Top Time-Savers for Your Art Business

The number one complaint I hear from artists is that they don't have enough time.
Sometimes it's not so much a complaint, but a fear—a fear that they'll be overwhelmed if they have to add one more business or marketing task to their list of things to do.
We all have the same amount of time, but some of us have learned strategies to be more efficient. See if implementing one or more of these ideas can buy you some sanity.

Sandy Askey Adams, Serenity at the Beach. Pastel
Sandy Askey Adams, Serenity at the Beach. Pastel, 12 x 24 inches. ©The Artist

Chunk it. Schedule your errands together and do like-minded tasks at the same time. It's often easier to write a number of blog posts in one sitting than it is to write one a day.
Post-date it. If you write blog posts ahead of time, post-date them to appear throughout the week or month. You can do the same with Twitter and Facebook status updates if you use a platform like TweetDeck, Seesmic, or HootSuite.
Guard it. Reserve your peak productivity time for making art, writing blog posts, and completing other tasks that demand creative energy.
Learn it. Getting comfortable with new technology can be overwhelming, but delaying the learning process can cost you the precious time that a new technology can save. Learn the ropes in order to save time in the long run.
Automate it. Never miss an important transaction by automating bill payments, employee wages, and more.
Hire it. If you're so busy that you can't finish projects, it's time to get help. Look to your kids or college students to help you with mailings, update your database, and make labels for your exhibit. Think about a virtual assistant to respond to email requests, configure your blog, or update your website.
Ignore it (for now). Turn off all notifications on social media sites. Instead of being interrupted every time you get a direct message on Twitter or Facebook, develop a discipline to log in to those sites on a regular basis. (See “chunk it” above.)
Process it. Don't check your email, process it. Answer it, delete it, or file it, but don't leave it to be acted upon later. Do the same with your regular mail. If you have to look at something multiple times, you have to re-learn it each time.
Finish it. Follow your tasks through to completion. It's easy to get distracted, but create a mantra that helps you avoid multi-tasking and distraction. Feel free to adopt the mantra I created for these situations: “I do one thing at a time to completion.”
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19 thoughts on “Top Time-Savers for Your Art Business”

  1. Excellent post Alyson – I’ll be sharing it in the next “who’s made a mark this week?”
    The one I definitely subscribe to is “learn it”. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to remember how to do something you know you’ve done successfuly in the past. I’ve always adopted the approach of making sure I learned how to do something properly whenever doing antyhing new – and often wrote down how to do it. That way I could easily remember what to do next time I needed to so the same thing.
    I’ve also been amazed at people using software where they are only scraping the surface of the time-saving functionality which lies underneath.
    I’ve found chunking up learning in to small bits to be very helpful. I did that the first time I learned “Word”. I had a policy of “one new thing every day” and learned how to do something each day irrespective of whether I needed to use it right there and then.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Good point, Katherine. It’s hard to remember something when you don’t do it frequently. I feel this way about many things: especially related to video. And today I wished I remembered how I set up DreamWeaver when I found myself working on a new version and having to do it all over agin.

  2. Alyson, very good post. It deals with my pet peaves, but you left the first one unspoken. Analyze it. Before I can chunk it, guard it, etc., I have to take a few mental minutes to go over something in detail so I know what I need to do or want from it. If it’s a major project I’ll do a written list. Your “Identify (only) the next action” related post, above, covers some of this – and I agree with the multi-tasking. It’s a good way to do a poor job on everything.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      David: Excellent point! I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I’ll be using this as a new post at some point (with due credit, of course). Thank you for the reminder.

  3. Shelley (EvenAndy)

    Thanks for the great post! Time is definitely an issue I deal with everyday. I really need to process it. I have the tendency to check my email to be updated but then leave it. I need to work on it.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Shelley: The email thing is HUGE. Once you figure out the “processing” part, you’ll have a much easier time.

  4. Once again, advice well needed and well timed. This one is going on my studio and outside life walls. Great quick-list for those of us who do get overwhelmed because we are trying to do it all. Although I am still escaping email-jail, I am much improved. Thanks!

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  6. Tanna Paradis (LoveHonorUpcycle)

    Great tips. Valuable in so many life areas. Also along the lines of “process it”, I try to always nip the little things in the bud as they come along. When I get the small stuff out of the way it doesn’t pile up and the bigger projects remain in focus. Thanks again I’m going to add some of these to my process!

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