I want to tell you some insights I gathered being a practicing fine artist.
As creatives we struggle sometimes with rules and schedules. At least I do. If I get pushed into a schedule I am really defensive. I don't want to get pinned down on doing certain things at certain times.
But that doesn't mean a rhythm and habits, created around my own needs isn't improving my productivity and happiness. The opposite is the case.
After I started to create habits around my own needs I am more productive than before. These habits help me structure my days, so I know what to do when, without losing a lot of time thinking about it. Today I want to help you rethink your workspace and working habits.
I translated the insights I gathered into the third part of the BIZ-Checklist.
So now let's dive in part 3 of the BIZ-Checklist, your work environment.
How many hours do you work each week?
Some of us think they are not working enough but actually make a lot more hours than they think. Some of us think they work so much, but actually are spending a lot of time on distractions.
If you have a hard time to write down how many hours you actually work each week, I want to invite you to track al your working activities for one week. Just write down what you’re doing, when you start working on it and when you stop working on it on.
The time you’re getting distracted by social media, magazines or phones calls is no work time! Therefore, when you start doing something else, write down the time. This is then the end time of your task until you start it up again!
If you do research for a project, read a book, learn something,... which is related to your business and which you need to do or learn in order to get your work done, that’s working too!
Write down those hours.
Do you know how much time you need to get specific tasks done?
If you know how much time you need to spend on a specific task, you can estimate how many hours you will need to spend on a specific project. The knowledge of that will help you set your prices accordingly and to not over commit with taking on too many clients.
If you know how long some things take, planning out projects and tasks will get much easier.
So write down things you need to do regularly, write down how long you think it will take and then track the time you’re actually needing.
This will help you get a better feeling of your timing!
Did you set specific work hours for yourself?
This can be hard at times!
Before June I didn't have a nanny so my work hours where the nap-times of my baby.
As your probably know baby’s don't always sleep when they’re supposed to, so it was hard to set specific times. But what I did was as soon as the baby was asleep, I knew I had to start working.
So even when you need to have a flexible schedule, think about how many hours you want to work and when you're going to make them happen.
After you did that, you know when you have to rock the studio!!!
Do you track your time regularly?
This question is meant to be a little reminder. Track your times every now and then, to keep you up to date how long something takes.
Do you have a workspace that is just for you, so you don't have to put everything away at the end of a work day?
This is a big time safer!
In case you’re just starting out and you don't have a studio yet, create a little studio area in your home. It doesn't need to be big, but you should be able to leave your materials in place! Talk about this with your family and ask for their support!
Ideally you would have your own studio, where you can close the door. But if that's not in the cards for you right now create a workspace in your own home!
Do you plan out your day-to-day activities in advance, so you know what you have to get done each day?
Do you write those tasks down clearly visible for yourself at all times? Do you cross off everything you did?
I recently came up with this habit! And it totally changed how much I can get done!!
I recently wrote 22 blog post at one day! Normally I was just able to write one each day ;).
I thought I was just not a fast writer, but turns out I can write fast, but I need the right set up.
So now I take the time to plan out all the tasks the day before. I write them down on my whiteboard. I also add the things I need to do to keep my private life going (not the obvious stuff, like making dinner or picking up my son from the nanny,... but more the additional tasks like call there,...)
Let's say one tasks would be preparing the blog posts for one week in advance. I would then write behind this tasks, the titles or topics of every single one of the blog posts I would write. So I can cross them off as soon as I am finished writing them.
This way I exactly know at one glance how far I am to get a task done. And the other thing is, every time I cross off one thing I'm getting exited. Crossing off tasks feels like an achievement and makes me want to work faster and harder to cross of even more things.
This way I am able to handle more stuff at once, without working more hours. It also helps me handle all the to-do things in one or two mornings a week and keeps the rest of the week free to work in the studio on my art.
I know this technique might not be for everyone, I thought it wasn't for me either. But I would like you to try it anyways and see how it goes!
So there you have it!
I hope those thoughts about creating a productive work environment will help you come up with a routine and create habits and strategies that match your style of working.
There are so many different ways to create a productive work environment for yourself, but you may want to try out these ideas. Even if they are not the right fit for you, they may help you come up with habits that help you do your work most efficient.
If you have habits, routines or strategies that help you to stay focused and get work done I would love to know about them. I am always looking to learn new tactics that help me be even more productive with less time and effort.
Just comment below!