In part 1 of this Time Management series, we discussed how planning your week will help you to prioritize what’s important (making your art) and make a plan to get done all the things you need to do in order to run your business and your life (marketing, bookkeeping, admin, etc).
When I stick to my schedule, I feel accomplished and happy. I can go home and be present with my family because I worked on my art, and on my business in an intentional way. And isn’t that really what is most important?
Let’s discuss how to find more time in your week and get control over your schedule instead of feeling like your schedule is controlling you. It’s through a technique called time blocking…and if you aren’t using it yet, let me share with you why you should consider it.
How many times have you been working on a task, when you see a new email notification come in. It’s a customer and they are inquiring about a new piece of art. Great! You click on your email, read through it, pull the images, you send over the info and make notes about the inquiry in your CRM. By the time you’ve finished getting back to the customer, the original task you were working on is long forgotten and 30 minutes has past. Since you were already in your email, you scroll and get sucked down the rabbit hole for another 30 minutes before you remember what you were originally working on and it takes another 10 minutes to get back into it…on and on it goes. How much time we waste each day.
Time blocking creates focus in your day. It is the process of grouping like tasks together and scheduling blocks of time to do them. It's the act of taking control of your day, minimizing waste, and avoiding distractions.
I spend about 20 minutes on Sunday evenings to time block my week using my google calendar and the task list that we worked on in Part I. The goal is to be able to visualize the time we actually have in our week to dedicate to our art and our art business and schedule our days to be as productive as possible.
Begin by blocking in your most important items. Since I use my google calendar, my appointments and events are already scheduled out. I block in my workouts first. Then I follow with my studio time for painting. Finally, I block in my tasks for the week.
I schedule time to manage email - once in the morning and once in the evenings. I open my email with my bullet journal open along side. I go through and make a note of people who require action items and replies and add any items to my to do lists if necessary. I try very hard not to open my email during non scheduled times because it is a main source of distraction and procrastination for me.
I treat Facebook and Instagram in a similar way to email. While both are important to managing my art business, they are productivity killers if I don’t set boundaries around them.
Pro Tip - Remove the temptation and minimize distractions. Be in control of your day by disabling notifications on your devices. You can access notifications in settings on most devices. You will dramatically improve your productivity with just this tip alone.
Time blocking is easy to set up, but requires discipline and focus to implement. As small business owners, it is up to us to create structure for ourselves to get all the things done that we need to. On days that I don’t time block, its incredibly easy to fill my day with lunch dates or busy work that is fun to do but not on my list. When my calendar is blocked off, I give myself the structure and boundaries to say no to things that aren’t scheduled.
When I stick to my schedule, I feel accomplished and happy (like the lady in the photo above). I can go home and be present with my family because I worked on my art, and on my business in an intentional way. And isn’t that really what is most important?
So, I challenge you this week to give time blocking a try. You can share you time blocking photos with the hashtag #artistboss and I may feature you in an upcoming blog post.
Now, go make some art!