Prioritizing Your Goals & To-Dos

In my last installment “Setting Goals for 2007,”  I talked about creating your weekly to-do list at the beginning of each week. In this installment, I’m going to add in all the other to-dos we have in our lives, because life’s demands never wait for us. We all lead busy lifestyles with lots of other demands that also require our attention. Some of us have families, pets, homes, and second jobs, which all need consideration and action.

Using a 3×5 Index Card to Organize and Prioritize

At the start of the week, you get a new index card and using a pen you put three vertical lines; breaking up the card into three sections. In the left hand section, you put in the items that you need to get done that day. These will be called your “Urgent” items. Your goal for the day is to complete those items, no matter what! The center column is called “Required”.  These are action items that you are required to get done, but can wait until tomorrow, if you haven’t finished your Urgent items. The right column holds items you need or want to get done, but non-completion will not cause you any setback. An example would be: I just read an article about a new artist, and I want to check out his website. So, I place the URL of his site in this column.

Sample To-Do List:


  • Call UPS Store
  • Call Dean Adams
  • Fix forum entry
  • Get Yellow Ochre
  • e-mail artists on site updates


  • Complete Painting
  • Find venue for Kickoff
  • Call exhibitors
  • Call Deirdre regarding Saturday Art reception.

So I don’t forget

Now you have your daily to-do list. Keep it in a place where you always have access to it. I like to keep mine in my shirt or pants pocket. Index cards are very durable. They don’t make it through a wash and dry cycle, but they can easily last a week in your pocket. I say this because I don’t create a new card every day; sometimes I keep the same card for few days. When you complete an item on your card you cross it out. If a to-do comes up you add it on. I review my card every morning. On some days I transfer the information to a new card and on other days I just fill in new items and move others around.  Another good thing about having the index card on your person is that you can use the back to jot down notes. If I see artwork I like, I write down the artist’s name. When I meet people, I use it to put their names and telephone numbers. It has come in handy. I hope this information helps you to prioritize your life and keeps you organized, giving you more time to do what you love. Creating art!!!!!


Artists’ New Year’s Resolution for 2007 , Set Goals!

Well, another year has gone by and I hope everyone had a joyous and productive 2006.  So, what can we do to make 2007 even better?  Let’s all make a simple resolution for 2007.  On Jan. 1st, let’s create a list of goals for the year.  You’ll need one or two hours to complete this task.
The first thing you want to do is create a list of all the things you wish to accomplish, as it relates to the artistic part or your life.  You can do this for other parts of your life too, but in this writing I’m going to focus on your artistic goals.

Yearly Goals:
Let’s begin.  First, write down as many goals as you can think of as they relate to your artistic career.  There is no limit to how many items you place on this initial list. This should take a good 20 minutes.

Sample Goals for the Year:

  • Create a minimum of 24 paintings
  • Experiment in sculpting
  • Become proficient in portrait painting
    • Take classes, talk to other artists, read books on the subject
  • Find my voice!
  • Sell my artwork on-line
  • Sell 12 paintings
  • Enter at least five art shows
  • Get gallery representation
  • Get accepted to two exhibitions
  • Go to an art gallery, show or museum every weekend
    • Get to know people in the business, one person per weekend
  • Meet 12 artists, in my area of expertise
  • Increase my mailing list by 40 patrons
  • Create or update my website

Once you’re happy with your list, TRY to weed it down to the top 10 goals you would like to accomplish in 2007.  If you can’t weed it down, try to get as close to 10 as you can, because once you get over 10 its going to hard to manage and meet those goals.

CONGRATULATIONS, you have goals for 2007!!!!!
Now, you’re probably saying,  “OK, every year I create New Year’s resolutions on the 1st and forget about them by the 15th.”  Not so fast, we still have some work to do.  You are going to break down these goals into monthly goals.  Then, on a monthly basis, you will break them down into weekly goals. Therefore, every month you can see where you stand and adjust as needed.

Monthly Goals:
The next step is to take your yearly goals and break them down to more manageable monthly goals.  So, if your goal is to get 40 patrons signed on to your mailing list then, you would want 3-4 patrons signed up a month.  This is what I call your Monthly Goal Template (MGT).

Sample MGT:

  • Add 3-4 patrons to the mailing list
  • Complete a painting.
  • Meet two artists in my field.

On the first of each month, you should take your MGT and create monthly goals for that specific month.  If your monthly goal on the MGT is to visit an art gallery, art show, or museum every weekend, then you should have an entry for each weekend for what museum, show, or gallery you will visit.  If your goal is to compete a painting every month, define the painting that you will be completing.
Sample January Goals:

  • Go to the Metropolitan Museum to see ‘Americans in Paris’
  • Go to the Red Bank Art Alliance opening reception
  • E-mail friends about a new piece of art completed.  Ask them to forward the e-mail to their fiends.  (Adding patrons).

Weekly Goals:
Now that you have are monthly goals you can create your weekly goals.  Your weekly goals may not include every monthly goal and it most cases it won’t.  Every Sunday or Monday, you should create your goals for the week.  You should base your weekly goals off of last week’s goal and your current month’s goals.  Sometimes you may move the same weekly goal forward.  For example, I have one weekly goal that never disappears. “Talk to one new artist.”  In your weekly goals, just as with you monthly goals, you need to get more detailed.  If your monthly goal is to complete a painting then your weekly goal could be “purchase required material, prime canvas, create color studies.”

Sample – Jan. 1-7 Goals:

  • At the opening reception speak to three artists
  • Send e-mail to friends about a new painting
  • Update website with new paintings

You may be thinking that this is just too much work, but it really isn’t. Once you’ve spent the time on Jan. 1st creating your Yearly Goals and your MGT, it takes just minutes to create your Monthly and weekly goals.

So, how do you not fall into the New Year Resolution trap?  What I did was create a recurring meeting in Yahoo! Calendar.  You can use any calendar software to do this.  Every Sunday, I get an e-mail with my goals.  Then I update the entry with my new week’s goals; I also keep my current month’s goals in this entry as well.  So, now I know what needs to get done and I have a copy of my plan.

Setting goals is a proven way to get things accomplished in your life.  Start today!!!

Good luck with your 2007 goals.