Organization and Productivity

Evolving Your Career: Business Skills for Visual Artists (Spacetaker Presentation 2012)

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Spacetaker presentation led by Houston artist and businessman Taft McWhorter, -----This presentation offers artists tips on how to take their art career to the next level. Business Skills for Visual Artists 2012 from Fresh Arts
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Productivity Tips: A Craft Business Owner Puts Ideas Into Action

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 By Lisa Anderson Shaffer, courtesy of IndieMade.Last in a 3-part series on productivity tips for artists and crafters.With such great productivity tips from Joshua Zerkel and Willo O’Brien, I was finally ready to tackle that oh-so-overwhelming pile of papers for my craft business. I wanted to follow Joshua’s suggestion to start small and not take on too much organization at once.  After all I did want to stick with it!I decided that the best method for me to start was to simply decide which organizational applications I wanted to try for the year.  Once I took a good hard look at the pile of paperwork that tends to accumulate on my desk, I was able to break down exactly where it all comes from.  It turns out that all the little pieces of paper that become a neverending to-do list pertain to three areas of my craft business:1.     Money2.     Contacts3.     IdeasThese three categories are seemingly huge and significant ones in terms of the success of my craft business. My organizational methods to date have been working, but they could use some streamlining and I could most certainly use any boost in productivity that results. To get things started, I decided on a group of applications that will help me to better manage inventory, income and expenses, ideas and notes, and contacts and receipts.• Stitch Labs: Online inventory management system to help small business owners keep track of sales through multiple channels.• Outright: Online accounting and small business bookkeeping software.• Evernote: Online notetaking system to save, organize, and share voice memos, photographs, web pages and more.• Shoeboxed: Online receipt and business card scanning and organization service.My most important criterion: all four applications had to be accessible from my mobile phone.  I’m on the go a lot and I need to be able to tackle small tasks when they arise.  For an organizational system to work for me, I need to be able to get to it while in line at the grocery store. It sounds silly, but as craft business owners know, sometimes you need to make every minute count! Waiting until later is where I get into trouble and how the dreaded pile of papers accumulates.
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Feedback on What Increases Your Artistic Productivity

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Courtesy of artist and writer Katherine Tyrrell. At the end of January, I did a post about What increases your artistic productivity - and invited people to comment on what they found helped them. It attracted a lot of comments and lots of really good insight into what works for other people! I used to have to make sense of lots of different perspectives as part of my job so it was fun to take the comments and see whether a pattern emerged and, if so, what it was. Well the answer is that it did - and it reminded me quite a bit of some aspects of 'The Seven Habits of Effective People' by Stephen Covey. Hence the conclusion which is my version of the seven habits translated into artspeak! I'm toying with the idea of developing this into an article - so please let me know what you think. What helps to increase productivity... Goal/results oriented approaches help a lot: Deadlines enable some artists, such as Nicole Caulfield (Nicole Caulfield Art Journal) and Marsha Robinett (The Extraordinary Pencil) to stay focused, increase their effort and get artwork or other tasks finished on time. Deadlines make Nicole so productive that she even looks forward to having a deadline to work to! Having a project for some people helps them to frame, focus and generate ideas and material. Some people found that multiple projects were helpful. I know I always need an alternative to work on when I get 'stuck'. Starting a major project has been the single biggest inspiration for me to work regularly and deeply. My Waterways Project gave me a frame work to gather ideas, generate work, draw, orgainize my sketchbook. Lindsay (Non Linear Arts)Having specific goals focuses effort. Keeping a sketchbook and drawing every day was mentioned by a few people including Tania (The Scratchboard). Specific goals are valued by Rose Welty (Rose's art Lines) as she explained in her post 'It helps me, it doesn't help me. She also likes planning how she is going to accomplish something. Time management - in the short and long term - is important . . . view more
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Future of Music Coalition: Artist Revenue Streams

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 How are today's Musician's earning money? Artist Revenue Streams is a multi-method, cross-genre examination of how US-based musicians’ revenue streams are changing, and why. This mini-site is the home of our project’s releases and findings. We will issue multiple reports and presentations here from January-June 2012. Learn About Revenue StreamsThrough this work, FMC has organized a consolidated list of 42 revenue streams available to US-based composers and musicians related to their compositions, recordings, performance, brand, or knowledge of craft. Learn more about how we asked questions and grouped revenue types in the survey.  Learn how orchestral players are compensated when sound recordings are sold. 
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Overcoming Artist’s Block

