20 Ways to Create Better Work Habits in the Studio: Art Business Tips

Editor’s note: When it comes to channeling creativity, the word “organization” may not come up very often. But let’s be frank–if you’re organized, you’ll be able to work more efficiently. That said, all of us probably define organization in different ways. As long as you know what you need, when you need it, and where it is, then that’s all that matters. I’m a bit of a nut about it, to be honest … pens go in the pen holder, pencils in the pencil holder (pointy side up, so I can grab the sharpest one), etc. And yes, my family kindly puts up with it.

But being organized is just a sliver of the pie when it comes to working efficiently. Allow me to introduce to you Lori McNee.

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I’ve been a long-time fan of McNee for her artwork as well as her tips and advice in regards to art business and more. It’s my sincere pleasure to share with you McNee’s take on how to create better working habits in the art studio. Some are great reminders, and some are new to me.

McNee’s new book, Fine Art Tips: Painting Techniques and Professional Advice is now available at North Light Shop, where it’s exclusively bundled with the Online Marketing & Branding Secrets eBook. Together, these resources provide you with plenty of art business tips and painting advice. It’s a win/win. ~Cherie

Art business tips from Lori McNee | ArtistsNetwork.com

“Better work habits go hand-in-hand with a functioning workspace,” says McNee. “Years ago, I converted a small bedroom of my home into an efficient art studio. To help minimize clutter, I added high shelves which display my still life props and art studies. Big French doors replaced a small window which now adds to extra studio space during the summer months Recently, I painted the dingy plywood floors for a fresh look and easier clean-up.”

Art Business Advice by Lori McNee

Some artists don’t like to think in terms of habits. We like to be free thinkers and often fight against structure and rules. But, just like with winning entrepreneurs, we must have good working habits in order to be effective and successful artists.

We all have different ways of doing things – there is no right or wrong way, but there can be better ways. Artists are self-starters and without good habits we can float off and lose our focus. Good habits produce good results. Our effectiveness requires the integrity to act on our priorities.

Art studio inspiration with Lori McNee | ArtistsNetwork.com

“I paint in both oil and encaustic mediums, so for better work habits I have broken up my studio space into two specific work stations. The large stainless steel table is perfect for working flat and is fire retardent for working with open flames when melting encaustic wax. My large adjustable wooden easel is used for painting both still lifes and landscapes. The adjustable shelf to the left if perfect for setting up my still life props, and it is handy for my computer monitor that I use to enlarge reference photos. Note how I use a bit of extra wall space to hang small, empty frames.”

Here are 20 broad ideas to help you form good working habits for your art business:

  1. Focus on top priorities (get bills, etc. out of the way).
  2. Eliminate the unimportant (time-wasters, busy work).
  3. Be proactive.
  4. Plan weekly goals (write a ‘to do’ list and get the big picture).
  5. Plan daily goals (outline the day).
  6. Begin with the end in mind.
  7. Get into the studio with your morning cup of coffee.
  8. Train yourself to be regular and workmanlike.
  9. Slow down & focus.
  10. Don’t take on too much work at once.
  11. Don’t be lazy.
  12. Highlight a problem, and find a solution.
  13. Balance work, rest and exercise into your day.
  14. Build your business relationships, and learn how to build your art brand on Twitter!
  15. Block out time to read and study. Stay current and informed with your favorite blogs, magazines and books.
  16. Cut down on trivia, busywork, time-wasters, TV, escape activities (including too much Twitter or Facebook).
  17. Leave your studio organized and ready for the next day!
  18. Remember: WHERE YOU ARE HEADED IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HOW FAST YOU ARE GETTING THERE!
  19. Surround yourself with supportive people.
  20. Stay positive.

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Art studio organization and business tips with Lori McNee | ArtistsNetwork.com

“Limited on storage space, I opened up the dead-space above the old bedroom closets to make more room for storage. A large ventilation system by Vent-A-Fume was installed for better air quality when working with toxic encaustics or varnishes. An oven range-hood and fan were also added above a small laminated drawing table for a great encaustic corner. An adjustable wall easel propped against the bookshelf gives me another painting station when I’m working on multiple pieces.” Check out my art at LoriMcNee.com

The good news is that the more you practice a new behavior, the more it will become a habit.

Psychologists say that it takes approximately 21 days to condition ourselves to make a habit automatic. A month is a good block of time to work on forming better work habits because it easily fits in your calendar.

Tool your habits towards your goals and the things that motivate you. Imagine the benefits of increased organization and productivity, fewer crises, more life balance and peace of mind. And remember, where you are headed is more important than how fast you are getting there.

Lori McNee | ArtistsNetwork.com

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Now I just need to practice what I preach! ~Lori 😉

P.S.
You may also be interested in my blog post on creating art in small studios.

Learn more about Lori McNee’s new book, Fine Art Tips, at North Light Shop, and get your copy today!

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