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7 Ways to Get More Work Done This Summer

We are about halfway through the summer. Are you doing anything special during your summer vacation?

I’m spending lots of extra time at our home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. I also reading much more than usual and trying to find more time to art.

Even with those fun elements, it’s important not to adopt a vacation mindset when it comes to your business. A lot of people do that. You can take advantage of the slow time and make a difference in your business.

One of the things I’ve tried to work on for the last few years is working smarter and using my time more efficiently. The key to that is knowing how I am working currently. Here are some tips I have been using to put the sizzle back in my creative arts business.

Track how you spend your time.

At the end of each day and at the end of each week compare the percentage of your time used toward fulfilling your mission and achieving your goals with time spent elsewhere. It is easy to get sidetracked and not pay attention to the task at hand. It is also easy to do the effortless work and not really tackle what you should be getting done.

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Can You Find Your Art Supplies?

declutter

I have been in a “cleaning out” mode lately.

We have talked about downsizing in the next year or so. I always joke that I am on a five-year plan for decluttering, and the time just keeps getting shorter.

Looking around at my studio, I realized that it could use a healthy cleaning. So I started sorting through books, fabrics, and art supplies.

Gosh, we quilters, sewists and artists certainly do accumulate a lot. I know I will appreciate the open space in which to create.

Here are some tips if you are facing that increasing pile, or piles, of stuff:

Start With a Plan

Start with a plan. As I started thinking about the decluttering process, I realized I was really curating my space — selecting, organizing, and presenting.

The first questions you could ask is what do you want your space to say and how do you want it to function for you.

If you are a fan of Marie Kondo and her Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, you can use that as a guide.



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Do You Have Gotta-Do-It-First-itis?

do-it-first-itis

Does this sound familiar?

You are headed to the office or studio, only you pass through the kitchen and see the dishwasher needs to be emptied. Well, it won’t take that long. You do it first and just get it done.

Now you are back on track headed to the office or studio only you are now  distracted by the stack of laundry as you pass by the washer. Well, let’s just throw that one load in. You decide it will only take a minute or two.

You pause to looking at the messages that came in the night before. One was from a friend down the street. Well, what could she want? It’s just a quick phone call, and it will be out of the way.

Finally you’ve made it to your studio and are ready to get to work. Wait, you decide to quickly check your email. Oh, some of these look really quick to answer. So you decide to do them first and get them out of the way.

Did you just lose half your day because you had what I’ve termed “gotta-do-it-first-itis”?
Any chance this problem crops up more than one day a week?



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Let’s celebrate + stretch

It’s the last week of June. We are about midway through the year.

Have you taken time to review where you are with accomplishing your goals at this half-way point?

Now is the perfect time to look back at what you have accomplished so far this year and adjust your goals for the year.

Why now? Other than it is half-way through the year, we are about to celebrate Independence Day, July 4, here in the United States. It is a day meant for celebration — picnics, fireworks and gratitude.

I like celebrating where I started and where I am. I like celebrating that I am able to work both independently as an entrepreneur and interdependently with so many wonderful people. I’m sure you have some of those same celebrations.How do you do this review?



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Slay that frog!

Do you know the story behind the maxims:

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day,” and

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.
And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”?

These words have been credited to Mark Twain over the years. It does sound like something he’d say. In actuality, the original quote goes back to Nicolas Chamfort, who lived in the 1700s.

Provenance aside, the theory is that if you have difficult tasks, it is best to get them over with.

And, if you have more than one difficult task, tackle the biggest one.

In other words, don’t eat dessert first.



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Escape to creativity!

What are you doing on your summer vacation?

Yes, I know that as creative entrepreneurs you don’t really take a summer vacation. You are probably working in/on your business 24/7/365. You can’t possibly take time off.

Or maybe you do fit in some time because your spouse has a two-week vacation. Or maybe you still have a day job with vacation time and you don’t want to lose it all. According to Market Watch, the average American worker takes just over half his/her vacation time.

This summer try something different. Take time off and use it as an opportunity to open your mind, spice up your creativity, and see the world in a new way. Here are some ideas to get you started.



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Buying Out of the “Starving Artist” Mindset

Over the weekend, I stopped in a local gallery and was talking with some of the artists. Several were quite successful.

One described herself as struggling. Then she said with a laugh, no she was really the typical “starving artist.”

What ensued was a rather lively discussion about our value, what we believe we are capable of, what words to do us, and the notion that we do not have to buy into that “starving” mentality.

The starving artist mentality is totally in your head.



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Are You Waiting for “Enoughness?”

Do you have some business or personal dreams that you are putting off because you think you need to know more before you move forward?

Maybe you think you need another art course, or maybe you need that extra marketing course. Or, your website could be better. Or, your design skills need to be better to enter that show. Or, you do not know as much as, or are as skilled as, someone else. Or, …

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Are You Whelmed?

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Avoid the Comparison Trap

Comparison Trap

Do you ever get that sinking feeling when you look around and start to compare yourself to others — their art or their business success?

You start to think that no one will every want what you have.

And, then you start to believe the one or two people who have ever commented negatively on your work.

And, then the spiral starts. Really, who are you to do this anyway?

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