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“Tips on Time Management & Planning for Artists”

Updated: Mar 11

A clock with Butterflies

Without proper time management, an uneasy feeling of imbalance might develop. The results can be a lack of productivity, which builds up to an overwhelming feeling of guilt and anxiety. Unexpected things happen, but what I’m talking about is having a system in place to lessen negative impacts and keep you on track toward completion.

1. Develop a Plan

One of the first things you must consider are your priorities. It isn’t just about making a To-Do list. While those list are important, actually getting them down in a calendar is most helpful and figuring out which tasks are the most time sensitive or of highest importance. How does one make a plan? Putting these tasks into a calendar, the most time sensitive first and so on. It isn’t just about putting them down in a calendar, but you must first look at the deadline that you want those projects done, and begin to plot task and goals, through your calendar. You will need to market the project, get hashtags ready, and decide how to market. It takes time to create the projects and order supplies or consider advertising and marketing or selling your items in various venues and purchasing supplies, working on the financial part of things. This is where research and looking into how long it took other artist to build their own business. It took me a month to come up with branding, another to getting supplies and working out my space and another to find a bank and get the legal things taken care of and yet another to find a mentor and develop my first online shop. So knowing that time line and seeing how others accomplished these various goals, might help you figure out how to develop yours.

Be sure to use a physical paper calendar and a digital one. Technology is great – when it works! Why not use a paper calendar also just as a backup and visual aid, of your important tasks that must be accomplished?

2. Actively and Strategically Organize Your Goals

Consider plotting your annual goals the last month of the year for the coming year, every year. Sit down and start to ask yourself a series of questions to determine your short term and long term goals. You cannot build a business on hopes and wishes. Ask yourself, “What worked in the previous year” and “How might I tweak or add to better my business in the upcoming year.” For example, this coming year, I plan to open up more online shops and create my first book or developing my blog. I then have to break those things down into manageable, measurable goals. How much time will it take to develop the shop? What tasks will I have (I have to create the art; I need materials & supplies)? I need to know document scanning, Photoshop Element to edit and I need time to consider which print-on-demand company to partner with; that will take much research time. Then I will have to order boxes and mailing supplies for those items that I make with my hands. As for the book, I will have to learn about a self-publishing system to create and distribute it. I also have to do a marketing task to get the word out for both projects. I have to plot our the time to write and edit blogs, research and eventually post them after several edits. Breaking down each goals into small task and plotting them down helps you feel more orderly and helps you keep track of your accomplishments and stay better organized.

3. Think Outside of Yourself

Since most people are not good at everything, know that you may need help to establish goals and the time frames to accomplish them. I am not good at accounting, taxes, business filings, etc. I found an accountant. That requires that I plan time to visit for an analysis of where I am at in my business finances. I can do inventory but I often require a friend every year to come help me do all of that counting. While yes, you may be great at sculpting, making gorgeous handmade earrings, writing beautiful poetry, you might not be good at Excel spreadsheets. You either need to learn or find someone that can do those tasks for you (Yes, often at additional cost … they are in business too aren’t they?). When you admit your limitations and seek out resourceful solutions, this will reduce your stress more than you know.

4. Think about a Solid Routine

A solid routine is composed of doing things in balance, things that take into consideration your body, heart, and spirit. You want to jump out of bed and start creating until bedtime, but with only a minimal food and bathroom breaks – right? That may be OK for a final push to completion of a project, but not all the time – every time. You may want to consider that for maximum creativity, your artistic gifts are something you can use when you are living a life of balance. This means getting enough rest, eating well with thanksgiving and gratitude, getting fresh air, having a life of prayer and praise and study in God’s Word, seeking His direction, and taking time to just enjoy your family and friends. While God does give gifts to us, He also wants us to not be overwhelmed and He wants us to stewart them well. Does that mean scheduling something as simple as a routine walk, going on a nature hike, going for a lunch with a friend, remembering prayer time or reading the Bible and spend time refreshing our spirit? YES!

5. Work on Multiple Pieces at the Same Time

If you would like to cut down on your time scanning, printing, inventorying, and publishing and would like to stay more in your creative flow, then doing multiple pieces at once, might be a good solution for you. I will often work on a series all at once. If I want to explore butterflies, I will plan to work on them by creating 5 or 6 all at once. I can work a little on one and then set it aside to dry and move on to the next and cycle through all of them until completion. It helps them to have a consistency in style and content, while giving my eyes a fresh perceptive on each piece. It saves time as I plot out all of my projects. When I have to stop art and start doing computer work, the artistic flow can get away from me and it takes time to get back into my creative groove. Working on multiple pieces may sound like no big deal, but it really is a technique to consider when you are planning out your calendar. Will this strategy work for all? Maybe not, but for me, it is a must.

Final Words

Never be frustrated again with overwhelming feelings in your art business. Begin to plan out, prioritize, develop your solid routine, and time saving strategies and you will find balance in your life and business. Thanks for stopping by, I hope it was helpful. Enjoy planning, developing, and plotting out your art business for this coming year. The time you spend on it, will be well worth it! Be watching social media for updates. Browse and enjoy!

Art to me is a God-given gift of good storytelling, that can leave the world a more beautiful, kinder, and hopeful place.

- Jennifer Lueders, Artist and Storyteller

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