Originally written by Rebecca from The SewPixie Shop Blog.
If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or my rare blog posts you may have noticed that I babble on quite a bit about things like ‘GTD’, ‘Inbox Zero’, and ‘Next Actions’. GTD stand for Getting Things Done which is an organizational methodology as well as a book by David Allen. Aside from just reading the book (which you should if you are interested) there is plenty of material about GTD so I won’t go into it too deeply here. For me it is a way to get all of the ‘stuff’ out of my brain and into a system I trust so I can be productive and take time for all of the things that are important to me.
One of those things that are important to me is crafting. Taking materials like fabric or yarn and transforming them into something is pure joy. When there are other parts of life that feel less than joyful there is always a stack of beautiful printed fabric to play with to put things into perspective. I use my creativity to make many things and for the past few years the thing I make the most is carry bags for Blythe dolls. I run a small shop on Etsy and also take orders for custom bags. Now here is where this ties in with my productivity interests.
Over the years I have used various notebooks, ledger books, spreadsheets, and notecards to keep track of orders. It isn’t so much that it is complex (it isn’t really) but more that I just like to organize things. Even in junior high school I did custom order for things. I made friendship bracelets and had little order forms and the DMC color chart and a keyring with all of the designs I could make. Flash forward more years that I really want to ponder and I do the same for my Etsy orders. I had wanted an online form but there wasn’t anything really off the shelf that I could find and making it myself looked like more time that I really wanted to dedicate to it. So I kept notes in whatever GTD system I was using (if you know GTD you know many GTDers try lots of didn’t systems to find which one works for them).
Now in comes the IQTELL part. I started using the beta of IQTELL a couple of months ago and really like the software they have put together. It is intuitive enough for me to get started quickly and also deep enough that with time I will be able to expand my use of it. I’m finding that I spend more time actually doing things than fiddling with collecting and processing actions. That is a good thing! IQTELL offers a lot of ways to customize your setup and really make it into what works for you. I found that you can even create your own custom forms so I really didn’t need to make my Etsy orders as an Action or Project. Lightbulb!! So what I have now is a form that I created quickly in IQTELL for my custom orders. I can put in all of the info that I like to collect (description, who it is for, when the order was placed, when it shipped, things like that) and step them through a workflow that works for me. I also added the Evernote, Email, and Action panels so I can easily create an action (like quilt fabric or go to the post office) that is linked to an order. And that action I see in my next actions lists along with everything else I need to do at work and at home.
Here is an example. At the recent BlytheCon someone brought me fabric that they wanted used for a bag. I took a picture of it and jotted down a quick note in Evernote. I linked that Evernote to a new ‘order’ (you can name your items whatever you want) and filled in all the details. And bam set the status to ‘Order Received’. That order is now at ‘Order Shipped’ and in a nice little list with all the other orders. If I get an email from someone…in just a couple of clicks that is attached to the order. No wondering days later “Did I get an email from someone about a bag? Did I get back to them?”. Everything can be found and I can easily see any actions in their correct context. Best of all with just a little effort up front it is now very simple to record an order from someone. That will allow me to spend more time creating and make it easier for me to be on track with my commitments.
So far I have found that for me IQTELL has become my trusted system. I still am a big Evernote user after switching from SpringPad as well and really like pairing the two apps and the fact that I did not have to retype everything from Evernote into IQTELL. The development team is very responsive and will take the time to talk to you and show you additional ways that you can use the app. As time goes on I am confident that I will do more personalization to my system within IQTELL and I like that it won’t mean that I have to redo everything I’ve put into it each time I want to change things up a bit.
Oh yes…and for my @studio context list I see everything I need to do for my open orders right now. Oh fun, I have some quilting to do. I am at work now though and break time is over so over to the @work action list I go.
* GTD® is a registered trademark of the David Allen Company. IQTELL is not affiliated with the David Allen Company.