Friday, November 6, 2009

Hello Everyone,

It's been awhile since I've had time to blog. So much to do... so little time!

I recently received this article from Alyson Stanfield at

It has a slight Halloween theme, but hey, I'm only a few days late! Since Thanksgiving is coming soon, now would be a great time to write thank you notes!

Trick and Treat Yourself

Chrysti Hydeck, The Stirring of Birds. Photograph and mixed-media painting.
©The Artist

What chores, tasks, or jobs do you find yourself delaying or ignoring altogether? What do you dread so much that you neglect? Sadly, it’s often the stuff you really need to do--the things you can’t afford to ignore. See if you’re overlooking any of these.

  • Making follow-up calls

  • Writing thank-you notes

  • Updating your mailing list

  • Overhauling your inventory

  • Cleaning your studio or office

  • Balancing your books

  • Researching your next series

  • Making art (It happens!)

If you’ve been procrastinating something, identify it. Don’t be afraid! Just name it. After you’ve confessed, you can trick yourself into completing it and getting it off your mind. Of course, your tricks can be followed by treats. Here are some tricks that have worked for me.

TRICK - - - > Adjust your perspective.
Starting a task you don’t enjoy with a bad attitude won’t help anything. Instead, look at it differently. If you don’t like packing artwork to ship to new owners, don’t think about it as packing artwork. Think of it with a $ in front of it. “Yea! I’m shipping out a $500 sale!” is a better approach than “I really don’t want to go to the store to get more bubble wrap.”

Treat: Download some happy tunes to match your new ‘tude.

TRICK - - - > Take baby steps.
“Clean out my office by Thanksgiving” sounds overwhelming. Instead, focus on the smallest action. Recycle or throw away 5 things each day, organize a single drawer, or buy new files.

Treat: Pick up a new organizing component at the thrift store--maybe a filing cabinet or shelf.

TRICK - - - > Block out time on your calendar.
Having a vague idea that you need to get something done is one thing. Creating time and space for it is quite different. When you see the time scheduled on your calendar, remember that it’s a commitment you made to yourself. Don’t change it just because you’d rather be doing something else.

Treat: “Me Time.” Your gift for honoring the commitment you made to your professional life is time for your personal well-being. Block out more time on your calendar for a hike, a manicure, or a long hot bath.

TRICK - - - > Set your timer.
If you promise to do something for 15 or 30 minutes, you can make a game of it. It’s amazing how hard you will work to beat the clock before time runs out. It also creates a certain amount of momentum, so allow yourself the flexibility to keep going after the timer buzzes.

Treat: Chocolate, of course. Or maybe a small new art supply.

TRICK - - - > Get out.
Sometimes it just takes fresh scenery to be inspired. Plop down at a coffee shop to write your thank-you notes. Visit the library to research your next series instead of staying at your computer. Go to any other room in the house to journal in preparation for your artist statement.

Treat: None. Getting out is a treat in itself!

FINAL WORD: Remember that for every trick you use to complete a project, a treat is waiting for you.

© 2009 Alyson B. Stanfield