productivity art distractionsStep Away from the Vacuum Cleaner!

Or the laundry, or the landscaping, or walking the dog, or fixing the light in the back yard or whatever.

Solo-preneurs and creatives have a lot of freedom with their schedules. Sometimes, customers, galleries, shows or collectors will demand deadlines with structure, but most of the time it’s a free floating extravaganza of unbridled days. That flexibility was part of what attracted us to the job in the first place. To tell the truth, a lot people are unable to deal with this type of freedom. Some of you get “distracted.” Here comes the tough talk, so put on your big girl panties, or big boy boxers (tighty-whiteys…I’ve got nothin’) and admit it…much of the time….

 The inmate is running the asylum.

I understand the Road to Hell was paved with good intentions, really, I do. There’s one concept that may help keep you from reaching that destination. There’s one factor we sometimes forget to take into account –

Life happens regardless of your calendar and intentions. (click to Tweet)

Homes and children continue to require maintenance. Those “emergencies” that rear their heads do not take your “schedule” into account. Those pressing items that need your attention, which are not your “work” are most often manufactured between your ears. Hear me – You hereby have PERMISSION TO DO YOUR WORK.

When I teach executives Time Management, I always emphasize scheduling only 60% of the day because STUFF happens. They schedule things they MUST do and magically, the rest of the calendar gets filled. These men and women have to get it done, because, unlike you, they have direct oversight and written objectives to meet. If they don’t take care of business, their bosses will force them to stare at a free floating extravaganza of unbridled days, and they can’t even paint!

Whoa, I digress.

So, here you are with empty hands. The time comes to show your stuff and you stand in front of the crowd with excuses, a sad, sad face and empty hands. Or, you’ve generously donated so much of your work time that your work has not reached the level you had hoped. It’s not the best you could have done. So sad.

Do not call procrastination laziness. Call it fear.”   ~ Julia Cameron

 Generally, two things will derail your good intentions for getting your work done. Fear and fear. (click to Tweet)

Either you’re afraid to do it and make excuses because you may fail. Or you’re afraid to say “no” to other people’s requests because you feel selfish and won’t guard your productivity time properly.

Productive artist

Robert Burridge in the Studio

When we begin to elevate our creative work and make it a priority, children survive, floors eventually get cleaned, underwear can be worn more than twice (I did NOT just say that), and life goes on without us hovering over it.

Your work is your passion, your dream. You are privileged to have this opportunity that so many others do not get, and you are obligated to honor it. I encourage you to say, “no” to things you don’t have to do in order to get done what you MUST. (click to Tweet).

So as we begin this year anew, take control of your life. Set your goals. Claim your time on the calendar. Develop the self control to say “no” and get the work done. Develop muscle where you are weak in your work. Seek teachers. Get support from other artists. Do not be complacent. No distractions. You get to work, so…

Get to Work!



Special Thanks for Kate and Robert Burridge for permission to use the photo – isn’t he all cute and colourful? Super fun classes, too. Find him at
Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves her clients in the direction of their Writer, Artist, Coachdreams by helping them improve productivity and cultivate good behaviours while eliminating poor ones.

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Ready for some creative fun while pursuing your dreams for the new year? I’ll be having a Beginning Mosaic Workshop called ” Magic in 2014″ in January. Register or  learn more!