Friday, January 31, 2014

Creating Time for Success


One of the most frequent complaints that I hear not only from artist but from most of my friends and family too, is that there just isn't enough time.

We all have many demands placed upon our lives by work, family, children and of course we'd all like to sleep a little too!

Here's 8 Effective Ways to create more time that you can spend creating or marketing your art.

1. Understand where your time is actually Spent
Start a Journal or use the timer on your smart phone and start and stop it with each new activity for the day making a quick note as to time spent.  Yes, I know you don't want to do this but if you do it with honesty you may get some surprising answers about where the time is being sucked out of your day.  This is not about GUILT, If you are anything like me you spend way too many hours on Facebook.  That's not wrong but it is a time sucker,  you can still have your Facebook time and your cake to speak, I'll talk more about that later. For now just gain an awareness of how you spend your time.

2. Learn to say NO
No, is hard for many of us but if you want to successfully manage your time so that you can meet your artistic goals (or any goal.) You will have to put on your big girl pants and start politely declining any activity that doesn't fit into the new schedule you will be creating to meet your success goals.  Yes, you still have to feed the kids that aren't old enough to feed themselves but you don't have to make cupcakes for every bake sale.

3. Learn to Delegate
O.K. I know there is a bit of the martyr in all of us but the truth is we don't HAVE to do everything we are currently doing we can share some of these duties without GUILT, let it go and start looking for help.  If you have older kids, can one of them make dinner one night a week?  Can they help a younger child with homework? Can you significant other run the kids to Soccer practice every other time.  Do you have a friend you could do dinner sharing with?  My best friend used to live nearby and once a week we'd cook enough food to feed both families and then drop it off.

4. Eliminate Extraneous Tasks
Take a hard look at your time journal are their tasks that you really don't have to do, that really don't matter in the scheme of things?

5. Become Efficient
You would be surprised how much you can do in a very short period of time.  Get a timer or use one on your smart phone and give yourself a certain amount of time to work on tasks at hand.  You will be amazed what you can complete in 10 minutes when it comes to housework.   Automate anything you can like bill paying. Arrange your errands so that they make sense, don't do them piecemeal have an efficient route planned to each place you have to go, have your lists ready so you don't dawdle and get it done!

6. Minimize
Part of becoming more efficient is being more organized so you can find things, I can't stress to you enough how freeing it is to downsize, minimize just get rid of stuff.  Less stuff means less to clean, less to take care of, less to make you feel guilty about the clutter.  Stop worrying that you might need it someday the truth is you likely won't and if you do you will be able to afford to buy just what you need because with all of the spare space and time your creativity will soar and you will make more money so you can buy what you want when you really need it, but I bet you won't really need.  

  • Might Need It - What if all of a sudden you need that Old National Geographic because you have an   artistic inspiration but now you've thrown it out or donated it?  use Freecycle.Org I promise         someone will be happy to give you one of their countless loads of clutter!   
  • Sentimental Objects -Let go of sentimentality, unless it's the only thing you have from your dead       mother you probably don't need it to litter your closets and shelves. One of the best ways I've found to preserve sentimental items that I don't use on a daily basis is to take a fun or wonderful digital         photograph of it and put it in my memory album.  Then I can still reference the sentimentality of the       object but it no longer takes up precious space and I don't have to dust it!  
  • Gifts- You don't have to keep it because it was a gift, no you don't, honest people don't come to        your home and inspect it for the gifts they gave you.  If you use it fine if not, give it to someone who      needs it will love it by using it everyday. 
  • Might Fit Again - Unless you have drastically lost and gained weight repeatedly in a short period of   time.  Let it go, if you lose weight, treat yourself to new, current clothing.  Even if you can't afford         new you can probably afford new thrift.  If you absolutely do not want to part with clothing that           doesn't fit then box it up and put it somewhere other than your daily living space. 
  • Embrace Minimalism - Less dishes mean less dishes to wash.  Just having what you need means you will automatically become more efficient because you will clean it right away so it's ready to use again this staves off procrastination and you will never have a full sink of dishes or a huge load to unload  from the dishwasher.   Wonder if you only had one set of dishes for each family member and they were responsible for washing their dish and drying and putting it away so it is ready for their next meal?  It takes minutes to wash one plate, one fork, one knife...easy for any family member even the littles can accomplish this with a little instruction and a foot stool.  What if someone leaves their's dirty in the sink?  Well when the next meal is ready and they want to eat then they'll just have to get it washed if they want  to eat and I promise if that happens once or twice even the teenagers get the idea that it harder and  takes longer to clean off a plate that has stuff stuck on it.   What about plates for company?  Unless you constantly entertain (another time sucker unless you love doing it)  have a potluck so they everyone is cooking and bringing dishes and use nice paper plates, or store them if you have to have real plates and bring them up for your dinner parties, then clean them and restore. There are amazing storage containers these days but I promise you will love having efficient clutter free spaces.  You will be amazed at the freedom of time having less stuff brings!  Remember things don't equal success, time to do what you want, that is success!

