22 designers tell us how they stay organized

4 min read
Stephanie Gonzalez
  •  Jun 5, 2018
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Whether it’s covering your office in sticky notes, meticulously scheduling every minute of your day, or keeping an ever-changing list in your head, the best designers have a system for staying organized.

We polled the InVision designer community about the tips, tricks, and apps they use for organization. A few things we learned? Designers love Trello, Evernote, and (of course) Google Calendar, but for staying organized, sometimes nothing beats a pen and paper. Read on for some of our favorite answers.

“I use a weekly planner notebook from Muji where I write daily tasks and deadlines for the week. Recently, I’ve started using Evernote again. But to be honest, I prefer my notebook.”

Priyanka Kumble, Senior Designer at Skarma


“Have a systematic way of organizing folders on your computer. Keep your desk clean and uncluttered. We, as designers, tend to get easily distracted. By keeping your desk clean, it will keep you focused.”

Chrismari van Niekerk, Digital Designer at The Conversion Advantage


“Regardless of what tools you’re using, I think the key is to build time into your schedule to keep your system up-to-date. If it’s not relevant, you won’t use it, and you’ll revert to relying on memory or disparate notes and reminders.”

Philip Levy, Lead Designer at Starfish (by Hobsons)

“If it’s not relevant, you won’t use it.”

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“At work, I mainly use Google apps. I plan directly into the calendar to block my hours. Furthermore, I use Post-it notes for daily tasks, and I infrequently use Todoist. For the long term, I started keeping a Bullet Journal, written in symbols and short notes to keep track of my development. In general, I prefer and plan the best with analog tools.”

Rianne van de Rijt, Visual Designer at DMG


“I have recently started using the massively overlooked Apple Reminders app to organize all of my tasks. It’s super simple, and I can keep my personal and work tasks separate. Taking five minutes at the end of the day to set some goals for the next day really helps my productivity. Knowing what I have to focus on the next day sets my mind at ease and allows me to get going as soon as I arrive the next morning.”

Jay Clark, Product Designer at The App Business


“I’ve noticed that the best way to stay organized is to use good old pen and paper. I go through my papers every Saturday, summarizing them to preferably one to-do list.”

Annukka Repo, Graphic Designer at NukkaRepo Graphic Design


“My company and I use Basecamp to keep projects for all our clients organized. Personally, I keep a detailed notebook of my day-to-day tasks, the amount of time spent on tasks and notes on different skills/lessons/new things I’ve learned. I fill up notebooks, date them, and add them to a growing collection of my professional day-to-day notes.”

Bri Turner, Junior Graphic Designer at Potratz Advertising

“I use my Google Calendar for alerts to keep me on track with specific tasks, and I keep a Bullet Journal to help with long-term projects.”

Rhiannon, Graphic & Web Designer and SEO at Century Marketing Inc.


“Google Calendar for meetings and due dates, with a lot of reminders! I use pen and paper for casual reminders and Post-its on my Mac for things to do later.”

David D. Letendre, UX & Graphic Designer at Leadfox


“I use Asana as my main project daily driver. It’s the best place to have every item of a project organized and divided and, mainly, shareable with the rest of the team. Every day, at the end of the day, some of us like to write a few lines about the things we did throughout the day. In addition to that, we use Evernote to write a lot of stuff, like the copywriting for the sites and the content for SEO. We also put a bunch of brainstorming texts on those documents.”

Juan Martin Germano, Creative Director at Weland Agency


“I grew up in a house that always had a calendar stuck to the fridge with the family’s important dates written on it (doctor appointments, basketball games, school schedule, etc.) For design milestones and delivery deadlines, I’ve stuck with a good, old-fashioned paper calendar printed big on an 11×17 sheet. Then I write in it with pencil. This has two big benefits: First, when I write and then erase and rewrite with pencil, I get a sense for how much my timelines have changed, which I’ve found makes me more aware of how I’m doing with being a timely designer overall. Second, when stakeholders stop over to my desk to talk timelines, there is no better way to show them what I have going on than a big piece of paper that synthesizes all my work with a single view.”

