11_Art Business Tip: 1 Key Time Management Principle
Welcome to this week's episode where we are going to talk about what it actually means to be a working-living artist and the key time management principle and 4 tactics I use to manage my time.
Let’s get started!
So what does a typical artist day look like? Honestly, we attempt to get everything done so that we can get to the creative space OR we go straight to the creative space and ignore the rest. :). Artist’s am I right? Or am I right?
The whole work-life balance idea isn’t really a thing for us because we live to create and we love this job! Creating is our work and it is what gives us life. BUT that is the creative side, the not-so-fun side is the business aspects of the job, like the accounting, the budget planning, the project planning, the invoicing, advertising, the ton of time nit-picking activities that take away from what brings us true joy. AND we also have to consider our lovely dependents, those 2 and 4 legged creatures running about the house demanding to be fed. For them, I schedule my week to ensure I give them what they need and I get what I need.
1 Key Principle to Creative Time Management
So what CAN we do to better manage our time and get that ‘work-life’ balance that people keep talking about? For this I have 1 Key principle AND 4 tactics that I follow:
1 key Principle to managing your creative time is always “ Set Yourself Up For Success” I do this every single day with the following 4 tactics:
- Batch Process
- Take Notes
- Follow Mary Poppins Rule
In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and - SNAP - the job's a game.”:Mary Poppins
So let’s break these down and how I practically approach each of these 4 tactics.
FOLLOW MARY POPPINS FOR TIME MANAGEMENT
The Mary Poppins attitude is the easiest one to start with. It is simply flipping the mental switch. Instead of saying I have to do taxes, or I have to create this post, or I have to do this laundry, I have to cook instead flip it to I “get to”. I get to create this post that speaks about my artwork so that it will resonate with others. I get to do this laundry to help my kids feel better about their outward look. I get to create these meals to bring us together at the table and nourish our bodies.
Remove the “have tos” with “get tos”. Even taxes - that can be a positive thing: because you “get to” see how much you earned this past month/quarter and contribute to the betterment of your community!
Every, single thing that you do, is to further your craft and for the betterment of the world! When you remove the have to and replace them with the get-to and the statement of what it does for you, your family or the community you find the perks of the task.
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS TO BETTER MANAGE TIME USING 4 KEY TACTICS
Ok let’s talk about some practical applications to “Set yourself up for success”
For the batch processing, delegating and note taking tactics I roll these all into the tasks… so for example let’s talk food. For some cooking time is a means for relaxation, a way to connect with themselves, but for me, it is another thing to get through so that I can have more time to paint. So Here is what I do:
- I delegate grocery shopping with a food prep service called Everyplate.com. They deliver the food and recipes to my house every Friday setting me up for success for the following week. This saves me time and money because they provide everything you need to create delicious meals that the family actually likes. I’ve also used HelloFresh in the past and switched to Everyplate because everyplate is actually less expensive (from what I can tell it’s the same food, just Everyplate packages it more simply saving themselves time and overhead which that saving is passed on to us. - Yeah!)
- Then I Batch Process my cooking. I make all the dinner and lunch meals for the week on Sundays and portion them out into these handy-dandy reusable containers. This is a HUGE time saver because all anyone has to do is grab a pre-made meal and pop it in the microwave for about 45 seconds! AND because it is pre-portioned, you don’t overeat!
- For note-taking; Throughout the week I keep a notebook on the counter to keep track of the food items, household items that we run out of, so that when I do go to the grocery store 1x a week I have everything we need and I get in and out with, ideally, only what is on my list. When my time is stretched particularly thin for a week, I’ll order the groceries to be delivered or do a pickup - again saving time and money because you can’t walk the isles and say ‘ooohh, that looks good’.
Housework. In my mind, uncluttered space is an uncluttered mind, which leaves more room for creative thoughts AND helps avoid procrastination AND removes that guilt that you should be doing laundry instead of creating. I know many have the exact opposite mentality of having a messy space - so you do you!
