Are YOU struggling with managing to fit in all the marketing, business and admin along-side creating your art product or service? Time Management not your best friend right now?

  • Do you really want to build a profitable Art Business, but confused where to focus your time?
  • Feels like there are not enough hours in the day to get things done?
  • Working hard to clear that ‘To Do List’ and feeling de-motivated?

Firstly, let’s get clear: Are we really talking about Time Management or Self Management?

Do we not all have the same 24 hours in a day?

So how is it some people run 6 companies, look after a family, go to the gym and enjoy 4 holidays a year. While others say they ‘haven’t got the time’ to get a Blog post written, Facebook Page done, or their Art Business Plan completed?

I say it’s what you choose to do with those 24 hours that counts. It’s the decisions you make, and quite often it’s what you turn down, or say ‘No’ to.

And it comes down to ‘Reasons and Excuses’ or RESULTS?

Question: What are the positive results you really want in your life?

There are many reasons why people just seem to be occupied, but are not achievers…so what’s the STORY you are creating for yourself here?

A few questions for consideration:

  • Are you just ‘Busy’ or are you ‘Productive’? (That’s the topic of another blog).
  • How much time do you invest in Planning?
  • How much time do you waste ‘Fire Fighting’?
  • How much time do you spend doing tasks that aren’t ‘important’ versus ones that are?
  • Are you holding onto all your tasks (as you are the ONLY one who can do these right?), or delegating effectively?

What about Motivation and Drive?

Your ability to ‘do whatever it takes’ in the early stages of growing your art business, is what is going to make all the difference. I believe this comes down to whether you are doing something you love, or just making do with something that you are good at. Sometimes initially these things are NOT the same.

Is it not true that you will do pretty much anything when you REALLY want the results?

You find the time to book that holiday, or watch that movie, right?

3 Key Time Management Tools For Artists
Thank you for this image Jess Watters

So Here Are My 3 Key Time Management Tools:

Time Management Tool 1: Chunking

Call it what you will, breaking your tasks down into bite-sized chunks has always worked for me. That means instead of telling yourself – this week I will re-do my website…And who would put that off, right?

You break that project down into smaller chunks:

  • Select 20 images for my Gallery Page.
  • Re-write the Home Page.
  • Re-write the About Me page.
  • Check through 5 Blog articles and up-date.
  • Create a new graphic for Page X.

I think you see the idea here. It’s a great time management tool and it’s what keeps me sane every day of the week.

Within this you can also work in time-slots. I had a client who loved the Pomodoro Technique: http://pomodorotechnique.com/ (working 25 mins, then taking a 5 mins break). Whilst some people like to break their day into 2 hour slots. You need to experiment and then find what works best for you.

For me using a timer is invaluable – keeps you focused, and driven forwards. Stops the ‘P’ word getting in the way! You know the one… Procrastination; another word for making coffee, putting the washing on, clearing out the back yard, etc.

Time Management Tool 2: Eat that Frog (From author Brian Tracey)

Now I know that most of you reading this blog will have bits of paper around you with ‘To Do Lists’ written on them. The concept in the Eat That Frog book, is based on the realization that you will never actually get caught up. You will never reach the bottom of this list, and more will always be added.

This principle says that you look at the list and choose the most important task and just do it first! Get something done. Then highlight 3 – 5 more and that’s it. Then you can sense achievement, once you’ve completed these.

This ‘important task’ is probably something you have been putting off, something you don’t like doing much. Maybe that’s calling a few galleries, chasing payment on an invoice, or other uncomfortable action.

Well getting this one done first Brian Tracy says is like lifting the weight off your shoulders. You may have been energetically dragging this task along for some time. You will have renewed energy and enthusiasm after this task is complete. We call that your ‘Frog’.

So, ask yourself, what is your FROG today? Get that task done first, no matter what.

Starting the day with your ‘Frog’ can change everything; just remember though the tasks you do after this still need to be important ones. Check out my next time management tool to see how you rate your tasks.

Time Management Tool 3: The 4 Quadrant System (from Stephen Covey; author of ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’)

Steven Covey talks about 4 Quadrants into which can we file all our tasks.

The 4 Quadrants:

  1. Urgent/Important
  2. Not urgent/important
  3. Urgent/not important
  4. Not urgent/not important

Interestingly enough, Quadrants 3 & 4 is where most people tend to ‘spend’ their time, in-between also fire-fighting Quadrant in 1. Those are the easy, non-impacting tasks. You know, the emails that fill your inbox; ordering stationery that you may need at some point, and of course, scrolling through your Instagram feed.

In the first Quadrant you have all those things that have either not been dealt with and now time has run out. That self-assessment tax return comes to mind, or phone-calls from people who want something done today. You will always need to invest a bit of time here, but don’t get stuck. Move on as quickly as possible.

It’s Quadrant 2 that will actually get you the positive results you are looking for. Here you can do things that move your art business forwards and put cash in the bank. Planning, Marketing and Sales, Outsourcing, working in the Studio, or running Workshops.

If you haven’t already I highly recommend getting the book, as well as Eat That Frog.

That’s just an appetite teaser for the giant topic of Time Management. As artists and creatives it’s easy to avoid being organized, and play the ‘artist’ card. But if you are serious about building a profitable business that you love, then you’ll have to put on your Business hats too. What are you committed to doing in this area? Please let me know in the comments below.

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