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Any advertising/design/web freelancers want to share?

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  • Any advertising/design/web freelancers want to share?

    I've been incorporating various versions of the GTD system for the last three years. It's by far the best I've used in regard to flexibility ease of use.

    With the start of the new year, I'm re-examing how I can improve on the system I'm using. My situation is this: I work a full-time job in public relations, but manage a freelance communications studio in the evening and wee hours of the morning. I've also been fortunate to be a hired pen for a few computer books for a couple major publishers. I also have a family and the hectic life that comes with trying to juggle all of these "roles." Being organized is the only way I can stay afloat in this environment.

    In that light, I thought I'd ask if any other GTD'ers would mind sharing how they've set up their GTD system. Not to be rude, but I'm really looking for folks in similar situations: two full-time jobs with everything tracked in one system (either pen or digital).

    I'll start:

    1) Everything is tracked in Outlook on a home computer (freelance machine) and an office computer (day job). I use a PocketPC essentially as a means of synching data between the two computers.

    2) All projects are tracked in Outlook Tasks. I can't stand the appearance of Outlook Notes and the inability to scroll.

    3) I've created a category for each project and view Tasks using the Category View:

    [f] Redesign
    [f] Storefront Upgrade
    [f] Jones Corporate Brochure
    [w] Lumina Press Release
    [w] Rotary Club Speech
    [w] Integrate Acrobat 6.0 with Team

    [f] indicates a freelance project; [w] indicates a work-related project.

    4) Next actions for each project are individual tasks assigned to the project category:

    [f] Redesign
    - Get logo from client
    - Set up hosting package
    - Concept home page

    I use these tasks as project planning notes so I can easily see what I have to do for each project.

    5) Next Actions are pulled from the project tasks and assigned a category of [f] *Next Actions or [w] * Next Actions.

    Since 99% of what I do is on a computer hooked into the Internet, context-specific lists don't work for me.

    6) When I'm at work, all tasks are sorted by category and filtered so only tasks with [w] are displayed. Likewise, at the home studio, only [f] category tasks are displayed.

    I've tried to simplify this system, but I keep coming back to this method of dividing the projects.

    Anyone else want to chime in?

  • #2
    I'm in a very similar situation - managing multiple projects for an Ad Agency in NYC.

    What you described sound almost identical to what I am using, including having some "Zen Minimal" categories. If I am sitting at my desk - I don't find a signifigant drop in productivity when shifting from "@ Computer" to "@ Office" - so the two have been merged.

    So - while I may not be offering any revolutionary ideas here - I thought I would lend my support (cheerleader?) from someone else in "The Industry."


    • #3

      How do you track notes for client projects?

      Like I stated above, I can't stand the yellow Post-It-type notes in Outlook. I've created a task with the subject "_Project Notes" that is always at the top of the task list in when I use the category view (again, categories are project names in my system).

      The only downside to that method is when I view tasks as a list. I have a ton of "_Project Notes" tasks piled up.



      • #4
        Wow! I use almost an identical system!!!

        The only slight difference is that I primarily use a laptop. As for Project Notes, I actually have a corresponding folder in my harddrive where I store all this extra information (along with the actually project files itself). Of course this doesn't help you since you use 2 PSs!

        Sorry that I couldn't be of much help, but check out this thread:

        There might be some tips there


        • #5
          Thanks for the link. I actually reconfigured my system to pretty closely follow the one described by webagogue. He's got some great ideas that I wish he would continue to share with the rest of us Outlook/Pocket PC impaired individuals.


          • #6
            I'm an architect by day and a freelance interiors consultant by night. In between I do freelance stationary design and handmade cards.

            I use OL at home and at work with a Palm in between to keep the two synced and for some portability.

            So far, I've been using Bill Kratz's method of making each project an OL contact. I have a separate folder called 'Projects' which includes projects from each role that I've taken on, work, freelance, personal etc.

            My project categories are:
            F&F (the name of the architecture firm I work for)
            completed projects

            Using categories I separate projects (contacts) by roles. Projects are outlined within the note area of the contact form (outcomes, goals, etc., minor notes). The form for the projects is actually a custom form designed by Bill Kratz, so it looks a bit different than your typical OL contact form.

            Tasks for each of my projects are linked to the Project. I usually preface all my tasks with the project name.

