time management

Is time always running out?

One of the biggest fears a lot of our clients have is the fear of not having enough time. Enough time to finish a project, get an application written, or a proposal sent out. It's that nagging feeling that you might as well not even try because you'll probably run out of time. Or the realization that the deadline is at midnight, and here it's already 7pm, so why even bother. It's born out of procrastination but also causes procrastination. Have you ever said to yourself "I'm never going to get my materials together in time, so I might as well not even bother?" (and then promptly clicked over to Facebook or Instagram)...

Us, too. It happens. But how do you get out of that mindset or rut? 

The key is realizing it is a mindset. Meaning it's in your mind. Anything that's in your mind, you can adjust. If you think about it, there are 2 kinds of time. There is clock time, which is standardized and given (60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, etc.) and then there is the time you feel on any given day. This kind of time is completely based on perception, meaning an hour at the dentist can feel like an eternity, while watching your baby turn 18 can feel like the blink of an eye. So any tasks that you want to fit in for your practice or business can be organized with clock time, but their perception can be adjusted depending on your mental attitude towards them. 

Step one is harnessing and organizing that clock time. 

Here's how:

1. First, you need to know where all of your time is going to begin with. Grab a scheduler (or a calendar), and for one week, write down everything you do and how long it takes. Be honest, and see how much time the various parts of your business or practice take. (This is also a valuable exercise to see what things you're not even doing, even though you know you probably should be doing them). How much time during your week is spent with productive activities that are working towards your goals?

2. Wait, what? Goals? You know you have some, but are they really clearly spelled out for the next month, six months, or year? And we mean really clear, like you know exactly what the goal is, and how it's broken down into achievable tasks over the next few weeks? Next step: write out your goals, and then break them down into manageable pieces or steps.

3. Each piece of that goal should have time assigned to it. This is where a scheduler or calendar actually comes in really handy. A to-do list is great, but what happens is that it becomes longer and longer and then gets overwhelming. Take those to-dos and pencil them into a real schedule with real amounts of time assigned to them. That way you don't have to think about them and have them overwhelm you, unless they are the scheduled task in front of you for the next 30 minutes or hour. Keep that appointment with that task. If you do that, it will actually get crossed off your list! Amazing!

4. Take 10 or 20 minutes at the beginning of each day (or even the night before) to plan the day. Make sure all your scheduled goals are still on track and that the tasks you set for yourself are realistic to accomplish. At the end of your work day, take 10-20 minutes to go through that day's tasks and assess if you've actually accomplished them and if the process went smoothly. If it didn't, assess what went wrong and try to remedy it for next time. (For example, you set one hour to work on your writing, and you got nothing accomplished because you were feeling blocked and spent one hour staring at a blank screen. Next time, start the task with a list of questions you can answer to help you get the writing process started. Start simply, with a question like "What is this project about?")

5. Take a minute before each task to decide what result you want to achieve. This will help you know what success looks like before you start. And it will also slow time down. Take a minute after each task to determine whether your desired result was achieved. 

This all seems like a lot of work, probably. But once you try it and figure out a way to work it into your routine, time will feel a lot less scary and you'll actually feel like you have a grasp of it–and can possibly even manage it!

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

 

 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Our Mantras For Being More Productive

As we explore time management and productivity on our blog and social media (#KATime), we want to make clear that we have no magic answers. All of us approach getting things done in a different way, and each of us is very unique. Why are some of us better at managing our time than others? The key is in how we prioritize our tasks and pay attention to long term projects, yielding fruitful results down the road: curbing procrastination and distraction, staying accountable, and making enough time for relaxation.

As a small business owner – artists and creative entrepreneurs, that's you – you sometimes feel like you have too much to do. The real key is to take a step back and make a plan, and implement the following advice and tips to make sure that you can harness your time and feel really good about it. You are your own boss.

Our Mantras For Being More Productive:

Studio Time is Sacred:
"Studio Time" is our name for the time when we make our work, the time your inspiration flows. It's the time when you show up to your work even if you aren't feeling it at that moment. When are you most productive and creative for your work? Make this time sacred and plan your other tasks around it. It's an easy solution, but so many of us will spend our energetic mornings checking email and playing around on social media. All of that stuff can wait until later, we promise.

If You Feel Like You Have No Time:
Stop, plan and organize.
No matter how crazy things get, you have to take a look at the big picture. That means taking an hour or three out of your day to get on track, make comprehensive lists, and an actionable plan to move forward with everything you need to do. It's much easier to thrive within a structured To Do List than it is to flounder without one. We firmly believe that this clears the mind to allow creative/studio/practice time to flourish because all of the nagging is out of your head, down on paper and in reality.

If You Have A Lot Of Time And Don't Know What To Do With It:
Set some deadlines and challenges for yourself and get someone to hold you accountable.
Many people get that from us through working on the DELVE Toolkit, but identifying what your goals are and all of the steps you need to take in getting there should be enough to get that fire lit beneath you. If you know you can't do it on your own, chances are you can find an accountability buddy.

If You Are a Procrastinator:
Ask yourself: What is holding you back from getting things done? Is it fear, uncertainty, laziness? If you can verbalize this and get it out, the thing that is holding you back is probably not so bad. You need to find someone to hold you accountable and set some deadlines for yourself. And stop wasting time on Facebook.

Sleep.
Getting rest and staying healthy is an amazing productivity booster. If you need more time and energy, focus on how you are treating your body first and foremost.


If you're interested in taking your productivity to the next level, join us for a *free* DELVE Webinar on 2/29/16 at 9pm EST. Sign up here to claim your spot!

 

 

 

 

 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

The keys to managing your time.

We have a stellar *free* DELVE Webinar lined up for you at the end of this month. Since we were given an extra day in February this year, why not use it to get our heads wrapped around our productivity and how we manage our time?! Sign up now to claim your spot.

We are going to explore YOUR specific issues, worries, and love/hate relationship with how you get everything done, or not. We understand first-hand that cultivating your practice, marketing it and dealing with all of the business stuff in addition to potentially being a partner, parent, friend, and generally happy human being can seem tough sometimes.

You will leave the 30-minute webinar with:

  • a new schedule! we are going to take the time to walk you through how to prioritize your time during the webinar

  • an inspired outlook on how to get the really important non-urgent stuff done because you know that will push you further

  • new resources and advice to refer to when you feel like things may be getting derailed

This will be the only free Time Management and Productivity Webinar we will be having in 2016 so don't miss out! Sign up here to claim your spot!

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Emerging from a hazy forest to find productivity

This month on our blog and social media, we are talking about time management and productivity. Without fail, every client we have worked with faces issues with time. When you have a lot of it, it can be hard to manage. When you don’t have enough, it’s challenging to find the energy to be productive within it. What we will be sharing this month will resonate with all of you. The thing is, there is no magic answer to being more productive and finding more time; it just takes commitment and a new approach to your energy and focus.  Use the hashtag #KAtime to share thoughts, successes and failures about your productivity. It’s all fair game and we’re all in the same boat.

Today, Andrea is sharing her story about her struggle with time and productivity, and the tough choices she made this past year in order to do what she needed to stay focused on immediate priorities.


I emerged from that hazy forest of first-time new mothering feeling more powerful and vital than before, more wild and instinctive… less insecure and therefore less encumbered by my own shit.
— a quote from artist Zoe Buckman from How We Do Both, Art and Motherhood, edited and writing by Michi Jigarjian and Qiana Mastrich

When I look at my adorable daughter, toddling Frankenstein-like in my new home in Buffalo, NY, I marvel at how much my life has changed over the past twelve months. See, last year at this time I was living in a Brooklyn high-rise apartment, pregnant, and waddling to our studio to make artwork.  Fast-forward to now, with a big move behind me and a walking (!) toddler, and I am so grateful that these two changes have me very excited and definitely happy.

When I had my daughter in Brooklyn last year, I knew I would have to temporarily let go of part of my life, in addition to permanently letting go aspects of my body, because I would not have the neck strength to wear all of these hats: being a mother, being a wife, sustaining an art practice, staying healthy, running a business and earning money, and doing photography work. It all seemed incredibly impossible, and unfortunately it was for me. I envy the women that have had more focus—or at least make it seem that way.

