions: