You’ll probably agree with me that as an artist you tend to work on ten different projects at a time: rewriting your artist statement, shipping paintings to your gallery, following up on sales inquiries, catching up on admin and most importantly - creating your art. With so much going on, it is easy to get lost in the mundane tasks that are part and parcel of running an artist studio and as a result, it’s easy to end up not doing them at all.
Is Your Studio Cluttered?
“If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to say of an empty desk?” said Einstein. To me, the answer to that question is that an empty desk is a sign of a calm, organized mind. In other words, you’ll be more effective when you’re organized and tidy.
In fact, the problem with a cluttered desk (or desktop, or artist studio) is twofold. Firstly, the more cluttered your workspace gets, the easier it becomes to physically (or digitally) lose important documents and files. Secondly, clutter is distracting. It makes us lose track of projects that we are working on and allows us to forget about urgent tasks that should have been finished weeks ago. So how do you solve this problem? You need to create a simple system, or a routine.
Routines Are Friends
Creating a routine is helpful because once you incorporate certain tasks in your schedule (in the same way you allocate time to eating or working out), you get used to doing them which frees up a lot of brainpower that is better spent on creating your art. Creating a system does not need to be complicated. You don’t need a 10 page manifesto on how you manage your art studio.
Instead, start small. Ask yourself the following question: Which tasks do I have to do repeatedly (i.e. every week or every month) that I tend to forget about or push to the side? Write them down in a list. For example, I often hear from artists that they are not sure how often to post to social media or that they forget about it. Other examples are following up on sales inquiries or adding new works to your studio inventory as soon as you finish them. Important tasks but easily postponed to the point where the backlog has become such an unsurmountable task that you no longer bother at all.
Stop Re-Inventing The Wheel
If you don’t have the luxury of a studio assistant who can take care of all of this for you, start by allocating an hour a week (or more, where appropriate) to each of the tasks on your list. Add these tasks to your calendar as a recurring event so that they pop up on your calendar at 8am on Mondays (posting to social media) or 4pm on Wednesdays (following up on sales enquiries or adding new works to your inventory). Allocating time to these tasks in a structured way will remove a lot of the stress of re-inventing the wheel every week or getting seriously behind on important tasks. Creating a simple routine will allow you to use your brainpower for what you really want to do: creating art.