Make Your Art: Time Management for Creatives | Liz Brindley | Skillshare

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Make Your Art: Time Management for Creatives

teacher avatar Liz Brindley, Illustrator & Creative Biz Coach

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Make Your Art


    • 2.

      Create a Schedule


    • 3.

      Gather Your Materials


    • 4.

      Eliminate Your Excuses


    • 5.

      Uncover Your Why


    • 6.

      Break Down Your Why


    • 7.

      Create Your Big 3


    • 8.

      Set Boundaries


    • 9.

      Block Your Schedule


    • 10.

      Defeat Resistance


    • 11.

      Take One Step


    • 12.

      Upload Your Class Project


    • 13.

      Stay in Touch


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About This Class

Do you feel like you're just too busy to make your art? I totally get it! In this class, I'll teach you a variety of effective time management tools to make more space in your schedule for your art, creative practice, and to build your creative business. These skills can also be applied to manage your creative projects, as well.

I am an Illustrator who has spent the past 5 years working a multitude of jobs while also carving out the time to make my art and build my creative business, Prints & Plants. To do this, I've had to learn how to implement many time management skills and tools over the years.

Now, I'm so stoked to share all that I've learned (and still practice!) with you. This class is filled to the brim with my best tips for you to make more time to make your art.

This class is for you if:

  • you're working one, two, or three other jobs while trying to build your creative business
  • you're an artist who is balancing many responsibilities and want more time for your practice
  • you feel like you have little to no time for your creative practice
  • you think time management is too difficult
  • you think time management is boring
  • you think scheduling will cramp your creative style 
  • you have so many ideas inside, asking to be created, and all you need is more time

In This Class, You'll Learn How to:

  • Uncover your why
  • Set boundaries - and stick to them!
  • Block your schedule
  • Make traction on your dream - one step at a time
  • Celebrate every step - big and small!
  • Set annual goals
  • Set monthly goals
  • Set weekly goals
  • Set daily goals
  • Reach your goals!

You'll Walk Away From This Class With:

  • A clear approach to schedule time for your art (no matter how busy you are!)
  • A variety of effective time management tools for you to practice
  • A renewed sense of focus and energy for your creative practice
  • A heightened sense of value for your art and/or creative business (the world needs your art!)
  • Time Management skills that can be applied to creative project management
  • A scheduling template that you can use as your planner!

What You Need:

  • Pencil or pen
  • The scheduling template PDF provided in the Resources section
  • Some scrap paper to journal your answers to prompts throughout the class
  • An open mind and readiness to make time for your creative practice!

Get Social!

Share your journey! Snap a photo as you work your way through this class, and post it to Instagram. Be sure to tag @prints_and_plants and #createwithliz so I can cheer you on! 

Ready to Dive Deeper?

Join the Prints & Plants Table for weekly creative inspiration, tips, and yummy recipes:

Join the Table

Dive into the Print on Demand class I mention in the course:

Ditch the Inventory: How to Use Print on Demand to Sell Your Art and Launch Your Creative Career

Learn more about creative time management in this class with Bonnie Christine:

Focus to Flourish

Learn more about Time Management and Productivity on Skillshare:

Meet Your Teacher

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Liz Brindley

Illustrator & Creative Biz Coach

Top Teacher



I'm a Food Illustrator in Northern New Mexico. Most days you can find me creating illustrations for clients, teaching online creative classes, cooking up meals with lots of local produce, or exploring local farms for inspiration.


I believe that creativity can give us a greater sense of awareness, peace, and mindfulness for the everyday joys in life. Whether you express your creativity through painting, drawing, cooking, dancing, singing, or raising a family, I believe that we each have creative contributions to give to this world.


My hope is to give you the tools and skills to express your creativity with confidence so that you, too, can share your vision and cra... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Make Your Art: Hey, I'm Liz. I'm a food illustrator in Northern New Mexico, and I'm so excited to welcome you here to the Prints and Plants Studio. In today's class, I'm teaching you all about time management for creatives because let's be real, finding the time to make your art or work on your creative business, it can feel like a real challenge. Trust me, I know because I've been there. For the past five years I've been working a multitude of jobs while still carving out the time to make my art and build my creative business. This business, Prints and Plants. I've worked simultaneously as a museum photographer and a barista, while also making time to create my art for galleries and for my very first arty shop. I've worked simultaneously as a museum educator, a volunteer at the farmers market, and as an arts journalist for a local newspaper, while also organizing pop-up workshops in public spaces with art supplies and fresh produce to spread the word about my brand new business, Prints and Plants. I've worked simultaneously on a farm and for a local food distribution company while also growing my own business to sell my products online, create custom client illustrations, and teach new courses like this. Man, that feels like a lot just to list. But my guess is that you can totally relate. My guess is that you're working one, two, maybe even three other jobs while still trying to find the energy and time for your creative practice. I get it. Like I said, I've been there and I'm still there. Right now I'm working part-time for a local food distribution company that I totally love while also still making the time to build out my creative business to sustain me full time. To do this over the years, I've had to learn and implement many different time management skills and practices. That's why I'm stoked to be here with you today, because I can't wait to share all that I've learned and the practices I implement with you so that you can carve out time in your schedule for your creative practice, your creative business, and to turn your creative dreams into a reality. So enough talk, we have art to create. Are you ready? Let's get started. 2. Create a Schedule: For your class project today, you'll print out the scheduling template attached in the projects and resources section. On this template, you will see a section called my big 3 divided into time slots of one-year, one month, one week, and one day. You can print off as many of the months and weeks as you'd like to keep them in a binder as your personal paper planner. In this class, I'll walk you through the big three exercise and how to fill out this scheduling template. Once you've learned these tools, you will fill out your own schedule and either scan it in or take a photo to share in the class project. I know this can feel vulnerable and scary to declare your dreams out loud or on paper, but as soon as you do, you have more clarity on your direction and more accountability. We're all here to cheer you on, so when you do share in the class project we'll be able to celebrate you and support you on your journey. If you have any questions at all, feel free to drop them in the discussion section. I can't wait to hear from you and see how your new time management skills take place in your creative practice. In the next lesson, we'll talk about the materials you need for this class. Here's a hint. You don't need many. 3. Gather Your Materials: For this class, you only need a pencil or a pen, some scrap paper for journaling through some prompts that I'll provide throughout the course, and the scheduling template PDF that I've included in the Projects and Resources section. That's it. Short, sweet, simple. Gather up your materials and let's dive in. 4. Eliminate Your Excuses: Okay. If you're a planner like me, you might be eager to jump right into the scheduling template. But first, we need to cover some groundwork before we plan out your week to make time for your art. My guess is, as a creative, you're familiar with this little thing called Resistance. In Steven Pressfield's book, "The War of Art", which I highly recommend. He writes, "Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb; the more scared we are of a work or a calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore, the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That's why we feel so much resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there'd be no resistance." I want to make a quick note here, because I think this is a really powerful quote. To pursue our fear, to pursue the things we resist as doorways to the next level of our growth as a creative, as a creative business owner, and as a person. But something I want to take note of here with you is that fear and resistance can often be confused with intuition. Those can sometimes feel like the same thing in our body. When you're thinking about a decision or a project, you might misinterpret your resistance or fear as intuition telling you you shouldn't do it. But something that I like to practice when I'm trying to distinguish between an intuitive know and just fear, is to just check in with my body and check out how it feels. I remember hearing this in a podcast once and I can't place exactly where. But it's this exercise where you call into question the project or the decision that you're considering, and close your eyes, and just think about that question mark, think about that decision, think about saying yes to it, and just take the immediate note of how your body feels saying yes. Does it feel expansive? Like you're going into growth and there's possibility? Or does it feel like your body constricts? Like you're shrinking and getting smaller. If it feels expansive, then that's likely the direction that you're being pulled, the direction that you're being led. If it feels constrictive and like you're shrinking, that's probably your intuition saying, "don't go this route." So even though fear and resistance can be wrapped up in our decisions around our creative practice, if that decision feels expansive, and opening, and exciting, then I would suggest to pursue it. See where it leads. I've attached a suggested reading list in the projects and resources section for more books to help you push through that creative resistance. It's something we all encounter, and we must wade through it to make the art that this world is calling us to create. Let's talk about the types of resistance that might show up. Because typically there are a few specific types of resistance or excuses that show up around making your art in relationship to time management specifically. Let's take a look at these excuses and nip them in the bud so we can get time to make our art. Okay, excuse number one; time management is boring. I'm a planner by nature so I love to organize, to create structure, to have a set of steps to follow, to get a project done. I enjoy planning, but I know that you, as a fellow creative, might totally despise it. You may think it sounds clinical and dull and like a drag. You may want to follow your inspiration and whims and work when you feel inspired rather than setting a designated time on the calendar to create. I totally get that. There are many times when I show up for my designated creative time slot and I just don't have inspiration. But because I've committed to that time, I just start. Once I do, the inspiration or the motivation eventually arrives. In fact, I'm sitting here right now in my studio recording this audio for this class under a blanket after a day of work at my part-time job. I did not want to sit down and record this this evening. I wanted to chill out and watch a show, but I just started. I started recording one sentence and I kept going. So just start. There's a page in Austin Kleon's book called, "Keep Going" that says, "The Muse is ready to surprise me if I show up every day and say, 'you want to hang out? ''' I love this quote because essentially the muse or our inspiration, it shows up when we show up. So are you inviting your muse to hang out? Make some time for it. Planning like this can give you something to look forward to because you know that you are going to have the time to make