When we decided to move to a new city, I knew that I needed to to press pause on my art practice for one year. It felt painful, but it was the only thing I could remove from the list above that would not directly affect my family or take away from making a living. I couldn’t do it all.

A year will be up in March and I am filled with excitement and apprehension. A huge part of me has been dormant and it has, quite frankly, sucked. It’s uncomfortable. All of my projects that I pressed pause on are uneasily gurgling within me in fits and starts. It might be worse than the last throes of pregnancy.

I picked up this book recently, it's inspiring and interesting to see how everyone has different circumstances but the sense of urgency is all the same

I picked up this book recently, it's inspiring and interesting to see how everyone has different circumstances but the sense of urgency is all the same

I am ready to come back to my practice. Like so many of the amazing artists and creative entrepreneurs we have worked with, I am returning to my practice after a big life change, and it’s daunting. I, too, am struggling with when and how I will do this, because I am still wearing all of those hats I mentioned earlier. But this month I am making the place for it in my everyday again.

Like Sara’s post last month huge life changes and being in transition lead to clarity. And for both of us, we want our daughters to know we are artists as well as moms. And I want our clients to continue to receive my full attention. And I still want to have time with my family, and a sense of social well-being.

This post doesn’t have much of an inspirational ending (yet), but what I do know is that I am not alone in this. 

Reader, please tell me what you do to find the energy? Do you have a similar story? Please comment below. 

 

 

 

 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

The power of side projects, the passion of doing

As a culture, we work a lot. Or we think we do. But are you working on the stuff that really matters to you?

We have the privilege of working with amazingly talented artists, creatives and small business owners who are, more often than not, strapped for time. We help you better message what you are doing to your ideal audience so that you can save time, be more effective in achieving your goals, and feel super confident about your work.

Sometimes, though, what you are truly passionate about takes the back burner because life gets in the way: day jobs, family, holidays, general busy-ness. At the end of the day, it's easier not to work on the passion project (the thing that gets you so excited you might burst) because it has no guarantees of success, it may not bring in cash right now and maybe it's something new– unchartered waters. But just because it's easier not to do it doesn't mean that you shouldn't. In fact, you probably should burn that midnight oil and wake up knowing that the next morning you have moved towards achieving the goal. 

Sideprojects_KA.jpg

"From a psychological perspective, it would be better if people engaged in activities in which they sought challenges and tried to match them with their skills...However, in our society leisure is used as an “escape” from work. “Escapism” in this respect means that people do not seek meaningful leisure activities for their own growth and development, but instead resort to passive activities to escape from everyday strains and problems. Such behavior is frequently associated with a passive lifestyle and boredom, which in turn might feed into apathy and depression," we came across from this article

We can help you find that time to work on the projects that excite you so you can break the passive habits and change them to active creation. We believe that it will influence you and your work for the better and will impress your ideal audience even more. Just because no one else is telling you to do it doesn't mean that it's not important. You're the boss.


Kind Aesthetic helps creative entrepreneurs and small businesses tell their unique stories through developing beautiful and compelling marketing materials. We also help visual and performing artists and creatives hone their own communication skills to achieve their goals through DELVE, a suite of effective consulting services, workshops and events.

Our process focuses solely on you and your work and requires a collaborative dedication. In the end, our work together will create more confidence in and attention on your work, help you stand out from your peers, and can lead to achieving your professional goals because it’s based on an individualized strategy designed to allow your unique way of working to shine through and reach your target audience. Contact us to set up a free twenty minute call to see how we might work together to set you on your way to success.

 

This post was originally published on 12/22/15.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Allow yourself to daydream!

If you're like most of us, some days are super productive and others are horribly all over the place. Everyone has a different way of working, but what we all experience sometimes is a sense of being burned out, and this will make you feel stuck, uninspired and definitely unproductive.

We want to say for the record: allow yourself to do something else. Daydream, see art, allow yourself to let your mind wander. Science even says it's a good thing to do.

Finishing a painting, design project, writing assignment or won't always come easy. Here are three questions to answer. Write the answers down on a sheet of paper and tack them to your studio wall:

  • When I am uninspired or feel stuck, what gets me motivated? (Some answers may be reading, talking to an accountability buddy, reviewing past work, etc)
  • Do I spend time on myself and nurturing my practice? Write down some ways I can do this. (I.e. do you allow yourself to experiment, see shows or have studio visits?)
  • Do I spend time dreaming of big goals and allowing my mind to wander? Set a timer and remind myself to dream big!

Allow yourself the mental space to dust off the cobwebs and move forward! We grant your permission, hard workers. 


Good luck and best wishes for productivity! If you still need help getting into a groove, let us know! You can work with us in multiple ways through our DELVE Toolkit or DELVE Time Management and Maximization!

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Spring is coming! Two talks to help you make better use of your time.

Here are two videos that can help you make better use of your time, whether you are sitting in front of your computer, or better yet, walking during your next meeting. 

 
You can’t TRY to do things, you must simply DO them.
— Ray Bradbury
 
© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Three ways to maximize your time!

As the saying goes, time is money, and as working artists and entrepreneurs, getting a handle on either can be a challenge. In this post we'd like to offer three important facts to consider in order to improve your schedule, create more balance in your days, and therefore, reach your goals.

1) When are you most productive? A DELVE Toolkit client of ours came into the first meeting really wanting to change her schedule since she didn't feel like she was being productive enough. When we asked her when she felt most energized and creative, she stated that she was best in the mornings. We proposed changing up her morning routine (which then looked like: checking email, doing busy work, and planning her day) to: diving straight into her productive studio time each morning after walking her dog and having coffee ritual. Her small daily change would allow her to show up everyday to the creative process that her business thrives on and make that work. Emails and bill paying can wait until the afternoon when the creative juices wane.

If you're not a morning person, that is a-ok. The goal is to determine when you are best at making your work, not doing all the busy stuff that supports it, and make that time sacred.

2) Physically write things down. We love devices and technology but sometime you need a good old-fashioned piece of paper to drag with you through your day. Write your to dos down on paper so you can cross them out and visually be reminded. Change and reorganize this piece of paper every day, or every few days. Keep it fresh and flowing.

3) Create your daily to-do list the night before, or for the week. Be realistic with yourself and allow yourself to get up, get ready, and plow into your work straight away while you dust off the cobwebs. Spend the last fifteen minutes of every day creating that to do list so you can easily pick up where you left off and rest easy.


Good luck and best wishes for productivity! If you still need help getting into a groove, let us know! You can work with us in multiple ways through our DELVE Toolkit or DELVE Time Management and Maximization!

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

How to stay motivated over the holidays

Train, car and air travel await many of us as we set off to see our families for the holidays. It's a well-deserved time to take a break, cherish time with loved ones and reflect on the year. So, don't forget to take a breath and do that! If you are looking forward to the break to get some extra time away from work or school, but are disappointed that you won't be able to be physically in your studio or work space, there are many ways to keep working, thinking, and making progress.

1) Write. Bring your journal or studio notes with you and take around 30 minutes a day to write about your work. It can be free form writing about your practice, ideas for new projects, product descriptions, or maybe it's time to attack that artist statement.

2)  Busy work. Are there components of your practice that don't require much attention and are easily transportable? Bring them with you! Travel, sitting around watching family friendly movies, and quiet time after big meals are perfect moments to keep your hands busy and make progress on some projects.

3) Read. Though it may be tempting to only catch up on Serial podcasts during travel, you can find some great time to dig into some books that inform your practice. 

4. Plan. Love making lists? Start taking a hard look at your schedule for the new year and set some new goals. You'll be major steps ahead of everyone else come 2015.

5. Talk about it. Tell your family and friends about what you do. Practice your pitch about your art practice or new creative endeavor. It's a great way to get better and telling your unique story and everyone will be excited to hear about it.

Safe travels everyone! Don't forget our DELVE Toolkit sale is going strong through 12/31. Be sure to take advantage of it!

 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.