Wednesday, August 21, 2013


My ongoing efforts to experiment with the business side of the arts have really pulled me away from making actual art.  This has led me to question what I should be spending my time on and what my time is worth.

So I made a list of all of the various art related activities I participate in.  I then analyzed what I would consider making actual art, what supports making actual art, and what is really business related.  I then rated each activity on how much I enjoy doing it (on a scale of 1-3) and how much time I am spending on it (again on a scale of 1-3).  I’ve created a sample table to show you what I mean.

My actual list is quite long as I included everything I could think of such as making actual art (in a variety of methods), shopping for art supplies, going to a local museum, weekend art walks, watching YouTube videos, reading up on techniques, organizing my art studio, keeping up with my blog (hangs head in shame—tsk…tsk…tsk), reading emails and blogs, maintaining my website, getting ready to teach an upcoming Paint&Sip class, etc. 

Here are just a few of the “aha” moments that occurred to me during this process:
·        There are several “making actual art” activities that I really do not enjoy, find boring, or find that they are just not as enjoyable as I once thought they were.  So guess what art related materials are on the top of the list for my next art studio purge?
·        I am spending far too much time on supportive and business activities and not nearly enough time on making actual art.  This is reducing my overall passion for art (which is reducing my overall energy for art, supportive, and business related activities as whole).  Am I procrastinating in making actual art by spending too much time on supportive (but not really productive) activities?  I need to spend some additional time reflecting.
·        I need to get back to making actual art and either delegate (aka pay someone else to do it) or just be okay with quitting any activities that don’t bring me joy.

After reviewing my list and “aha” moments at length and really analyzing how much my time is worth, I determined that it is time to hire a personal/art/marketing assistant to focus on activities that, a) don’t bring me any joy, and b) don’t absolutely have to be done by me. 

I drafted a basic job description and in doing so came to realize that it was a perfect first job for my teenager.  So he is now assisting me a few hours a week.  Just this past weekend I had him prepare and organize all of my class materials for some upcoming Paint&Sip classes.  He did a fantastic job, and I gained back 2 hours that I could instead devote to making actual art.  Money well spent!

But most importantly, taking those activities off my plate (and my heart!)….priceless! 

Have you made a list of activities and considered what your time is worth?  What strategies do you use to focus on those activities that bring you joy?


  1. What a fantastic idea! I came to some a ha moments but not in so nearly an organized way. I just realized that some of my social networking activities, while super supportive of my business, were also taking too much time away from actually living a life.

    It's amazing what we can discover when we're mindful, eh?

  2. While your business is in the beginning stages, my is at its end. I have created and sold wedding albums for almost a decade and with the age of 70 approaching and arthritis creeping into my left hand, I find much more enjoyable creating art journals for myself! But, like you, I had found that the business side of business is less than fulfilling. Love your thinking about getting those things that you don't particularly enjoy (even though they may be related to art) off your plate and your heart! I wish I could have read this article a decade ago. Hopefully, you will help others as well as yourself today! Thoughtful work!

  3. Thank you, Ladies!

    Effy, it kills me to see a group of people out in public all staring at their phones--why not the people they are with? Lol!

    Kay, I am so thrilled to see that you are still making art...and more importantly that you find so much joy creating it for yourself! YOU are a priority. ;->

  4. I enjoyed reading your analytical process. I tend to take things apart the same way. I've heard, from friends who have earned (or still do earn) their living in art that it is a huge commitment of time to the business end of things, and that many have lost their love for the art process while pursuing the business. The main reason I don't choose to be a professional artist (make it my profession) is because I don't want to be subject to, or be concerned about, peoples' opinions. That would take all the fun out of it!