I don’t know about you but between flu season and a trip to California for the Craft and Hobby Association Conference and Trade show I’m a big pile of UNproductivity. I can’t seem to get myself back into a routine. I can’t keep going like this forever so I’ve made a list of ways to organize and re-energize my studio to help me be more productive.
1) Put like things with like. I have a sewing station, a jewelry making station and a mixed media station and each one has their own supplies. Yes, some of the supplies (like a wire cutter or scissors) could be used in multiple places so I leave them on top of a table in a container where I can grab them quickly. Having a space that is at least somewhat clean and organized is much more pleasant to walk into than a space that is a total wreck.
Take that a step farther (Step 1.5) and streamline your creative process by putting your tools in the order in which you use them. Or put the tools you use most next to your work station. For example, put the most used threads, scissors and other tools NEXT to your sewing machine rather than in an artful arrangement on a shelf. Having the tools you use most closest to you saves time and energy plus it makes it easier to get to work because there is less time wasted hunting for tools before getting started.
2) Organize your creative space for volume. Creative spaces used for business can look vastly different than spaces used by hobbyists. A hobbyist can put a weekend’s worth of work away, nice and neat, until the next weekend but a business person will be using the supplies daily. In stead of trying to put everything away each night make sure you have enough organized space to lay out the projects and tools you are working on. Putting things away and taking them out again every day can waste time and be another excuse to delay being productive.
(Note: This only applies to a project you are currently working on. See #1 about having a relatively neat and organized space.)
3) Work on multiple items if you can. Not every item can be made 3 or 6 at a time but if you can, try it. Even if you aren’t used to thinking in a multiple frame of mind, taking the time to streamline your process and create several items at once can really make you feel much more productive. I know that at Christmas time I feel far ahead of the game if I can shape 10 wreaths and put bows on them before even adding any decorative elements. Somehow just having those 10 wreaths ready to go makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something big before I even get started.
4) Eliminate distractions. Turn off the computer or the phone (if you can) and turn your full attention to your work. While turning off the computer for a few hours of work can be difficult since, for many of us, it is the key to our livelihood it’s far too easy to find yourself being drawn to facebook or email when we should be working. Carving out a chunk of, uninterrupted productive time can do wonders for productivity.
5) Finally, celebrate what you’ve accomplished. Take some time at the end of the day to step back and admire what you’ve accomplished. Take a moment to be thankful for the time and talent you have that allows you to have a creative business. If it’s been a “Red Letter” day and you’ve produced more than usual or gotten a really fabulous order, be sure to celebrate in a way that means something to you. Whether it’s a glass of wine or a new pair of shoes be sure to give yourself a pat on the back. It will definitely have you eager to get back to work tomorrow!
What about you? I’m sure you have some tips and techniques that help you to be more productive? Be sure to share some of your best tips in the comments below.
By: Vicki O’Dell, The Creative Goddess
You can find more of Vicki’s article right here on her profile page!