your art. Because you are actively creating that time. Organizing your schedule can give you more head-space, which can welcome more creative ideas in. Declaring your dreams and planning them out, which we will do in this class, can give you energy, motivation, a sense of empowerment, and fun to go on the journey to make your creative dreams a reality. Here's a pro tip for you. As you start to implement time slots into your schedule for your art, carry around a small journal or the notes app on your phone so you can jot down your creative ideas, inspirations, and connections that come to you while you're out in about doing your errands or at your day job. That way you can free up space in your brain and know that you will have all of your ideas in one place to reference once you sit down to do your creative work. This can help create focus once you arrive at the time you've set aside to work on your art so you can just get going. Excuse number two, there's never enough time. Okay. Let's talk about two ways to approach this excuse. Number one, take a deep honest look that how you are actually spending your time. When you are done working your day job, how do you spend your remaining hours? Are you watching Netflix? Are you doing chores? Are you zoning out and scrolling Instagram? When are you productively procrastinating by, let's say, organizing one section of your desk or cleaning out an old closet? I'm not saying this activity should never be included in your schedule, and I'm definitely not advocating for all work and no play. In fact, rest and zone out time are so important for creativity. I'll cover how to include them intentionally in your planning. But how much time can actually add up between all of these moments that could be used on your art? Yes, it can feel so much harder after a long day to make your art or work on your creative business. But remind yourself home making art helps you feel nourished. Helps you feel like you, and remind yourself why you are building your creative business. We'll cover how to dig deep into your, why to use it as fuel in the next lesson. Another way to approach this phrase, there's never enough time, is to rephrase it. Let's switch the phrase. There's never enough time to, "I have plenty of time." Notice how you feel in your body, in your mind, in your creative energy when you say this phrase instead, "I have plenty of time." For me saying this phrase feels like a deep exhale. It helps me feel more at ease and more at peace to actually start to see the possibilities in my schedule, and the possibilities for when I can create my art. When we keep saying we have no time, we reinforced that belief and start to see it to be true. When we shift to say, "I have plenty of time ", we start to see the possibilities and pockets of time that we can fill with our artwork. As Elizabeth Gilbert states in her book, "Big Magic", "Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them." Excuse number three; something else is more important. This excuse comes up when you've already designated the time to create your art. Then you show up to your desk or your kitchen table or your studio, and something else suddenly takes priority. I get it. It is so easy for calling a friend, doing the dishes, taking care of the laundry, prepping meals for the week, to feel so much more important and pressing in that moment then your art. It may very well be. But it may very well also be a productive mode of procrastination. Your art is the priority here in the time you've set aside. Your art is the most important thing because the world needs your vision and your voice. To hide it because you don't feel it's important, or isn't needed, or isn't necessary? Those are all just fear talking. Georgia O'Keeffe said, "I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life, and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do." Don't wait for the fear to disappear. Embrace the fear. Bring it along with you as you sit down to create. One tip I have that has been actually hard for me to adopt is to allow some chaos to enter your life in order to make your art. This phrase and idea actually makes me cringe a little bit because I love for everything to be in order and in its place. But sometimes a few things must fall to the wayside in the background, or in our peripheral vision in order for our art to take priority. Once you've completed your time block, a step towards your creative goal then tend to the chaos, to organize that drawer, to do the laundry. Another way to think about this is to ask for help where you need it. If things are really busy, if you need help with the laundry, the chores, the kids, talk to your partner, talk to a family member or a friend, trade some time. Figure out ways where you can draw a help in and ask for it so that you can make time for your art or to build your creative business. It's a practice, but it can help to make your art the priority in that moment. Excuse number four; time management or boundaries constricts my creativity. I know this feeling. Boundaries, planning, time management can feel like the party pooper is at a creative celebration. It can feel like these systems might block our creativity and put a damper on the free flowing rhythm of our ideas. But I'm here to differ. I actually believe that boundaries breed creativity. Placing a set time for your creative practice can actually give you more flow, motivation, and productivity because you have a set limited amount of time to make art, which elevates the importance of your practice. These boundaries can give you clarity on the most important creative project to bring into the world first before moving onto your next idea. Because I know you have a ton of them. Excuse number five, I only have 15 minutes which isn't enough time so I might as well not make anything. This one ties back to excuse number two. There's never enough time. The small blocks of time can feel inconsequential. Fifteen minutes can feel like there's no point in even starting. But these smaller blocks of time do add up. Consistency compounds. Even if you just use those 15 minutes to jot down a list of ideas, make one intentional sketch, or create a mind map for your next project. These are all huge steps that will open the creative doorway to more energy, flow, and ideas for the next time you sit down. Small time blocks, they add up. Don't discount them out. All right. We have a list of ways to counteract these excuses. Now it's time to take action. Make a list of the excuses that come up for you when you show up to make your art. Then make another list that turns your excuses around and starts to eliminate them. In the next lesson, we will uncover your big "why" and how this can motivate you to commit to creating your artwork. See you there. 5. Uncover Your Why: You may have heard of this idea called finding your why, which is a pretty popular topic in business and creative entrepreneurship right now. To be totally honest, I got tired of hearing about it until I actually put it into practice. Finding your why is really useful and incredibly important, to pull you through the tough times. The times when you feel like you don't have any tractions, and the times when you're questioning how you'll ever make your creative dream a reality. Finding your why is like the lighthouse for a boat out at sea. The creative journey is like being in the wilderness, with no map and no compass. You are charting your own waters, which is such an adventure, and it's so beautiful that you get to curve out this journey that is specific to your creative vision. But sometimes that unknown journey, it can feel terrifying, and it can be hard to see which way to steer your boat. Your why is like that lighthouse that you can catch glimpses of while you're out at sea, to guide your creative ship into the harbor, to land at the shore of your creative dreams. So how do you find your why? Well, think about your creative dream. Maybe it's that you want more time to make your art. Or maybe it's that you want your creative business to be your only job. Whatever your dream maybe, take a moment to think about it and then ask yourself why, and keep asking yourself why until you run out of answers. My guess is that with this exercise of asking why you want your creative dream, you'll get more depth out of it, and you'll find answers you never thought