Even the Most Productive Artist Only Has 168 hours a Week.
We all have constraints. How you deal with yours and use your time is a key factor in how much art you can produce and get to market.
If you want to enjoy prosperity, you can’t just make art, you have to spend time finding ways how to sell your art. Here are 15 suggestions you can use to help you increase your productivity and enjoy greater success.
- Become Routine. Ritualize as many activities as possible. Everything from when you make the coffee, the time you go to bed, answering your email, monitoring social media, studio time, marketing time, and more.
- Plan Your Work. Start a project planner and create to-do lists for it, including calendar events. Todoist.com is a useful, free tool to get started.
- Schedule Yourself. Spreadsheet your week using Michael Hyatt’s “Ideal Week” format. Learn where you are wasting time and put it to better use.
- Put Stuff Away Now. If you put everything you use away in the same place and put it away as soon as you are not using it, those things will always be there when you need them. How much time do you lose every week looking for stuff you put/left somewhere?
- Get Organized. Think through your processes and arrange things to cut down or eliminate unnecessary movements or steps. Jack White taught his wife, Mikki Senkarik, how to paint. They have sold millions of their art. He taught Mikki to put the paint she would use most often in the spot closest to her hand on her palette. This small adjustment for something repeated tens or hundreds of thousands of times pays off in untold hours of time saved and body motion used.
- Get It Off Your Brain. One of the most essential, yet powerful, concepts behind David Allen’s perennial bestseller, Getting Things Done, is to make lists and set dates. By committing to a reliable reminder system, you can clear your mind of clutter by no longer having to try to retain to-do items in your head. Create a system and learn to trust it.
- Try the Pomodoro Technique. I find the concept fascinating. Don’t stay working on the same thing for hours on end. Use a simple timer to break up your day into work, relax, revive and work some more. There are free browser extensions and add-ons that will help you employ the technique.
- Get Help Sooner. If you are going to be as successful as you envision, you will need to get help to get it all done. Begin by cataloging your daily activities. Patterns will emerge where you can see you how much time you spend doing mundane things that you can pay someone else to do for you. Marketing guru, Perry Marshall, in his 80/20 Sales and Marketing book, says you have $10 per hour activities, $100 per hour activities, and even $1,000 per hour activities. You want to do as much as possible in your higher earning capacity. He suggests hiring someone who can only do the mundane things 80% as good as you can. Over time, that same person will become more efficient than you ever were.
- Be Selective. Stop pleasing everyone. Learn how to say no. You can do this politely, but authoritatively. By demonstrating to others you value your time, those closest to you will begin to understand your need for more time for your business. Those who don’t get it are the ones you spend less and less time with or drop altogether.
- Choose Wisely. You only have so much room in your life and your schedule for interacting with other people. Choose to not let energy and spirit vampires in your company. These are people who are negative, or who continually want to waste your time with trivial matters. They lack a big picture for themselves and often project on you misguided conceptions about life and what they think you are doing. Spend your time with those who uplift and support you. Give back freely to those who do.
- Narrow Your Focus. If you want to deepen your sales and your mark on your business stop trying to be all things to all people. Simplify what you are doing, what you are selling and to whom you are selling your end product. The market for your “One Thing” is much bigger than you think. When you start putting all your energy into it, you will find much more opportunity than you previously thought. Your market will become more responsive to you when it sees how serious you are about just “One Thing.” Doing this will buy you time, build strength in your most effective channel, and produce greater sales because you own what you do and where you do it.
- Become a Single-tasker. Multi-tasking for humans is non-productive. Just as with narrowing your business and marketing focus to their core, single-tasking allows you to put your full energy into accomplishing great things the first time. Single-tasking will reduce or vastly eliminate mistakes. The saying, “There is always time to do it right the second time” is so true. The more you get things done right the first time, the more time you have to get other important things done. It’s an incremental process that will save you untold hours over the course of your career.
- Know When to Quit. Da Vinci said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” Michael Hyatt, once again, says, “Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination.” I guarantee only you will know that painting could use one more brush stroke, or that image could use one more Photoshop technique, or that sculpture curve could have been just a little more round. If I don’t know, how can I possibly care. Stop using perfectionism to keep you from getting things done. Start looking at why you are procrastinating. Get inside your head. Is something else going on? Are you afraid of success? Are you afraid of failure? Is there something else keeping you from high performance and high productivity? If there is. Don’t be afraid to get help. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help.
- Take a Nap. Working when you are tired or sleepy is not productive. Learn how to grab a 15-30 minute power nap every day, or at least when you need it. Get enough sleep every night so your naps are short and you awake from them in your power mode.
- Do Important Things First. Stephen Covey calls this “putting in the big rocks first.” Learn how to differentiate between those things that are urgent and those things that are important. Your phone ringing, your email, and social media notifications are not important, but feel urgent. Keeping your appointment with yourself to work on your art, or your marketing is vital. Don’t shed time from important things to do unimportant or less important things. Do the important things you like to do the least first. By getting those things done that you don’t like to do first, you buy yourself more time to do pleasant things. And, you free your mind of fretting about when you find time to do those tasks you find less appealing.
Commit to Your Success!
Make a commitment to yourself to begin using some of these tips and techniques immediately. There is no time like the present. Doing so is a gift to yourself. A gift that will reward you with more time, more productivity and greater prosperity.