For 2018, I invested in a deluxe monthly planner from Erin Condren with the intentions of using it for my art business and blog.
It failed me. It wasn’t the idea of the planner itself, but moreso that I wasn’t really monitoring the right things in my business. With the new changes of the Deluxe Monthly from 2018 to 2019, I was eager to hop onto the bandwagon again! But I didn’t jump to purchase them without fully thinking about the way I intended to use it. After doing a ton of soul-searching and self-evaluation this year, one of the main things I learned about myself is how big emotions can effect me.
MAKING IT WORK
With this planner, I needed it to be effective. I realized this year how much I actually enjoyed growing my youtube and blog. Deep down, I just knew that this was something I intended to stick with and wanted to continue to make better. But, I was actually very leery of getting another entire planner dedicated to just business things. I was nervous about it and I didn’t want to have another planner that didn’t get filled to the brim every month. So it inspired me to reroute the way I planned, and to intentionally create a positive atmosphere in this planner.
With that being said, let’s hop into how I actually set this planner up to help me be effective in 2019!
HOBBY AND SKILLS TRACKER
I really wanted to make this planner involved as much as I could, so we’re starting strong with the Year At A Glance section.
Using transparent dots that I will purchase from Erin Condren (either that or make myself), I want to keep account on how often I work on specific skills and/or hobbies. It’s like a year-long habit tracker! And on it, I will be tracking these sections:
- Traditional Art
- Digital Art
- Script writing
And everyday I work on one of these skills, I will place a transparent dot over that date. If I worked on several on a specific day, I’ll just go with the habit I worked on the most.
The intention with this habit tracker is to keep my varying interests in check. Throughout this past year of, at least posting to YouTube, I’ve realized how often I tend to “switch things up” on my channel. It may not be such a dramatic thing to everyone else, because it’s still generally all things art and planning. But for me, it is.
Coming up with ideas for the 12 boxes this upcoming year has been a lot more fun than it was earlier this year!
And what better way to get those juices flowing than with a little inspiration?
In the identical way I set up the 12 boxes in my Recipe Planner, I am going to set it up here. I’m separating it into 3 rows according to a “Creatively”, “Logically”, and “Emotionally” section. Now in each of the 4 columns, it will be separated into “Who”, “What”, “Where” and “Why” sections.
Now. To break it down.
The “Creatively” row is based on creative pursuits. Things such as drawing, animation, digital art, playing the piano, airbrushing should that become a thing with me. And other skills and talents I’d like to sharpen my skills or even learn how to do.
The “Logically” row is based on intellectual pursuits. This is an inspirational row filled of people, things, places, etc that really help me think outside the box.
And lastly, the “Emotionally” (that says ‘physically’) row is based on mental and emotional pursuits. Because, from my perspective, attitude has a lasting impact on pretty much everything, including creativity. This row is filled with people, things and places that provide me wisdom, mental strength, encouragement, and things of that sort. That little extra oomph! I need to get motivated to do something.
Going by columns should be a little self-explanatory.
The “Who” column is basically WHO inspires me creatively, logically and/or emotionally. This is a very tricky section though because it’s not necessarily people who are such perfect masters in their field that it depresses me. These are people who are perfect in their field, and yet provide such detailed and encouraging advice, tips, and support that you constantly leave their realm feeling more inspired by their help than depressed because of the obvious skill gap. (Trust me, I’ve been there).
The people whose dreams inspire ME to move, not depress me because I’m not moving as quick or as fast as them. The people who have the community you feel great being apart of. Just all around good, skilled people who can teach me things. A LOT of things. In a positive way. 🙂
The “What” column is WHAT inspires me creatively, logically, and/or emotionally. Could range from anything being the certain time or weather of the day to an exotic animal. It’s those little random quirks and interests that always seem to get me in an inspiring mood that goes here.
The “Where” column is WHERE I get inspired creatively, logically, and/or emotionally. For me, I tend to get my best ideas when going for a walk listening to a little music. I also get inspired creatively when going to museums or just doing things outside of my comfort zone. Logically inspiring environments could be the library, the museums, religious/spiritual environments, etc. And emotionally might just be at home, or with loved ones, or a loved pet.
And lastly, the “WHY” column is where I fill in WHY I want to do something in my creative area, my logical area, and my emotional area. Why’s for me might be I want to create a 2D cartoon, so I have to practice my art, just as an example.
GETTING INTO THE MONTHLY SPREADS
Now, time to get into the actual monthly spreads! In my previous art business planner, I used the entire monthly spread to monitor “business analytics”. The reason why it failed me is because… I wasn’t monitoring much.
For me, I connect “filled” planners with “productivity” and “success”.
So for me, constantly opening up a planner where I could only fill in 10% of it made me feel like an automatic failure because I wasn’t recording the right things. It didn’t drive me to keep wanting to use it. And that backfired because trying to keep everything in my head made me forget so much.