possible, or reasons that you couldn't see before. This depth is what can pull you forward, to make those creative dreams a reality. So let's look at two scenarios as examples. Scenario number 1, your dream is that you have more time to make your art. Scenario number 2, your dream is that you make your creative business your only job. So let's look at this why exercise for scenario number 1. I want more time to make my art. Why? Well, because making art makes me happy. Why does making art makes you feel happy? Because making art helps me feel calm and centered and at peace. Why? Well, I feel at peace because when I make art, I feel I'm expressing myself and sharing my voice. Well, why is that important? Because I feel I have something deep inside of me that's asking to be expressed, that the world needs to hear. So why does the world need to hear it? Because I feel this message, this idea, can help contribute to the healing of the world, to the overall potential for peace on this planet. Why is that important? Because it is time for the world to find more justice, equality, equity, and collaboration, instead of competition, fear and hatred. Wow. With this why exercise, we just went from making art makes me happy, to my art can help the world find more justice, equity, peace, and collaboration. That is a powerful journey and a very deeply motivating why. So let's look at scenario dream number 2. I want to make my creative business my only job. Why? Because I want to make a living from my art. Why? Because I want to share my art with the world and be my own boss. Why? Because I feel the art I create can bring joy and beauty to people's lives, and I feel running my own business will give me more time, location, and financial freedom. Why is that important? Well, because with more time, location, and financial freedom, I can spend more time with my family and be more present to the moments that matter. Why is that important? Because my family is one of the most important parts of my life, and I feel I'm missing out on those special moments, because I'm too busy with work. Why would being your own boss help this? Because then I want to be balancing two or three jobs anymore. I could set my own schedule, make intentional time for my family and the activities I love, and make my art, and share it with the world, which gives me so much joy. Why? Because making art and sharing it feels purposeful, like a calling, and when I create, I feel I'm aligned with who I'm meant to be. Why is this important? Because I want to fulfill my life's purpose. So with this one, we went from I want my creative business to be my only job, to I want to fulfill my life's purpose. That's much deeper than the first step and a much stronger why that can be a guide. So it's time for you to take action. Sit down with a nice cup of coffee or tea in your journal. Start by writing down your creative dream. Ask yourself why you want this dream and then keep asking why until you run out of answers. In the next lesson, we'll use your why and learn how to put it into action. 6. Break Down Your Why: The big dream or the big why that you just uncovered, I would love to hear about it in the class project section if you're open to sharing it. This big why can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming, or out of reach when you dream big and can feel so exciting and a little confusing as to where to start. My best advice, just start. One step is all it takes to get going. Just like a snowball rolling down a hill, usually that first step leads to more and more momentum and then you're just flowing. But which step do you take fast? My guess is that as a fellow creative, you have a lot of ideas and a lot of passions and they're all vying for your attention at the same time. I actually used to feel bad about this because a lot of business advice and business books that I was reading basically said to just pick one thing and one thing only, essentially pick one lane and stick to it. But that just felt really inauthentic to who I am. I was also seeing all these other amazing creative entrepreneurs building businesses that were multi passionate and that had multiple projects going at the same time and that were also lucrative. These multiple projects could lead to multiple revenue streams and keep that creative entrepreneur interested and engaged. That is what I want for my creative business too. I love having multiple projects in my business. In her book, 'How To Be Everything', which I highly recommend if you are a multi passionate creative. Emilie Wapnik likens this to four burners on a stove. How many burners do you like to have going at once? Are you a one burner at a time person? Do you like them all going at the same time? Or do you like to have one dish simmering on the back burner while you actively saute delicious veggies on the front. This last one, that's me. I love having a couple burners going where I can check on the long delicious pasta sauce that's been stewing in the back cooking all day. As I also stir and season and taste test those veggies upfront that will be tossed into the final meal. Having multiple projects going in a business can also mean having multiple streams of income, which can be incredibly useful for sustainability. Because when one area is slow, another can pick up. It's like an ecosystem in nature where there are many moving parts. Large trees provide shade and protection, a flowing river provides water and beauty. Smaller plants could possibly be forage for meals. Bees buzz about pollinating these plants and animals help to spread these plants seeds and keep nature's balance in check. All of these different moving parts come together to create a sustainable balance. The same can be applied to our creative practice or a business. That said, it is important to designate time for these multiple passions and to take the first step to make an idea a reality. Let's take a look at how we can take practical action to figure out that first step. Let's look at the example of one of the big dreams from the last lesson, which was, I want to make my creative business my only job. The first practical question is, well, what income would you need to make from your business for it to be your only job? Let's say the number you are after, as an example is $60,000 a year. To make $60,000 a year, how much would you need to make a month? $5,000 a month. Now remember that if $60,000 is what you need to actually take home, then you would want to subtract your business expenses from this total amount. For the sake of this example, we're just looking at $60,000 as the revenue instead of the profit. How can you bring in $5 thousand a month through your creative business? Well, this is where being a multi passionate creative like you comes in handy because I'm sure you have lots of ideas. Here's a few to start. You could, start an online shop selling your original artwork. Start an online shop selling reproduction prints of your artwork. Start working with a print on demand company to sell products with your artwork printed on it. For more on this topic, you can visit my Skillshare class, digitally inventory, how to use print on demand to sell your art and launch your creative career. You could take on commissions for custom artwork. You could create logos and branding for clients. You could create and sell online courses. You could start an online arts membership, create a portfolio and license your artwork to companies, offer one-to-one coaching or consulting on a topic you love and have experience in, start a blog and bring in revenue through ads. Start a blog and bring in revenue by selling your products. Become an affiliate with accompany you believe in and love. An affiliate program is when you partner with a brand and when you make a sale for one of their products, you get a percentage of that sale. This list, it could go on, and on, and on. This is where it is really important to find that balance between having all of these ideas and passions and choosing one to start. That doesn't mean you never choose any of the others, which is something I always remind myself. It just means that you're starting with one to begin with. Looking at this list, you could start by choosing the one that fires you up the most, or choosing the one that you think would bring in a solid revenue to begin building your business. Let's