by Kris A. Kramer
Some people are big-picture people and some are detail oriented. Which are you?
I tend toward being a detail person and must continuously challenge myself to take a step back and gain perspective from the large picture. Being able to shift focus back and forth, from zooming out for the big picture and zooming in on details is incredibly useful. Leaders and idea-people live in big pictures; achievers and doers live in the details. The most resourceful individuals are adept at both.
Keeping track of PMC-related hours is a good venue in which to practice shifting your viewpoint. Recording hours is a detailed task and one best maintained by a habitual practice. Understanding the resulting information, the big picture, is useful and makes the task worth the work.
When I began a studio log, I kept track of total hours. As I built my art business, its usefulness became apparent. I began categorizing my time into creative time and other times, such as tracking inventory, maintaining the web site, ordering supplies, teaching, and more. Along came the realization that the log gave me essential data needed for some business-related endeavors. In addition, my log prompted contemplation: I stepped into the big picture and felt better about making choices regarding how to spend my time. I had achieved deliberate living!
Simply put, here are Six P’s - reasons for keeping track of your PMC-related hours and minutes. I’ve labeled them Detail Oriented or Big Picture Oriented, but these labels are disputable.
- Pricing (Detail Oriented)
- Progress (Big-Picture Oriented)
- Planning (Detail Oriented)
- Production (Detail Oriented)
- Practicality Check (Big-Picture Oriented)
For example, in order to recoup your time-and-material dollars for one item, you may conclude that you need to make and sell 76 in a year. And because you’ve kept your studio log, you know that you are able to make 50 items in a year. Oops -- not practical. It’s back to the pricing or feasibility drawing board.
- Pride (Big-Picture Oriented)
Back to details . . . . Find a log or a system that works for you and stick with it long enough to make it a habit. Here is an Excel file, if you are so inclined -- Studio Log One Year. I leave you with some basic instructions.
- Enter the time either in hour : minutes with an “am” or “pm” after or military time, such as 22:00 for 10:00 pm.
- There are numerous fields on one line to enter lots of times for one day because this is the nature of our work. I do not count kiln time or tumble hours while I do household chores or go play.
- There are color-coded, time-category tabs at the bottom of the page. If you cannot see them, click the tiny + in the upper corner. Then, there are left and right arrows to the left of the tabs.
- Formulas abound in this Excel file, so be careful when deleting.
- If you get stuck, ask your questions in Comments.