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What about workflow?!

Updated: Feb 25, 2019

So in trying to maintain a full time studio practise I am constantly reaching and failing to find balance. I want to paint today, but I also need to research for an upcoming project; read at least one of the ten books that have piled up on my desk; respond to never ending emails; edit board minutes; water my plants; clean the house; write that grant proposal that is due very soon; get to that doctors appointment; and clean the studio, etc!

It never ends but I have to get through it all.

So I am trying a new system! (I recently watched artist, Lisa Congdon's workshop on "Workflow, Time Management and Productivity, for Creatives.")

Image still from "Workflow, Time Management and Productivity, for Creatives" Into Course Video.

I have created a spreadsheet that has three sections: Large projects, medium projects, and small projects. In each section I include the columns: project title; date assigned; client, collaborator, or personal project; project description and deliverables; and phases/deadline.

I then add each project to its section and fill out the columns with the important information. Under the phases/deadlines column I break the work down and schedule tentative dates for each. If I have a VERY large project I open a second tab and label it and break down that project the same way. I also open a third tab and create the same chart as the first and when I complete a project, I copy and paste and move it there. This helps when you look back at the year and reflect or need to remember a specific date or when you worked with a specific company, etc.

Every Sunday night, I look at my spreadsheet and write down the tasks I need to prioritize and do this week into my sketchbook/journal. Once I have my list, I begin to add the different tasks into my daily columns (this is my rolling daily to do list)!

I bounce around alot in my work so I only fill out Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. I like to review my priorities mid week to review my priority list and decide what needs to move around or be put aside to finish something more important for a close deadline. If something does not get done one week move it to the next!


- Administrative (emails or phone calls): 1 hour

** Call CRA about taxes

- Begin writing Artist Statement: 1 hour

- Create four rough sketches for Jiu Jitsu Project: 1 hour


- Paint: 1.5 hours


- Paint: 1.5 hours

- Check emails and respond: 30 mins

- Read study on Women, War, and Conflict: 1.5 hours


- Admin.: 1 hour

- Cont' writing artist statement/edit: 1 hour

- ETC.

P.S. I like to make a little box on the page for tasks that pop up or notes.

By creating a schedule that is broken down into how much time will be spent on each task (you can set a timer), I can do a little bit of multiple projects in a day. This gives me a sense of satisfaction because I know I am working on everything a little bit at a time - verses working on one thing all day and stressing in my head that I am not doing the other things!

I also find it helpful to schedule breaks because I can start painting and I lose track of time easily, so this forces me to stop, clear my head, and jump back into work.

★And OF COURSE if you are on a roll allow yourself to put your schedule aside and just keep working !

This is very new for me and it works when I apply it. The spreadsheet has been the most helpful because if I am asked to take on a new project, I have a clear template of what I can fit in and what I can not - so I know when to say no. Saying no is hard.

★★★ I am "trying" to do this consistently but I have definitely not followed this system perfectly in the slightest, but I am trying to figure out what works for me.

I would love to hear from you about what your workflow looks like!

Jess ♡

The current pile of books on my desk.

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Amy Payne
Amy Payne

I didn't think it was possible but icloud deleted my workflow spreadsheet. That's how it's' going for me LOL. I'm rebuilding but i found this post looking for a fresh downloadable sample copy of the spreadsheet. (no dice! but it's easy enough to recreate.)


Amy Payne
Amy Payne

did you end up liking this system? I just got through her class :)

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