say you choose starting online shop selling reproductions of my artwork. Awesome. This is the main big first step toward your why, your dream. Congrats. But let's break it down even more. To start your online shop selling reproductions of your artwork, what do you need? Well, for starters, you need the artwork. You also need high-quality photos of your artwork. You also need a logo and brand identity for your shop. This means brand colors, fonts, overall purpose and mission. Create a website to host your shop. This could be Etsy or Shopify. There are other platforms as well like Wix and Squarespace but if you are just focused on an online store friend, then I recommend Etsy or Shopify because they are made to sell products. You would also need social platforms for your new shop to promote your products. From there, you could list more steps to build out your shop. You could create an opt-in for people to join your e-mail list so you can promote your process and products to potential customers and create a community around your business. You could contact bloggers and magazines to feature your products. You could create a blog to feature your products and share your process. You could sign up to show your work at an in-person market. Again, these lists could go on, and on, and that is where it starts to feel overwhelming. Let's take a step back and look at the first step. You need the artwork. If this was the very first step, then you could dedicate five hours a week to creating your first collection. Let's say this collection is 10 paintings. I personally recommend designating an amount of time per week rather than an amount of prints or art per week. The reason for this comes from personal experience of saying, I'm going to make five prints this week, and then feeling rushed, overwhelmed or I'm making underwhelming art that just isn't my favorite to meet this goal. When you shift this type of goal to an amount of time per week instead, then you have more creative freedom to make work you truly love within that set time, rather than feeling the pressure to turn out a specific amount of finished artwork. Once you have your collection created, you can then dedicate five hours a week to photographing that collection. Once you have the photographs, you could dedicate five hours a week to developing your brand identity. You're working through each step and as you do, you can set aside specific time slots for the next step in your schedule. We'll walk through the specifics of this in the block your schedule lesson. It's time to take action. Make a list of all of the steps you need to take for your big why, your big dream? Then choose the one that is the very first step you need to take. Great job. You've established the first step and that can often be the hardest. In the next lesson, we'll talk about how to set the focus for your day, week, month, and year, so it feels more manageable and so you can stay on track toward your creative dream. See you there. 7. Create Your Big 3: Now that you have a clear list of steps for your big dream, we can hone in on a few of them to focus our energy and make traction. This exercise is called the big three, and it's a practice I use to remember my big goals and break those goals down into practical steps. The big three is the big three goals you want to accomplish in a year, a month, a week, and a day. I know this sounds like a lot, but bear with me. Let's start with the year. What three big goals do you want to accomplish this year? If we're using the example of starting your online shop selling prints of your original work, then you're big three for the year might be, one, create two new collections, two, create my brand identity, and three, set up my online shop. Here's a pro tip, I recommend setting goals that are within your control because then you are in charge of accomplishing them rather than putting that control into somebody else's hands. What I mean by this is if one of these big goals was sell 650 prints, that's an incredible goal. But that is putting the outcome on your potential buyers rather than on you. You could still have this as a goal, but rather than phrasing it as sell 650 prints, your goal could be phrased as promote my prints on my Instagram page three times a week, or pitch my products to 10 blogs and magazines, or pitch my products to 10 shops for wholesale. This way the action is back in your coat and you're in charge of how to make it happen. You may very well sell 650 prints with ease, if you approach those 10 shops for wholesale to start selling your art in retail shops as well as online. Another example would be if you were interested in licensing your artwork and one of your big goals was, and this is one of mine, license my illustration collection with Marimekko or another specific brand that you choose. An alternative way to look at this goal would be to say, create a portfolio with 30 patterns, or send my portfolio to 10 companies, including Marimekko. There are ways to rephrase your goals so that they are still specific, but within your realm of creation and action. Let's return to the big three for the year in our example. One, create two new collections, two, create my brand identity, and three, set up my online shop. Just like we did in the last lesson, we are going to break these big three from the year down into big three's for each month. For example, if we are starting at the beginning of the year doing this type of planning, which by the way is totally not necessary, you can start your dream at anytime, and I actually encourage you to start right here no matter the month in this class. But for the sake of example, let's say we're starting in January. The big three for January will be based off of the big three for the year. Let's start with number one from the year. Create two new collections. For the month of January, the big three might look like this. One, create one new collection, two, photograph that new collection, three, research online shop platforms. Let's walk through what the big three might look like for each month moving forward within that year, based on the big three for the year. I have an example document where I outline all of these on paper if you want to follow along or reference this example later, but I will just briefly go through it right now. After January, the big three in February based on those action steps, might look like this. Decide on your online shop platform, read about and research how to create a brand identity, and create 3-5 sketches for a logo. March's big three might be, pick one sketch and refine it for my final logo, brainstorm and pick a brand name, pick brand colors. April, pick brand fonts, set up my online storefront using my new brand, upload the first collection to my website. May, publicly launch my website, start a business Instagram page, and start a business Facebook page. June, research e-mail marketing platforms, decide on one e-mail marketing platform to use, create one opt-in for people to join my e-mail list to stay updated on my business. July, create a summer online sale, pitch three products from my first collection to 10 blogs to be featured, pitch three products for my first collection to 10 magazines to be featured. August, create my second collection, hire a professional photographer to take photos of me in my studio for my website, photograph second collection, but don't launch it just yet. September, upload my second collection to my website, but again, don't lunch it just yet. Take an online class in Pinterest marketing and start my Pinterest business page. October, launch my second collection, research paid ads on Facebook and Instagram, upload my products to my Pinterest business page. November, implement one paid ad on Facebook for my website, apply to five in-person holiday markets, research blog platforms. In December, do one in-person holiday market to sell my prints, create a special limited edition holiday print to sell only for the month of December, and choose a blog platform to start at the beginning of the new year to share my process and products. You can see how one year's big three were all broken down month by month to create focus traction on this dream. Then the next year you would have a new set of big three's to continue growing your dream into a reality. Again, I've included a sample schedule which outlines these sample big