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Conquering Distractions

How often do you get distracted when you’re in your art studio? Do the hours slip by and you haven’t even squeezed the paint onto your gelli plate?

Distractions are conscious actions that move us away from what we want to achieve.

Let me show you some ideas to help you overcome distractions and get some traction back into your art practice…..


Acknowledge Your Inner Bowerbird

You know you’re a bowerbird when you go to a workshop or see a new technique on the internet, and suddenly you feel like you can’t do anything until you get that fantastic cerulean blue paint, fancy pen, or a set of metallic pencils. Your art supplies and equipment multiply, each vying for your attention or if you’re like me, they languish in a box waiting for us to get to all those ‘one day’ projects!

We all do it. It’s perfectly normal to get distracted and feel like we are missing a key piece of equipment or art material.

But before you indulge in some online shopping or jump in the car to head down to the art supplies shop, take a moment to acknowledge the temptation, be realistic about what you already have and challenge yourself to use what you’ve got. Often less is more!

My Top Tip – Finding what you already have is the key. Take the time to label your boxes really well or consider using a storage solution system like Inabox


Forget the phone

In this digital age, our electronic gadgets can be the ultimate artistic nemesis. The smartphone ping, the social media scroll, and the never-ending stream of photo-perfect art videos can lure us away from the creative sanctuary we’ve built. Watching other people make art is so enticing and an easy way to lose a few hours.

There’s nothing wrong with using technology as part of our art making, as long as that’s what you intended to do.

You deserve a break from your phone.  Think – right now, what’s more important – me or them?

My Top Tip – Try small steps rather than try to go cold-turkey.  Mute notifications.  Put your phone away out of sight.  Set a timer for 2 hours of non-device time.


Take care of your Creative Space

Your creative workspace is your sanctuary, and it deserves some tender loving care. Set the stage for focus by decluttering your space. A cluttered studio can lead to a cluttered mind.

Or maybe you end up starting multiple projects at once? I do! Typically I start on a project then I get an idea that leads to wanting to start another project, and another, so that I end up with several projects half-started on my studio bench. That makes it hard to finish just one! When this happens, I now have a notebook or visual diary handy and I jot down my ideas. I don’t try and start anything new and stay focussed on what I already started.

My Top Tip – Don’t leave your studio in a mess when you finish the day. Allocate 15 minutes to tidy up, put away unnecessary art supplies and equipment, and write yourself a list of project starting points/instructions as a prompt for the next day.


The Power of a To-Do List

This is one of my favourite tools to stay focussed. A simple to-do list can be your best friend. Before you start creating, jot down what you want to accomplish during your art session. Having a step-by-step plan keeps your focus sharp and your distractions at bay. Plus, there’s a sweet satisfaction in checking off those boxes!

Remember – If you don’t schedule your day, you won’t know the difference between what you intended to do and what was a distraction.

My Top Tip – I use a ruled A4 spiral bound notebook for my to-list and daily notes.  Its larger size means its harder to lose on my studio bench.  I cross through any completed tasks, then re-write my list on new page once a week.


Get into ‘the zone’

Mindfulness isn’t just for meditation – it’s also your secret weapon against distractions. When you’re making art, immerse yourself in the process. Appreciate the brush strokes, the rich colours, the delight of a watery ink wash. This focus on the present moment can help ward off any wandering thoughts.

Be grateful for the time you’ve put aside for your art practice and use it wisely.

My Top Tip – Don’t try and multi-task.  Focus on one project or one small step at a time.  Don’t put a load of washing on!


Community and Accountability

Don’t forget the power of the artist community. Share your creative goals and struggles with fellow artists. Join a community art group or go along to regular social art events. They’ll keep you accountable. And remember, we’ve all been there, so you’re never alone in this creative journey.

My Top Tip – phone a friend and organise a play day together, even if its just for a couple of hours with a cup of coffee.


Distractions might always be lurking, but use these tips to stay focused and move forward with your art, one brushstroke, paper fold or ink roll at a time. You deserve it!

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