Have you ever found that you do your best work in a space that’s been designated just for that activity?

It’s a concept I’m sure we’ve all heard of, or paid lip-service to I’m sure… I know I have!

I’ve always liked the idea of designated spaces… but it has not always been possible, sometimes two or more activities have had to just get along and share!  But hey… we’re clever humans, right?  Of course we can cope with a teeny bit of inconvenience, and on the bright side… let’s not forget the multi-tasking opportunities space sharing presents!!  I know… I’ve been doing it for years!

But lately I’ve been finding my multi-tasking mojo has gone missing and my productivity in some areas has been on the downward slide.  I should hasten to add though, it’s not producing art that’s a problem… no,no,no!!   It’s other things like marketing, putting lesson plans together for the next workshop, starting a blog (which I’ve wanted to do forever!) or just other admin tasks associated with running two businesses. 

Don’t get me wrong…it’s not that I don’t want to do these things (although paying bills etc… is a bit low on my fun list!) it’s just that I can’t seem to get my head-space together enough to get these tasks done quickly and efficiently like I used to.  So it feels like I’m wasting time, not doing enough to move my art business forward and in the end… spending more time away from painting… and that stresses me out!!

So how did it get to this?  Why have my time-management and multi-tasking skills seemingly deserted me?

Well I think I know the answer and it hit me this morning, although I think I’ve known for awhile but I’ve been in denial… after all, like I said, I can multi-skill with the best of them… or so I thought!

So here’s the story…..

You would have thought that when I finally moved my art into it’s own space, I would have been happy to have my office back for just office stuff.  But no, I loved being in the studio so much, my office stuff gradually followed me down there!  For awhile that was ok, it’s a much bigger space and seemed to be quite a convenient arrangement, saving me from running back up to the house all the time to do the odd admin thing… wrong!!   It’s gradually dawned on me that I’m much too easily distracted by art making for me to be doing any headspace stuff when I’m in close proximity of said art making!!

More and more I’m finding that time designated for marketing, answering emails or other admin tasks just flitters away… I just can’t be trusted to stay focused and on task!   Often I find myself slipping in a quick thumbnail because I got an idea for the next artwork, or putting just a few more strokes on the painting that’s on the easel because suddenly I can see what it needs… and the paintings are important right?!   No paintings… no exhibition… unhappy Jenny!!

In the end though, it leaves me frustrated that I’m not getting those admin tasks done as quickly as I should, so I can get back to the important stuff – painting!

I must say though, I am surprised this is happening after so many years of successfully pulling off the multi-tasking thing.  I look back to the days when my kids were small and I was painting, exhibiting, working in jobs other than art and a million other things… how did I do it all?  But hey, I guess things don’t stay the same and right now I’ve got exhibitions on the horizon and even without those, my thoughts are always on creating and that’s just ramped up even more when I’m in the space where that’s done!

So what to do? Well today I had an epiphany!   They don’t come often, but this one got my attention enough that I thought I would share it with my friends on social media and do a status update…

Steve (hubby) and I went out to breakfast this morning and we got talking about my marketing (or lack thereof) etc…  I was saying how frustrating I was finding it lately, and yet as we talked I could think clearly about the things I needed to do and the ideas were flowing.  Then when I got home and went into the studio to start doing these marvellous ideas, I found I was torn between doing what I’d planned and making art!  An all too familiar feeling lately.   And that’s when it hit me… these two things need their own spaceDuhhh!

So I packed up my laptop and headed for the house, and the little room that used to serve as both studio and office space (but has more recently become a dumping ground for anything I can’t find a home for!). 

It didn’t take too long to clear a pathway to my desk and set up with my laptop, a cuppa and puss by my side (ahhh like the old days) and pump out this little bit of writing.  And you know what?  I think I may have finally started my blog!  That status update got a little bit too long and now here we are… the first blog post in, I think, four years!!  

So now with that little bit of achievement under my belt, I can happily go back to my studio and paint for the rest of the day!

P.S. Looks like I’ll be penciling in some time for an office clean out real soon…!!  But I’m sure it will be worth it…. 😉