For the busy, multitasking mom there never seems to be enough hours in a day. As a mom whose professional art career developed during my kids’ naptime, and in-between loads of laundry, I know this from experience. Multitasking is a buzzword these days. People who believe they can perform two or more tasks simultaneously at once are multitasking. With all my blogging, painting and social media work, I am sometimes guilty of this myself. Nevertheless, studies by psychologists have shown that multitaskers actually take longer to complete tasks and are predisposed to error. The bottom line is, multitasking is unhealthy. So what’s a busy mom to do? How can she get anything accomplished in her day without multitasking? Here Are a Few Helpful Tips: To-Do List: Keeping a To-Do list seems basic, but surprisingly many moms fail to take time to write things down. If you find yourself forgetting something important, or even just milk at the grocery store, you are a good contender for a To-Do list. It’s easy and worth the effort. List everything you have to do for the day, and then for the week. Prioritize your list of tasks in order of importance. When a chore gets done, check it off the list to further the feeling of accomplishment. Be Organized: Now that you have your To-Do list in place, it is helpful to stay organized. Clean up at the end of any kind of household or home office work session. Organize your projects so you are not shuffling around wasting time. Your productivity will increase and stress will lessen when you are organized. Work Sequentially: Once you start tackling tasks and projects, it is best to work sequentially, in an ordered sequence. Concentrating on one task at a time allows the brain to restart and refocus. Self-Discipline: In order for the busy mom to accomplish projects and tasks throughout the day she must cultivate self-discipline. Taking care of children and a household is hard work.Self-discipline keeps an active mom on task. Self-discipline is especially a must for the mom who runs a home-based business. Limit Distractions: Oftentimes multitasking begins with distractions. Distractions may include phone calls, television, the internet, social media, and even spouses, partners and children. These distractions cause our attention to spread and increase inattention to detail. Work in Small Increments: Efficient moms know how to make the best of spare moments. Have you ever told yourself, “I’ve only got five minutes” and then been stunned at just how much you were able to do in those few minutes?For moms who are limited for time, work on a task for ”just five minutes.” Build Clear Boundaries: It important for the busy mom to build clear boundaries. Do your best to set work hours for chores or your home business and stick with them. It is helpful to surround yourself with people who honor your boundaries and support your dreams. Make Time for You: Motherhood is a rewarding but an exhausting experience. It is important for a mom to replenish her energy levels. The best way is to create some alone time. Make an effort to give yourself at least one night off per week. Use this time to do something you enjoy. Read a book, rent a movie, go out to dinner with your spouse or friend or simply take a relaxing bath. Developing simple rituals like these can help the tired mom find balance, which will fend off exhaustion and multitasking.
For centuries, artists have used tools to help improve their art. Technologies have vastly improved since the invention of the pinhole camera or camera obscura, which was used as a drawing aid by 15th – 17th century artists. Hundreds of years later, artists like myself are still exploring different tools to help advance our art and art businesses. Recently, I have been enjoying the popular mobile photo apps Instagram and Pixlr-o-matic. These photo-sharing apps allow users to snap mobile photos, apply digital filters and effects to it, and then share it via their social media channels including Instagram’s own site. Pixlr-o-Matic can be used on your phone or accessed on your computer. Now any iPhone or Android or computer user can become a creative photographer! The results are reminiscent of the old Polaroid transfer or print making techniques. This new photo process can be quite fun and addicting, but I primarily use these apps to help boost my art business. Here’s How 1. Artistic inspiration. These apps literally offer thousands of variations of filters and effects for each individual image. Now, when I feel artistically uninspired, I can find an interesting photo on my phone or computer, and play with the many different filters until I find one that moves me. As a painter, these apps have helped me discover new techniques, and effects to use in my oil paintings. Not only do these photo apps help inspire my recent paintings, but they also help provide me with interesting blogging content and photos to illustrate posts on my blog, FineArtTips.com. 2. Test the Composition. I use Instagram as a helpful testing tool. I monitor the popularity of my uploaded photos of possible painting subject matter and composition. I can easily examine the popularity and statistics using the Instagram app, Statigram. Below are my latest top 5 images. 3. Branding & Marketing. Instagram and Pixlr are another free branding and marketing opportunity. Through your photos you can: Show the world who you are = branding. I share my interests, and some personal photos. Show the world what you do = marketing. I share my latest paintings and details of my art or works in progress. Visit Statigram to create your own follow button or RSS feed for your own blog or website. See my example below: 4. Social Media Cross-Pollination. I use both Instagram and Pixlr-o-matic to cross-pollinate my social media channels. I tweet a few of my Instagram photos each day. And I have also added a tasteful Instagram feed tab on my Fine Art Tips Facebook Fan Page. I use another helpful app, Pingram, which combines Instagram and Pinterest. Here, I can “pin” my favorite photos to Pinterest and easily browse my Instagram feed. 5. Networking. Instagram is another social networking channel. However, I use it a bit differently than Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus. To lessen my social media overload, I have decided to use Instagram primarily for my own personal enjoyment, artistic inspiration and experimentation. Nevertheless, I have to admit it is fun to see the creative side of many of my Twitter and Facebook friends! Benchmark FTW Don\'t miss your chance to win a Kindle Fire. Each comment, Tweet and ReTweet of a Benchmark FTW post gives you a shot at winning. Check out the full details on the Benchmark FTW series and contest.