Be a Creative Monk; Focus on Your Priorities

By Joshua Lance in Art Business Advice > Motivation

Painting is a solitary activity.

You can’t paint to your fullest potential while you’re “connected” to the internet and social media, or surrounded by people. You’ve got to unplug from that bombardment, at least for a while, and focus on your art.

In a way, it’s like being a monk. A monk of creativity.

And I believe, to get the most out of our art, we’ve got to embrace that monk-ness to our fullest potential.

We need to slow down.

Breathe. . .

And reconnect with ourselves.

You know what I mean? And I wouldn’t be telling you all this unless I was going through the same stuff myself. But I found a way to deal with the craziness of life that tries to keep my from my art—I prioritize. And then I just do three things a day.

Here’s how it works:

The first step is to break down your tasks, work, jobs (whatever you want to call them) into not only priorities, but first, second, and third class priorities.

Then, keep your priorities in order, and keep them simple. For example:

My first tier priority

My number one priority of the day is always painting a picture or doing some other kind of physically creative activity.

I must create, or my day will feel like it’s fallen short, and I hate that kind of feeling. So if I’m going to do only one thing today, I will create art. Period. End of story.

My second tier priority

After my first priority is complete (and ONLY after) then this is my next priority.

Right now, my second priority is to do the online ESL course I signed up for. It’s very time consuming and there are times I just don’t want to do it. But even doing a little bit is better than none, and I’ll be that much closer to my goal.

You probably have a side project of some kind, too, that’s just waiting for you to get it done. Make it a top priority and do a little bit each day.

My third tier priority

If you have completed your first two priorities of the day, congrats! You are way ahead of the game!

But maybe you have a third priority. . . a little task of some kind. . . if so, go do it now. My third tier priorities are often working on my website or contacting my clients, or something else along those lines.

You may say this is too simple, but the toughest questions usually have the simplest answers. I’ve found the best results by only having one or two things to focus on per day. You may like to have more. Everyone does things differently.

I also like to write my three things down because then they feel more concrete. Artists especially must be organized and responsible if they are going to have a successful art career.

I know that I’m on my way. . . How about you? What are your priorities? Write down your top three and get started!

For more on Joshua, visit his website at


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