TIME MANAGEMENT FOR CREATIVE PEOPLE

Artifacts, potential wall hangings, jewelry or framed collages.

Last week I attended an amazing presentation by integral coach Lyedie Geer. Her website is here. The focus was time management for creative people.

Now, fifteen years ago, when I first started my artistic journey, I was on fire with professionalism. I was determined not to be that “spacey artist” with no concept of time or discipline.

I was very good at it, too. I entered juried shows early. I had a binder of my galleries, their complete contact info, my shipments to them, their terms, etc. Correspondence was carefully filed in each of their folders. My slides were labeled and up-to-date, and I had duplicates ready on a moment’s notice for any occasion. My Rolodex was full with fellow artists, show management, photographers (I had a photographer and a back-up photographer), suppliers. You name it, I had their name and phone number.

My editor at Lark Books called once, and in an hour, I’d produced every single source and resource we talked about. “Oh my GOD, you’re so organized!” she exclaimed.

Then something happened.

I can’t remember what set it off, but things…changed. I wasn’t frantic about recognition. I didn’t care about publicity or awards. I wasn’t willing to do ANYTHING to keep my income stream going.

I rode more. I wrote more. I dropped everything to be with my family or a friend in need, even when the “need” was a drink. I took in homeless puppies. I volunteered more. I took hospice training.

I paid more attention to other things: The change of seasons. Walks with my husband. Phone calls from my daughter. Driver’s Ed with my son.

The concept of time management began to annoy me. Oh, sure, I understood I could get so much more done if I actually MANAGED my time instead of letting it manage me.

But that just didn’t seem as urgent anymore. I still care deeply about my art and my art business. I just felt that more was being called for of me.

I wanted to explore that call. And everything is different.

So I attended the seminar with extreme prejudice. Borderline hostility, in fact. I assumed we were going to learn about day planners and Google calendar. I expected we would be urged to be more ‘professional’ in our dealings.

I was prepared to be bored stiff and MAYBE take away a nice idea or two. My only defense is I was also willing to be proved wrong, which is why I even went in the first place.

Well, Lyedie blew my socks off.

Her presentation gave me a deeper understanding of my creative process, and how to use that understanding to focus even more on my creative and professional goals.

Like Bruce Baker, her information is the kind I would attend to many, many times, as I would ‘hear’ something different every time. The content is powerful, and Lyedie’s presentation style is earnest and heartfelt.

Some people are monochronic, she said. Time is rigid and linear. There are rules, and expectations. This goes HERE, and that goes THERE.

Creative people are polychronic. Time is fluid, priorities are in constant flux.

To maximize our skills and impact, TIME is not the thing to be managed, but our AWARENESS.

It’s not so much about artists learning to be better businesspeople, or learning how to squish ourselves into a better business model. In fact, the monochronic world is the one that needs to adjust, and flex, and support the polychronic.

Because our creative self–WHAT WE ARE–is what’s of value to the world

And the world needs us now. Badly.

There was more, so much more. A lot of it is science-based, on what we now know about creative people, and how creative thinking works. It’s also full of hope, and wonder, and connection, and everything human. It will take time for me to process exactly what this means for me in the days–years!–ahead.

It’s simply powerful stuff.

Our entire audience of creative professionals (web designers, commercial photographers, graphic artists, etc.) applauded when she finished.

I highly recommend Lyedie to any organization that offers professional development for creative people–your local art organization, your professional guilds, art schools. Her insights can offer benefit to creative people at every level of development, from rank beginner to accomplished professional.

In fact, as I face another dramatic surgery in the weeks ahead (total knee replacement surgery, eeeeeeeeeeeeeek!) I plan to meet with Lyedie. I want a ‘life intention’ jump start.

As I recuperate, I want something pulling me away from the pain and frustration of recovery, to the rich new path I believe lies ahead. It may not LOOK much different, on the surface. But I’m hoping for a ‘unified field theory’ for myself, a way to examine, evaluate, and include all the paths and projects on my plate.

I don’t want to feel distracted and unfocused anymore. I don’t want to feel guilty about my messy studio. I don’t want to feel anxious about the new work that’s in my head, that I can’t quite get out into the world yet. I don’t want to feel like I love so many aspects of my creative self, yet feel that none of them the full attention they deserve.

