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JLynn has been in the Art, Craft & Jewelry industry for over 30 years ~ promoting creativity through Education and Media. As a published designer, JLynn is known for her detailed, colorful Jewelry, unique Altered ART Wood Tiles, and Artwork. Online since 2004, a former eBay Power Seller, and currently on Artfire and Etsy. Family, Art, Nature and Kaleidoscopes are her biggest inspirations

Sunday, November 4, 2012

5 TIPS to be more productive & creative - Through the Looking Glass!

5 Tips for Productivity and Creativity

Think about the "Looking Glass" mirror of Alice in Wonderland - but instead of looking at your own situation of multi-tasking in a negative and confusing state of never getting things done - turn it around into something positive  where "Through the Looking Glass" reflects a new meaning ~ a different perspective ~ and a new bottom line meaning that says...
If you are more productive, you will have more time to be creative! 
Yes, if we didn't need to earn a living, put food on the table, gas in the car, pay the rent/mortgage/bills, put clothes on our back, shoes on our feet, in addition to everyday housekeeping, cooking, children, fur babies, parents, relatives...and other things that "pop" up that need your attention, love, care and/or worry...well does it make you wonder...I mean can you imagine a world where there were no worries?  NAH...Me either - and to be honest if we didn't have the worries, I'm not sure if we would appreciate those special moments in time with our favorite people, a sunrise or sunset, a promotion, a feather in the cap, the beauty of the blue skies and flowers, or simply having that blessed hour to do something to sooth our inner souls.  For me...that means carving out time to be creative.  But "Creativity" is not just about my business of jewelry designing and ART tiles...it's about so much more in daily living that has a direct impact on my happiness and how I live my life.  So by now you're probably asking...so Janice - what are your tips???  Well - I'm not perfect...some days and weeks go much better than others - but I can guarantee you that if you make small efforts in doing any of these...those "little bits" will begin to make a difference - and definitely add up over time.  And the more you can do these things...the more you will feel accomplishment and that sense of being true to yourself.  So here goes...my FIVE tips for you to increase your productivity and creativity (in no particular order)!  Drum roll please...
#1 -  TIME...and controlling the Social Media Beasts...otherwise known as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email, Surfing on the Internet (and the list goes on...) - it's a major distraction and one big time sucker.   However, notice I said CONTROL and not "eliminate" - this is about taking a step back and thinking objectively...looking at your own habits in a different perspective and analyzing what you can do to better control your own personal distractions that impede your progress and productivity.  Controlling distractions is SO important to your health and happiness because at the end of the day...the week...the month... - we all deserve time off...to read, be artistic/creative, express ourselves, and simply to allow time for our inner souls to be refreshed and rejuvinated.  So my biggest TIP is to set specific times for your e-Socializing - and if needed set a timer in order to stick to it!   If you need to close your door, shut down your internet browsers, email & IM...and set your cell phone to receive only certain texts from family members in the event of an emergency - do it along with anything else you can do so you're not tempted by distractions".  You CAN do this - one hour at a time to start...
#2 - Stop multitasking - period.  Woman have this knack - and some men do too...however generally speaking, all multitasking does is get you in a state of "many things left uncompleted".  One of my favorite lines in regard to my desk and studio, is it's an "organized mess".  Well, guess what?  I still have some of these messes as you can see - but I've gotten a LOT better at focusing on ONE thing at a time and getting it done.  Did you know that studies show if you multi-task...your IQ drops?  And because of that your brain function slows down...your thoughts get kind of fuzzy and you can't process things clearly...and where do you think that leaves us?  Well...even more susceptible to being "distracted"!  So another big tip I have here is at any given time, encourage yourself to FOCUS on that ONE thing and get it done.  Easier said than done I know...but just remember if you want to be productive and get things accomplished - the only way to do it - IS one thing at a time.  How you ask?  Well that leads right into #3..."The Plan"
#3 - "Plan your work...work your plan" - how often have you heard this old sage advice?  My old District Manager (from when I worked Marketing/Education for JoAnn's) would always remind me about this when I would start getting frazzled with all that I had to do.   But if you take it to heart and do this on a daily basis, I can almost guarantee, that you will start seeing results and feeling them too!  Planning though is KEY...but a special warning to take to heart...goals come in many forms and you need to break down those very big ones.  So although the need to jot down your BIG goals is an important one - it's actually more important to break down those big goals into smaller and more manageable tasks - this is ESSENTIAL to your success.  So for instance my own "Updating my Website" breaks down into manageable "to-do's" and specific tasks - (Updating my Store categories, photos, About Me page, listing new products, etc.) and depending on the time needed for each task, they all get assigned a specific time frame for completion within my "Plan your work...work your plan" list.  My point in all of this - is to come up with your BIG GOALS, then break them down bit by bit - creating "your plan" that is realistic and manageable...all the way down to the tiniest detail.  THEN you start  at the bottom and work you way up to that BIG one...
#4 - Set specific TIMEs for specific tasks!  If you're like most people, you know that certain times of the day will be better for the tasks that require our undivided attention - whether thats Admin work, financial reports, number crunching, packing/shipping, etc. - for most of us that own a small business...we may have some temporary help in the name of friends that we pay as an independent service contractor (or bribe the cheap help...aka family members with shopping, dinner out or their favorite cookies or ice cream lol)...but MOST of us "do it all".  SO...because we need to break down our tasks (from #3), it's important to find your most productive times during a day/week!   We creative artisans for the most part...detest Admin work...so when we sit down to do it...we are ALWAYS looking for ways to get distracted and will make all sorts of excuses to do "anything" other than the task up to bat - one culprit in the distraction theory...is the fact that many of us are chronic email and FB checkers (and although this is a hard habit to break...you CAN do it because checking either of these things all the time throughout the day is simply not as efficient as you try to make it out to be!  You get sidetracked with spam, amusing forwards, sale ads, messages from friends, posts/comments that DISTRACT you from what you set out to do in the first place and before you know it the minutes have added up to hours and the task that should have taken only 30 minutes to complete, is still not completed 5 hours later...sound familiar?   So stick with your PLAN so you're productivity doesn't come to a screeching hault and you don't start feeling all those self deflating thoughts of being overwhelmed.  SO...my best advice - set the time for a specific task and get it DONE - think of these tasks like a "Progress Karma" -  don't talk ill about them or shove them aside, let them know they are important simply by showing them a little designated love at a designated time to get graduate them to the "completed" pile.  I recently had been putting off (and when I say putting off...I mean MONTHs) a large spreadsheet task (to make things easier for my inventory and pricing when using specific brands/findings in my designs)...so I set up a specific 8 hour time frame to get it off my mind and get it done - and boy did it feel GREAT not to just get it done - but in knowing that because I did set my mind to get it done...I'm now MUCH more productive with inventory, pricing and reordering!  Which leads me to #5...

