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  • Writer's pictureHelen English Artist

The art of procrastination

When I worked fulltime for someone else, I didn’t procrastinate. In the office anyway! I used to walk into work on a Monday, know exactly what I needed to do and get on with it. Much like my eating habits as a child, when my mum placed food in front of me, I would deal with the bits I disliked first and then enjoy the good parts. Brussel sprouts before potatoes and gravy, timesheets before talking to my favourite suppliers. This all changed when the business was me and I became responsible for much of my week. There were tasks which I would do, and ones which I would avoid. I talked about a little bit of this in my blog about creating good habits, a few weeks ago.

There’s a lot which goes into producing art. Unfortunately, it’s not all about painting. There’s the invoices, the organisation of products (the ones I use and the ones I create), as well as the bit where you try to promote yourself so that people are aware that you make art and hopefully buy some. That’s a confusing array of ‘to do’s, and sometimes ‘do’ becomes ‘didn’t.’

It’s all very well having a diary or a calendar, but you still have to fight the monster of task organisation. I have come up with a plan, which works for me most of the time, so I thought I would share it and hope that it might also work for you.

On the first day of each week – Monday for me – I take one sheet of paper. This may be a page in a notebook (I recommend A4), or just a sheet, and on different parts of the page I write the big picture items. For me, this might be different art projects, sending invoices out, recording invoices in and out, and writing my blog. I check my diary for if there is anything which I have jotted down for this week and add that. If the page looks ridiculous, and there are things which don’t need to be done this week, I write the title on next Monday’s list instead (that’s why a notebook is good).

Next, under each item, I write a list of the steps to achieve that goal, and these get transferred into my diary. Once the steps are in my diary, I cross through the project in my notebook – it’s where it needs to be.

I used to think it would take up valuable time to have that planning session but now I see that it takes the stress out of the list in my head, it only takes half an hour, and I actually get things done. In fact, the gruesome tasks on the list are never as bad, or as long, as my imagination is telling me, and always seem to leave more time for the nice bits, like painting.

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