Truth be told, I could just as easily write every week about systems and organization and efficiency. Many times, I do weave these topics into columns for actors between paragraphs about marketing materials and self-taping and embracing your most castable bullseye. Thank you for indulging me, even if you’re not the type who enjoys getting ninja with your to-do lists or who drools over the Office Depot catalogue like I do.

I swear, in a former life I must’ve been a Virgo.

If you need convincing that artists must be entrepreneurs, please enjoy this article that blew up all over creatives’ social media feeds a few weeks back. Yes, creatives *do* run businesses (hence my book and its increasing popularity in college acting programs). And hopefully these businesses you’re running are successful businesses, even before there’s a power agent on the team.

If you didn’t need convincing, if you are already down with running your career like the business that it is, and if you like to geek out, get ready to fire up your bookmarks, add some goodies to your Evernote, and use more of your time to create ART rather than to do the admin nonsense that absolutely can be handled more efficiently with a little setting up of it all.

First up, Periscope. No, Periscope is not about efficiency; it’s about brand management and connecting with your fanbase in 2015. I’m obsessed and the best way for you to get a sense of my obsession is to start with this vid. Word on the street is that an Android version of the Twitter-owned app is about two weeks out. ’til then, watch via weblink (I always tweet out my live broadcasts) and figure out how you want to practice Brandprov using this new platform.

If you’d like to really geek out with me on this, here are some links I shared with my mailing list a couple o’ weeks ago when my Periscope obsession began: How Should Journalists Navigate Meerkat, Periscope, Kik (and What the Heck Is Tarsii?) and The 10 Types of People You Will See on Twitter’s Periscope.

Next up: Remember when I talked with you about moving your to-do list forward by breaking down your lists? I got a *lot* of email and Twitter love about that column, so I know it gave some of you a really good handle on your goals and task lists. I recently read that there are nearly 50,000 steps to the top of Mount Everest. That information provided me with a perfect visual for having a 10,000-foot view of your goal (or in this case, a 29,029-foot view) and trying to break it down into microtasks (a method for productivity that I personally LOVE).

Problem is, the knowledge of *both* the sheer magnitude of the big task and the vast number of individual steps involved are potentially overwhelming. Neither bit of information is particularly comforting.

Here’s where my next bit of geekery comes in: Trello. Through the use of multiple “boards,” you can create and manage tasks lists — even between multiple members of a team (*cough* self-producers with crews to manage *cough*) so that progress can be tracked incrementally, bottlenecks can be spotted and rerouted past, and tasks can be categorized much like I described in that “Split Focus” article I mentioned above.

If the particular lists I suggested back then didn’t resonate with you, try creating Trello boards for each of your TEAM tasks, TOOLS tasks, CRAFT tasks, and CONNECTIONS tasks and work your way through as you’re inspired. Heck, take the SMFA Hot List of Daily Practices and adapt it to your Trello boards. Go nuts!

Next up, Evernote. Now, actors in the SMFA ninjaverse have been using Evernote since 2009. I’ll never forget hearing about it as we sat in the circle for our Self-Management for Actors class and thinking, “Wow! Kind of wish I didn’t already have a wiki set up for my show bible. This would be cool to start using!” Welp, until we release our SMFA show bible app, Evernote seems to be the app of choice for organizing a ton of great information in lots of creative ways.

My favorite tips for use include these: Forward emails from yourself to your Evernote notebooks. This is genius for those juicy Google Alerts you’re using to populate your show bible already. Using an email subject line that you want to use as the note title in Evernote, you can send that note into a specific notebook (using @[notebook]) and even tag it (using #[tag]) or add a reminder to it (using ![date]). Awesome, right?

And for those who *really* wanna geek it out? There’s a fabulous tool called If This Then That. (I’ll ignore the fact that the acronym *should* be ITTT and use their preferred branding of IFTTT, but please know my eyes are rolling every time I type it. *ahem* Where were we?) IFTTT is ninja to the extreme. Through the use of conditional statements, you build recipes so that every time someone you’re interested in tracking (say, that prime target in your show bible) does something you’re interested in (say, posts a tweet or blog post or YouTube vid or Facebook update), the data you’re craving (say, the full content of that tweet or post or vid description or even a comment within a thread in a Facebook group or a listing in a Craigslist ad or Etsy store or pretty much anywhere you could think of tracking), goes where you want it to go (say, into your Evernote notebook or Google doc).

Oh, hey, if you’re brilliant and looking for some easy passive income (yes, really — but you have to be smart about it), check out the article to which he links in that overview for a share of a genius method. Shout-out to a site listed in that article (Topsy) for letting me know I’m considered “highly influential” when posting links at Twitter. Dude. That’s cool.

Next up, let’s push back from the geekery and talk old-school lists. I’m a big fan of making two lists in running my creative business: “things that I can do” and “things that ONLY I can do.” I actually talked about this in a Periscope vid to help a phenomenal screenwriter with a paradigm shift in hiring an assistant to help take some things off her list so she can focus more of her attention on the thing only she can do in her business (write the amazing scripts). By using systems like these I’ve detailed above (and others of course), we create more time TO CREATE. So even if it seems overwhelming to get them set up, the time it begins to save starts stacking up in our lives — and quickly — so that we suddenly have this freedom to do… anything.

And of course, the “anything” we should do is what we were born to do: MAKE ART.

Finally, I love love LOVE the Balanced iPhone app. I use it every day. I paid for the full version because I so adore it. I have some things set to six times per day (take a deep breath, check posture, tell Keith I love him, drink water), some set to daily (hop on the Wii Fit, get paid, listen to Abraham MP3s, be patient, take a walk, practice self-love, answer flagged emails), others set to various numbers of times per week or month (hit a pole class, record podcast episodes, design pins from favorite SMFA quotes, unclutter my life, sage my space), and so on. The interface is really lovely and it encourages me to stay on top of my tasks. I enjoy learning when I’ve been overly ambitious with something or not added enough of it to my life. And even though sometimes I’ll skip some things, I find I’m — indeed — more balanced using this app to keep me that way.

Hey, whatever it takes, right? If you still prefer pen and paper, check out the Bullet Journal method for some seriously sexy organizational action of the analog variety.

How do you geek out? Do you have “yes, and…”s for this list? Shoot me an email! I’d love to feature some more geekery in next week’s Your Turn, so let’s make that happen!

Wanna be sure your tools *and* your mindset are in peak form? Let us get you in gear with some FREE training right now!

Okay, it’s now been several hours since my last Periscope broadcast. Gotta go! 😉

Bonnie Gillespie autographed the internet

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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  1. Chellee Ray January 7, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    I love this! I have a feeling this article will change my life. And I’m not even being dramatic when I say this lol.

    1. Bonnie Gillespie January 8, 2017 at 12:21 am

      Love that, Chellee! <3 So glad you love to geek out too. 😉

  2. Rosalyn Mitchell July 15, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Holy moly, Bonnie, there is a LOT here! Thanks for throwing so many incredible resources our way!


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