How Planning Keeps Me Productive in the Art Studio

I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want to create.. this is typical of creatives. In fact, Leonardo Da Vinci was known to have said that he spends as much time thinking about what he wants to paint as he did painting it. 

So that I don’t spend too much time spinning my wheels, I make yearly goals and then review those goals throughout the year frequently. I also make my kids review their goals and rewrite their goals every quarter.

Here are some action steps you can model to make you more productive as well. In order for the review process to work, you need to review your goals on a regular basis and make yearly, monthly, weekly and daily goals.

Most people have no problems making goals at the beginning of the year.. but how often do you review them? Do you make daily goals? Here is what the review process looks like for me.

Review the daily Task List each morning

daily planning prompts | organization for artists | art journaling goals | goal setting for artists | How Planning Keeps Me Productive in the Art Studio + FREE printable giveaway of creative planning prompts →

Every morning I review what my appointments are for that day and I come up with three goals for the day that I feel have to get done. The three action items should relate to the goals for the week and ultimately for the year. Keeping the end in mind keeps me from wasting time on non-important stuff.

Just three

Even if the actual list of things to do is a mile long, I focus on three at a time. They can be small goals, but having three daily goals gives me a guaranteed sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

daily planning prompts | organization for artists | art journaling goals | goal setting for artists | How Planning Keeps Me Productive in the Art Studio + FREE printable giveaway of creative planning prompts →


Night before

Sometimes I get a head start on my day by writing out my three goals the night before, but it is this process of planning and reviewing each day with gratitude that keeps my productivity mindset a positive one.

Keeping a Monthly and Yearly Overview

In addition to managing daily tasks, I keep a monthly overview which provides a vision of how the upcoming month will look, and a yearly overview to plan my promotional schedule. I offer art classes AND original works of art, and so it helps to see at what time I’m going to be promoting what in between my daily shuffle of making work, answering inquiries, traveling and shipping art.

I also keep track of when the planet Mercury is in retrograde, as I’ve found that during these times, it is best to do developmental work like research and planning. Sure, it might sound strange to plan around the planets, but you have to plan around something and this method is as good as any. (I’ve been keeping track of this odd astrology phenomenom ever since my instagram account was completely hacked during “mercury in retrograde” a time which astrologists believe that technology will go haywire…btw, you can also read my blog post: Is your instagram account safe?)

daily planning prompts | organization for artists | art journaling goals | goal setting for artists | How Planning Keeps Me Productive in the Art Studio + FREE printable giveaway of creative planning prompts →

Make it pretty!!

I recently have joined the planner girl cult.

Yes, buying a planner and adding stickers to it as actually a cult.

Who knew?

But this is a very healthy addiction. I actually joined a planner subscription club so each month I receive pretty planning supplies that makes all these planning sessions more fun. Even my daughter has remarked that she noticed that every time I get my planner out I get happier. Win. Win.


Journal Prompts

In order to help you with this process, I created this freebie for you with journal prompts that will help focus your mind. These are the exact questions I ask myself at the end of each period and helps me plan for the next one. A period can be a week, a month, a quarter or a year. The more you check in with yourself the better! >> Download this giveaway and see what insights you uncover!

Click here to subscribe

In case we haven’t met yet…

About Me (Miriam Schulman)

Miriam Schulman, founder of The Inspiration Place

In case we haven’t met yet, I’m an artist and founder of The Inspiration Place, where I help other artists learn how to profit from their passion or become better artists. Through online classes, business coaching programs, and a top-ranked podcast, I’ve helped thousands of artists around the world develop their skill sets and create more time and freedom to do what they love. My signature coaching program, The Artist Incubator, helps artists go from so-so sales to sold-out collections.

A graduate of Dartmouth College and M.I.T, I initially pursued finance but after witnessing 9/11, I abandoned a lucrative hedge fund job to work on my art full time. Since then, my art and my story have been featured in major publications including Forbes, The New York Times, Art of Man, Art Journaling magazine as well as featured on NBC’s “Parenthood” and the Amazon series “Hunters” with Al Pacino. My forthcoming book with HarperCollins Leadership on how to make it as an artist is scheduled to be released January 31, 2023. When I’m not in the studio, you can find me hanging out with my husband, adult kids, and a tuxedo cat named Ebony. I’d love to invite you to check out one of my free resources for art lovers (of every passion level) at

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I’m Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration.

I inspire art-lovers to reconnect with their creativity, learn new skills and techniques, and profit from their art. Whether you paint simply for the joy of it or you’re serious about selling your work, and you’re ready to stop putting yourself on the back burner...You're in the right place. I've done it and I can inspire YOU how to do it too.

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