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14 April 2008

FLOWERS IN NANIE'S CONCRETE POT

Flower Art On Canvas by Laurie Justus Pace
18 x 24 inches

SOLD



Terry sleeps soundly as I quietly left the room this morning. Thought I would start my day early and keep the house quiet so he can catch a few more z's. The concrete pot in the painting is still with us today! It was his grandmothers and we fill it with blooms every year.

Yesterday I went to church with my parents and then home to prepare lunch for them and Jon and Justin. Jonathan has grown so much. When I hug him he is tucked up tight under my chin and I am five ft nine. He is only ten years old. He is going to be tall! Justin helped me put together my new sofa table..it is glass, metal and wood. Terry got home just in time to share an hour with Jon before they had to leave. Then I was back on my schedule.

Today Terry will box, I will finish up a magnolia painting that is a commission piece and I have been sketching out a new series and hope to get the sketch on canvas. I may play with another idea as well. BUT first, I will make breakfast, do wash as in Sheet changing that always happens on Monday....and hug my husband.

Time Management seems like a good subject to expand on one more day. I did research into what it was to see what I could improve on. Self improvement is a positive thing. Maybe some of this will help you with your day and your scheduling. It reinforced all the teaching seminars I attended years ago. I will adjust my phone habits, and tighten up my wall chart and finish my file set up for our personal things. The new art program I bought answered my need for tracking my work better...things are coming together. I found things like:

1. Plan Weekly Strategy (which I do...plans of what paintings will be painted are usually sketched in my sketch book or on the canvas itself by Wed. Wednesday is my beginning paint day)
2. Get up before everyone in your household. I do that every day...I get up and do work before the world wakes up. That way my phone does not interrupt me, everyone is still asleep!

3. Daily Goals. Well my weekly strategy ALWAYS has daily goals of what I am working on as I try and weave the constant plans with the newly commission pieces. Wed/Thurs/Friday are hard paint days. Saturday is to finish up commission work and Sunday is my paperwork day. Monday is packing and shipping and Tuesday is my day off to clean house, do wash, grocery shop etc. I have a chart that is kept in my studio that I list the specific paintings on for sale and for commission.
Oh I do pay bills on Sunday mornings. Have for 17 years. Remember with all my shipping I have to keep immaculate records to get the right painting to the right person.

4. Block Time Well, the teacher in me always blocks time. I am geared that way because of school scheduling.

5. Keep a timer for activities. On W.TH.Fr. Sat and Sun, I blog from five thirty to six and then paint until seven forty five and break for breakfast. Then it is back to the easel until noon and I break for a light lunch. Back to the easel until Three and I stop for the day to make dinner and do my house jobs related to dinner, clean up etc. I am very anal about this.

6. Establish Work Hours.... I did that above.

7. Outsourcing Hummm, can't outsource my art stuff, but if I had the money I would love to outsource the cleaning or cooking.

8. Group Errands....oh my gosh I am the QUEEN of errand planning down to the route and best time to hit with traffic and others shopping at the stores.

More on the subject:

"Organization means keeping all your documents, invoices, accounts and everything you use in your business in their proper place. This will save time because you will know where everything is It will also lead to a less stressful home/working environment." This system was in place until we moved. I have only half way set it up but I keep immaculate records.

Keeping a diary, file-fax or some kind of personal organizer is a vital business tool for obvious reasons. This year I added a small sketch book to my purse. In it at the back I log all business lunches, gas, travel etc and in the front sketches from where we are...they are all dated. Pretty cool!!!

Another system that is invaluable is writing notes or schedules. Now it is know point writing a great schedule and not sticking to it is there? When one writes a schedule they must take into account all the aspects of their work and there family life. remember when working at home a happy work environment will lead to more productivity which equals more profits. This was covered above in the 1-8

When writing a schedule It is important to encompass everything that could mean taking the children to school, shopping feeding the dog. as well as all your business commitments. Always make time for the family, especially when working at home. Make sure you have an arrangement with your spouse about your working hours, and that the children realize as well. Of course If you have younger children you have to give a bit more of your time or get child minders. I definitely covered this above.

Having an office or a part of the house where you can work undisturbed would be fantastic. because you can then have all your tools i.e. computer, telephone, files and stationary in one place. I DO have this as well. The studio in this new home is fabulous. Everything is in one place with plenty of room.

Planning is another useful skill to have in the quest to save time and be more productive you should take a couple of hours in the beginning of the week to plan for the coming 2 weeks. Again take everything into account then write your schedule. Covered above.

Having planned your schedule for 2 weeks give yourself some leeway like an extra half an hour in between chores, as you never know what can pop up. I allow space in my painting days to handle commission paintings. I even allow flexible blocks of time for lunch with my parents, doc appts and misc things like that. I have back up work for Daily Painters that has never been posted in case I cannot paint. When we go on vacation I start about a month early to paint extra work over the weeks to ensure there is enough to post when we travel.

My weakest link is the phone. I need to block personal calls when I am working and set up an emergency system in case there is an emergency. If someone was working in an office they could not stay on the phone with a personal call for 30 min at a time. Presently I do not stop working when the calls come in, I put the phone on speaker and continue painting, but I know it is distracting. So perhaps that is something I should address.

I am unclear how to manage my time any better than I am doing. I am sure if I had a specialist in they could observe my patterns and make suggestions, but for four years I have run a very successful business out of my home. When I get behind as I indicate in my blog, always trying to catch up, it is from taking on too much commission work or from adding the unexpected that crops up. What do folks with day jobs at an office do? They simply do not have the flexibility to leave work to do things. I am blessed with that ability right now. I simply slide the missing block of time later in my week and double up where I have to. That is what any person would do in a job.

This is what has made me a top teacher for my entire career in teaching. My reviews by my principals have always had me listed tops in organization and classroom management. Lesson planning and flexibility is a top strength with me in the classroom as it is in my home studio.

Well, this blog was entirely too long and is past my blogging time schedule for this morning! I will have to adjust another block of time.

In the midst of this God is ever present. We can make plans, goals and schedules all day long, but His plan is the ultimate plan. As I have gotten older I have released some of the need to control my days so tightly. Every day now is a gift and every morning begins with prayer time and meditation with Him.

God's Blessings on your day....some of you are home with kids, some are at a job with a cup of coffee in hand. Be a Blessing to others today. Trust in Him to lead you to your greater good.

Grace,
Laurie

"Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever." Psalm 136:2

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Laurie Justus Pace Contemporary Texas Artist

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