Don’t Even Think About It: Overcome Decision Fatigue

Every day takes too much thought. – Gwen Meharg

Gwen left this comment in our Art Career Success System private group. I was struck by her insight because I had been reading about this at the time. “Decision fatigue” is a real phenomenon in contemporary society.

According to researchers, we make over 200 decisions per day about food alone. Just food decisions! I don’t know about you, but all of these decisions wear me out.

As an example, I spent 3 months last fall researching espresso machines – dreaming of holding the perfect cup of coffee while still in my jammies. But I could never click the button to buy.

My husband took me out of my misery. He decided on one, bought it, wrapped it, and put it under the tree. Best. Gift. Ever. No decision (on my part) was required.

Don’t get me started on making travel reservations. I can’t stand to make plane reservations or to find a hotel. What if I book “the wrong” flight or land at the wrong airport? Don’t laugh. I recently did this when I was confused about a small airport name, and it cost me a lot of extra driving time.

I contend that we’re happier when

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Looking for a Breakthrough? Keep Working

The history of art is a history of artistic breakthroughs. Consider these significant achievements:

– Scientific perspective

– Oil painting, and then acrylics

– Abstraction (Gasp! Art doesn’t have to be a window on the world?)

– Photography

– Collage (Huh? Glue paper on top of paper??)

– Constructed sculpture (rather than carved or modeled)

My Breakthroughs

My first artistic breakthrough came in 1974 when I rendered a blue jay and cardinal in oil pastel. I’m an artist, I thought.

I wasn’t looking for a breakthrough. I didn’t even know what one was at that young age. I was just trying to make a pretty picture that my grandmother would like.

I had another breakthrough in college when I realized that I liked my art history classes better than my painting classes. Again, I wasn’t looking for a breakthrough or to change my major. I was merely trying to make it through another semester.

My biggest breakthrough came in 2001-02 when I listened to artists who were looking for help with their careers. I could never have imagined this line of work that has been so rewarding.

What Needs to Break?

The dictionary defines a breakthrough as …

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Balancing Studio Time with Business Time (Curious Monday)

Tami Bone photograph of woman holding terrarium

Know that you are not alone in wanting to know the answer to this question.

It’s asked of me so often that I thought I’d throw it out to you.

Loyal reader Tami Bone put it this way …

How do other artists juggle or balance studio time with time to focus on marketing and business?

I find the switching back and forth to be difficult, and it seems I need full days to focus on one or the other.

So, what say you?

How do you find the balance? How do you divide your time between business and making art?

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What's Your Social Media Schedule? (Curious Monday)

Painting by Barbara J. Hart

One of the things we do in Content Camp is create an editorial calendar so you know what you’ll be posting and when.

This naturally got me thinking about what your social media schedule is like.

How frequently do you post? And to which platforms? Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Pinterest?

What time of day do you post?

Do you schedule posts or always post live?

What types of things do you post?

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What Is Your Morning Routine? (Curious Monday)

Ruth-Anne Siegel painting of coffee cup

If you ever doubted that routines are important for doing strong creative work, read Twyla Tharp’s book, The Creative Habit.

What is your morning routine?

What do you do each morning without thinking? What do you wish you would be able to do in the mornings?

Do you rise and shine early? Or are you a late starter?

Respond on this first Curious Monday post.

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3 Simple Actions To Avoid The Tax Time Crazies

Alicia R Peterson Painting

Even if you work with a bookkeeper and accountant, as I do, there’s still much work to be done this time of year.

Every year I learn something new at tax time that I wish I had known in advance – insights that would have made the filing process much easier.

These three actions are a compilation of what I’ve learned from my experiences and those of my clients, which should eliminate some of the crazies around tax time.

1. Take charge of your business finances.

Don’t rely on a spouse to take care of your business finances. You, as CEO and CFO of your art career, need to know how to manage the money. You must take 100% responsibility for your future.