three's in the projects and resources section for you to reference. Let's break down one month into the weekly big three, and let's use January as our example. If January's big three are, one, create one new collection, two, photograph that new collection, and three, research online shop platforms, then the first week of January's big three might look like this. One, designate five hours to work on a new collection, two, take a Skillshare class in Product Photography for creatives, and three, spend one hour researching online shop platforms. Then let's break that week's big three down into one single day's big three, let's say it's a Monday. The big three for that Monday in the first week of January might be, one, spend one hour after work researching online shop platforms, two, go on a morning walk to collect inspiration for my new collection, and three, have an intentional dinner with my partner. See what I did there? I am throwing you for a loop. This is something I started to implement last year based on the recommendation from my sister because I was burned out and tired. I was setting a big three for every day where every single one of those big three's was focused on my creative business. Now, I designate one of my daily big three's to an act of self-care each and every day. This could be reading my book, taking a bath, having a phone call with a friend, watching my favorite show, cooking a delicious meal, weeding on the farm with my partner, or just sitting outside in nature. This has helped me to create more balance as I work toward my dreams. Because like I said in the beginning of this class, rest, play, and pause are so, so important for creativity. It really helps to build them in intentionally into your schedule. You could also do this practice for your monthly big three or your yearly big three. I personally find that incorporating it into my daily big three feels like a really good rhythm. There are some days where I'm so energized and motivated that I do just keep working. But there are other days where having that one moment, that one big three of self-care really helps me to check in with myself, press pause, take a break, rest, and rejuvenate. Take action, print off the scheduling template to fill in your big three for the year, the month, the week, and the day. Upload it to the class projects so we can all cheer you on. Now of course, these big three's are the goals, they're the idea and sometimes life still happens and we don't get to get that satisfying check of one of the big three's off the list. That's why in the next lesson, I'm going to share a practice with you to set yourself up in the best way possible to make traction on your goals amidst the balancing act of a creative life. 8. Set Boundaries: Folks, it's time to talk about boundaries. Boundaries are incredibly important to set yourself up for success to accomplish your big threes and your creative dreams. You're likely already setting these boundaries all of the time. You have boundaries around the times when you go to your day job. You have boundaries within your day job for when you have specific meetings with your boss or your co-workers. You might have boundaries in place to exercise before work or after work. Take a moment to make a list of the boundaries you currently have in place in your life. You can pause this video and come back when you have that list. Now, take a look at this list and ask yourself what these boundaries feel like. My guess is that they are pretty unshakable. They're set and respected by you and other people. Other people know you have to go to your day job to make a living, so when you say I can't, I have work, they understand. At work, if a co-worker asks you out for coffee and you say, I can't, I have a meeting with our boss to discuss the next project, then it's likely that your co-worker totally understands and just schedules for a time when you are free. These boundaries that you already have in place, they are non negotiable. They're roped off crystal-clear. Now, we just need to apply that type of boundary to creating your artwork. How do we do this? Start by understanding that the time you set aside to create your art, or work on your creative business is equally as important as the time you set aside to go to your day job. I know it may not feel that way because maybe, you're not making money from your art, or it feels like the chores at home take over once you get off work, but your art is important and it needs the same respect you give to the other strict boundaries in your life. Just because your art isn't making money doesn't mean it's not important. Even if you never want it to make money, it's still just as important as the endeavors in your life that do. The act of expressing yourself and sharing your voice and making your work is part of your purpose, your calling, and it feeds your soul. That's why you're here. You're looking for a way to tap into that and to express yourself again. This is incredibly important, so make the time for it. What does these boundaries look like when applied to your art and creative practice? Well, it looks like writing down exact times in your paper or digital calendar to create your art and giving this time slot this same amount of commitment as you would a meeting with your boss. I know it can feel easier to be more fluid with the commitments you've made to yourself. It can feel easier when a friend asks you to lunch during the time you've set aside for your creative practice. In that moment, it can feel easier to say, yeah, let's do it, I can do my art later. Or perhaps another family member or friend calls you right when you sit down to your time block for your artwork. It can feel a lot easier to just pick up the phone and put off your work for later. But this is resistance in action. In these moments, take a breath to return to your deeply rooted why, to remember why you are showing up for this designated time block. Let that guide you to stick to your boundaries. Once you've set your boundaries around the time that you're going to work on your creative practice or your creative business each week, declare your boundaries. Declare these boundaries to yourself by writing them down in your calendar. Declare these boundaries to your friends upfront by sending a text or a phone call that says, "I can't wait to talk to you, I'm booked," and then you fill in the time that you've set aside, but I have time, and you share the times that you are available. Share the same information with your family at the beginning of each week. Ask if your partner can make dinner on Thursday evening when you have blocked two hours for your practice. You could say something like, "I can't wait to share a delicious meal together this week. Do you mind cooking or picking up some food for us on Thursday so I can work on my art from 5:00-7:00? After 7:00, I'll be able to enjoy dinner together." These are just a couple of ways to state and declare your boundaries so your community knows that you are taking your time seriously and you're asking for that same respect from them for your schedule. Then it's time for you to actually show up for the time that you set aside and create your art. Turn off your phone, remove distractions, put away your computer unless your task needs it or you want some music while you work, which I often do, and just focus on your artwork, your creative practice at hand. Just get started, and once you start, it often just starts to flow. In the next lesson, we're going to talk about a tactic I really love to incorporate called block scheduling, which will help you set those boundaries into your calendar. 9. Block Your Schedule: In this lesson, we're talking about block scheduling, which is basically my favorite form of scheduling. I love it because it feels so organized, efficient, and energized. If you like crossing things off a list, then you're going to love this method. If you're not already familiar, block scheduling is a way of setting up your schedule where you group like with like tasks. For example, one block of time might be designated as marketing. Another block of time might be designated as a product, and another block of time might be learning and research. These are the big umbrella topics or themes that organize tasks related to that category. For example, you might decide that every Wednesday morning before you go to work, you are going to spend two hours devoted to marketing. This marketing umbrella is the same two-hour time slot every week. In this two-hour marketing time slot, you might do tasks like write two blog posts, prepare e-mail content for the next four weeks, schedule social posts for next week, create an opt-in for my e-mail list, reach out to five magazines to feature my products. Let's say in this two-hour time block, you choose to write one blog post and schedule your social posts for next week. Because both are related to marketing for your creative business, your mind will be in that same head space, which makes transitioning from one task to the next more seamless than trying to have from let's say, writing a blog post to setting up your products to photograph for your site. If you do need to photograph your products, then that could fall under the product umbrella. For this type of task, you would set up your photo shoot with specific products, props and equipment. Then you could photograph all of your products within the same time slot. Instead of doing a couple then jumping to marketing, then jumping back to photographs another day, is so much easier to block schedule that photography shoot because you have everything set up, and cannot get all out at once. If and when you're in the space where you're not working another job and you're solely focused on your creative business if that's your dream, you can block schedule each day. First, think about when you are most creative and when you feel the most inspired and productive on a regular day. For me personally, I feel most focused and productive from 08:00 -12:00 in the morning. This is when I tried to schedule my studio creation time. I save the afternoons for umbrella themes and tasks that don't require as much of my highest energy. These typically include marketing, packaging orders, answering e-mails, and researching new skills. Second, think about how you can devote different days of the week to different umbrella topics. For example, a Monday might be focused every week on the umbrella creation and look like this. From 08:00 -11:00 AM, studio time, from 11:00 -12:00 lunch break from 12:00 -02:00 studio time, from 02:00 -2:30 break 02:30-4 studio time, 04-4:30 break, 04:30-5 answering e-mails and winding down the workday. A Wednesday on the other hand might be focus solely on the marketing umbrella, and look like this, 08:00 -09:00 AM answering e-mails, 9:00-11:00 AM, reading for blog posts, 11:00 to noon, lunch, 12:00 -02:00 scheduling social posts for the next month, 02:00 -2:30 a break, 2:30-04:00 scheduling e-mail content for the next month, 04:00 -4:30 a break, 4:30-05:00, answering e-mails and winding down the workday. This way, you know what you're focusing on each day. In the case of something like marketing, you can actually get ahead of your work by delegating your day to writing all of your content and then scheduling it out over the course of a month. Of course, these are just examples to get you started and you can customize your schedule based on your own personal needs and focus. What about when you are working 1, 2, or 3 other jobs? How do you figure out when to schedule your blocks of time for your art or creative business when you were in this type of balance? This is a great question and one that I have worked with and tweaked and refined over time. First, still think about when you are the most creative and when you feel the most productive on a regular day, if your schedule allows it, indefinitely prioritized blocking off your time during those hours. However, if you're working your other job during those times, not to worry. We work with what we've got. If you are working another one or two jobs, these are really good starting points to find your windows of time. You can print off the scheduling template worksheet to follow along. Let's look at two examples. One, a part-time day job and two a full-time day job. For example, number one, if I'm working my day job part-time every, let's say Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, then I can draw blocks into my daily calendar for these work times. Physically drawing the blocks was not something I used to do, but as a visual person it has made all the difference because I can clearly see where new windows of time pop-up. You could also color code, add drawings and your own flair to make it even more fun for you visually. Once I blocked in my commitments, I see that okay. I have a full day free on Monday, a half-day free on Tuesday mornings, and a half-day free on Thursday afternoons, and a full day free on Friday. I also have a full day free on Saturday if I choose to work on the weekend. Right now, I take most Sundays off, but I often work Saturdays because I know that putting in more hours right now, will lead to a more balanced schedule for me down the road, when my creative business is my only job. Within those free windows of time, how can I block them off with the tasks that meet my big three goals? Well, let's revisit the big three example from January for the week. If one week of January's Big 3 is, designate five hours to work on a new collection. Take a skill share class and product photography for creatives, and spend one hour researching online shop platforms. Then I could start to fill these into my calendar. For example, I could block 09:00-12:00 on Saturday morning, for three of the five hours for my collection creation. Then I could block 03:00-05:00 PM on Thursday, for the additional two hours for my collection creation time. I could walk Tuesday morning before work for one hour for the online photography class. Then I could block one hour on Friday afternoon to research online shop platforms. There you have it. The big three are now in the calendar. They're tangible, you can see them, and you can commit to them. Alternatively, I could schedule all five hours on Monday to work on the new collection. I could schedule the one hour online photography class that same evening, and schedule one hour on Thursday afternoon to research online shop platform. You get to choose based on your available windows and preferences. Now let's look at scenario 2, a 40 hour a week day job every Monday to Friday, 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM. This is definitely trickier, but still doable. In this example, I see that my Saturday is empty, so I'm going to draw a block in for the 09:00-12:00 slot to work on my collection creation for the week. I might choose to do the additional two hours that same afternoon, from 01:00-03:00 to three, or I might choose to divvy up those hours across the week. I might designate Tuesday evening from 05:30 to 06:30 PM as the fourth hour, and Thursday evening from 05:30 to 06:30 PM as the fifth hour. I could designate my lunch break on Wednesday from 12:00-01:00 to research online shop platforms. Then I could designate 07:00 to 08:00 AM on Friday morning before I leave for work to watch the online photography class. You might decide that this Friday morning slot is great for online classes and designate 07:00 to 08:00 AM every Friday to be for learning a new skill. You might find that Saturday mornings from 09:00 to noon are really rejuvenating and peaceful for creating your artwork, and you might schedule the same slot every week to create. This would be just one way to implement the block scheduling or the umbrella themes into your schedule while having another job. This exercise shows that there are windows and pockets of time. I understand, but all of our schedules and demands are different. But my hope is that these examples give you clarity on how to schedule time for your creative practice. Now, time to take action. Print off the scheduling template if you haven't already, and fill in a sample week using this block scheduling method based on your Big 3. Then share it in the class project section so we can cheer you on. Even though we've set aside specific time to create your art, resistance still shows up. What to do about it? Join me in the next lesson for tips on how to defeat that pesky resistance and make strides toward your creative dream. 