The Exquisite Mess | Skillshare Projects

Amanda Farough

Web Designer & Developer



The Exquisite Mess

I have the uncanny ability to start and stop organizational paradigms more effectively than I ever was at actually implementing it. Just like my cover photo says: I am an exquisite mess.

I'm pretty good at doing things, but processing, organization, and reviewing? Not so much. 

As a freelancing designer & developer, I've gotta get a better handle on actually USING a system, instead of getting "omgSOCOOL" and then deciding that I have better things to do. I definitely have a tendency toward reaction, instead of planning.

What I currently do is plan my days out in the morning. I figure out which things require the most attention, based on emails that I have flagged in my inbox. Then, using the Bullet Journal approach, I make that day's checklist and see what I can get done. I don't plan farther in advance than a day or two, currently.

My Quiz Results

Diagnostic Results

See what I mean? Oof. I've got work to do.

Update 1: Collecting My Mess in Todoist

Holy frak, Batman. That is a LOT of stuff that I have kicking around my brain. I'm still finding more. This is the most freeing thing that I've done since I started my business in 2009. 

I'm in the midst of simply archiving all of my email for now. I don't use Gmail for my work email, so I've created a new IMAP folder in my work account and I'm archiving every last thing in there. (Select All > Move Stuff to New Folder > BREATHE)

Everything from the last two weeks has been processed and assigned an action. Everything else goes into Archive.

I've been pretty diligent about flagging things for follow-up in my inbox, thankfully, so anything older than two weeks has been flagged and I'm in the midst of processing that now. 

I'm also configuring RescueTime + Evernote. omgsomuchchange.

Update 2: Processing My Mess

I feel like this new system is kind of like inception. There's always a little something integrated with something else. I separated and organized out all of the areas + projects. Next up: the physical inbox. I've had one for ages... but just use it as a random catch-all, instead of, y'know... usefully.


I solemnly swear that I'll try not to do all the things at once. I'm going to see if I can whittle down some of those deadlines more mindfully on my next pass.

Update: Organization & Keepin' Up

It's been two days since I started implementing these systems and I'm already seeing a sharp up-turn in my productivity. Some days, I was only crossing a few things off my to-do list before I had to turn in for the night.

(Life as a mama, yo.)

Yesterday + today both saw 25+ actionable items completed, both personally and professionally. And, thanks to the knowledge that I'm gaining, I've managed to convince clients to join my new development workflow more willingly.

All of my containers are set up in both Todoist & Evernote. I'm more methodical in recording my actionable items as they come up, while managing my research + inspiration in a more meaningful way.

Profound changes, man. Like a boss, indeed.

Update: Rejiggering all of my other digital pieces

I've used Dropbox for the last four and a half years for my business. I just sort of... didn't really worry too much about the file structure outside of keeping like things together. The only thing that was properly organized was my client file structure, with the file structure corresponding to the point in the project they were at.

I'm keeping that.

I'm getting rid of the rest of the structure in lieu of the Projects, Areas, Resources, and Archived structure.

I can already feel this weight off my shoulders. Going on autopilot for my daily organization & project work has been a profound shift. I don't have to think about where things are. Next up: to organize all of the fonts I've purchased over the last five years. That might take a while...

Update: Two weeks later

I have never, EVER in my whole life been this productive. Though I find myself slipping up a bit here and there, I've managed to keep myself on track through parents visiting, children squawking, and client intake insanity. 



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