At this time of year lots of people start planning new routines to get themselves organised. Organisation is key to being successful in any business.
From years and years of being a teacher, where every second of our lesson time and indeed our free time was precious beyond belief, I have 20 years of time management and organisation skills honed to a tee.
There is a myth that creative thinkers are chaotic and disorganised… though I’ll admit that part of my need for planning and organisation has definitely stemmed from my years of being a teacher and now they are serving me well in my years of being an artist.
So here are my top three - I'm not altogether sure I’d be able to live without any of them!
I have a wall next to my desk with blackboard paper stuck on it.
This is much more practical than having a real blackboard of this size, which would be very heavy and could damage the wall or even damage me if it fell off the wall!
Blackboard paper is really easy to apply and you can get it in plenty of DIY shops or indeed a favourite online retailer! I love it!
It helps me map out my plans month by month. On my blackboard wall this month are the key areas for development for January 2017 they are:
a) my website
b) research and development which includes goal setting, marketing strategies and artistic experimentation,
c)painting- which includes planning my new collection, and
d) workshops- these can include workshops that I'm doing elsewhere for instance in Salisbury museum and indeed my own workshops that I'm doing in my studio.
2. A decent diary…
actually a decent diary and a planner, well a decent diary, a planner and then another diary; this is getting complicated.
I use a moleskin diary, a week to page with a notes on the side this really helps me coordinate arrangements, visits and meetings with other people. It's light enough to carry around with me and bung in my handbag and it's big enough for me to still put in a few plans and urgent reminders.
In addition to this I have another planner which doesn't leave my studio. It's big enough for me to write anything I need to. I use Janet Murray's media dairy, where I plan my blog posts for the year, my social media strategy and PR planning. This is quite a lot of work but it's not something that needs to travel so it's good to have a big fat chunky diary that can contain all the info.
I also have the brilliant “Your best year 2017” by Lisa Jacobs. I started using her strategies and YBY planners back in 2014 and I haven't stopped! I'm also a member of her online Luminaries club which has really helped me become accountable for my own business. Creating artwork, for me at least, is the easy part of my business. The difficult part is working out how to sell it ,when to sell, where to sell it, and who to sell it to!
To do all of those things you got to have a plan.
Any of my former students or colleagues will possibly be laughing out loud at this point or maybe even rolling their eyes. They will know that I am obsessed with mind mapping. I used to recommend mindmapping to my students particularly for revision and notetaking.
In my life as an artist I use mindmapping all the time to plan and to strategise my art business. It really helps me get all my ideas down on paper (or screen) really really quickly whilst leaving me with a great visual reminder of what I'm up to. I can plan almost anything with a mind map. From my holiday packing to a detailed written press release. I even mind map my blog posts!
So those are my big three take aways for how to get yourself organised. There is no doubt that the real secret to organisation is finding the strategy that happens to work for you.
For me visuals stimulus is key to my planning strategies…who knew!