I want to feel that, whatever I’m doing, whatever has my attention, and my awareness, is what I should be doing. I want to feel that there is a place for me in the world, and a need for what I have to offer.

I’ll keep you posted! And in the meantime, see if you can get your group to host a seminar with Lyedie. I promise you, you will not be disappointed.

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18 Comments

Filed under art, business, craft, creativity, liviing with intention, mindfulness

18 responses to “TIME MANAGEMENT FOR CREATIVE PEOPLE

  1. I loved this post, Luann! Now I have a legitimate excuse for being so disorganized in the studio and I can quit feeling guilty about it. Thank you for the words of wisdom!

  2. Deb Sims

    Wow,, Luann, you did it again, hit the nail right on the head. I’m heading over to Lyedie’s sight. I like the thought that the monochronic world needs us and needs to flex to accommodate those of us who live in the polychronic world! Good luck with your surgery. All shall be well!

  3. debralepage

    Instead of wondering what’s wrong with me-why I can’t “do it all,” I now know I’m in very good company, Luann :) Balance is something I talk about a lot but often have trouble achieving. Thanks very much for this reality check. I, too, will check out Lyedie’s site.
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

  4. I participated in Lyedie Geer’s talk with you this past week, and I was a bit skeptic as well. Certainly, I worried that we would get sandwiches and a sales pitch at the end. But your few words have really summed up what a positive experience it was! Learning to manage my depth of awareness and why I would want to do that is a hard idea to sell. But, come to find out it can be inspirational. Polychronic people will fix humanities mistakes, when the time is right. Thank you Luann, for taking notes and sharing your experience.

  5. debralepage

    Thank you, Luann, for the much needed reminder of having balance in our lives. I, too, beat myself up when I feel I can’t do it all. I will check out Lyedie’s site.
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

    • Debra, not only should we not worry about balance, Lyedie actually said, “There’s no such thing as balance!” Our creativity HAS to come out on top. The monochonic must SUPPORT the polychronic, rather than the polychronic bend and squish to fit into the monochronic.
      I’m not saying it as well as she did, but it was a huge “AHA!” moment for all of us!

  6. Tanya

    There is a saying that roughly goes…When the student is ready the teacher will come. I am ready and so many messages fit so well. This is timely because here I was stressed to the max about how to fit it all in and make it all work and how to “present” better to the rest of the world. Now I realise I dont need to and I am allowed to flow. It works for me. Thank you.
    Good luck with your healing and know that if you relax about it all it will hurt a whole lot less.
    Love and Hugs to you
    Tanya

  7. Good luck with the surgery Luann. I’m familiar with the equipement that helps those who’ve had a knee replacement if that helps – but my top tip would be ‘do the physio!’

    I think our mindsets change as we get older and we begin to realise what are the things which really matter. I had a bit of a go at keeping myself on track back in January and some of it is sounding rather similar to what your very impressive lady was saying – see http://makingamark.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/old-year-2011-and-new-year-2012-10.html

  8. Elaine Luther

    If you haven’t seen it yet, this might be the time to see the film, “Who Does She Think She Is,” you can buy their house party kit, super affordable, and host a house party and discussion, or just watch it yourself. It could change your life. : )

  9. This is such a great post. I can never be an example of perfect organization, or perfect anything else. I too have discovered that I have to put some other things and people high up on my list and not feel guilty about it. But the art always rises to the top, and keeps life rich and satisfying. Coincidentally I am also getting ready for knee replacement, and plan to put some small things on the studio table that perhaps I can experiment play with and enjoy to help distract me while I recover. Here is hoping that we both get through this without too much frustration and pain. There is hope! Have faith. Good luck. Happy Easter!

  10. vivien437

    I love that term polychronic! – which is definitely me.

    A dyslexia specialist at a college I work at also discussed with us the different organisational styles – I’m apparently not chaotic as I thought but ‘differently organised’ :>) sounds better!!!

    As with time, I simply don’t go through steps 1, 2, 3 …..

  11. There is absolutely a need for you in this world! Would love to meet you, Luann. Loved the article about Time Management. THANK YOU!

  12. Pingback: LEARNING TO LOVE YOUR TO-DO LIST | Luann Udell

  13. Luann, wonderful article-as usual :)
    Best wishes on your knee surgery…very inconvenient.
    Paula

  14. Pingback: My Mind

  15. Pingback: A week of favourites….starting with Luann Udell

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