The Monthly Review – January – Hello Studio, I Missed You

by Lisa Call on February 1, 2012

in Goals and Intention

Holding a Monthly Review

I am committed to completing a monthly review on my progress towards the goals I outlined for 2012.

Last year I skipped this activity as I didn’t want to admit how far I was falling off the mark. The result of that choice was that I remained off track with no accountability to get me back to where I wanted to be.

I did get a lot done but mostly not stuff I had planned, which isn’t necessarily bad. Although the one regret is I let my studio fall to the side last year and I don’t want that to happen again.

There are no acceptable excuses for not working in my studio this year! With these monthly reviews, I will hold myself accountable to make sure it doesn’t happen.

My monthly retrospective will cover the following items:

  • What I Accomplished – a list with no judgement. I need facts to do my evaluation.
  • What Went Well – acknowledging and celebrating the positive.
  • What Didn’t go Well – admitting and recognizing the gaps.
  • What Needs to Change – the goals is to adapt and get better.

A Quick Aside on the Retrospective

For those with good memories or software backgrounds, you will recognize this as the same format as a retrospective in Scrum (a software management methodology).

I’m a certified scrum master (I bet you are jealous!) and so I carry this geekiness over into my art.

A few years back I wrote a series of articles about using scrum to manage my art career. It was a fun experiment but in the end I found it was too much planning overhead for my needs.

There are still aspects of scrum that are helpful.

Like the retrospective. To move forward we need to reflect on the past and make changes, this monthly review will help me do that.

January – the Accomplishments

I created the following table based on my 2012 Goals. I’ll use it each month to share the things I accomplished.

CategoryActivityGoal for MonthActual
ArtStudio Time84 hours61 1/2 hours
Sketchingdo someyes
TeachingTeach current courses
Working in a Seriesyes
Prepare content for new coursesAbstraction
Cutting and Piecing without a Ruler
Set up for upcoming coursesAbstraction
Marketing for upcoming coursesAbstraction
Cutting and Piecing without a Ruler
Other Projectsnone for Jan
Art BusinessBlog posts1313
inspiration posts82
Update social media (twitter, facebook, google+) 4-5 times a weekyes - twitter and facebook
no - google+
Photograph & process images for artwork as completedyes
New art added to website and newart list as it is completedyes
monthly bookkeeping no
Update contact list no
Update art inventory yes
Update exhibit history yes
Send Studio newsletter3rd Wednesday of the monthyes
New newsletter subscribers20 or more42
Update front page of website no
make an offer auctionyes
Empty email inboxend of the monthyes
Follow up on possible Opportunities for the month (exhibits, teaching, etc)(details provided after plans are finalized)yes
Other ProjectsPlanning for Exhibit at Bluestone Fine Art Gallery

Complete assignments on time for Damn Fine Words workshop

Make Big Artblog posts on makebigart22
Update social media (twitter, facebook) once a weekyes
PersonalMonthly declutter projectHome OfficeYes
Read / Listen to Books44
Update books read on goodreadsyes
Visit art galleries / museums10
Attend theater, dance, opera, music, etc events13
running/walking/biking 82
Otherremove refined sugar and white flour from my diet in Januaryyes

January – What Went Well

Although 61 1/2 hours falls short of my goal of 84 hours, to me I view this as a big win. Last year I averaged a bit over 8 hours a week in my studio, in January I’ve upped that number to 14 hours a week – almost double from last year. Hurray!

There are very few no’s and missed goals in the above table. By reviewing my goal tracking spreadsheet frequently through the month, I was able to stay on top of the variety of tasks I want to accomplish each month. Frequent reviews are an excellent way to stay focused and stay on top of my plans.

Not eating refined sugar this month was a challenge. I count this as a success although the day I made a lemon cake with 3/4 of a cup of fresh squeeze juice from organic lemons from Arizona I have to admit I succumbed to temptation. It was worth it, but as expected, I didn’t sleep well for a few days afterwards.

Sugar and white flour mess with my ability to sleep so it is worth the effort to continue to avoid them in the future. While I won’t be completely avoiding these things going forward, I was able to reset my diet and prefer eating healthy food.

January – What Didn’t go Well

I didn’t get as far in my planning for my solo exhibit and workshop in Philadelphia in March. I have a plan, I need to get focused on it so all of this comes together as I envision. I’m excited about teaching in an art gallery so I need to do more publicity as few people know about it.

I avoid google+ and posted there just once in January.

I also avoid my contact list. This has been going on for about a year. Not a good habit and one I need to address asap.

I’ve been using posterous for my inspiration blog but the service has become rather useless. It doesn’t integrate well with smugmug or facebook. I didn’t have time to deal with moving the blog so I avoided it. I’ll continue to avoid it until I move it to tumblr.

Dealing with money got put on hold this month as my workshops, this isn’t my usual habit as I like doing my bookkeeping, but just points to how busy I am.

Ditto for the exercise, I didn’t make it a priority to find the time.

January – What Needs to Change

For February I will make the following changes:

— I will work on my contact list a minimum of 1 hour a week. Once I catch up from past transgressions it will be easier to stay on top of things.
— I will post a link to at least 1 of my blog articles each week to google+. I need to create a new habit here.
— I will check in on my todo list for my exhibit and workshop in Philadelphia at least once a week to stay on top of my tasks.
— I will find the time to fit in more yoga and more walking.

In summary, I have more things on my list than comfortably fit in a single month. My plan is to rotate my priorities from month to month. While I can do it all every month, over the course of the year I will have pretty good balance.

Perfect isn’t necessary.


I’ll close with one of my favorite quotes that someone reminded me of today:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson

What fabulous things did you do this month?


Mary Sheehan Winn February 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Lisa- this is just the thing I need to be doing as well.
Oh avoidance of the contact list and record keeping- how well I know!
Great post.

Lisa Call February 2, 2012 at 5:53 am


I do encourage you to pay attention to how you are doing, it really does help me redirect my energy to neglected corners. 15 minutes on the contact list this morning. Yay!


Janice Tanton February 2, 2012 at 8:43 am

Lisa, thanks again for sharing not only your process but your successes and failures, along with a strategy to adjust. Like you, my prime goal this year is to spend much more time in the studio. I’ve been using Daytum to help me track my hours. I use it once a week and it really helps me to stay accountable to the goals and objectives I have for my art this year. Totally love what you are doing. Thank you again!

Lisa Call February 6, 2012 at 7:03 am


I think it’s rather magical how spending time writing down our hours can inspire us to spend more time on an activity. It’s the magic secret of all coaching “focus on it, especially by writing, and you will get more of it”.

You’re welcome, glad you enjoy the writing.


Elizabeth February 3, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Lisa, I am fascinated with how much you have achieved in a month when most people are just easing into the year – and yet you still have more to squeeze in. You do make me realize how much time I waste. Look out I’m about to do a bit more planning.

Lisa Call February 6, 2012 at 7:04 am


I did that “easing into the year” thing last year and I felt I was just drifting. So this year I decided to do my planning while also doing. It was a much better fit. Plus I have an intense schedule the first three months of the year. I have a big nap planned for April :)


Judy Murdoch February 3, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Hi! Lisa,

I always admire your drive and commitment and it’s a great pleasure everytime I read your blog. Today I especially liked your favourite quote and hope you won’t mind if I copy it for my journal; it hit home today bcause my youngest daughter paid me a compliment on how I raised her, my immediate reation was to cringe, instead i lovingly said thank you. What has this to do with quilting? It caused me to realise how often I do the same with my work, it’s finished, I assess it and hide it. that’s why your qoute hit home. In my 2012 I must stand taller for myself and let others do the same around me. Thanks again.

Lisa Call February 6, 2012 at 7:13 am


No problem – you are more than welcome to copy the quote. I think it’s powerful to allow ourselves to not shrink and this is a great reminder to stand tall.

Your story is excellent. Enjoy the compliments and recognize the love coming your way and Shine! Sharing our art is a wonderful way to inspire others to complete and share theirs also.


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