A Novel Way to Help You Prioritize What To Do, When, In Your Art Practice
by Thea Fiore-Bloom, PhD.
Are you like me?
Do you struggle with prioritizing what you could be doing today?
As in: should you be posting to Facebook or Instagram*, making a video on your smartphone, pinning to Pinterest, writing a blog post, making art in your studio, working on SEO — or just drooling into a cup?
If you can relate, I wrote this post for you.
Let’s drop our drool cups because I just stumbled upon what I think is a great, fast way to figure out how to get to the heart of what matters to us in our creative work at the moment.
A way to help us know what to focus on next to try to let it come to pass.
It’s a simple exercise I heard mentioned on Amy Porterfield’s podcast interview with Kate Northrup. This “experiment” as Northrup calls it, is taken from her book Do Less.
The exercise, which I’ll share with you in a minute, is based on a theory all artists should know about.
It’s called the Pareto Principle.
The Pareto Principle & Your Priorities
The Pareto principle, aka the 80/20 rule, is an economic theory that states that 80% of your best business gains usually come from just 20 % of your actions.
So if we want more results and less stress in our art business, it’s logical that we should try to identify what actions fall into that 20 % category, right?
I thought it would be another boring exercise but the answers I got shocked me.
I hope you get good info too.
Glinda the Good Witch & Your Priorities
It was as if Glinda the Good Witch flew in my office window and shot from the hip.
I say Glinda because she is the figure in the Wizard of Oz who author L. Frank Baum uses to remind readers of an important thing.
The answers to the life questions we run around asking others have been inside us all along.
Want Glinda to hook you up too?
Ok, here we go.
Northrup’s 5 Step Exercise To Prioritize What Matters Most
Get out a piece of paper and draw a line vertically down the middle.
On the left make a list of stuff you spend time on every day during the course of the last few weeks. (For people like us that may involve making art, writing in a journal, writing a blog, entering art competitions, posting your art to Facebook, working your day job, watching cute cat videos and the occasional drooling into a cup.)
Now, on the right-hand side of the paper write down your biggest wins to date. “Big wins are relative, but everyone has some,” Northrup said. (Big wins for creatives include things like: launching your art website or getting your first 10 subscribers, landing an artist in residence gig, having your art up in a cafe, an author agreeing to be in your documentary, or finally getting up the guts to start introducing yourself as an artist or writer to people.)
Go ahead and draw a line between each win on the right-hand side of the page and the activity on the left-hand side of the page that had something to do with that win coming about.
If you are like me there will be a whole heck of a lot of daily activities on the left-hand side of the page that never have a connecting line from the right side of the page come anywhere near them.
Circle the activities on the left-side that do have a line connected to them. They are your 20% activities. They are the actions you’ve identified as helping you get closer to your heart’s desires.
How To Apply Your New Priorities, Starting Today
“What you will be left with is a list of the 20 percent of things you need to front-load your day with,” Northrup said.
Northrup teaches you can keep doing much of the 80% mundane stuff on your list. Just shoot to do it later in the day.
In other words, try doing the things that bring you closer to your heart’s desire in your peak productivity times. You know, those 2 hours every day when you focus clearly. That time slot where you tend to produce your best work.
Sounds reasonable right?
Why not devote our best hours to stuff we know is in direct alignment with our dreams?
I was surprised but affirmed at what my current 20% activities turned out to be.
It was affirming to see things I felt guilty about spending money on (like online classes) were some of the very things bringing in my big wins. The exercise is causing me to participate in those activities in a new way. With less guilt. Renewed vigor. When I am working on online classes now instead of thinking ‘Ooh I shouldn’t be doing this’, I’m like “Yes, this is helping me meet my dreams.”
I’ll be consulting Miss Good Witch again in future as things change.
What will Glinda tell you?
Do you feel overwhelmed with social media marketing choices? Or life choices?
Up for talking to Glinda?
I’d love to know in the COMMENTS below. 🙂
*Facebook and Instagram: I use these as examples only. I’m not on either. In actuality, I don’t believe they are good for our well being, never mind our privacy. Will do a
rant post on this in the Fall.
Other Charmed Studio Articles To Overcome Overwhelm, Feel More Centered or Market Your Art With Meaning: