A while a go a student on my logo design course emailed and asked me how I go about organising my work. I though I would share my response:
Create a Job Book
How I work – Get yourself an A4 (or legal size) lined pad or binder with lined paper – this can be used as a job book.
Then create some columns headed up – Date, job number, client, job description (I will jot down what the job is worth here too) and an invoice date column. Obviously tailor these columns to best suit you.
Then each time I start a new job I give it a job number I use my initials and then a number (don’t start at one if you are working for clients as it makes you sound new). So for example lets say I am just starting a job today – in the job book put the date 24th Feb 2013, then job number TR103, fill in the rest of the information job description client etc. This also helps you keep track of what you need to bill.
You can of course do this digitally if you want.
Files on my Computer
Then on my computer I have a “Freelance Work: folder and in it client folders. When I get a new job for a client and have booked it in my job book I create a folder in the appropriate client folder and name it the job number plus a description e.g.. TR103 Range Brochure 2013. In it I split it up into folders called hires, rough, illustrator etc etc to hold all the different files. As I work on a job and there are file revisions I call the file names v1, v2 etc – as the classic client thing is they want to revert to something from an old version.
To Organise my Work Schedule
I use the Mac App “Things” for scheduling work (I used to do this manually on paper for the first few years – you can do this if you want). If you want something similar that’s free try Wunderlist. “Things” and Wunderlist are great as you can create Client folders and then a Todo list for each client with a date you are going to work on the job.
To backup my work
I use Carbon Copy Cloner to do a regular automated daily back up (you can also use Time Machine on a Mac) to an external hard drive.
I used to also do a weekly back up to another hard drive that I would keep off site (in my car). Now though I use CrashPlan an online back up service. The first online backup takes quite a while, but after that it’s good. If you want your data backed up to the cloud there is a monthly fee – I currently pay $5.99 a month but you can back up to someone else’s computer for free (for example you and a friend can back up to each others computers).
Archiving completed jobs
For archiving stuff I have completely finished I create back up DVD’s (2 copies). These I name by the month I am backing them up e.g.. February 2013 bk up 1 and put all the folders I no longer need in there. You can then use a little app called DiskTracker to catalogue these disks. This creates a searchable database so you know exactly which DVD to find old jobs on. Plus as you have used the job numbers in both your job book and on your computer you have a few different ways to search.