10. Defeat Resistance: We've done a lot of work together today to get to this point. We've uncovered your why, we've broken your why down into tangible steps, we've learned about setting boundaries, and we've created a custom schedule for you to sit down and make your art. My guess is that now you're feeling energized, inspired, empowered. You're ready to get to work. Yet, even with all of this in place, resistance can still come and knock in. It can show up looking like laundry, dishes, a phone call, scrolling Instagram, productive procrastination, or a range of other to-dos that suddenly seem so much more important than art in the moment that you designated time to work on your creative practice. I get it. It's so easy to talk about the dream, to visualize the dream, to go on Pinterest and pin the dream. I'm saying all of this because I do this too. The sitting down and putting the dream into action can feel really scary. It can feel vulnerable, but it's the most essential part to making your dreams, your creative dreams, a reality. Let's do this. Let's take action. Here are some tips to defeat the resistance. Get it out of the way and make your art. First, return to your why. Keep your why written down on your workspace, whether that's at your desk, your kitchen table, your studio, wherever you go to work on your creative practice or business. Keep your why visible. So when you feel resistance creeping up on you, you can look at your why and use it as fuel to refocus and create it. Two, schedule a reward for yourself when you've completed your commitment to your time block. This could be the act of self-care that you wrote down in your big three or it could be something totally different. Perhaps after a three hour time block of working on your collection, you take your lunch to a park for a relaxing outdoor picnic. Or perhaps after a one-hour session you set aside in the morning for an online course, you swing by your favorite local coffee shop on your way to your job. Or after an evening hour session of marketing, you watch your favorite show with your roommate or your partner. Scheduling downtime in rewards is a great motivator to get done what you said you'd get done and have something to look forward to when you accomplish your goal. Number 3, break down your time block into even smaller blocks. Let's say, for example, that you have your three hours set aside on Saturday morning to work on your collection. Staring at a three hour time block can feel really intimidating. So rather than procrastinating, break those three hours down into smaller blocks. You could say, "Okay for the first 30 minutes, I'm going to draw this flower in pen and then we'll take a five minute break. For the next 30 minutes, I'll add color to that flower, and then I'll take another five minute break." This can help you get going and chances are once you start, you'll lose track of time, drop into that beautiful creative flow, and just keep creating. Number 4, this is the thing, just start. Just sit down and make one mark then two. Write one sentence, then two. Research one online shop platform, then two. Just start. Usually once you get into the rhythm of the designated task at hand you'll fall into the flow and remember the joy you get from working on your creative dream, and that in itself can be the fuel that you need. Five, if you're in the midst of your time block and you're facing resistance such as feeling frustrated, no ideas are coming, you're zoning out and losing focus, then do take a short break to step outside, get some fresh air, or go for a walk. I personally find that taking a walk in nature when I'm in this state helps my thoughts to run wild and brings forth the answers that I'm looking for. Then I can return to my practice with fresh eyes and energy. Just remember to show up and start. As Steven Pressfield says in his book, 'The war of art', the most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying. I often say that it's called artwork for a reason because it does take work. It's not all just inspiration. We have to set aside the time, we have to be dedicated, and that doesn't mean it's not fun and it's not beautiful in Windsor call. It just does take our intention and hardwork to bring forth the art that we're called to create. Defeat resistance, but also look for it. Look for where you're resisting something in your creative practice, or in your schedule when you've set aside time to work on your art. It's likely that resistance is showing you this is exactly the thing you're meant to do. The world needs your art. It's time to show up and create it. In the next lesson, we'll talk about how even the smallest step counts. See you there. 11. Take One Step: When you have big dreams, it can feel like only the big accomplishments and the big steps are the ones that count. But I want to get rid of that belief right now. Every step counts, and those big accomplishments, those are made up of many small steps taken one after the other. There are many days, many stretches of days where nobody else may seem to understand or even sees what you're doing. But you are the one with the vision and you know how to get there. Trust that you have all the tools you need inside of you, and that you can find resources to bolster your knowledge and skills. Take time to listen to, and trust yourself. Remember that consistency compounds. It's like an airplane taking off. When a plane takes off, it uses so much energy to speed up on the runway, take off into the sky and get to an altitude where it is balanced and flowing enough that you can take off your seat belt and walk around. It takes a lot of energy and dedication to get to the coasting point, where things come more fluidly once practices and habits have been established. With each step you are making your dream more and more of a reality. Remember, that each step adds up. To acknowledge your traction and progress, I recommend keeping a pocket sized journal of your daily accomplishments no matter how big or small. At the end of each day, write down the date at the top of the page and make a bullet point list of every step you accomplished towards your creative dream. These might look like, I made a logo. I created one new drawing. I edited a blog post. I learned about a new e-mail marketing platform. I reached out to a shop to sell my artwork. I brainstormed a list of online classes I could teach. I published a new class on Skillshare. This list likely wouldn't be all in one day, but anything's possible. Write down all of your steps, big and small, and see the progress that you're making. Some days, my list has just been one bullet point. Scanned a drawing. But it was one step that led to a later work of art on another day when I had more time. To end this section, a quote from Liz Gilbert, the author of Big Magic, "So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges. Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?" I was taking a online bicycling class and the instructor asked, "Do you have the courage to start, the courage to stay, the courage to sustain? Every step counts. Keep going. Don't stop. 12. Upload Your Class Project: Now it's time to take big action. If you haven't printed off the scheduling template yet, print off your copy and fill in your schedule using the tools you've learned in this class. Write down your big three goals for the year, each month, this week, and each day of this week. Then, block out your time including your day job or jobs, and the times when you are going to focus on making your art or working on your creative business. Then, scan your schedule or take a photo, and upload it to the class project section so we can all cheer you on and hold you accountable to sharing your vision, because the world, it needs your art. 13. Stay in Touch: Thank you so much for joining me here in the studio today for this class. I really hope you're walking away fired up with new skills and tools that you can use to create time in your schedule for your creative practice, to make your art, and to turn your creative dreams into a reality. If you want to keep hanging out and talking all things creativity, then follow me on Instagram at prints and plants. To get more of these creative tips and how to use, join the prints and plants community for a behind the scenes studio peeps, special promotions and weekly check-ins, as you sip your favorite cup of coffee. You can sign up to join the prints and plants table at Lastly, if you want to keep learning with me, Liz, be sure to follow me here on Skillshare. See you soon friend. Until next time to creativity and beyond.