Q: How does everyone stay organized? I feel like deadlines creep up and I'm doing things last-minute. Any advice on how to stay ahead of everything?
A: A time-based calendar of tasks with due dates is the simplest and most effective way to prepare for and meet important deadlines. Approaching your studio business with a project-management style gives your staff a clear vision of their responsibilities and helps hold them accountable. There are many free or low-cost tools that are highly effective in managing your projects. One you might consider is G-Suite from Google, which includes shareable documents, forms and calendars to help you track, manage and update expectations from anywhere. You can create private, useful calendars for each project and keep your studio's progress going year-round.
Collaboration with office staff and/or teachers is made easy with other project-management software like Asana, Trello, Podio or Basecamp. These low-cost, high-value options provide a platform for managing individual projects, such as recital planning or costume ordering. Easily hold your team accountable by assigning tasks with deadlines. You can upload documents, artwork and files to keep everything organized and in one place. These tools have coordinating iOS and Android apps so you can keep everything for your studio organized from your phone.
We find e-mail automation tools like Boomerang or FollowUpThen help to bring important correspondence back to the top of your inbox at a date and time you specify. These programs provide peace of mind by clearing your inbox and automating reminders so you can focus on what matters most. Boomerang also allows you to schedule future e-mail sending (to yourself or others), which helps you prepare ahead of time and stay in front of important deadlines and timelines. Lastly, a regular, scheduled meeting time to review your daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly tasks can help to keep all of your studio projects on time, organized and focused.