Organizing Your Workspace
Organizing makes me so excited. It's actually pretty weird. I absolutely love spending my weekends organizing things, but that might not be for everyone. There is even a stereotype that creative people are unorganized. With that being said, you don't have to be a master organizer to boost your efficiency and get some serious amount of work done.
I have a place for everything. An office section for scanning and printing, drawers that are broken down by how often I use the contents. For example, the bottom one has printmaking materials. I didn't bring my screens or anything with me to Virginia, so I don't use those a lot. The middle drawer has materials that I might want to experiment with, and the small drawer has smaller materials and extra spray bottles. Everything else that I use regularly is right out on my desk and easy to use, since I don't want to think about where something is when I'm in the zone. I need to be able to see it all and see how it would interact with the piece.
The walls also have inspiration and some of my favorite works. Keeping work around you that has the same feeling that you want your current piece to have can help a lot, even as a subconscious reminder.
My computer also is completely organized. It has a folder for my art, broken down into branding, images of work, documents, old work, etc. If I do need a particular picture or information I can find it instantly.
Your space doesn't have to look like mine to be work for you. All that matters is that you know where things are, so it doesn't affect your workflow when the moment strikes. Here's how you can make sure your creative process doesn't get interrupted by your lack of organization.
1. Everything has its place.
Even if it looks like a pig sty. I won't pretend we are all super neat to begin with, but not knowing where something is can really get in the way of the creative process when it hits you full force. Even if it is just placed out around you in a circle, make sure you can get and stay in that zone.
2. Pencil it in.
If you are finding that you're not getting into the studio as much as you should, and everything you have to do to get back on track seems daunting, actually put it on your calendar. Even if you are not inspired that day, which happens, at least you showed up. Not every day can be an extremely productive one, but now your more likely to get things done tomorrow, and your creating a habit in your brain to connect being in that space to being creative. Before you know it, it will start to come easier and easier.
3. Create your own deadlines... and stick to them.
Outside of school and a 9-5 job it can be hard to stay motivated. You'll just have to create the deadlines yourself. Put them in the calendar, set alarms, tell someone, whatever makes you stay accountable for those deadlines,
4. Prioritize your time.
Not everything an artist needs to do, especially for their business, is creating. Break up your time as necessary. Recognize how much time you need to do all the things you need to do such as computer work or cleaning the studio. Be honest with yourself about how much time each task will take, then schedule it accordingly.
5. But what if you hate doing anything but creating?
Well then alternate every half hour. Do a little of the computer work, and then do a little bit of creating, and back and forth until you get it all done. That way you make the most out of your time while also staying energized by doing what you love.
6. Break it down.
If you have a hard time staying motivated break the project down into smaller attainable parts. For example, doing anything on photoshop for more than a couple minutes absolutely drains me. Therefore, I'll do a little each day in order to get it done, instead of trying to power through hours of staring at the computer all in one day.
7. Create a spreadsheet.
There will be a separate blog just on this in the future containing the different categories you should have. Making a comprehensive picture of your past work can save a lot of time when you do get a big opportunity, because it won't wait for you to get it all together. Write down all the details when you finish a work and if anything changes. For example, the date of creation, dimensions, medium, cost of production, if it is photographed, if it is ready for hanging, where it is located, if it had sold, etc.
8. Document the work.
I will also have a separate blog in this. If you're particularly social media savvy you are probably already taking in progress shots, but you should also set up a way to photograph the finished work with great lighting (preferably sunlight on an overcast day). Or, if the work is small enough, you can scan it. Keep a large 300 dpi version so you can edit it to any size and dpi you need.
9. Keep a sketchbook.
Write down or draw any new ideas to keep them all in one place. This can be in the form of a physical journal, on a computer or tablet, or even a bunch of loose pieces of paper in a folder or box. Whatever works for you, you will be glad you wrote down those amazing ideas when they came to you.
10. These things will get unorganized.
You will have to sit down and do it all again. Recognize that it will happen, and be okay with it. It's just a matter of finding what works for you and trying to stick with that.
No matter what your organizational style is, figure out what gets you motivated. An organized studio allows for you to be able to take advantage of the creative process when it really hits. Happy creating!
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Owner and Founder, kfons