For those with inquiring minds, here is how I ensure I have creative time and everyone gets what they need throughout the week:
- Delegation is the KEY: Thank God for kids! My kiddos are a bit older so they have chores. One is responsible for putting the dishes in the dishwasher and the other is responsible for putting them away.
- Every Sunday, while I cook, one kiddo is doing the floors, and the other is mowing the yard, both are starting their own laundry.
- My hubby or I get to the laundry randomly throughout the week.
- Everyone is responsible for cleaning their spaces and gets yelled at throughout the week to straighten up. :). I’m not going to have some Joel Rifkin room under my roof :). Just saying - no pigsty.
- Another huge time saver is the robot vacuum cleaner. We have 2 cats and 2 dogs and the amount of hair that collects under the dining room table is enough to create a whole other animal if left unchecked throughout the week. And for this, delegating this clean-up job is for our robot vacuum. As an FYI - we are on our 3rd one in 6 years because we really wear these suckers out! I’ve named each Rosie (all those Jetson’s fans know what I’m talking about :) ).
I admit, there are some Sundays, like this past one, where I didn’t want to do ANY of this, and frankly, the kiddos didn’t want to either. So, we challenged ourselves to make it more interesting, following the Mary Poppins rule. For me and my son, we put in our earbuds and listened to what moved or interested us. For me, it was binge-listening to Morbid Podcast, for him Amazon Prime Music. My daughter just took frequent goof-off basketball breaks. The bottom line for all of it for my delegation style is, I don’t care how or when it gets done on Sunday, it just needs to be done.
Before the kids were old enough to take on all of this, we broke their chores up among a Saturday and Sunday morning to help provide better/more patient guidance (and they had laminated checklists - yep, I’m that mom :) ). Then the afternoon’s were free time to goof off.
Come Sunday night we are all ready for the week, we can relax, we pick a pre-made meal and watch a movie together or do our own thing.
For Work tasks, I follow the same principle “Set yourself up for success” and the same 4 key tactics:
- Batch Processing
- And Mary Poppins - find the element of fun
At the end of each day, I write down where I left off on a task so that the next day I can jump right in to completing that task. The act of writing it down frees my mind to relax with the family or more into a creative task.
Batch Processing examples: recording videos. If there are 3 videos I need to record for a project I’ll do all the recording in one day because that way I only have to make myself look presentable for one-day :). Then depending on the video and timeline, I’ll either outsource the editing (which is delegating) or batch-edit in a day.
DISCLAIMER ABOUT TIME MANAGEMENT
I know I make this sound like I’ve got all my shit together BUT I’ll say I am far from perfect. So let’s get real for a minute too: there are some days I just don’t want to sit in front of a computer to do ANYTHING. And those days, I listen to what is driving me and I do it, and you know what I NEVER regret it. Sometimes, your mind, body, and soul just need a rest - so take a freaking rest!!!! Remember, set yourself up for success is the key principle. AND I guarantee if you DO NOT listen to the nudge to rest and do nothing, your body will FORCE you to do nothing by getting sick.
For example: when I was a kid, I followed all of the key principles and the 4 tactics BUT I would keep driving towards the goal without taking breaks and I would end up getting sick or doubled over in pain because of ulcers trying to form. Yes, this Type A, the driven person was a defined personality even when I was 12. This led to migraines in my 20s - early 40s and massive knots in my back and shoulders. It took me 30 years to actually start listening to my body. So my advice that I would’ve given my 12-year-old self, (and give my daughter who is 12 and a mini-me) I say this:
if it is important you will get it done, but get it done in a time-frame that works for you, not against you.
AN ELEMENT OF FUN
So I hope you find this key principle: “set yourself up for success” and the 4 key tactics: Batch process, delegate, note-taking and Mary Poppins rule helpful and can start implementing these today.
I also want to know what do you do to bring an element of fun to tasks that you don’t particularly enjoy?
I look forward to reading your responses!!!
Until next time, stay safe, happy, and healthy! AND happy creating!!!
BTW - check out this other article that speaks to Time Management here. Positive Painter Online Artist Community Members have access to the Time Management Worksheet and Planning Mindfully with Action for Creatives in the Art Business Resources.
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