An article reprinted with permission, by Alyson Stanfield.

I subscribe to the theory that less clutter and a more organized mind and workspace mean more room for creativity.

How can you make really good art when you’re worried about where you stored the image the reporter is requesting or wondering what you did with that exhibition contract that’s due tomorrow?

If you are struggling to stay organized, here are five naming tips that will help you find anything when you need it.

1. Title your artworks.

Titling your art differentiates this piece from that piece. This keeps you sane whether you’re trying to identify a piece for someone, organizing numerous works for an exhibit, or updating your inventory records.

Titling isn’t just for you, it’s also helpful to collectors and writers who want to refer to your art.

Referring to the piece titled Tense Moments is much easier than calling it “the one that’s mostly orange with a little green line about one-third of the way down” or “the fourth one from the top.”

2. Title your exhibitions.

Like the titles of your art, the titles of your exhibitions differentiate them from one another.

Have you ever read an artist résumé that looks like they repeat the same show every year? An artist’s list of accomplishments looks juicier if the exhibitions have varied names.

3. Electronic filename conventions.

Name your files with enough description that you can find what you need in a list and are able to conduct a successful search on your computer.

If you have certain files you use for every show or exhibition, devise a standard. For example:

Contract – Art Center December.doc
Labels – Art Center December.doc
Statement – Art Center December. doc
Timeline – Art Center December.doc

4. Label your paper files with titles similar to your e-files.

Once you have a system in place for e-files, why would you invent a separate one for your paper files? Don’t fix what isn’t broken.

You’ll be able to get your hands on a file quickly if you stick with the system.

5. Identify your tasks with colorful detail.

Keep your to-dos on an electronic task list. In contrast to paper, e-lists allow you to repeat, sort, and change tasks with ease. An e-list also gives you a lot more space to articulate each task.

There’s no comparison for maintaining a master to-do list.

When adding a new task to your list, start with a verb (Write, Email, Deliver, Mail) and add details that clearly define the action needed.

If you are mindful of how you title, label, and name things, you’ll be able to find them when you need them most. How do you name things?

Alyson Stanfield is an artist advocate and business mentor at This article was originally published in her Art Biz Insider, which is sent weekly to thousands of artists who are elevating their businesses. Start your subscription now and read more articles like this at

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