As sad as it is, I’ve heard many stories about people being duped out of their life savings by spouses who made poor financial decisions. These weren’t features in the paper or characters in a television exposé. These were artists and clients.

At the same time,

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21 Mindless But Productive Tasks for When Genius Takes a Hike

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could call up your genius whenever you needed it?

Hey, genius! Help me out with writing this article, please.

What would be even more amazing is if Genius would come running whenever you issued this command.

But Genius runs on its own time and has a pretty smart mouth.

My Genius lets me know who is boss:

  • I’m tired. Leave me alone.
  • You really should have used me when I was in better form. You know … like 6:00 a.m. That’s my power hour.
  • Are you kidding me? You spend the last four hours doing diddly-squat and now you expect me to drop everything and run to your rescue?
  • Hey, lady! I worked hard for you today. I’m entitled to stupid time.

Stupid time. That’s what I call the hours when my brain can’t make sense out of words or come up with a single creative idea.

I imagine Genius is taking a hike, sweating it out at hot yoga, or gulping down a green smoothie. You know, because Genius is Genius. She doesn’t need naps. She only needs to refuel.

Whatever happened to Genius, I’m left alone to endure stupid time.

And then there is someone else’s time. This becomes an issue when

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Lessons From The Past Year

©2012 Michelle Paine, Pilgrimage: St. Peter’s. Oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches. Used with permission.

It’s hard to keep up with weekly emails about your art business, so I thought I’d point out some things that you might have missed or forgotten about this past year.

These are 12 valuable actions, from 12 different Art Biz Blog posts in 2015, to help you grow your art career while staying sane.

Marketing Your Art

1. Reduce the Boring Factor: Add Variety to Your Marketing Message

Why it’s on the list: Please, for the love of Pete, read this before you send another email.

Your art exhibition, class, workshop, or event has so many facets that there is no reason to send the same emails and social media posts for your promotions. They get a little stale after a while.

I have some ideas for you.

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Wrapping Up the Year with Your Personal Review

©Margaret Dukeman, Reflections of Lilies. Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches. Used with permission.

I thought I could get by without a personal review for one year. Or at least I thought I would skip mine.

Then I thought that you probably don’t need a reminder either. Who will notice if I don’t send? Who has time to do a personal review anyway?

Then I thought again. (There’s been a lot of thinking going on.) It’s a terrible idea to skip the personal review. And it’s a worse idea to let you think it’s okay to skip it.

As an entrepreneur, it’s critical to review actions and to celebrate accomplishments before moving on to the next phase. We’ll never improve our results until we understand where we are and how we got here.

So, it’s time to look back on your year and assess your progress.

This year, try using the elements of The See Plan – the 8 C’s – to structure your questions: creativity, commitment, clarity, community, connection, confidence, completion, and celebration.

Grab a notebook and a pen and get started.

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Empower Yourself By Taking 100% Responsibility

©Jean Reece Wilkey, Mango on Silver Creamer. Oil on panel, 14 x 11 inches. Used with permission.

External factors do not determine how you live. YOU are in complete control of the quality of your life, by either creating or allowing the circumstances you experience.

Jack Canfield

It was in Jack Canfield’s seminal book, The Success Principles, where I first read about the necessity of taking 100% responsibility for your life. In fact, it’s no lower on the list than Principle #1 in the book of 64 principles.

He’s pretty clear. It’s not 100% responsibility for this or that. It’s 100% responsibility for EVERYTHING. This means:

  • You have to give up all of your excuses.
  • You have to give up blaming.
  • You have to give up complaining.

Here’s the thing about taking 100% responsibility: It puts you in charge.

I understand that this amount of control can be daunting for a new business owner, but wouldn’t you rather have control than to cede it to others?

Embrace this power!

If you’re frustrated by your results, or lack thereof, don’t blame the economy, the online platform, the weather, other artists/people, or the venue.

Instead, consider the things you can control. This is taking responsibility and being a savvy businessperson and more enlightened human being.

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