Productivity as an Artist

  1. Daily Work

“A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.” (Anthony Trollope, Novelist)

  • JK Rowling wrote everyday for 5 years to finish her book.
  • Schedule meetings with yourself on certain days to do work. Just as any other meeting.
  • Agree to do the smallest amount of work possible.

2. Volume of Work

“The most important possible thing you can do, is a lot of work. . . . It’s only by going through a volume of work that you’re going to be able to close the gap.” (Ira Glass)

  • Most ppl can only pinpoint a handful of Picasso’s work. But actually his archive consists of 1,800 paintings, 2,800 ceramics, 12,000 drawings — not including prints, rugs, and tapestries.
  • The more compositions an artist made increased the likelihood of him making an actual hit by a huge percentage.

The Self-Awareness Onion

  1. Simply Understanding Your Own Emotions
  2. The ability to why we feel certain emotions.
  • Why do we feel angry? We can change it once we understand the root cause.

3. Why do I consider this to be success/failure? How am I choosing to measure myself? By what standard am I judging myself and everyone around me?

  • Our values determine the nature of our problems , and the nature of our problems determines the quality of our lives.

Pleasure is a False God

Research shows that people who focus their energy on superficial pleasures end up more anxious, more emotionally unstable, and more depressed. Pleasure is the most superficial form of life satisfaction and therefore the easiest to obtain and the easiest to lose.

Research on Physical Needs

Once one is able to provide for basic physical needs (food, shelter, and so on), the correlation between happiness and worldly success quickly approaches zero.

In India, an extra ten thousand dollars a year would affect your happiness a lot. But if you’re sitting pretty in the middle class in a developed country, an extra ten thousand dollars per year won’t affect anything much — meaning that you’re killing yourself working overtime and weekends for basically nothing.

As Freud once said, “One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.”

I hope you enjoyed this quick series of points on how to be more productive as an artist.


I took all these ideas from this lovely TED talk: