I think we unnecessarily complicate our businesses because we lose focus. We get distracted by social media posts and emails. The next great invention makes it to our line of vision and we suddenly wonder how we ever did without it. And during this month while we're working on improving productivity, it's even more tempting to search for solutions outside of ourselves.
But the truth is, you probably already have everything you need to simplify your to-do list and increase your productivity. To help unpack this idea, I’m joined on this episode of The Art Biz by Amelia Furman, who says that her to-do list was out of control before she took charge and started eliminating obligations from her life. She tells us why simplifying has become a way of life for her; what exactly she has simplified; and how she schedules her days, weeks, months and even her year in a way that is more productive than ever.
Amelia shares her artist's journey. (2:19)
The breaking point that revealed that Amelia’s to-do list was out of control. (4:53)
For Amelia, making big changes starts with a deliberate start to every day. (9:58)
Why is simplifying so important? (13:29)
Focusing on one goal or one word each year can help you recall what matters most. (15:05)
Setting boundaries and saying no helps Amelia reach her main goals. (22:00)
Doubling her gross income doesn’t mean that Amelia is doing more of everything. (24:17)
How to schedule your time in more productive ways. (26:08)
What does your ideal day look like? What about an ideal week or month? (29:45)
Bullet journaling, calendaring and planning your life. (35:32)
How to create a loose monthly flow that allows you to meet your goals. (37:38)
Simplifying, eliminating and focusing have increased Amelia’s productivity. (40:18)
The value of participating in a business owners group. (42:00)
Amelia’s advice for simplifying a complicated artist's life. (45:26)
A look at what is coming up next for Amelia. (46:30)
“A to-do list can help you get all the things done, which is awesome until it’s the end all be all. Then it’s not awesome anymore.” — Amelia Furman
“Organizing what needed to happen for that day only really helped to focus in and start this journey toward simplicity.” — Amelia Furman
“Now I’m not saying yes to things just because I can do them. I’m saying yes to things based on my goal.” — Amelia Furman
“So much of this is being honest with myself about how much time something actually takes.” — Amelia Furman
“I have no further plan beyond each day, and that really helps me stay focused on that day and simplifies it so much in my mind.” — Amelia Furman
“Be brave and start taking stuff out.” — Amelia Furman
About My Guest
Amelia Furman grew up in rural, central Pennsylvania amidst pastoral scenes of farms, fields, and forests, and now calls Colorado home. Nature has captured her attention for as long as she can remember. Visual arts were also a dominant force in Amelia’s life from an early age. After graduating with a degree in visual art from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2003, Amelia began to explore how she could use paint to express her love of the natural world.
Amelia’s background in printmaking and illustration has heavily influenced the direction of her work. She works in a combination of paper collage, text and thin layers of acrylic paint. Using a selection of documents, vintage images, handwritten text, and symbols associated with the painted image, Amelia reminds the viewer that places and objects have many layers of meaning, memory, and beauty.