7. Schedule
Schedule your day and do your best to stick to it.  This will feel hard at first but it will get easier.  Schedule your studio time and let everyone know, I am working right now please respect that.  If you don't take your art career seriously they won't either.  You are an artist which means you have to create art to sell art to make a living as an artist.  If you are still having trouble identifying yourself as an artist read this blog post Yes, You Are An Artist . Schedule your Facebook, Twitter, media time.  Admit that it's part of your life you love and put it in your schedule you deserve you time, downtime, honestly you're taking it anyway, not acknowledging it doesn't make it any less true.  Also you can consider your social media time as working because every time you are on social media you should be doing something to market your art (this is a complex subject and will have it 's own blog post.)  Schedule everything from your shower to your exercise time.  As you get used to it your schedule will become more accurate and make more sense. If you are scheduling items and not doing them then ask yourself are you procrastinating or are they extraneous items that don't really need to be done.  If you are procrastinating, figure out why.  If it's a hated task, can you delegate it or pay someone else to do it?  If not, put on your big girl pants and get it done.  Set a timer and challenge yourself to do it more quickly or efficiently or at least take comfort that you will only be doing it for X number of minutes.  Then if you don't finish it put it on tomorrow's schedule.  Yes schedule your sleep too. You will sleep better on a schedule as your body adjust to it. Don't forget to schedule time for a walk or exercise, these will clear your head and keep you healthy.  Stick to your priorities, don't start doing what's next on the list because it's easier. Schedule harder tasks during your more productive time periods.  We all have parts of the day were we are more energetic use that time to accomplish the tough stuff.

8. Turn it Off
Turn off your phone, your computer, your t.v. or any other distraction if they are not part of your scheduled activity.  This will help you focus and stay more efficient.  In our technological world distractions are many!

Fly Lady Online Coach To get A handle on House and Home
Becoming Minimalist  Learning to live with Less

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Help your Facebook Post Go Viral

Tip of the week:
Never underestimate the simple power of asking your friends and fans for what you need, for example simply adding something like this to a post can up the number of shares and viewers exponentially:

"If you like my work I would be so grateful if you would:
√ Like Page √ Comment √ Share √ Please "

For effectiveness, don't add this to everything you post as people will soon become inured to the request. Just use it when you really want to promote a finished piece, a class, a contest, a tutorial, something you really want to have seen.

In this example I've had 16 shares in a matter of minutes after asking for this post to be shared. Within a couple of hours I've had over 1254 viewers starting this post on it's way to going viral. 

So after taking that first step of 

1. Asking 

what is the next step to help this post go further?

2. "liking" the shares.

a. First "like" your own post.  Why, in the world would you "Like" your own post, isn't that like giving yourself a high five?  You might have noticed that Facebook has changed recently and you don't get to see all of your friend's posts any longer.  To make up for not showing your posts in all of your friends’ news feeds, Facebook added the ticker, an action column on the right-hand side of everyone's page that lists the activities of your friends "live" as they are occurring.  This is where “Liking” your own posts helps to get them seen by your friends that are actively engaging with Facebook.  When you “Like” your post, that action is noted in your friends’ ticker boxes, giving them a chance to see that you have posted something even if it doesn't show up in their news feeds.

b. Second "Like" the shares.  If you go to your post and find that number of shares in the bottom right hand corner (see the number 16 just under my post above) if you click on that it will show you who has shared your post.  Go in and hit the "like" under each of the shares but don't comment yet.  This will put the "likes" in your ticker box and it will also signal the Facebook Algorithm that your friends post is gaining in popularity keeping it toward the top of the news feed in the "Popular" category. 

3. Comment
Wait an hour after "liking" the shared post and then go back into the shares .  This time go to each individual sharers page and leave a nice comment thanking them for sharing your post.  This is only good potential client customer service and courtesy to your helpful friends but it will also once again add to the popularity of the post on your friends page once again pushing that post toward the top of the popular postings that are in the newsfeed. Interaction with a post is what helps it to gain popularity. If you want to be even more effective, comment on half of them wait another hour and comment on the other half.  This spreads out the activity from your newsfeed about this post allowing friends that come on at different times to see what you are "liking." 

4. Comment on your own post, thank people for their nice compliments in the comments.  Thank people profusely for sharing your post, let them know how grateful you are!  This is good customer service and it may spur other people that see your gratitude to take the time to share too! 

5. Repeat. In the interim most likely more shares have happened so repeat the process.

6. Post a link to your post in groups that you are part of that would enjoy seeing what you are up to.  As an artist there are a gazillion groups you can join and share your art and appeal to others to share your post. 

Give it a try, keep track of the numbers and statistics and let me know how well it's working for you! 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Oh and be a Dear and please share my post, won't you?  :)