Sunday, September 27, 2009

Art as Business: Time Management

It helps a lot if you are good at time management when self-employed (as an artist - or anything else!). I’m constantly working on improving when it comes to this subject. I am no expert, but I will share what has helped me so far. (I'm actually originally messy - and also a mother - and without these efforts I would be lost in chaos)

-We all know how it is when you feel that it’s all messy: papers, appointments, remembering dates etc, right?

- But why is it like this?

  • Vague goals and priorities
  • No overall plans or concrete steps/deadlines
  • Not any systems to keep order
  • Not saying NO
  • Not taking a break to (re)think or recover

- So how can you solve these problems?

  1. What are my goals?
  2. How should I get there and where do I start?
  3. What do I do with my time?
- So far I’ve been writing a lot about 1 and 2 in this Sunday series. But it is actually no 3 that will lead me towards my goals – or not … (next week I will report on my progress so far).

I’ve constructed this list where I’ve been tracking what I’ve been doing for several weeks (since August 11). This has been a way for me to discover time drains – or actually verify what I’ve been suspecting.

My two main Problems are:
  • I do too much voluntary work – especially considering I’ve actually said NO to doing it after many years of being on boards etc.
  • I do too many different things in a day (we shouldn’t even mention in a week!) or have too many parallel projects going on. I’m not able to be really efficient because there is a certain starting-up time for every different task.
Put time limits on my voluntary work (1 hour /week in average should be enough), say no and explain that I have certain deadlines to meet. Honor my own time. I’ve already done my part (7 years) and someone else could take over now.

Decide what activity I can do without, what could be done in less time - and what activity I can do later.
  • Do I have any absolute deadlines?
  • Will this activity lead anywhere when taking my main goals in considerations (will Manga-workshops for kids give anything more than some money now? Would the time be better invested in something else?)
  • Cluster errands and foresee needs (when buying new watercolour papers buying more stamps …ok, still some left – but I’ll need more soon).
  • Decide how much time some activities are allowed to take - and not always aim for perfection (writing this very post has a certain time limit!)
  • Use calendar and address book better (I already started to improve on this one in spring)
  • Have a look at the coming months and plan concentrated periods of work if possible (October = Public Commissions, November = own art) – and rewards (dinner out, a day off)

So far these posts about Art as Business have just been words and words: about what I want to achieve and how to do it. But will I really achieve anything? Next Sunday it's time for my first Progress Report - find out if I'm a phony or for real!

[this is part 8 in my Sundays series about Art as Business. Here you can read part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6 - and part 7]


Alexandra Hedberg said...

Now I will ask you a question: Do you want to know more about how I manage my time? Or do you want to read about something else?

RoByn Thompson said...

Time management is a major problem for me too. I go off on too many tangents in too many directions. There are just so very many shiny things that want my attention.

Marchi Wierson said...

I am ready for the next step. How to present what you have done, how to get the attention of the galleries you want, and what happens in the process. What do you learn, what are you doing well, what could you do better. What kind of promotional materials do you have. How do you first introduce yourself. How do they respond. How do you deal with rejection. Etc.

marie-louise said...

Jag tycker ALLTID att det är intressant att följa dina tankar och ditt arbete.

Muriël said...

I'm following your series and I'm looking forward to nest week's instalment!

nathalie et cetera said...

this series is getting more and more interesting. time management is not a big problem for me but any new idea is welcome.

Rowena said...

I would like to know more about managing time. I'd also like to know what comes next. This is all really valuable to me as I start out on this path of art as commerce.

And I really recognize myself in your "symptoms" list.

Thanks for this.

●• Thereza said...

i really enjoyed this part. time management and prioritizing stuff ... one of my biggest challenges...
it's somewhat comforting to know i'm not alone and it's good to hear how you manage this bit :)
have a nice week!

Veja cecilia said...

på min kurs har vi haft time management kurs, det var verkligen intressant och fick mig att fundera mycket över vad jag gör med min tid. jag är hopplös om jag har en dator i närheten, kan surfa bort dagar, så för mig funkar det bra med en att göra lista och ingen dator:) jag vill gärna höra mer om din tidsplanering och ser fram emot att höra hur det har gått för dig nästa söndag:)

Lotte said...

I use toooo much time blogging some days...haha...Great reading girl...makes me think more what I want and how to do it...Just a bit full with other things these days...But cool Thanks :)
Yes...Please more sunday series :)

dorthe said...

Found you cool blog via Camilla Engmand. I am not an artist, but would love to read more about how you manage you time and reach your goals.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I really enjoyed reading this!

aimee said...

time is such an elusive thing unless you know how to manage it. yes, i'd love to know more about how you structure your days.

Alexandra Hedberg said...

thanks for your words!

It's not like I would have major problems managing my time if I had lived a normally life (when still in school i had not that problem) ... No, it's trying to juggle so many different things and not having much of a definite schedule to follow. I have to put myself rules and lists to get somewhere

I've many times discovered (afterwards) that I've been putting my time on low priority tasks ...

Christine Clemmensen said...

Jeg synes det er spændende at følge dine business-tanker, processer og erfaringer. Du bestemmer farten og prioriteringen. Har du mere at sige om time management - så læser jeg med. Med glæde!
Tak for skønne posts.

Anairam said...

Would love to know more about how you manage your time. It is always an interesting topic for me - for myself very problematic - although I have LOTS of time at the moment, I seem to achieve nothing with it! Well, very little.

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