Have you ever had the very best of intentions – to create art, contact clients, research potential clients and more – yet at the end of the day, you find you haven’t actually done it?

Instead you have updated your Facebook status a few times, liked a few things, hung out on Pinterest “getting inspired”, did some laundry, called a friend to talk about how excited you are to get into art licensing and more…

Those are called DISTRACTIONS.

Diminish Distractions

Don’t feel bad, we all get distracted.  Sometimes it can be called PROCRASTINATION when we know we should do something and find all kinds of other things that have to be done first… but those other things are also distractions.

If they gave out degrees in “The Art of Distraction” I just might have a PhD so I assure you, I know of what I speak!

Sometimes writing this blog is a distraction… I intend to create art and then say “Well, I really need to get a blog post done for Monday…” and I start writing.  Or I get over-involved in the details of my business – things I could hire someone else to do to free up my time and head-space a bit.  Instead I do it myself… DISTRACTION.

I’m currently trying to work through my own “Diminish The Distractions” program, which I am making up as I go along… here is what I have so far:

  1. SCHEDULE YOUR TIME.  While it is sometimes tricky to say “I’m going to be super inspired and creative between 3 & 6 pm next Tuesday” – if you at least block out the time on your calendar, there will be time in your day to ride that creative wave.  If you book 40 hours a week of distractions, you won’t get much art done.
  2. HONOR YOUR INTENTIONS.  If you plan to do a new collection this week or this month, do it.  No. Matter. What.  Make it as much of a priority as going to sleep at night and eating during the day. (And while we are on the subject – GET SOME SLEEP!)
  3. MAKE IT A PRIORITY.  If you work from home you will have to be better at time management and prioritizing than if you work in an office.  In a office, you are expected to be at your desk during certain hours… your friends won’t expect you to jet off to lunch with them if the sun is shining.  In my experience, many people do when you work from home.  You need to make your work a priority and know when to say NO and when it is ok to be flexible and say YES!
  4. MAKE A LIST OF YOUR DISTRACTIONS.  Sometimes knowledge is the first step to change.  If you realize what is distracting you, you can work to change it.  Give the tasks to someone else, schedule them into your day, skip them altogether… whatever you need to do to get the real work done.
  5. CONTROL YOUR DISTRACTIONS, DON’T LET THEM CONTROL YOU.  I love Pinterest as much as the next artist but I have set some rules for myself about it.  I don’t look at it on my studio computer.  Pinterest is saved for my iPhone – when I’m waiting for an appointment, if I’m watching something on TV and for some reason I can’t fast forward through the commercials… little bits of Pinterest downtime.  I have found I can get very distracted if I look at things on my big screen… I save that for looking back at things I pinned that will help me create (like color schemes – love those Pins!)  and not for wandering about “getting inspired”.

Now I ask you… what do YOU DO to try and keep your distractions at bay so you can get the real work done?  (Hint: The “real work” is the work that only you can do…)

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed