A lot of these tips have to do with breaking up with everyones favorite addiction — their smartphones!
Our phones are with us throughout most of our days and they’re an essential part of running an online art business. This handheld technology makes it possible to take beautifully branded photos of your work, post them instantly to instagram, create engaging email campaigns, communicate with customers in a moment, and even check the weather for the upcoming weekend’s open studio event.
You can do SO many helpful, necessary tasks from your phone... but you can also lose a lot of time and develop some pretty bad habits. Creating boundaries with your smartphone helps to create boundaries between your work and your home life. Ready for a better work life balance? These simple steps will help:
Get yourself an old-fashioned alarm clock, and keep your phone across the room (or better yet, in another room altogether!) It’s a terrible habit (that w'e’re guilty of) to let your phone subconsciously dictate your mood and emotions for the day when it is the first thing you are checking in the morning, and last thing at night.
Because really, what art-related email is going to be an absolute life-or-death-crisis-must-be-responded-to-within-the-very-moment? Chances are any email response can wait a few hours, until you are sitting at your computer, intentionally prepared and focused to tackle your inbox.
Side bonus to this habit — you are setting boundaries and expectations with your clients, too. We have all had that commission client that is just a tad too needy, with relentless questions or requests. By setting expectations early in the relationship (i.e. I respond to all emails between 9-11 am in the morning, or only on weekdays) they can be prepared for your response, and you can be relieved of that pressure to respond to them in the middle of dinner time with your family.
It’s a real shock to the system when you have an app track your phone usage (also, a real quick way to feel like a terrible, neglectful mom — spoken from experience, when you realize just how much time you are absorbed into Instagram) The app is built in to iPhones and will not only track your total usage per day, it also sets limits to how long you can use certain apps.
What if your phone only came out for lunchtime or after you’ve finished that admin tasks you’ve been avoiding? Recognizing that our phones provide an actual increase in dopamine production (that feel good reward hormone our brains give us for pleasure and happiness… and also addiction) can help us to use our phones as a motivational training tool.
Start by trying to block out 30-60 minutes where you aren’t allowed to check your phone, giving yourself physical distance away from it so you aren’t tempted. Then tackle that to-do list, and only once the time is up or your task has been conquered can you reward your productivity with a quick phone check!