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Joyful Creative Life Blog Articles
Written & Illustrated by: Tanya J. de Wet

Self Management Skills for the Modern Artist

Updated: May 4, 2021

Isn't it an awesome time we live in? So many wonderful hours to fill with creativity, countless days available to make and discover and refine and practice all of our skills. For me this has been the best fortunate chance since my creative Artist Lifestyle started. It has also been the most productive period during which I've levelled up, built more structure and invested a tremendous amount of hours to grow and advance many skills I needed to run my Art and Design business. Every day is filled with wonderful things to look forward to and lovely opportunities to be creative.

Many of my fellow Artists are experiencing a dry spell, which is in stark contrast to what is happening in my career. It is understandable that they do not have the support of our Art group social meetings anymore, but surely that wasn't their only creative place to make Art?

To my surprise, Angie(not her real name of course), another dear creative friend said that she only ever made something if she had to go to a flea market over a weekend. Another said she only painted for upcoming gallery exhibitions. That made me wonder what type of Artist I am? Daring to create without a due date or shows to look forward to. Well, I am an Extraordinary Creative Bug with fire in my belly and didn't need a plan to get me through the everyday slums... or so I thought.

After three days of binge watching a stupid television series, I found myself in that place of utter disgust. Pretty soon I felt unsatisfied and frustrated, for I fell asleep from pure boredom as the TV series couldn't even hold my attention long enough to see the end of the show. When I wasn't sleeping, I wrote emails to friends, trying to figure out how they are doing. Finally, after weeks of waiting, I found out that my Art Mentor at the time has not created a single piece of art since the end of April 2020. That is five months of not being creative at all. I was shocked and thought that she was joking. Until it hit me. She's been avoiding Art talk during our chats for some months now. Finding out that one of my favourite people in the Art Community was not making art was immensely disappointing and very sad indeed. She was always so in-to-it when we talked shop before. This time was different as she confessed to me that she had given up on creating any Art; "let alone anything awesome", as she put it. She explained that she was wasting her opportunities and wished there was some way or tried and tested method to find her "groove" again. Yes, yes, we are older than the average young budding Artist and that only means that we have had much more experience at dealing with life, or did we?

Anyway, I set off to discover how we could pull ourselves out of this rut and into hyper creative mode again.

Taking to my trusted notebook, I wrote down a quote I found by Paul J. Meyer on the internet. As I sipped my tea, I stared at it for quite some time. Thinking to myself that it is all very nice, but how does one break the nasty habits we fall into while procrastinating?

The quote simply said:

"Productivity is never an accident.

It is always the result of

a commitment to excellence,

intelligent planning

and focused effort."

In the writing sessions in my notebook, I captured some key points that I followed very loosely, because I didn't spend weeks and months in procrastination mode, I bounced right back from my three day slum and into a better organised and structured situation where I found my stride again. You see, my 3 day episode was easy to overcome, but when you've been down & out for months it all takes some time and a real act of will! As Artist we know how important it is to self manage.

Maybe you can catch up on your self management skills and evaluate how you are doing currently? Plan out something small at first and then discover what you want to do next.

There are endless ways to find out what you like to do, the key is to actually put pen to paper and write it out. When we write things down, we tend to be more diligent about the discovery and see it clearer. You could ask yourself: "Do I need a jump start?" and "How can I use the management skills mentioned here as a strategy to hold myself accountable? Lastly, be gentle with your progress, a steady motion forward is still moving forward.

All of these questions are validated by the effort we are going to invest into our self management skills.

As we tend to wait around for life to happen, we forget that we must sometimes step up, level up and ensure that our path moves forward by prodding ourselves across that finish line.

Watch the short video here and then follow these self management skills I've shared in the video to get yourself organised and back to creating Art.

What are we ultimately managing? Our time and what we do with it. How long are we doing each task during the day and are we doing it efficiently, right? We could actually be extremely busy for the whole day and find ourselves drained and tired, stumbling from one thing to the next while never finishing anything. This is not productive at all. An optimum plan needs to precede our mindless actions. For how would you know where you're heading without a clear direction created to forecast the plan and methods to achieve it. Let's call this our blueprint for success.

Good time management:

- leads to a happier mind and lifestyle

- completing tasks on time feels like progress

- reflecting back on our layout of tasks help us see potential obstacles beforehand

- It is healthier to work in an atmosphere that is easy & relaxed

- reaching deadlines elevates our sense of achievement and always motivate us to reach higher every time

Being organised and aware of your growth goes a long way in the systematic expansion of your career.

A poor, mindless & unstructured strategy will lead to plenty of regretted moments like these:

- nobody can function optimally while under constant tension and things are bound to go wrong

- many stress factors start to creep in and you're bound to end up with either a physical headache or complications that create havoc on our "Creative Mojo"

- one uncompleted task is just the beginning of many more disappointments

- it is far too easy to slip into procrastination again when we don't hold ourselves accountable with a plan

- rushing through tasks because we neglected to manage our actions can only bring frustration and more annoyances

With a list of uncompleted tasks and unnecessary delays we are likely to give up before we even attempted to succeed and that's not good for you or the promises you made towards yourself or others.

Our successes are measurable in the things we've done and the feelings we hold when a certain task is finished. Everything in life is achievable through correct or elevated management of a situation, event or task. This is as accurate for us as Artists as it is in any other business. Improving your skills for self management will propel your creative practices to levels you've only ever dreamed of. Bringing your fantastic dreams into reality through a little structure is all you need to get that next burst of inspiration and land a new concept to launch yourself forward.

Nobody said you have to be super human, just be super smart about your time!

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