Episode 136 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / It Is about Changing Behavior

It Is about Changing Behavior

Before you embark on the workbook section next, keep in mind what this is all about. Time management is not exactly the right term; it is more like behavioral reprogramming or simply changing your behavior. It is about the way you act or react to certain stimuli. For some reason, changing our behavior seems like the hardest thing to do. Addictions of all kinds run through our lives, and in fact, we are being introduced to new ones all the time. The iPad, smartphones, new sweet foods, caffeinated beverages, apps, and the list will continue to grow. Like all good things, they are fine in moderation, but if they are taking over precious time that you could be using for something else, then change must come. I have a friend who wrote a book that turned out to be a bestselling diet book. It wasn’t just luck though; she is a very hard worker who is aware of her habits.

We were discussing effective work habits one evening when she confessed that there were some web games that she really liked to play in the evening, after work. She said at first, she was aware she was playing the games, but didn’t think much of it. As it grew more regular, and she checked in on her game each evening, she realized that the time she spent on the game was significantly adding up and it might be better spent on something else. Every day she is either writing, reading, or setting aside time to go out and play with her husband. To recognize that we are the masters of our time is powerful. Depending on your age, your perspective will shift on this issue. If you are over thirty years old, you already have some habits of living and relation- ships that you might think you can’t change because they are too established.

Behavioral Modification

Only experimenting and doing everything possible to change your behavior will tell you how much you resist or embrace certain techniques, but there are many behavioral programs that show us how effective it can be at changing your behavior at any age. The example that comes to mind is the very popular international program called Alcoholics Anonymous. As you may know, it is a program designed to change behavior. It also has a lot of support built in from others who are in the group. However, you are asked to change one behavior—you stop drinking. You may relapse or even start the group while you are still drinking, but the goal is to change your behavior. They don’t say for how long, just one day at a time. Also, you are not asked why you are drinking or what it is you are afraid of or anything else that has to do with the mind and what it is you believe about yourself. You are asked only to change the behavior of drinking. And as you may already know, this can start at a very young age, but many who are in AA start when they are over forty and make changes that last for a lifetime.

This is a good model to think about, because people are not only changing their behavior when they are older, they are also changing a very addictive behavior that sets a pattern for everything you do. So when you do something like stop drinking, it shifts everything in your life because now not only is there time for other things, but you see all those other things quite differently. You also see the value and possibilities in change itself. So this may be the beginning or middle of your journey in the art world, but you can always change the game plan no matter what age you are or what has happened in your  career.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 134 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Find the Problem, Fix It

Find the Problem, Fix It

This is another technique that will give you more control to design your time. Carry around a small pad with you from when you wake until you go to sleep. On this pad, write down the activities you have done and how much time you spent on them. Make it very brief. Like for what I am doing now—writing this book—I would say, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, writing the book; 2:00 to 3:00 pm, lunch; etc. Then do it for the entire day. There will be times when you are at the computer and you are supposed to be working and instead are doing several tasks, like checking email and looking at social networking sites like Facebook. Rather than write down the time as “work on the computer 2:00 to 6:00 pm,” try to be more specific. If you were web surfing, mention what sites you went to roughly and if you checked your email. If after doing this for a day you feel that it wasn’t accurate, do it for another day, even two days. Then look back on your notes and find where there are leaks. You know, like checking to see where the money is being spent? Check to see where you could have more time if an activity were changed. What is taking up most of your time? Write down those answers and it will help you to decide what to change next or what time slots are free.

Draw Anything Here

Don’t Answer the Phone

During one or more of your scheduled work periods, make an agreement with yourself not to answer the phone! The reason is probably obvious (it is a time waster), but it also is about behavior. All these time management techniques are for is change your behavior. That is why they are hard for most people, because even if we want to change our behavior, it isn’t always easy, and we need reminders, rewards, and proof that it is working and is also in our best interest. In this case, try not answering the phone during your thirty-minute work periods. You might hear the phone ring or see it, but ignore it, let it go to voicemail and call them back as soon as your session is over. This is easy and also a big relief once you get used to it.

There is nothing worse then getting all set up, ready to do your work, and then a phone call interrupts it all because someone needs to talk or someone needs something from you. Whatever it is, it can wait thirty minutes! As I was saying, all these ideas should feel new. If they are uncomfortable to do or you are resisting them, then we are right on track. That means we are going against the grain of learned behavior, and that is what we want to do in order to change.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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