Mid-year Review

Just like with a salaried job, it’s a good practice to conduct an annual review of your art business & practice. I’ve been so-so about consistently doing that but this year decided to do both a beginning of the year planning session and a mid-year review.

In December I made a list of goals for 2019 and I re-visit that list each month to log my progression and to take note of where I’m falling behind. It has been very helpful to get into the monthly habit of doing this. So far I’m on track to meet most of my goals but not all of them.

Working at a “regular” job for 40 hours a week can make meeting your art goals challenging. It’s important to have an achievable plan so you still have time to eat, sleep, socialize, etc. One thing that I’ve not had the time to do much this year has been mountain biking. I miss it so am going to incorporate more of that into the latter half of the year. Another area where I’ve fallen behind is my continuing art education. It’s important to me to always be learning more about art making and while I have been doing that via my practice through experimentation, I’ve not been keeping up with the more formal education as I’d planned.

Hence a mid-year review. In addition to progress checking on the goals set in January, I’ve also reviewed themes such as:

  • Has anything changed since the beginning of the year that impacts the plan for the rest of the year? This year I’ll be working much more doing software design consulting than I have in the past couple of years. It has greatly cut into the time I have for making art so I’m having to be much more disciplined about scheduling time in the studio and planning my studio activities.

  • What has been successful so far about this year? Renting a shared studio space was a 2019 goal and it has impacted my creative life much more positively than I could have imagined. Simply having a dedicated space outside of my home with all of its distractions has increased my focus and productivity. Being surrounded by a community of creative women has also led to more inspiration. All good things!

  • What has been a major roadblock? Is there a way to address/remove it? I’ve had some health issues this past year, which is not typical for me. Mostly the way I’ve dealt with this is to try to be more patient with myself. I don’t always succeed in that but I’ll keep trying.

  • What strategies have I figured out that make me more productive, stress-free, creative, etc? I started using Evernote this year (future blog post!) and have continued to refine my use of bullet journaling (just the basic version, not the doodly one). Those tools plus the beginning of the year planning have helped tremendously with my productivity. I tried to set realistic goals, instead my usual over-achieving ones, so that I don’t get too stressed when I fall behind. So far it’s working well.

  • What should I let go of? I often have too much on my schedule and so I have to make a concerted effort to prioritize and remove some items from my to do list. Sometimes I put them in a holding area sort of list for picking back up someday. Sometimes I just completely remove them - gasp!

  • What have I gained the most pleasure from doing? Could I benefit from doing more of that? I’ve been making a focused effort to do more experimenting and that is starting to pay off. Plus it feels more like playing than working so in addition to learning more about materials and stylistic choices, I’m also enjoying the process.

I hope these ideas help you with your goal setting and task list making. One new thing I added to my to do list while writing this post was to post about my new year planning this December but I hope you will visit again before then.