4 Time Management Tips for Artists

By Carolyn Edlund

Is time management a big issue for your art business? Are you multi-tasking yourself crazy? Here are four tips to help you stay focused on what’s important.


Woman's face

Artwork Courtesy Robin Urton


Keep a time journal to determine where your efforts are going

Keep track of your activities during the day to find out where your distractions are and where you are wasting time. What comes up most often? Social media, and online distractions are some of the biggest time sucks.

Take care of your money makers

Each day when you make your To Do list, be sure to highlight those items that will produce income for your business. Make sure you do these without fail – shipping orders, following up on leads for sales or commissions, submitting applications to shows and exhibitions you want to do.

Create a marketing calendar

If you stop prospecting, your sales will fall off a cliff. Keep yourself organized by setting up a reasonable marketing calendar. Some of the activities you might include:

  • Advertisements – print ads, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, etc.
  • Email marketing to keep in touch with existing customers and prospects
  • Preparing invitations to a show, exhibit or class you are teaching
  • Postcard and direct mailings
  • Press releases for upcoming events, product launches or debuts
  • Social media promotion – sales of your work on Facebook, contests or other activities

Keep your work and personal life separate

Create structure in your environment by making your studio work space only for your art, and ask others to respect this. Your studio practice is the lifeblood of your business. Check out this article on ways to stay focused on your art business – even if you live where you work.


Artwork courtesy Robin Urton.

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  1. Thanks for using my artwork to illustrate your article, Carolyn. Maybe a coincidence that you chose me for this, as I have pretty terrible time-management skills … as well as separating space between work and life (she says as she types in her nightgown… no breakfast til noon!) I will definitely start keeping a time journal soon. I sort of know which activities are sucking up less productive time, but keeping track is sort of like being on a diet, making you more conscious of it… and hopeful altering the more wasteful habits!

    • Robin, I used the time journal myself to see where my days were being spent, expecting the worst. What I found was that I was getting a lot accomplished – but that I was expecting too much production out of each day. I guess the flip side of finding out what’s wasting your time is finding out what is reasonable to expect yourself to get done.

      There is always daily email to deal with, phone calls and unexpected things that come up and demand our attention. That’s what led me to #2 on the list, which is to keep an eye on what you are doing to create income. Of course that’s essential to keeping your business growing and healthy.

  2. Excellent points. I, like many people, make my work while running a school for English in Japan. I make a time schedule everyday listing when I have to finish up my ‘art’ related activities and start preparing for my English school activities. I further divide the time for the first into different areas I am working on. I think time management is in the top 3 things one must practice.

  3. I also found that when I tallied up what I got done in a day, that it was actually more than I had expected. Still, it never seems enough… the to-do list never really gets any shorter as there are always new things to be added! But having realistic expectations for what we can do, especially if we work alone, is very important to avoid getting too frustrated.

    • Deborah, Do you think the endless To Do list and sense of never gaining ground is a common though pattern with women? I’ve been multi-tasking for years, but always seem to keep my expectations ahead of my accomplishments!


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