In essence… my planning atmosphere was very negative. And it contributed to the negative outlook I had for my business.
CHANGING IT UP
So because I wanted to create a more positive atmosphere for my planner, I decided to fit ALL of my statistics onto the front notes page of the month. 🙂
I keep a record of my YouTube channel’s growth as well as my blog, and an “other” section where I keep account of income and my monthly goals.
In my YouTube section, I got the idea to record watch time minutes and top 5 videos from Romina Plans on YouTube. So incorporating that, I also track my starting and ending subscriber count, as well as my total watch time for the month. And also the number of videos that I posted for the month. I specifically put that in so that I can tell myself that consistency and frequency DOES matter… and maybe I might finally stick to a posting schedule!
FILLING THE MONTHLY CALENDAR TO THE BRIM
One of the things I love about my budget planner is that when I complete a month, every page is filled to the BRIM with information. And that’s the type of environment I wanted to create in my art planner for 2019.
So, since I’m still growing and learning along the way, I wanted to create a way that would fill my monthly spreads but at the same time continue to encourage me to work on it.
And with that, I’ve got several things going on with my monthly spreads.
Of course, I keep track of video and blog posts very similar to how I keep track in my current 2018 art planner. The difference you’ll see here is that there are two stickers. One of the page flags from Erin Condren, and the other is a video and blog sticker that I made myself and set on specific days.
The page flags are not to stay on the monthly. I write on them using parkoo erasable gel pens. I change my mind frequently on what video or blog post idea I want to schedule for that day. And believe me, the ideas change at least several times for each sticker. So instead of me ripping up stickers left and right constantly, this is the system I use.
I write what I intend to post on the page flag with an erasable pen (or pencil if preferred). If the idea changes I just erase it and write in the new idea. I do NOT write onto the prettier sticker until that idea has been filmed, edited, and rendered. And then when it is uploaded, scheduled and goes live, then I check it off.
SOCIAL MEDIA TRACKER
At this point in time, I can only stretch my energy between Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. I really need to get into a more consistent posting schedule between the two. So how I intend to do that is by using transparent dots (when I get them)!
I will use red dots for Pinterest, blue dots for Twitter, and purple dots for Instagram. Whenever I have posted to any or all of my social media accounts, I will put a transparent dot by the day. The best thing about it is that since I don’t have tons of social media to track, it’s non-intrusive to my overall spread. But it still adds enough to give me a sense of “productivity” in my planner and keep me consistent with doing it.
BUSINESS INCOME / EVENTS / APPOINTMENTS
I will create stickers specifically for tracking any business-related income, events, and appointments. Unless events and appointments were already pre-scheduled, I will just stick these into my planners as they come up. Pretty self-explanatory.
Planning has become a matter of tricking my brain into thinking that I’m accomplishing big things even if the progress is slow.
With that, I figured the best way to increase the “functional use” of my planner and bettering myself in the process was to record “Practice Sessions”.
It’s really a two-edged sword when you think about it. Because practicing on one of my skills daily in the long run is going to increase my overall quality. Then, being able to look back on a monthly spread that’s filled with my practice log encourages productivity. I’ll want to do the same thing for next month!
THE ART OF “YOU CAN DO IT!!”
This is mainly focused on art-related practice sessions, not just anything. So maybe I spent a few hours doing traditional art like real life sketches, painting, etc. Or if I practiced more on digital art, or writing to my blog, or even bettering my marketing, it all counts as practicing my art skills.
I will create stickers to be able to record my practice log effectively, and when I come up with a design I’ll like, I’ll update you all. This will actually go hand in hand with my year at a glance page, where I will also track how often I practiced my skills. But in my practice sessions, I’ll record exactly what I practiced and for how long. This will also give me a great overview of how many hours I’m really investing into my hobbies as well.
THE MASTER TASK LIST…
…AND THE MINI TASK DASHBOARD
I am a big picture person, so I tend to see the forest before I concentrate on what types of leaves are falling off the branches. Up until this year, I’ve always thought of myself to be detail-oriented, especially since I love to plan and outline. But I am… entirely… not.
Coming up with grand ideas and projects is a dream for me. Having to do all the minute, tedious tasks… is not. And what made it even worse is that since I wasn’t using my current art planner consistently, I was very forgetful. I was always in the mindset of writing down the bigger chunks, but I just wasn’t accomplishing them consistently. My mind has a very, VERY hard time of connecting all the little pieces together. And then I wonder why the end results are less than what I imagined.
WORKING WITH THE WAY I AM
I don’t think there is a way for a broad-minded individual to become extremely zeroed in and focused on little specs. And if so, I haven’t figured it out.
BUT, this is my way of encouraging both sides of my personality. The Master Task list with it’s accompanying Mini Task Dashboard. I’ve done this off and on for the past month and feel it actually helps me accomplish more than I would just trying to go by one big goal to another. It really helps me ‘manage’ them and makes them more ‘realistic’ to do.
THE SETUP IS SIMPLE
The Master Task List page is dedicated to my bigger tasks that I KNOW I need (or at least SHOULD) get accomplished within the month. I put red transparent dots next to the tasks that need to be completed ASAP.
On the page next to it is where I setup my mini task dashboard. It’s called a dashboard because I generally only use sticky notes on it. And as I complete tasks, I just rip them off and place new ones on. These mini tasks are based off of whatever goals I’m trying to complete.
For example, if my goal in January was to release a digital print on my shop. Some of the mini tasks might include:
- Get appropriate art supplies
- Work out color schemes
- Work out sketch layout
- Take pictures
- Create pinterest pin
- Take photo for instagram
Etc etc. It’s really to stop me from having one big goal sitting on my brain. And then I spend the next week on figuring out how to make the first step.
This page goes in conjunction with my monthly spread. It’s a more detailed format of my posting schedule. I separate them into three sections: my YouTube channel, my blog, and other.
Now, remember when I mentioned that I had TWO stickers for tracking my video and blog posts on my monthly spread? Well, this is the page that helps them get confirmed, uploaded, and scheduled.
I write down the title and then in the grid area, I check off the stage it’s in as they get completed.
It’s differently marked for each section. So for my YouTube video section, the different stages are:
- P – Preplan
- F – Film
- E – Edit
- R – Render
- V/F – Voiceover and Final Render
- U/S – Uploaded/Scheduled
- L – Live
For my blog posts, they are formatted in this way:
- P – Preplan
- O – Outline
- D – Draft
- PH – Take and Edit Photos
- M – Market (SEO optimize, keywords, thumbnails, etc)
- F – Finalize
- S – Scheduled
Then lastly, my “Other” section is formatted a bit differently. I intend to use this section to track what I release in my shops or if I have an animation that I’m ready to post. So my stages are more to identify exactly WHAT other extras I’m working on that month:
- DA – Digital Art
- SK – Sticker Kit
- A – Animation
- L/F – Local and/or Freelance Project
It’s only 7 numbers for each section because my guideline is to post at least one video and one blog post each week. But just in case I want to post a little extra, I have more room.
ALWAYS BE RESEARCHING
I love to look things up. 🙂
And sometimes… it can get a little obsessive.
So I created a page dedicated to that curious side of me, especially when it’s related to art. This article can contain things I HAVE researched or things I WANT to research. And it can also include resources, as in books where I find information. Favorite websites, specific internet articles, googling, youtubing… yeah.
And it doesn’t have to be information that I need to use in that month for a specific project. It could just be general interests, or projects I’d like to try later on. Which brings me to my next page…
STORM IT UP!!!
My brainstorm page!! And it’s just what it implies. A catch-all spot for all my quirky ideas, projects, outline concepts, and whathaveyou. It could be things I want to try immediately, or things that I might have to be a little patient for. It could be business concepts, expansion ideas, upgrades, makeovers, all over the place! No idea is turned away on this page.
THE CREATIVE SPACE
If you are an artist, or just creative in any sort of the word, then you know, that just having an un-structured space is a MUST have.
Sometimes you have thoughts that just don’t correlate into a category, or a specific themed page. But it needs it’s own spot, not just to be thrown into a brainstorm.
So this is that section. I consider it a type of “bootleg sketchbook” if you will. Where I want to practice visual concepts, color schemes, and really just… work on things. I incorporated 5 sheets from my Erin Condren Dot Grid Notebook to frankenplan these pages in. I feel they are really going to benefit me and allow me to enjoy using every part of this planner.
I started this in my current 2018 art planner, and I definitely couldn’t move into the new year without it! Here is where I track significant moments that are special, motivating, inspiring, and more. It doesn’t have to be just the general “I reached ‘x’ amount of subscribers” or “I made ‘x’ amount of money this month”. But it could be something as personal as “this video setup is my favorite so far” and things of that nature. It’s not only to help identify what is loved by the public, but also what I love about my business too.
I completely understand that to be a successful business, people must love what you’re putting out. So you should always be observing the trends and what everyone is into. But at the same time, at least for me personally, there should always be something I at least LIKE about what I’m doing. This page helps me to keep consistent motivation and inspiration from within. And I think this page helps to keep me from burning out COMPLETELY and helps me to stay centered and focused on what I really love to do.
WOW! So I’m going to end it there. The notes pages is still a work in progress, and even if they weren’t, I’m sure this post is LONG ENOUGH.
I want to thank you all for your time, and I hope you gathered some ideas. Perhaps you have some inspirational ideas yourself? And you know what?
I’d love to hear them!
Leave them in comments section below!
And until next time, may each and every one of you have a wonderful day!