More about record keeping.

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Blog post #138

Record keeping. Again.

New card index system.

You may have noticed that last month I spared you the preaching about record keeping [Thank the Lord, Ed]. Well, this month I am back on it. When I last told you about keeping stock records, I said that I was going to try a new system and would report back on how this went. I am delighted to say it was a dream.

For those who missed it (or just as a reminder), I decided to ditch taking my large, green folder to exhibitions and instead created an index card for each artwork, which I kept in a box. It’s far smaller than my folder and far easier to locate the relevant items. Space is often at a premium at these events so writing on an index card is far easier than balancing and writing in the large, heavy lever arch file.

Once an item had been purchased, I wrote all the details on the index card and placed it at the back of the box. Back at home it was so easy to gather up the cards for the items sold and plug that information into my account’s spreadsheet.

Before I would have to go through the folder page by page to locate the items. I can’t think why it took me so long to figure this out, but I did watch other artists struggling with similar systems at the last exhibition so maybe I am not alone at being daft after all.

I did however go through my folder and mark up all the sold items from the cards as the folder really is my bible of artworks and keeping it at home is the most sensible solution.

Anyway, back to the journal. How are you getting on with yours? I have struggled, I will admit. I have never made it this far through the year using just one system and when things go crazy, as they often do in my household, I tend to revert to the scraps of paper, which I promptly lose!

So, I have really made myself use the journal and I can honestly say that I am pleased and proud of myself for pushing forward with it. Not least because in previous weeks I have written various things which need to be accomplished and, as they are not on my essential list of items to do, I have forgotten about them. Using the journaling system keeps those tasks at the periphery of my mind and I know they won’t be totally forgotten and will get done ultimately.

One of those things is my tax returns. As I have said in the past, I always do my returns way before they are due, and I try to get them done in June or July. My journal reminds me that this needs to be done and I have a weekly reminder that I need to get everything up to date. I hope that by this time next month I can tell you I have written up my records and filed my tax return. Even if I don’t manage to get it done in the next four weeks, I still have plenty of time before it is due at the end of January and, with Christmas events and work to be produced for them, it is in my best interests to get this essential task done sooner rather than later.

A couple of other things which I have found really useful with my journaling system are firstly, the daily “gratitudes”. Every day I find three things which I am grateful for and write them down. Some days it is as simple as ‘my freedom’, ‘my family’, ‘my home’ and others I can write a couple of sentences about how someone has made me feel special or valued which, in turn, has brightened my day. I do believe that there is great value in focusing on the positives in our daily lives and saying thank you. If you are religious, you could thank the god(s) you pray to. I am not particularly religious anymore so just thank the world around me instead. 

The second thing which I find useful and use a lot if is the Brain Dump. This is the place where I write down or dump all the negative stuff which affects me on a daily/weekly basis. We all have this stuff and if we carry it around with us it can start to eat away at us. By writing it down I have let it go and so whist I know there are some things which I will carry for life, on the whole I don’t allow the normal daily/weekly negative stuff we encounter in our lives, to continue to affect me. It really works for me so if you don’t do this, I would recommend you try.

I have decided that some changes need to happen. Over the coming months I plan to change the format slightly for both the coming months and in readiness for next year when I plan to do some things very differently. I will let you know as I go what changes I am making.

The big thing for me is that I made this gorgeous leather journal with really good quality sketching paper and then I printed off the days of the week on printer paper and stuck them onto the lovely, expensive, and wonderful to write on paper. A bit daft! So next year I will buy good quality writing paper, print out the days and weeks on that and turn it into a new leather-bound journal.

I suspect it takes a while to really figure out what works best for each of us, but the important thing is that even if you miss a couple of weeks – let’s face it life does get in the way, as well I know – you need to get back on board as quickly as you can. Don’t give up and don’t go back to your old ways. Just keep heading in the right direction and you will thank yourself in the end.

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