So true… especially when it comes to marketing. Wouldn’t we all rather be having fun and making work in the studio? But I’m sure we all recognize the importance of having a plan to market our art. No doubt, if I asked you to describe your plan for marketing your work, you’d be able to list two or three important actions you want and need to take.
However, if you’re like me, you might occasionally have a hard time actually buckling down and doing it. Here’s what I do to keep myself focused and moving forward:
Establish a routine. I believe it’s essential to carve out specific time frames for specific activities, including for studio work and for marketing work. Just the other day, a friend told me about an artist he knows who has declared “admin Fridays.” This guy paints Monday through Thursday, but he sets aside Fridays for doing all of his marketing, promotions, gallery interactions, competition entries, bookkeeping, and other business correspondence. As an incentive to get through it quickly, he tells himself he can return to his studio as soon as he’s done. What a fabulous idea! You could pick any day that works for you, or like me, break that up into smaller time chunks scattered throughout the week.
Formulate a weekly plan. Okay, I’ll admit I’m obsessed with to-do lists. Can’t live without them. But I have a process: I keep a running list of tasks in a Word doc on the computer, and once a week I rearrange the tasks in order of priority from most important to least and from urgent to things that can wait. I usually have a pretty good idea how much time I need (or want) to spend on each item, so then I decide when I’m going to accomplish each task. So, combining this with Tip #1, if I’ve set aside two hours on the upcoming Tuesday evening, I look at my list and decide which one (or more!) of the high-priority tasks I think I can reasonably accomplish in that two-hour window. This may sound a little over-organized, but the benefit is that when I show up on Tuesday, I know exactly what I need to do. I don’t waste time on figuring out what to do or working on low-priority tasks because I’m not clear about what’s most important. Plus, I never stress out about not doing enough because I know I’m following my plan.
Set goals with deadlines. So how do I come up with the tasks on my list? And how do I prioritize them? Easy. I set big goals, then break them down into smaller tasks, and set a deadline for each task. For example, let’s say my big goal is to gain more exposure for my work by entering three or four national art competitions over the next year. Before I can enter any competitions, I have to a) finish four or five top-notch pieces, 2) photograph them, 3) research competitions and choose those I want to enter, and 4) plot their deadlines on a calendar. Once I know what tasks I need to accomplish, I can easily set a realistic deadline for each task. And once again, advance planning helps me accomplish everything I need to do and on time, too.
I know there are tons of other great time management tips out there, so how do you balance your time? Next week I’ll offer more tips on staying focused when you are working on marketing so it doesn’t become a dreaded time suck. Let’s connect!