            Project: 100 East Gay Street
            Task: [100 East Gay Street] write meeting minutes
            The above task would go under the @computer context.

            Project: Gabi & Ryan's baby announ
            Task: [Gabi & Ryan's baby announ] buy paper at Pearl
            task goes under @errands

            One problem I thought I might have is combining all the tasks from each of my roles. But so far it hasn't really been an issue. Generally, when I'm at work I concentrate on work projects, but there is some cross-over when for instance I have to make a phone call to an interiors client during the day. And right now my project list hasn't gotten out of control where I have a cumbersome task list that takes me and hour to scroll through.

            The bulk of my notes for each project are taken via paper though and are stored accordingly, in paper files. I don't travel extensively, but if I am out and about, at a clients, or at a job site, having job-files with me is not a problem and I like doing my nitty-gritty (notes and such) on paper. For my sake and my clients' sake, I need to keep things tactile. For instance, I could never carry around an image of a fabric I'm suggesting for a chair. I have to bring my client the swatch of fabric for him/her to hold in their hand. The OL notes are used mainly for personal things.

            So I guess that doens't really help you. I got a Tungsten T2 for Christmas with Documents To Go. I had an idea that I could have a 'master' notes document for each project in Word that I can keep synced using Docs2Go. It would mean more time spent transfering paper notes into the document, but it would be more efficient to have them altogether.

            Sorry if this is long and rambling, but it actually helps me to think about my system and clarify it.


            • #7
              Bill Kratz's site is:


              • #8
                Sorry folks...didn't mean to be quite so limiting after re-reading my initial post. I'm interested in hearing from other creative professionals as well.


                • #9
                  Kratz has great ideas


                  Bill Kratz has some great ideas for organizing everything with Outlook Contacts. Unfortunately, it doesn't sync with PDAs, so folks like me would have no way of going mobile with our data as we go from home computer to work computer.

                  It's funny (sad?) how the computer has become the core of our existence. Because of my two jobs, about 90% of my day is spent working on a computer. Having one system that seamlessly passes information between the two computers is what keeps me sane.


                  • #10
                    I should have been more detailed with my first post. Because I actually do sync with my PDA both at home and at work. Essentially, my PDA is my portable hard drive to keep my home and work computer synced to each other. I use KeySuite ( on my Palm. They are separate Date, Contact, Task and Note applications from the Palm apps that work in conjunction with Outlook. So you are able to have both multiple folders and multiple categories, as many as you want.

                    Via the BK method, my Projects folder is just another 'contacts' folder within KeyContacts. In KeyContacts you can link your projects (contacts) to your tasks, notes, appts, etc, just like you can in Outlook.

                    Up until Christmas time I was using a Palm IIIxe to do all this (not the most state of the art I use a Tungsten T2), so you don't need a ton of memory.


                    • #11
                      Is Guest really TulipCowGirl?

                      Using Kratz's method, you're able to perserve the integrity of your data between your computers using the Palm, Outlook and KeySuite?


                      • #12
                        Me: Landscape Architect. If you're uncertain what that is, I invite you to stop by the American Society of Landscape Architects.

                        Design projects can take on a myriad of shapes, sizes, levels of intensity, and professional involvement (I might just consult, or do only a portion of an entire project, for example). Regardless, as projects come in, I usually do the following on the Palm Pilot:

                        -Enter the project name in my @Projects category
                        -Enter the Client's name in my Clients list
                        -Enter client info and all pertinent contact info in my Address Book
                        -If there is a lead contact person on the client's side I put him in my @Agenda category. I may or may not also put him in my 'In Development' file as well.

                        On my desk: Create an @<name of project> file folder that stays on my desk. Actionable items and items I need quickly at the drafting table go here.

                        When I meet with clients in the field, I use my Palm to take notes, usually under the @Project category.... that is a sort of inbox for any and all musings, corrections, design ideas, need for future research, calls to make, etc.. it all gets dumped there as the meeting progresses. Immediately after the meeting I work through the list and assign all the actionable items to their specific @ categories. Non-actionable items or tickler type items (for example, the client might rave about a restaurant in the area, in which case it would go into the maybe/someday category or somesuch) are also dumped into their respective areas of the Palm.

                        Because my occupation deals so much with art and rendering, I also carry a sketchbook and literally draw ideas as they come to me on the site-- I'll also write notes on the sketches that either get moved to the Palm or stay with the sketch for later contemplation.