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Courtesy of the Practical Art World. Artist’s block is a beleaguering but usually inevitable reality for many creative types. It can stall progress, waste precious studio time, and is generally disheartening. Many different factors can cause artist’s block, but there are usually ways to overcome it. One difficulty is, everyone is different! There is no surefire fix or antidote, but I have compiled a few ideas that work for me and other artists that I know. Remember: the main obstacle to overcoming artist’s block is lack of initiative. Whether you use the ideas below or your own, the most important thing is: make the time to do it! Go somewhere you’ve never been, or somewhere you enjoy. Sometimes a change of scene is all you need. Find an inspiring environment and spend your “studio time” there instead. This could be anywhere: a park, a new coffee shop, a zoo or aquarium, a walk along the ocean, a museum… whatever appeals to you! You’ll be surprised how refreshing it can be for your mind to focus external stimulus instead of turning ideas in circles inside your head. . . . view more
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Managing to Succeed

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By Ann Daly, Arts Consultant. Courtesy of Chicago Artists Resource. Whatever your personal goal as a photographer (to earn a living, to develop a reputation, to share your passion with friends and family—or all of the above), you need to manage your photographic practice.What that means, simply, is organizing your work so that you are both efficient (giving minimum effort) and effective (getting maximum results).  Most of us are very efficient. We’re getting alot of stuff done. The question is: Is it the right stuff? Are we actually being effective with our energy, accomplishing the most important things? Sooner or later, we all get to the point when we outgrow our old office habits. The most obvious symptom is exhaustion. That’s the most common problem presented by my individual clients. Everything that’s supposed to support your photography (like sales, accounting, portfolio development) turns into its own burden. We get worn out by outworn practices. That’s when you know it’s time to get a better system.  I was raised on color-coded file folders, the daughter of a project engineer. His mantra: “Nothing ever happens without a budget and a deadline.”   Money and time are certainly two of the essential ingredients for a successful management system. And I’ll add a third: relationships.  Forget all the complicated, one-size-fits-all formulae for running your studio. You need to remember only two things. First, you define your own vision of success. Second, the route to that success is through the strategic management of money, time, and relationships.  Of course, management is secondary to the work itself. But if you are committed to photography, thoughtful management will actually help you to further your creative achievements. And to maintain yourself sanity in the process . . . view more 
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Time management: Tips to reduce stress and improve productivity

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Courtesy of Mayo Clinc. Effective time management is a primary means to a less stressful life. These practices can help you reduce your stress and reclaim your personal life. Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the number and complexity of projects you have that need to be completed at work each day? Do you often feel the day flies by without your devoting the necessary attention to each assignment because other tasks keep landing on your desk, co-workers interrupt you with questions or you can't get it all organized?You probably know that effective time management will help you get more done each day. It has important health benefits, too. By managing your time more wisely, you can minimize stress and improve your quality of life.But how do you get back on track when organizational skills don't come naturally? To get started, choose one of these strategies, try it for two to four weeks and see if it helps. If it does, consider adding another one. If not, try a different one.Plan each day. Planning your day can help you accomplish more and feel more in control of your life. Write a to-do list, putting the most important tasks at the top. Keep a schedule of your daily activities to minimize conflicts and last-minute rushes.Prioritize your tasks. Time-consuming but relatively unimportant tasks can consume a lot of your day. Prioritizing tasks will ensure that you spend your time and energy on those that are truly important to you.Say no to nonessential tasks. Consider your goals and schedule before agreeing to take on additional work.Delegate. Take a look at your to-do list and consider what you can pass on to someone else.Take the time you need to do a quality job. Doing work right the first time may take more time upfront, but errors usually result in time spent making corrections, which takes more time overall.Break large, time-consuming tasks into smaller tasks. Work on them a few minutes at a time until you get them all done.Practice the 10-minute rule. Work on a dreaded task for 10 minutes each day. Once you get started, you may find you can finish it . . .  view more
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Seven Productivity Tips for People Who Hate GTD