Kevin R. Voller, Senior UX Designer at Dick’s Sporting Goods


Organize what you do.

“I use Google Calendar, and with the new redesign, it makes it easier to organize meetings from a to-do list with a right click of the mouse. You can easily change the colors of the tasks and organize your day within time blocks.”

Hanisha Patel, UI/UX Designer at Phunware, Inc.


“Evernote helps keep all of my files and notes in one place and is great for organizing through different projects. Plus, it gives you control over styles. This is much better for me than having various Google docs of lists and notes, since it’s all held in one place and can be categorized. The sharing aspect is great for collaborating with other teams, so we can all update from one place.”

Ashley E., Graphic Designer at RedShelf


“While project management tools are incredibly useful, they don’t allow you to add normal, day-to-day remedial tasks (talk to boss about vacation, call insurance company, send email to X department). To cover all my bases, I use checklists to incorporate all tasks that need to be completed that day. First thing in the morning, I’ll take five minutes and put everything into Wunderlist, usually with links to Jira or Asana tickets as well as the contact info or any details for smaller tasks that day. As I go through the day, I check them off. Anything not done by 4:45 pm, I evaluate what needs to be done and what can wait until tomorrow.”

Ty Cummins, Digital Designer at iFit


“I have tried so many different apps to keep myself organized, but the ones that seem to have stuck and work well for me are Trello, Jira, and InVision. All of these tools are great because they are collaborative and allow other team members to contribute notes, screenshots, images, and links to the projects. InVision helps me keep all of the different versions and iterations organized in one place.”

Meghan Copas, Senior Visual Designer at Sears Holdings Corp

“InVision helps me keep different versions and iterations organized in one place.”

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“I use Trello in a very custom way, incorporating the ideas of the Bullet Journal that have best worked for me. In that way I can always prioritize what I’ll do next. Bonus tip: Embrace structured procrastination!”

Martin Schaer, Marketing Advisor and Digital Nomad


“I use Evernote everyday. I can easily work from my desktop to my phone so I always have what I need with me. I can photograph whiteboards at meetings and create my daily checklists. I have even recorded the audio of meetings to share with others later. I also use Slack for team communication and Wunderlist for simple task lists.”

Jeremy Knedler, Senior Graphic Designer at Boost Engagement LLC


“As far as apps go, Polymail is probably the most vital one I use every day to organize emails and keep my inbox clean.”

Brinson McGowan, Visual Designer at Huge


“I use Notational Velocity, a super simple note-taking app on desktop, and start a new note each Monday morning. I list tasks there each day, cross them out when completed, and move them to the next day (in the same note) if incomplete. Each Friday, I have a snapshot of my week (including quotes, insights, questions, and links) I can always go back to.”

Liz Cormack, UX Director at Grove


“My two current favorite tools for organization are Trello and Timely. Trello is great for project management and fits a wide variety of project needs, and it integrates with Timely, which is wonderful for time tracking. Timely also has the memory function, which tracks what you do on your computer, so you can easily go back and see exactly how much time you spend in each document or see where you might be wasting time!”

Lizbet Palmer, Designer and Videographer at Brass Tacks Apprentice

“When I write and then erase and rewrite with pencil, I get a sense for how much my timelines have changed.”

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“I have a notebook and a bunch of sticky notes. After trying apps year after year, I have finally had the most success and the longest run (18 months) with a composition notebook, a pen, and stickies. Sounds dumb, but it’s a system that is flexible enough and that I have stuck with.”

Joshua Sager, Partner at Viable Industries LLC


“I use a Bullet Journal daily to keep track of what I need to be working on that day. At the end of every workday, I spend 10 minutes setting up my journal for the next day. I have an open note on my computer I use to jot down miscellaneous thoughts and other tasks. I message myself on Slack when I am outside of work for things I want to remember. During work, I use Evernote to keep track of everything and each client gets its own notebook. I try to keep it as simple as possible.”

John Berry, UX Designer at Handsome

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