Post it notes – I think they breed in the night

Early last year, after we finished most of the work on the new house, I tried to become more diligent about my artwork.  I finally had a dedicated studio space and it was time to put it to use.  I wanted to start to publisize about my art and enter the new world of social media to promote it.  But how to start.  It is so easy to fritter the day away on the computer and not get any real work done – either on the computer or in the studio.  I put one of the many “gift” calendars I had gotten down in the studio to help me keep track of my time there.  And you know what?  It was discouraging.  Sometimes a week or two would go by with only an hour or two spent there.  Often I couldn’t even pinpoint what I had been doing,  only that something else was going on.  There was usually a fairly good reason for how I spent my time, but it all still seemed to just be flowing away, out of control.  I came to the conclusion that I needed to have at least some semblence of a schedule.  Not too strict because life happens, but it was apparent that I needed a plan of action.  Even though we have had a home office for decades , we have cut way back and I needed a way to get myself  more organized. 

I decided to divide the day up into mornings on the computer and afternoons in the studio.  I tried to  accomplish only one new computer thing at a time instead of spending hours at several.  I could stop at an accomplishment instead of in Luddite frustration. One thing that I noticed as I was spending more and more time at the computer was that there seemed to be this ever increasing pile of post-its scattered all around the computer desk.  They were all filled, sometimes front and back, with miscellaneous information that was important at the time, but then was unneeded.  Unfortunately, there was usually long term info on most of the papers too.  It seemed like I had a whole pad’s worth of papers scattered or in piles with the pens and pencils hidden somewhere within.  I swear they were breeding overnight, crossing good info with bad and creating a yellow disaster.  What to do?  Copy the good info on another few post-its and toss out the old?  There seemed a perpetual  paper trail of those unruly notes. 

The answer turned out to be easier than I thought.  I relegated the truly ephemeral, short lived to a hopefully smaller post-it note pile and got a spiral bound notebook to write the more permanent and important stuff in.  I started by copying the good stuff into the notebook and then discarded all of the paper.  Suddenly, I could see the desk.  Over the last few months, I have filled up a half a dozen pages in the notebook and managed to keep the post-its to a minimum although I admit lately they have tried a sneak attack to get back in.  I (sometimes) date the notebook and star or underline really important info, but it is pretty laid back.  It is reassuring that even if it takes a while, I will be able to find something that I want and not be afraid it was lost on a discarded note.  And let me tell you it takes no more time to look through the book than it would have to try and sort out those pesky notes. 

I got a project notebook from a big box store and started keeping all of the data for my online sale listings in it.  I now know when and where I listed something, if it was featured, and how often it is looked at.  All good data that I had wanted but never gotten around to keeping.  With these two innovations on my part, I can now have a better business plan.  I got a small pocket calendar for the office too.  I keep hours for the drafting business and also what I do on the computer related to my art business in it.  It helps me to keep more focused and I can actually feel accomplished when I see what I have done over time instead of frustrated.  The hours in the studio have gone up dramatically too.  Now I keep a record of how long I have worked on a drawing and how much time I spend there on other tasks like the bookmark project which had about as much layout time as painting.  Anyway, I feel now the office clutter is more managable.  Even after working in a home office after all these years, it is still easy to get behind.  There is no “boss ” to keep me on track and these simple devices have helped me a lot.

My latest bookmark listing on etsy for today.   http://www.etsy.com/listing/69694691/laminated-mixed-media-bookmarks-1-12-x-6

Not so abstract bookmarks

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