8 Ways to Be More Efficient

by guest blogger Corrina Thurston

I’m a chronically ill artist, so I have limited time and energy to get my work done for my art business. Through research and experimentation, I’ve discovered ways to help myself be as efficient as possible.


8 Ways to be More Efficient, guest article by Corrina Thurston


Don’t Multitask

If you’re anything like I was, you may think multitasking is a good thing! I was a master multitasker, always with a number of tasks spread out on my desk, jumping back and forth like a pro. Turns out, multitasking is a myth. When you multitask, your brain is jumping from one task to another.

Unfortunately, it takes your brain time to do that. The more you jump around, the more time it takes to adjust to the new task. For example, when you’re reading and you stop for a moment to look up and read an email, then you go back to reading, what do you do? Typically, you reread the last sentence to get your brain back into gear. That’s time wasted reading something you’ve already read. But if you kept reading through, you wouldn’t have had to do that. It’s time you don’t realize is wasted, and it adds up.

Finish One Task at a Time

This goes along with trying not to multitask, instead you want to finish one thing at a time. If you have 5 tasks that will each take you 4 hours to complete, and you work 2 hours on one, an hour on another, then two hours on the next, you won’t feel like you’re getting anything done. Two whole days will pass and you won’t be able cross anything off your to-do list. But if you do one after another, you’ll finish a task every 4 hours.

Make Smaller Goals

Big goals, which I call Summit Goals, are great, I have a lot of them. But when it comes to my daily schedule, my to-do list is full of small goals, which I call Step Goals. You need lots of Step Goals in order to reach a Summit Goal. If your list only has Summit Goals, it may not feel like you’re accomplishing anything. If you break those down into a number of Step Goals, you can cross them off more quickly and feel a sense of accomplishment, which feeds your energy and efficiency. Plus you’ll know exactly what you have to do next in order to reach that Summit Goal.

Time Yourself

If you’re struggling to get yourself to work on something, try timing yourself. I do this a lot for writing. They’re called word-sprints. I time myself for 30 minutes with no distractions and write as much as I can for 30 minutes and then see how many words I wrote. Then I take a quick break and do another 30 minutes. This works with creating artwork, creating marketing materials, framing, writing, jotting down ideas, etc.

Reward Yourself

I’m a big fan of rewards. When I finish an especially trying project or task, I get a cookie! When I finish something monotonous or that I really dread, like bookwork, I get ice cream or whatever else I’ve been eyeing in the kitchen. Peanut butter M&M’s? I earned them. Of course not all rewards need to be food, maybe you get to spend time reading that guilty pleasure book or play a game, etc. But you don’t get the reward unless you put in the work.

Minimize Distractions

With our devices always hooked up to the Internet, it’s easy to get distracted with Facebook notifications, emails, Twitter, text messages, and more. If you want to be more efficient with your time, minimize those distractions. Turn your phone and WiFi off for a while as you work. Some artists also have a sign they put on their studio door that allows their family to know they’re concentrating and would like not to be disturbed.

Schedule Your Time

I have to do this loosely, because otherwise my brain doesn’t like to be too confined to a schedule. If you’re able to sit down the night before and schedule your day and what you’ll be working on, it may help you be more efficient by streamlining your process. I tried doing this and my brain didn’t like working that way, so it held me back, but for some people, this is immensely helpful.

Take Breaks

This may seem counterintuitive, but taking breaks, getting up to get a drink or going for a short walk, can be a huge help to your efficiency. You’re releasing endorphins, getting your blood flowing, and giving your eyes and brain a quick refresh.


How to Build Your Art Business with Limited Time or Energy by Corrina Thurston


Efficiency is one of the key elements to moving your business forward, especially if you have limited time. If you want to learn more about this and similar topics, feel free to check out my E-Book, How To Build Your Art Business With Limited Time Or Energy.


Colored pencil artist Corrina Thurston at work. This inspirational entrepreneur started a business despite severe health and energy limitations. She offers tips for others, at www.ArtsyShark.comVermont artist Corrina Thurston specializes in colored pencil drawings inspired by nature, and supports wildlife causes through sales of her art. Despite dealing with chronic illness, she has grown a successful business.



Want to stay current on cutting edge business articles from Artsy Shark, plus artist features, and an invitation to the next Call for Artists? Click below to sign up for our twice-monthly email. You’ll get all this plus opportunities and special offers that you can’t get anywhere else!

Sign Up For Updates!


  1. Kitty Westbrook says

    As someone who lives with chronic pain, and guilty of being a multitasked-out mess for sure, I just would like to extend my appreciation for your honesty in this post I am new on here! This is a rad thing.

Speak Your Mind