A student in my Art Biz Bootcamp asked last week on a coaching call, “Where do you find the time?”
After I gave him my answers and we hung up from the call, I thought: There’s no such thing as finding time. We have time. It’s up to us how we choose to use it. [Tweet this.]
Then I thought about time bandits. I came up with four big things that rob us of that time. Do any of these sound familiar?
1. Disappearing Thoughts and Ideas
Writing everything down saves you energy because you don’t have to try to remember everything later. It gets these thoughts out of your head and frees up that space for creativity.
It also helps to focus on your priorities, which brings me to the rest of the time-stealers.
I live and die by the task list. If I don’t capture a thought or to-do item immediately, it’s often gone forever.
This means that my lists are really messy at first. Later, I take time to gather them and put them into Asana, the task list app I use.
2. Squishy Priorities
You know what’s important. You know what’s pressing. You know when you have a deadline.
Those are your priorities.
The problems arise when you don’t have deadlines, a situation that occurs regularly when you own your own business. No one asks you to turn in assignments or reports.
You must give yourself deadlines.
Studio is priority #1. After that, I’d place building your mailing list, connecting with other artists, and researching opportunities at near the top of most artists’ to-dos.
3. Attention Splatter
You could easily waste an entire day flitting from email to Twitter to Facebook to Google+ and around again. And then where will you be?
You know that your priorities require focused attention.
I’ve been using the Pomodoro Technique (thanks for the tweet about it, Claudine Hellmuth!) to help me stay focused on one task at a time. I don’t recommend it for studio work, but I’m using it right now to write this article.
4. No Boundaries
You can’t run a successful business while trying to please everyone. And, as #2 and #3 above show, you have to be disciplined enough to focus on your priorities.
You need boundaries around whatever or whoever is stealing your time away from your goals. Examples of boundaries:
– I don’t answer the phone, email, or door during studio hours.
– I don’t check email after 7:00 p.m. That’s family and wind-down time.
– I politely decline opportunities that take me far from my goals.
– I don’t do housework during work hours.
There are many other time bandits these days. What’s stealing your time?