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  • Nathan Thompson

Thinking inside the box


Receipts all over the place, shoved in a box, stuffed behind the sofa? You’re not the first and certainly won’t be the last. So why are some people organised and some not? According to Psychology today there are “five main reasons”[1]

  • Don’t know how

  • Gets distracted

  • Don’t feel like it

  • Have to clear up first

  • Need the tools

Believe it or not (I have science to back me up on this one #justsayin) but a study in 2011 showed there is no difference in ability between ‘logical thinkers’ and ‘creative thinkers’[2].


What does this mean then? Well it means you don't have the excuse that creatives cannot get organised.


Let’s be honest with ourselves here, I think the main reason we don’t get organised is…. getting organised is boring.


Sitting there and sifting through bits of paper when you would rather be creating the next masterpiece. Personally I would rather be playing Fallout 4 than sitting at my desk organising my own receipts and invoices (I know, I know, an accountant that would rather be doing anything other than organising their own receipts!).


However, it is really important to get organised. Being an actor, musician, painter, author, singer, playwright, theatre techie… you're still running a business. Sure its not running Tesco so you don’t need heavy analytical tools designed to work out if cheddar cheese sells better on Thursday morning compared to baked beans on a Sunday afternoon, but you do need to know if you have enough money to pay the tax bill at the end of the year.


So, what can you do to get organised? Here are a 3 of my tips for getting organised


ONE: Make lists.

I love making lists of the jobs I have to get done. I have my main one for all the jobs that need doing that year. With boxes for me to colour in when each stage of the job gets completed. I then break my lists down to daily and weekly tasks. CONFESSION TIME: I sometimes add things to my list I have already done just to tick them off, so I feel like I have done more that day!



TWO: Use Folders (physical or on the computer)

My desktop has 1 icon, everything else is organised in folders. There are 2 reasons for this:

  1. I can find things quickly, I spend less time hunting for documents so I can get on with my job. Client needs a copy of the payslips for September 2 years ago, no problem. Client file – payroll – year – month. I don’t need to sift through all the client’s records.

  2. Easy to backup. If it all goes up in a cloud of smoke, I know that I can easily restore my files because they are backed up in much the same was as above. Backup drive – Year – month. Done!


Use physical folders as well. I have a wallet folder for each job I’m working on, anything to do with that job goes into the folder. CONFESSION TIME: My in tray often has a pile of folders I haven’t put in the filing cabinet yet, the firm I used to work for had a filing clerk so I didn’t have to worry about it and I've gotten lazy





THREE: Use a calendar

This can be electronic like outlook or one pined up in the kitchen. For personal stuff we have a family calendar app, this links to my work calendar in Outlook so I can see who is around on what day if I need to book a meeting. Linking the family and work calendars is really useful especially if you have kids. I get a weekly email telling me what I’ve got going on that week, and I get extra email reminders throughout the week. Either to pay people or if I need to pick the kids up from tae kwon do.





Hopefully you find these tips helpful

[1] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-intelligent-divorce/201405/why-you-cant-get-organized


[2] http://theconversation.com/exploding-the-myth-of-the-scientific-vs-artistic-mind-57843