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The best way to manage your to-do list as a (Semi chaotic) Creative

Working as a freelancer requires a lot of brain compartmentalising no matter what stage you’re at. Many of us work two or three jobs a week, some creative, some less creative. Others, in a latter stage of their creative career, may be juggling up to a dozen projects a month. Having to switch your brain and creative juices from one type of project to another can require a lot of energy and often result in fatigue and inability to stay concentrated and thus manage time in the most efficient way possible. 

Here is where to-do lists come in. The main thing to remember with to-do lists is that while they are extremely helpful, they will never be fully mastered – and that’s okay! They are there to provide structure and guidance but naturally will never be perfect because they are human-controlled. 

Here is a list of helpful tools and types of to-do lists to help you manage a busy schedule. You can choose to opt for just one or adopt all in an attempt to manage your time better and stay organised. 

iCalendars
Staying on top of many schedules is overwhelming. At Wishu, the second something is booked if we write it in our Apple or Google Calendar. This saves us having to track back through WhatsApp searching for who we promised a coffee with at 3pm on either next Tuesday or Thursday…. Events can always be edited and it’s better just to get in now and rearrange later. 

Digital to-do whiteboards
At Wishu, we swear by Trello. It benefits both the client and the freelancer in that the freelancer knows exactly what work needs to be completed and the client can monitor exactly what’s been done and when. Trello has projects, contexts, tags, views, but mostly it’s useful to pin tasks to dates. Also, whatever you don’t finish today can be moved forward to tomorrow. Incredibly simple, incredibly effective.

Pen and paper
Many creatives find that pen and paper to-dos, especially when completed in the morning, can serve as a soothing form of meditation. Oftentimes, the cognitive and emotional load associated with our screen devices is just so heavy that interfacing with a simple paper list feels like a breather.

We would suggest however, that once you have written up your to-do to digitise it that same day. Paper notes can be lost whereas digital ones are always documented and can also hyperlink to the tasks or meetings at hand. 

Set reminders and notifications
Your to-dos don’t mean much if they’re not done in time. With a reminder app, you can track when work is due and set up timed reminders or notifications to make sure you get your to-dos done in time.

​​Collaboration
When your individual to-do list is organised and your priorities are clear, you can better contribute to team projects and initiatives. In other words, the more organised you are, the easier it’ll be to collaborate with your team.

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