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The Importance of Focus.

Another vital indicator of how likely an artist is to succeed is the ability to focus. Whether that is success in creating the works or in marketing them.

Are you clear on your goals and do you finish what you start?

Even if you are only new to the creative journey, you will progress a lot faster if you set some markers of what you want to do.

For example, if you are attending an art class, don't just rely on the teacher to tell you what to do.

Think about and try to form a clear idea of what you want to get out of your classes. The teacher's job is to offer you choices appropriate to your skill level, however, it is your passions that you need to follow, not theirs.

Now there are a few things that can stop me even if I have decided on those goals.

The first of these is:

Procrastination. Are you a procrastinator? Do you feel busy but don't feel like you are making any progress? If this is the case then you are not really busy, you are just distracted and unproductive.

Do you get things done? If you don't - do you know what is stopping you? Here are a couple of things that I have experienced in relation to this.

I will often get distracted before I begin to paint. I find myself logging in to my online game, picking up my current book, or suddenly having an urge to tidy the studio.

I have thought a fair bit about why I do these things and how to control it. Here's what I came up with:

  • When I'm not sure what to do next in my painting, I often will do one of the above things.

  • I seem to have a reset button inside of me that goes off once I've dallied for a certain amount of time and I then jump up and get stuck into the painting. (More about this in the next post).

  • When I recognize that I seem to be unable to work on the painting, one of the ways I manage this type of behaviour is to set a timer. The timer seems to set an interrupt in my pattern and I feel energized to get started. Also because I have allowed myself a small amount of time to do those other activities - it's like I've had my coffee fix for the day. Weird I know..... but there you have it.

  • Another strategy I've begun using - enter The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. I read a great book recently of the same name, which outlined strategies for getting things done. How to get yourself to do things you don't really want to. So if I'm not really getting off my butt, when I ought to be, her solution is very simple. In fact, you might think it is too simple, but it seems to work.

  • So, all you do is say to yourself " I'm going to get up and paint in 5-4-3-2-1- go. I find counting aloud is more effective. Apparently, the research on this shows that this somehow sets up an interrupt pattern in your frontal cortex which lets you change a stuck groove if you like - the book goes into this in a lot more detail - a great read by the way.

This Weeks Question: What areas of your life do you procrastinate in? How could you win back some time for your self by getting this under control?

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