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Express Yourself – 5 Ways to Awaken Your Inner Artist

Express Yourself – 5 Ways to Awaken Your Inner Artist

As children, we would dream of drawing, painting, building things from scratch and living the dream with art. It was considered as something majestic and inspiring. Unfortunately, as we grow, this dream of living it up as an artist gets trampled by reality

The older we get, the more we realise that our occupation would have to be something more lucrative and quick to pick up. Art is not necessarily that, since it takes a lot of learning, practicing and overcoming obstacles in order to become even remotely successful; and the financial side of art doesn’t look promising, either.

For that reason, as adults we tend to work in other areas, those that are considered profitable, and, in a way, we put our creative side in the dark. However, no matter how busy we get, and our various obligations, we shouldn’t kill our creativity for the sake of other people and work. We should let it flourish, and enjoy every moment of it. Here is how it can be done, in five different ways to be precise. Some of them may just be hobbies, but they can also turn into jobs.

1. Start doing things

By sitting idly, waiting for things to come to you, you won’t achieve anything. In order to succeed and get the desired results, you will need to put some work into it. For example, if you want to be a painter, graphic designer or similar, start drawing. Buy a notebook and start creating figures, drawings and learn various techniques.

Even if your skill level is not perfect – do it. Fear never helped anyone, and it will only hold you back. Therefore, get down to work, and start creating.

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Moreover, if you like writing, start writing sentences, no matter how random they are. You could start off with a journal, or simply by putting your thoughts on paper. Through time this can evolve into something longer and more complex, like short stories.

Eventually, you can transition into running your own blog. First of all, it is easy to create a blog, even with no real coding knowledge, and can even be successfully monetized – if done right. The best part is that you can write about any subject you want, like fashion, personal stories or comments on life in general.

2. Find inspiration around you

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    One thing that will surely get you started is inspiration. Whatever you want to do, whether it is painting, singing or writing, you will need to start from somewhere, and that point is the small “a-ha!” moment, when the light bulb in your head turns on. To find this stimulus, you can do many things.

    For example, start traveling. Nothing provides more inspiration than discovering the world, with all its many cultures and diverse people. Actually, there is no need to leave your home country; you can also explore your country by going on weekend trips to lakes, mountains or other cities. There are beautiful locations all around you, at every corner.

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    Other than traveling, just enjoy life. Spend time alone, with friends or meet new people. Sharing thoughts with others could give you new insights into their worldviews and ways of thinking. From this, you could create so much, and such gorgeous art. After all, your art is the reflection of your life.

    3. Try something new by attending courses about it

    Have you been interested in something for years, but never had the guts to try it out? Well, now is your time. You can sign up for various classes about cooking, sewing or any other skill you can think of. Whatever it is, it will certainly help with making your creative juices flow.

    For example, you could attend a photography or a writing workshop. No matter if you already possess certain skills, going to these classes could help you learn something new or awaken some old, long-forgotten skills. Moreover, it gives you a nice base to start from as a rejuvenated artist.

    Unless you push towards it, creativity will never come to you. Therefore, do not be afraid to try new things, and learn about the ones you are already familiar with. Who knows, you may find new and better ways of expressing yourself, and starting something fresh.

    4. Start doodling

    Let’s say you want to perfect your drawing skills because you want to become an artist. Well, a good starting point would be to start doodling in your notebook. Actually, you might be already doing this, while waiting for time to pass, talking on the phone or similar situations. The action is oftentimes involuntary, but it can result in some amazing sketches. Not only is it good as a distraction, it is great as a way of improving creativity, and an exercise for artists.

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    Your small drawing could turn into something bigger. Imagine that you doodle the same thing over and over again, every time. Eventually you would become an expert in those particular types drawings, which could then be turned into a profitable business.

    For example, you could be great with typography. You could turn this random doodling into a proper job of designing signs, posters, making invitations or a bunch of other stuff. Not only would it be lucrative, but it would also help you become the artist you’ve always wanted to be.

    5. Read books, listen to music and keep learning

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      Lastly, the oldest and the best ways of finding yourself in the artistic world would have to be these: books, music and education. There is so much information you could gather from there, but you would also become more creative along the way. For instance, reading books leads you to a variety of different worlds, both real and unreal.

      In a way, you live a thousand lives and travel a thousand journeys. From all that, you learn, develop as a person, and develop as an artistic personality. Music has the same effect. Just think about how much you listen to it in your everyday life.

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      Some people cannot go without music, at all. They listen to it while commuting, while working, while sitting at home. Music provides inspiration, and an understanding of emotions. It is a healer and a teacher, at the same time.

      Finally, no matter your age, or how busy you think you are, you should never stop learning. Education is the most important part of your life, and it should always be encouraged. You could read educational books, attend classes – online classes count, as well – go to workshops, get more diplomas, etc.

      The best thing about education is that it can come from any interaction and any action you do. For example, you could learn a new thing just by talking to a friend or a colleague. You could also gain new knowledge by watching documentaries. The point is, knowledge is all around us. All you have to do is be willing to take it for yourself.

      Creativity doesn’t come with birth – it is learned and nurtured, throughout your life. To be an artist takes time, it takes skills and, most importantly, it takes love for what you do. Therefore, if you truly believe in art, pursue it no matter what.

      Forget about the naysayers, and obstacles; they can be surpassed and forgotten about. Move forwards and do what you love. That is all that matters when expressing yourself and becoming an artist.

      Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/u/markusspiske/ via pexels.com

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      Ivan Dimitrijevic

      Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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      Last Updated on January 6, 2021

      14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

      14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

      Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

      In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

      For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

      For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

      Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

      Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

      Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

      How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

      Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

      1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

      Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

      For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

      2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

      Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

      Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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      Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

      3. Create a System

      Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

      This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

      You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

      Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

      Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

      4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

      We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

      If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

      Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

      Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

      5. Use a Ratings Scale

      Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

      Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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      It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

      6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

      This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

      You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

      You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

      7. Offer Feedback Forms

      Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

      First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

      Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

      You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

      8. Track Cost Effectiveness

      This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

      Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

      Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

      9. Use Self-Evaluations

      Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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      Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

      10. Monitor Time Management

      This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

      Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

        The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

        While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

        11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

        We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

        Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

        For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

        Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

        Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

        From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

        12. Utilize Peer Feedback

        This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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        Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

        Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

        It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

        13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

        When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

        Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

        Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

        14. Use an External Evaluator

        Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

        They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

        While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

        Final Thoughts

        These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

        The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

        The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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        Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

        Reference

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