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Time blocking leads to better productivity

Have you looked at the calendar and wondered how you can possibly do all you have scheduled? I used to feel that way until I made a simple discovery.

Time blocking!

Time blocking is a method of allocating or pre-assigning time for specific activities throughout your day. It helps me keep my day and life more balanced. I accomplish more because I have structure to my day, I can focus on a specific task with a high value, and I am able to manage interruptions. I am the one in charge of my day. Here’s how to do this.

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Overcoming obstacles to change

We are in a stage of change here at the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals. Our biggest change is that we are no longer hosting our annual Creative Arts Business Summit after next weekend.

It was hard for me to decide to stop doing a successful event. After seven years, I felt rewarded by all the growth I saw in the creatives who had come to CABS, as we call it.

People who were pattern designers opened brick and mortar stores. One person saw her dream of a B&B/Retreat Center come to fruition. Someone created a “million dollar” idea. Many others also realized that they were capable of doing bigger things, and as one attendee said, she was so “much more than a stay at home mom with a hobby.”

People felt their lives were changed both personally and professionally.

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Do You Suffer From Smorgasbord Syndrome?

Someone recently shared in our Members’ Studio that she was trying to tackle too many tasks in one day. She added that she tended to overestimate her available time. That meant she was moving uncompleted tasks from one day into the next day’s list. The end result was making new lists and wasting time and energy. She was not alone with this confession, confusion, and remorse.

I refer to this as the “Smorgasbord Syndrome.”

As a child, I can remember my parents saying that my eyes were bigger than my stomach when we had big family celebrations. I didn’t want to miss out on anything that might be good. And, of course, even though I probably left little room for dessert, I didn’t want to miss out on any of those, so I added more to my plate when dessert rolled around. You can guess that I probably had my share of stomach aches.

It’s easy to see how this approach translates into your life and business.

You think you have more time to accomplish what needs to be accomplished. You keep saying, “yes, pile more on my plate.” Whether you say that to someone who asks you to do something or just to yourself, the end result is the same. Your life and/or business plate is overflowing.

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Once it’s created, it’s copyrighted

Last week a post popped up in my Facebook feed that dealt with copyright.

A textile artist discovered that her original work had “inspired” someone to create a nearly identical piece of art. The copier thought that if she gave credit to the art’s originator at some point, it was okay. She did credit the original artist in a blog post. She also thought it was okay to enter her work into a contest. Well it’s not okay in either instance.

Late last year one of my pattern design clients shared that someone had created a nearly identical quilt to hers and was selling patterns. Again, the copier was inspired and didn’t see the harm in what she was doing.

In both these cases, the copiers infringed on copyright. They didn’t have the rights to make a copy. In neither case did the infringer even ask permission.

Unfortunately this topic comes up on a regular basis.



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Be. Do. Have.

My first yoga studio, Follow Your Heart Yoga in Germantown, Md., had a decorative tile hanging by the door. It said, “Just Be!” I first saw it nearly 15 years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. What does it mean to “just be?”

On one level it means to be present in the moment, without distraction, still. And, that is probably what we are supposed to consider when we see the tile and begin our practice in the studio.

But who is it that you want to be?

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Who Packs Your Parachute?

Do you know the story of Captain Charlie Plumb?

A U.S. Naval Academy grad, Charlie was a jet pilot in Vietnam and completed 74 successful combat missions over North Vietnam. On his next mission, just days before the end of his tour, his plane was shot down over Hanoi. He parachuted into enemy hands and spent the next 2,103 days as a Prisoner of War.

Some years later by chance, Charlie met the man who had packed his parachute. At first speechless at the meeting, Charlie became full of gratitude and explained that he had said many prayers of thanks and didn’t expect to ever be able to express his gratitude in person. Charlie asked the parachute packer if he kept track of all the parachutes he packed. The man responded, “No, it’s enough gratification for me to just know I served.”

Today Charlie travels around the country lecturing and asking, “Who packs your parachute?”



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Would you like a scholarship to CABS?

I believe that anyone who is serious about starting or growing a creative arts business should have a chance to learn the best success and business strategies.

I also believe this is best done away from your studio with other like-minded creatives who will understand and continue to support you.

Your place to do that is the eighth annual Creative Arts Business Summit on March 21-23, 2019.

That’s why when someone turned in her ticket for this year’s Creative Arts Business Summit (CABS), I decided to offer two partial scholarships. Two lucky winners will be able to work directly with me and a group of other creatives for three days in the middle of March.

For many who have attended CABS over the past seven years, this has been life changing. I want that for you, too.

Here are the rules:

  • Send us a note or a video indicating why YOU should receive the scholarship. Be sure to mention how this will make a difference in your business and life.
  • Written entries should be no longer than 300 words and videos should be no longer than 3 minutes!
  • If you choose to do a video, clearly mention the website www.CreativeArtsBusinessSummit.com in your video so people who watch it know where to learn more about this event you’re talking about.
  • Send your written response or a link to the video to support@creativeartsprofessional.com.
  • We must receive your entry no later than 11:59 pm Eastern on Sunday, February 24th.
  • Be sure to include your contact info, as I will notify the winners directly.

You can learn more about CABS and read the success stories of some those who’ve attended here.

Time is limited so don’t delay. We must receive your entry no later than 11:59 pm Eastern on Sunday, February 24th.

Don’t miss this chance to uplevel your business this year with some financial assistance. Before you know it, you’ll wish you had joined us.

Biz lessons from the dentist

I had a dental visit last week. I have one every six months, like many people. I don’t actually mind these because  — knock on wood — I’ve been blessed with healthy teeth.

I was thinking about what I could learn and share about business as Julie, the hygienist, was cleaning my teeth. After all, you can’t exactly carry on your end of a conversation while this is going on.

Create relationships

Julie has been a dental hygienist in this small practice for nearly 40 years, and I’ve been going for at least half that time.

While she started her job because she loved cleaning teeth, Julie told me that for her it had not been about cleaning teeth for a long time.

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Focus on MGAs First

As a creative entrepreneur, you probably struggle with a never ending to-do list. I know I do. Even as your business grows and you have assistance, it can still seem overwhelming to get everything done in the allotted time you have.

The goal of your business is to make money. Otherwise, you have a hobby.

The key is to put money generating activities (MGAs) at the top of that list.

If you look at the last five things you did in your business, how many were related to sales or marketing in your business?

You need to prioritize those activities if you are going to bring income into your business. Remember that money flows where your attention goes.

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Get Off Your But!

getoffyourbut

Some time ago I read A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink. It’s a good read about why right-brainers will rule the future.

The future, really today, is the “conceptual age.” Pink discusses the “six senses” that one uses to build a whole new mind to thrive in this conceptual age: design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning. While I do not necessarily subscribe to his premise in total – I believe we need to engage both parts of our brain – he offers lots of great exercises to get your right brain working. And even though many artists are right-brained, you will find the exercises fun and expanding.

Onto ifs, ands, & buts. In his discussion on meaning, one of Pink’s suggestions for creating more meaning in your life is to replace the word “but” with “and.”

He says that “buts” can create roadblocks for creating more meaning in your life and suggests creating a list of what you are trying to accomplish and what is in your way.

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