Creativity in everyday life — Essentialism View #2

Go to the profile of Doris Charest
Essentialism for artists. A second look at what this book has to offer.

According to Greg McKeown, focussing on what is important and only what is important is part of being an Essentialist. As an artist, this is really important. We tend to work on multiple projects at the same time and are multitasking experts. This is wrong according to McKeown.

Focussing on only one task at a time is the best way to get things done. Sometimes that is not possible. We commit to more than one thing and then we need to follow through. There is a solution to this problem. You commit to each item one day a week.

This is a work week only. Weekends are for families. The five day week is the maximum you can work. So, if you work on your main project on Mondays, on Tuesdays you work on the group project with your friend, on Wednesdays you do your social media, on Thursdays you work on your committee meetings and Fridays you are dedicated to your new installation project.

So what happens to your marketing time, your time to fill out grant proposals, your time to meet with artist friends or your time to think about new projects or figuring out the problems from Monday’s day? You are overbooked. What do you eliminate? What do you do?

According to the Essentialist, you need to take out what is not essential to you. What helps you the least in your artistic path? Take it out now! A true essentialist needs to eliminate whatever is in its path.

First you need to decide what is important to you. Is it the project from Monday? The group project? What is really important. Inside your gut, you know what you really think as important. Follow your instinct. Can you eliminate the least important?

You may be able to do this instantly but you may also have to ease into the elimination. You tell the group that you will attend only three more meetings, then you will have to let it go. You will finish the project with the friend, then not take on any more projects so that you can spend double the time on YOUR project.

You still don’t have any time for marketing your project. That’s a problem. Why create and then not be able to find places to show your work? That is not right. What can you eliminate next so you can promote your project or at the very least finish it.

Remember: Focussing on only one task at a time is the best way to get things done. Work on your project first. Get it done. Market it. Show it in as many places as you can then move on to the next project.

Often artists love creating so much that they create non-stop and even forget the marketing part. One idea leads to another and we work on them so that we don’t forget them. That is best for artists- in our heads.

We need to treat our work with disrespect if we do not take the time to show it somewhere. If the work has enough value for you to spend the multiple hours on it for many weeks, why should it not be shown somewhere?

The Essentialist has a point. If we worked on less items, we could finish the work sooner and then market it properly. Like most artists, I like creating more than marketing. I leave marketing to the last minute.

If I took the time to do it well, I would be showing more places. I would be less stressed because I would not be doing things at the last minute. I am going to try to put this principle into practice in the new year. Why wait for the new year, do it now!

I hope this helps you .

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Till next time …

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