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Courtesy of Zen Habits.net. Not everyone gets GTD (Getting Things Done). I know I didn’t. It made my head spin. I have nothing against the system or David Allen. I’m sure it must be awesome for some people (that’s why it has all those followers, right?). But for others, it just doesn’t fit. Mostly with creative-minded people.When it comes to GTD and other systems, it’s often too easy to get into a habit of over-engineering your system. You “geek out” on your system and lose sight of the point of pursuing productivity in the first place.Plus, there’s a big gap in resources on productivity that doesn’t involve complex jargons and elaborate diagrams (see the GTD matrix). Typically, this exists in the creative sector. I’m not saying GTD doesn’t work or that it isn’t wonderful. It just doesn’t connect with some people (and makes others want to vomit).Here are seven of the best, simple, and sometimes seemingly upside down tips for being more prolific.Create a “to stop” list. If you’re not getting the results you want, chances are you don’t care much about the things you’re doing. The best way to change this is to create a “To-Stop” list. We often spend lots of time creating lists for the things we need to do, but rarely do we reflect on the things that aren’t working. So create a list of all the things that are sucking away your energy and are wasting your time. Figure out which of those things is having the biggest negative impact on you doing the stuff youreally want to do. Tackle that thing head on each day.Focus on short bursts. It’s a bit sad when you realize that the reason most dreams die is because of a lack of focused action. If you’re constantly distracted by the television, surfing the internet, reading blogs, or whatever it is, you’re just dragging your heels. Yet, we think that high levels of focus is something only super-humans can attain. But mental focus is akin to building muscle; it’s something that must be trained with resistance. So figure out how much “mental weight” you can lift, and start from there. Elect to focus for 50 minutes on your most important task, then take a 10 minute break to do whatever you want. Then repeat. If you can’t “lift” 50 minutes, try 20 minutes, or even 10 minutes. Gradually increase your “resistance” (the amount of time you focus) each week.Define your daily ass-kicking. What is your Something Amazing? Take the time to clearly define your deep reason for moving toward that goal. Now make a post-it note of out of it, or schedule a daily reminder of that deep reason on your email program . . . view more
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9 Ways to Boost Your Artistic Creativity

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Courtesy of EmptyEasel.com. Most artists take great care of their art making tools. . . that’s a given. But whether you are naturally creative, or have developed your talents through training, it’s just as vital to care for and nurture your creativity.  Here are the nine techniques that I recommend to all of my artist clients who need a creative boost: 1. Keep an art-related idea journalKeep a spiral notebook with you at all times to capture ideas, sketches and references to use later. It’s like keeping an art diary, and it’s for your eyes only, so you can record everything.Writers call this a “swipe file.” It doesn’t mean that you plagiarize things that you find—that would be highly unethical and unoriginal to boot! But whether we acknowledge it or not, we are all inspired by what surrounds us and what came before.That is the point of this journal. Find things that inspire you, and save them to inspire you later on. You never know what will be useful down the road. It will save you time rediscovering things you have already worked through, and give you a wellspring of creative ideas for times when the well seems dry. 2. Put up an art ideas bulletin boardI have a board like this in my studio for art ideas, as well as one in my office for business thoughts.Post anything that come to you, pictures, quotations, ads—whatever flies through your mind or catches your eye. You never know what will come from these artifacts. 3. Create an idea treasure chestCollect images from magazines, quotes, postcards, etc. This can be anything that will stimulate future work. Store them in a way that makes them easy to get at.It’s an amazing experience to open your treasure chest of ideas and rediscover things that previously excited or inspired you. Maybe you weren’t ready for them when you found them and put them in the box but you might be ready for one or more of the ideas now.I love the feeling of going into my treasure chest—it’s like opening a gift from a loving friend who really “gets” you and what your art is about.When you have actual things you can handle in your treasure box, it’s a lot easier than trying to recall ideas or start from scratch. You’ll remember ideas that you had previously, and recall why you chose the objects or see new connections that you missed before. . . . view more
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5 Manifestos for Art, Life & Business

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Manifestos are a powerful catalyst. By publicly stating your views and intentions, you create a pact for taking action. (Movements from the American Revolution to Dogme 95 film to the Firefox web browser were all launched by manifestos.) If you want to change the world, even in just a small way, creating a personal or business manifesto is a great place to start.Needless to say, developing a set of principles that you believe in and constantly strive to stand by is an invaluable tool. To spark your imagination, the99Percent.com rounded up five of their favorite manifestos below. 1. The Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright Via Gretchen Rubin, we discovered this manifesto from architect Frank Lloyd Wright, written as a series of “fellowship assets” meant to guide the apprentices who worked with him at his school, Taliesin. I particularly love number 10, the idea that working with others should come naturally.  1. An honest ego in a healthy body.2. An eye to see nature.
3. A heart to feel nature.
4. Courage to follow nature.
5. The sense of proportion (humor).
6. Appreciation of work as idea and idea as work.
7. Fertility of imagination.8. Capacity for faith and rebellion.
9. Disregard for commonplace (inorganic) elegance.10. Instinctive cooperation. . . . read more at the99percent.com
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