In this month’s Q&A segment we talk to Danielle Turner, ‘the chick in charge’ at Velvet Pumpkin Productions to learn what makes her so organized and successful.
1. What are the biggest time wasters in your life? What do you do to manage them?
My biggest time waster is keeping up with the details of each of my productions. I often have 5-8 video productions going at the same time and it’s difficult keeping up with where each one is at. Linda Chu taught me about a software called OneNote. I use that to keep up to date on all of my projects. At the end of each day, I write in OneNote on the page of the production I was working on, like a journal. It lets me know what I did that day and if I’m waiting on the client for anything like logo files, etc.
2. Tell us about your everyday “essentials” for business? (e.g. Mobile phone, apps, virtual assistant? etc.)
My computer – for sure. I wouldn’t have a business without it. And it needs to be organized and run smoothly. I definitely take advantage of the cloud for everything that I can. It allows me to have a mobile office. The only thing that isn’t in the cloud is my video projects. The files are too big and bulky for that. And to keep myself managing my hours proficiently, I leverage tasks where I can, like bookkeeping and even copywriting.
3. How do you manage and organize yourself electronically (online, mobile phone, computer)
I work with a lot of files for each project. I’ve learned that keeping folder structures consistent for every project helps me find files easily. Linda Chu taught me how to create a master folder with subfolders that I can copy/paste over and over again, allowing me to save time and be consistent with how project files are stored. This system makes starting a new project super-fast and it makes looking for files easy and fast, as well.
4. How do you organize and file your paper information?
Well, I have to admit, I avoid paper as much as I can. My invoices are all digital. Even proposals are all digital. I rarely use my printers anymore and I like it that way. However, for the paperwork that I do have, I use a cabinet and folders. I also use plastic accordion folders to store all my receipts. My receipts are stored monthly, as there aren’t a whole lot receipts to manage and then each quarter (3 months of receipts) are sent to my bookkeeper for posting.
5. What’s your top tip for staying organized & productive?
Consistency. Design a file storing structure and then use it for every project and even try to adapt that same structure to your admin work. Consistency is the key to easily finding files on a computer system that stores terabytes of data. Because many of my clients are repeat clients, I create project names/folders by first the company name and then the project name or project name and date as some projects are on-going over several months.
6. What do you do to achieve work-life balance?
This is a regular challenge. As a videographer, I have to make myself available for video shoots on any day or night, including weekends. Knowing that I sometimes work on weekends and evenings, I make sure that I take time off on other days. I also make a regular effort to connect with friends. It’s too easy in my line of work to be too busy and lose connections. I think I make myself consciously aware that a work-life balance is essential to being happy and that it’s something I have to put the effort in for it to happen. Most importantly, I find that keeping myself organized helps maintain peace of mind which aids in that work-life balance that we all seek.
Creative Director Danielle Turner is passionate about her work as an award-winning video-media producer. Through her company, Velvet Pumpkin Productions, she has created a wide variety of video-media for many businesses and institutions across Canada and the United States. Born in the prairies, raised on Vancouver Island, she’s lived her adult life in Vancouver British Columbia, a place she calls the most exciting and beautiful city in the world…