#5 - Take TIME to get yourself picked up, cleaned up and organized in a way that work within your habits (to see my transition from Home Office to my Design Studio & Office - click on the picture above) and you'll see some of the ways I've organized "like" things together - as well as, how I organized to work WITH my habits versus trying to teach this old dog new tricks ;)...the term "everything has a place is only true if you are staying true to the way you work, design and be creative.   Remember, when you get busy EXPECT your office and work area to become that Creative MESS...but be prepared to "cleanup" and set things back the way you had them when you have completed your orders and design tasks.
BONUS...fact is - if you start doing these tiny little 5 things...you will be more productive and your mind will feel a bit more free - which makes you ultimately more relaxed...which allows you to breathe in and take in your surroundings - often getting inspired to be creative in the medium or craft of your choice.   Phewwww...are you seeing the pattern here?  Are you beginning to see the benefits to these TIPS?  Over the past several months, I've made changes myself - and the biggest perk for me is that I now have more freedom and time during the evening and weekend hours to be "off" from my work and business - refueling my energy and mind...along with allowing myself special artistic time to simply "be"
"Through the Looking Glass" was one of those rejuvinating times I was able to take in my personal journey of becoming more productive and creative.  The Vintaj Filigree was what I call "handsewn" with wire and Swarovski Crystals - and it looks so gorgeous sparkling in the light in any of my windows.  My creation was recently published in the Bead Trends October 2012 edition...(Bead Trends staff is ALWAYS amazing with their photography)!  The fun part about this piece is that my inspiration was actually two fold - first...that I was inspired by all of my thoughts and tips from above...and knowing that many of us struggle with finding time to balance our home life, jobs, and creativity ~ and second...my front door which never fails to bring me inspiration depending on the weather, landscape, and time of year...this is just one section of the sidelight panel :)
Well - that's all I have for the moment...I hope you've enjoyed these little tips!
And just so you know...part of my own "getting more productive" also includes making time to post more regularly here on my Blog and dedicate more time to all my Jewelry hobbyists and professionals by including the addition of more TIPS, TUTORIALS, and product/technique info as well.  So farewell til next time...leaving you with the bi-product of one of my creative rejuvination time - first photo below is a picture I took on  recent visit to my local State Park...the photo below that is an inspiration Watercolor painting I created and then digitized into a screensaver for myself...with the plan to release some limited edition ART tiles featuring portions of this painting :)

Photo I took early October at Rocks State Park, MD
My Watercolor painting digitized into a screensaver... 
OH...almost forgot!!!
I thoroughly enjoy gaining an hour every Fall! Today I celebrated that fact by going to bed extremely late last night...slept in til 8:30 (the new time) and stayed in my PJs til 2pm (the new time) - doing that enabled me to have some uninterrupted time to finish my design work on our Christmas cards and get them ordered for printing...AND - I also was able to undecorate from Halloween and bring out the Turkeys!   My daughter is home from College and baked...so I'm currently looking forward to having a Molasses Cookie with a very large mug of Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin coffee!  SO...to celebrate daylight savings time...I'm doing another POWERHOUSE discount in my ETSY store...here's the secret code...
Simply enter in the promotion code box at Etsy checkout
 to receive 30% off your entire purchase
Valid through 11/5/12!
Have a great upcoming week everyone! 


  1. Nice tips! I think these are very true, but struggle with them due to fibromyalgia cutting into just my regular housework time, but that falls into putting too much on my own plate, which is a different issue.

    I agree about getting the creative workspace back in order as much as possible after an order or an event. In my case I just had a show and tore up my workbench moving items and finishing last minute work. So now I am approaching slowly to put all back in order before I return the rest of the items to my space.

  2. Thanks for your comments :) - you know we all do the best we can with whatever is taking place on a given day. I do wish you well with the Fibromyalgia - and hopefully if you do a little bit at a time, you can get your workbench back up to speed soon. I think we are all like that though when you have a deadline/show or other commitment - and when it's over you kind of look around with a dazed look as if to say I did all of that? All my work areas are in need of a little-pick-me-up :)

  3. That pendant -- gorgeous. Unbelievably beautiful.


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