Monday, May 14, 2018

Pet Portrait - Lulu

Today, I will be working on this cute little Boston Terrier, Lulu. I started painting her over a month ago, but I have had so many irons in the fire. 

I was upfront with my client about how long it would take, because I knew I didn't have a whole lot of time to dedicate to watercolor painting right now. 

Sure, watercolor painting AND cute dogs are some of my FAVORITE things, and I love these kinds of commissions, but when you are self employed, there are a whole lot of not-fun things that need to get done too.

Which brings me to a question I have been asked many times... How do you keep track of everything?

Honestly, it has been trial an error the last few years. When I was in the corporate world, I didn't go anywhere without my Franklin Covey and Palm Pilot...hahaha remember those? Then came Blackberries... But, I digress. 

Running your own business, and keeping track of your own schedule can make a person crazy. I tried Google Calendars, but printing them for when I was "off-line" didn't work. 

I love the beautiful, new, planners that are available on the market today. Erin Condren, Create 365 Happy Planners, and others. They were beautiful and kept my creative juices flowing, but they just didn't work for me. They may work for you, but I am very peculiar about visual planning. For example, the week HAS to start on MONDAY so that I can see my week before me, AND the end goal --> THE WEEKEND! I know silly, right. But it is my motivator.

Two of my favorites specifically made for "the creative entrepreneur" were Leonie Dawson's Shining Year Workbooks, and The Makers Yearbook Toolkit. 

Again, both of these had awesome planning advice, and organizing tips, but they just weren't perfect for me.

So, I took ALL THE GREAT INFO, and designed my own planner that worked for me. (You can kind of see it in the foreground of this picture, but had to blur the client info and other calendar appointments.) Maybe, I will sell my own planner in the future, but not right now. I printed out a year's worth of my weekly page design, and 3-hole-punched them. I use color coded highlighters (I like Sharpie Accent), pens, and sticky flags to block work times, and schedule projects.

** Sharpies are recommended when writing on non-paper flags, tags and tags. I love gel pens, but gel-ink does not dry on the non-porous surface of the plastic. It SMEARS right off and onto your hands!

Some of the sticky flags I use:
Post-it Arrows 
Florescent Sticky Note Tabs

I still use Google Calendar to keep my appointments, mostly for calendar alerts. I review my G-Calendar every few days, and make sure that my appointments have been hand written into my physical planner. 

I use Google Suite and Workep to keep track of my many projects, brake them down into manageable time/task chunks. Workep is free for the basic "Lite" package - perfect for me. (But they offer monthly subscription upgrades for when your business grows, and needs more advanced tools like multiple teams and time tracking.)

As a former Executive Assistant, things like time management and scheduling are in my blood. The problem is, I kept track of MY BOSS's TIME. It's a little harder now that I AM THE BOSS LADY. 

Staying organized in a creative "mess" is a favorite subject of mine, and I'm sure I'll post more about it. But, my advice to you, is find what works for YOU! 

But for now... I gotta go paint Lulu!

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