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I am slowly learning how to juggle jobs more effectively (affectively? I can never remember which is which). I am feeling stressed out with so much to do, but I have discovered a few things that make me get though it more smoothly. (You all probably already do these things... I'm a late bloomer, I suppose.) 1. Turn off the sound on your email. That way you aren't tempted to get up from painting every time you hear that chime. Then check email only at designated times during the day. This helps me not disrupt the flow... you know...those times when the painting is just swimming right along and then "ding!", your concentration has been duped.

2. Check blogs for updates once a day. I have a bad habit of checking blogs almost constantly, waiting for updates. That doesn't make it update any faster. And it's just time consuming. For instance, when I need to scan something, it takes my scanner a minute or two to warm up. In that time, I usually go read a blog or two, click though links, etc. And before I know it, I've just spent 15 minutes online, rather than just the one minute it took for my scanner warmup. So now, at the end of each day, I do a run through of all the blogs I check daily...one fell swoop.

3. While waiting for paint to dry, sketch for another job. Or do the color comp of an approved sketch.

4. Another email thought: When you receive an email, immediately file it into an appropriate folder. I have each job I work on in its own folder and this helps me locate things easily. I also have a folder named "Need to Follow Up" where I put messages I don't have time to answer or need time to think about.

5. Organize jobs. In each job folder on my computer I have four subfolders:

(1) "Job information", which contains the work order (with blanks filled in with specs, client contact info, client name, usage rights and whether it's 4color or b/w) and the comp, if the art director sent me one;

(2) "Sketches_working", for the sketches I'm working on before they go to client;

(3) "Sketches_sent", these are sketches that I've emailed to the client;

(4) "Final", the final illustration, scanned and ready for print.

This helps me find archived jobs easier for comps or reprints. All my folders look the same, so I know where the finals are and don't have to dig.

6. Write all jobs, regardless of size, on a big dry erase board that you can see from your desk. That way everything there is to do is right in front of you and nothing accidently slips through the cracks. No missed deadlines!

Boy, this is sounding really anal, huh? I don't mean to. I guess I just need a way to organize physically so my mind has less to chomp on. Helps me work more peaceably. Maybe these ideas will help you too. Or maybe you have even better suggestions. In that case, I'm all ears! :)