Tuesday, July 30, 2013

10 art studio / business productivity things that I find useful

10 art studio / business productivity things that I find useful
and I probably should implement them... 

1. Plan ahead! 

I am currently working in fibers to create my art, I need a lot of time to get pieces finished. Stitching takes a long time - I've tried to embroider things quickly, it doesn't work, I just stab myself with the needle more quickly. However.... when I have my projects lined up and know what I need to do to finish them, then no matter how much studio time I have there is always an opportunity to make a little progress.

2. Watch Dr. Who - or reruns of your favorite show.
I have a chance to work in my studio in the evenings, but I get tired by 9pm and will fall asleep if all is quiet. So, I get my stitching ready and turn on Netflix. I am on season 3 of Dr. Who (I think this may be my third time through), I really wish Netflix would make the newest season available now... although, the reason reruns are great is because I already know what happens and I don't really need to pay attention to it so I can stay awake and get my stitching done. All the Harry Potter movies work well for this, too.

3. Do Not Organize! 
or maybe just organize and label things - or put things in places that make sense. It seems that every time I organize my studio, I can't find anything and I waste a lot of time looking for something that I know I have and I'm sure I put it in just the right spot. Arrg! (I could take some clues from these Pinterest ideas).

4. Turn off alerts on your computer and phone
It's amazing how much I can focus when I'm not checking my email constantly or looking at my phone to see how people like my new pic on Instagram! (by the way, I love Instagram and the insta-validation I get from all those 'likes' - follow me at @kellydarke !).

5. Stop playing Words with Friends. seriously.

6. Step away from the computer!
This sounds a lot like #4 and #5... I currently have 16 tabs open in my browser, plus I'm listening to an audio clip from a business group (ArtBiz). I think I just read that multitasking is not a good idea and is actually bad for your brain. I can't remember where I read that though, so I can't provide a link - sorry.  I open links from articles, from Facebook, and for my own research. I genuinely want to read about and / or save the information on all these things, but there really isn't enough time for all of it. Prioritize and make a schedule.

7. Use Inventory tools
I have a spreadsheet of my inventory and income / expenses of all personal and business information. I found I was wasting time trying to account for some of my artwork because I wasn't updating my inventory list regularly. Such bad business practice, I know, but I would give pieces to family members, or donate something for an auction and forget to write it down. Now, I update my spreadsheet immediately when I sell something, give something, or put something in a gallery, or a different store online.  I highlight items in green when they are sold, blue for auctions, and leave the color black for pieces that are still available. I have a column that lists where the piece is, including if it is at home. Selling my art is a business and I'm starting to treat it that way.

8. Know how you want to feel
Danielle LaPorte is amazing. Everyone should read her work - The Desire Map is brilliant. When you can identify how you really want to feel you are better able to prioritize your time.

9. Love the work you're doing
or at least like it enough that it doesn't completely drain you to work hard at it every day. There are a lot of different things that I really love to do and most are art related, so that's my area of focus. Also, do the work because you love it, not because you think you should love it. When you truly love the work you're doing it will be easier to put in the studio time. I know it helps to get feedback and validation from friends and online followers, especially if you are working alone in your studio, but you are the expert on what really makes you happy. Or just try to figure out how to make a living using your passion... or not. (This topic requires more research...)

10. Find Support
If you can surround yourself with supportive people then they will encourage you to spend more time in your studio and get the work done. My husband will take the kids to their stuff on the weekends so that I can have those days in the studio - (of course, if I haven't implemented #1 - #9, then I might just be wasting a lot of time, but I'm getting there). I have also been trying to prepare meals ahead of time, so that I can focus when I am in the studio and not think about dinner, which at the last minute might be a sandwich or a bowl of cereal...whatever...

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