How do you stay organized?

Papers, ideas and more papers! I thought I would share a new way that I am staying organized as I juggle different aspects of my business. I often work in different spots in my house and often work from about 100 different journals. This has ended up being a PROBLEM so I solved it recently with some good old fashioned 3 ring binders and some inserts. Listen in as I explain my new plan of attack.

I also share how I put a small mood board on the front sleeve inside my binder to make sure I keep the look and feel or Smart Creative Style consistent. It helped me  communicate my “visual” vision as I have brought people on board to help. Here is an exclusive peek at that mood board!


After recording this I saw that one of my favorite women, Rachel Shingelton, carries custom made binders in her etsy shop. You can get yourself organized with a CUTE binder! I saw she was having  a SALE and emailed her to see  if it would last through today and she extended it for the rest of the week. WOOT!

You can get 25%  your order for the rest of the week with the code SCHOOLDAYS.  No more ugly binders, people!

You may remember the interview that I did with Rachel from Pencil Shavings Studio? She is one smart cookie so I have asked her to come on board for Smart Creative Style. I am getting really excited about the line up for SCStyle. When I have been recording them, the information they are providing is so on point for you and your business (ok, for my business too!) I am just beyond thrilled!

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  • Lisa Hetrick says:

    Great video! I always love hearing ideas on organization. Me… I’m a techy girl. So, I use my iPhone, iPad and computer all synced. I use Evernote to keep client conversations, notes, deadlines that all cross link to my calendar. I work virtually with a partner and use a lot of the Google tools available like Google Voice and Google Drive. Also, dropbox… the bombdiggity for file sharing. I do use the binder method for business receipts, billing, etc. Thanks for sharing Monica.

    • Monica Lee says:

      I pretend I am techy, but in a crunch I need to physically write things out for them to work out in my brain!!

  • MaryJane Mitchell says:

    Thanks Monica for another great video.
    The best thing I did for organizing lately was to go through all of my artwork and designs and organize them. I found so many designs that I had “forgotten” about and realized that I could re work them and use them again by making them up to date.
    thanks again MaryJane

  • Desiree East says:

    My fave, fave, FAVE thing to do is ORGANIZING…which is funny, because my studio could be clean and organized one day, and by the end of the week, it is a MESS!! But an organized messed, of course!! But, yes, binders are my best friend, as well as online productivity tools, such as Evernote and G+Calendar and my new fave too, Asana. Thanks for sharing…and I totally agree, about finding cute binders with licensed artwork – we have to have cute stationary on our desks, c’mon, it def contributes to my productivity levels. LOL!

    • Monica Lee says:

      I do the G+ calendar as well as a written but Evernote was not for me! Interesting that you LOVE organizing…might be something to capitalize on for you, hahah!

  • Faye Brown says:

    I think I need this folder! So I started using the mobile app trello which is brilliant but I’m like you and tend to find myself writing things by hand, and sketching little ideas so it’s not so great for that. I’ve got a weekly planner pad which is fabulous but lately I’ve found I have to think much more in advance of just one week.

  • Loved this video Monica! I am an organizing junkie! I love trolling the aisles of anywhere that carries little bins and baskets or anything to do with office supplies! What I have found helpful is my file tote. Its a portable hanging filing system which can stand on its own but it has straps like a bag. I try to keep a file folder with all my current client projects (one per client) plus anything that is something I need to be addressing in the near future. I have a general office folder as well as one for family related items. I try to only have one folder out at a time to keep from feeling overwhelmed.

    The tote allows me to throw any bits of paper or inspiration into the appropriate folder as well as only taking what I need. I’m either out of the house or in one of three rooms when I work and I’ve found this to be the best system. I picked mine up at target but they only have them from time to time. Here’s a link to something similar.

  • Michelle Schneider says:

    I also use Whitney’s Day Designer and LOVE it. I also have a really cheap composition notebook for journaling and a few sketchbooks. My sketchbooks change over time…sometimes I’m really into the small ones I can carry in my purse, but now I’m starting to want a big spiral bound cheap one that I can paint and scribble all over. I use the sketchbooks as a brain-dump kind of thing and scribble notes everywhere.

  • Lee Kellogg says:

    Hi Monica,
    Love this short video and your idea of a different note book for each arm or segment is a great idea. I use Levenger Circa note books, I bought a punch so I can add what I need to it, It’s easy to move pages around and I stay organized, sort of. I use the junior size but am thinking of moving up to the letter size as a letter size sketch book has crept into my life. I am liking the space of the larger size.

    And what’s this about not enough colors on the notebook? Take some paint to it and make it yours! (Smile)
    Thanks again!

  • Great topic and I'm sort of an organization junkie as well! I've been trying to get back more organized because the new mom territory totally threw my old system out the window! There's this need to be more flexible now! I too have the problem of using a million different journals. It's good to at least have things written down, but sometimes it's hard to get it all together into one place. I think that often I struggle with wanting things on paper, but also digitally because that's easier to keep updated and get alerts/reminders for appointments. Thanks for sharing your ideas… I think the point is to create your own agenda and system – whatever works for you… because it's hard to find something that fits specifically to your situation, so we have to put several things together!

  • Poppy says:

    Thanks for bringing this up monica as I am totally feeling like that at the moment and all these comments have helped. Also I have found a digital solution which is It free and it bit like pinterest with boards but you can put list and files on as well. The great thing is you can share you boards with designated people if you need too.

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