How to Get Stuff Done

Posted on: January 31st, 2014 by deborah 10 Comments
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This post was inspired by a post I read on Lisa Call’s blog.  There is other inspiring, practical and very useful content on her site but this specific post really resonated with me. I don’t know about you but there have been times in my art practice when I tricked myself into believing that I was more productive than I actually was. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I was extremely busy. But I realized I was busy doing things that would not lead me to where I wanted to go. I realized that I was not identifying the correct tasks for the goals I had set for my business.  The busy-ness that I was involved in often left me in a place where I was missing opportunities to create and exhibit my work. Then I got real with myself. How did I do it? Well I am glad you asked!!!
I found the right tools. Whether you paint, cook or sculpt figures like I do, deciding on and using a system that will allow you to track and document your activities is critical to getting things done. Taking a page from Lisa’s book, I thought I would share what I track and document and the tools I use to do it.


What I Track and Document

  • Studio time
  • yoga practice
  • inspiration
  • books
  • supplies
  • recipes
  • blog posts and e-blasts
  • money


How I Track and Document it

    • Bound sketchbook and inky black pen— my sketchbook goes everywhere with me. I draw a page in it  every month and list the date, the number of hours spent on art work and art business, and the projects/goals I worked on. At the end of each week I total all of the hours so that I have a real picture of the time I am actually spending on my work. I use my phone to track my time while I sculpt or write.


    • iCal— I keep color coded calendars arranged by subject that are synched and accessible across all of my devices.  I use iCal to track: deadlines for exhibition and grants, commissions, and class times for yoga.


    • Pinterest and iPhoneMy Pinterest boards and my iphone are where I collect, curate and post images that inspire and interest me.


    • GoodReads— An avid reader, My Goodreads profile (I am UrbanWildflower on Goodreads) allows me to track the books I have read for the year and to learn about and bookmark new books that I would like to read.


    • Evernote— probably my favorite tool of them all. This is where I clip articles I find on-line that interest me, catalog my business plan and vision statements, and draft my blog posts.  The best part about it? Evernote is accessible from any device. Once you create an account you can log in from anywhere.


    • Excel— yeah, I am old school. Several years ago a friend helped me set up basic P and L sheets along with a few other customized sheets to track the expenses and inventory for my business. I use these spreadsheets monthly to document what comes in and what goes out. I also use excel for inventory. Makes getting organized for tax time a breeze (well, mostly).


The moral of my story: identify simple methods and systems that you like, use them, get stuff done!
Follow me on Pinterest for more examples and inspiration.


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Categories: Art Life

10 Responses

  1. this is just what I’m talking about. For people like me who prefer demonstrations you could give a slide show/power point at a conference workshop. Very informative.

    • deborah says:

      Are you trying to think of NEW work for me to do :). I do plan to do some instructional videos and online courses in the not to distant future. Stay tuned and thanks for commenting!!!

  2. this is great workshop conference material

  3. Lisa Call says:

    Woohoo! Good for you!!! 2014 will be fantastic!

  4. Liz Ruest says:

    I love the idea about balancing the digital tools with a simple notebook. I tried tracking my time with an app and it was too distracting. I agree that choosing which data to track is crucial — what gets measured gets done & all that. I’m with you on Evernote & Goodreads, & Excel when nothing else will do. Thanks for the great summary!

    • deborah says:

      Hi Liz! Yes, sometimes those tools that are supposed to make life easier are cumbersome and distracting. I used to have an app to track studio time too. I never used it because it wasn’t handy. Documenting my time in a sketchbook is so much easier and immediate. As an artist I find that I am always pivoting between totally tech-ed out geek and old school tactile, want to build it from scratch :). Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

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