Alison Neighbour, 10 January 2016

The session was attended by a core group and a number of others dropping in. I didn't

get names I'm afraid, sorry about that!

During the session it became apparent that this is something a lot of artists are

struggling with, spending a greater amount of time on administrative tasks than on

their art. Whilst the admin clearly isn't going to go away, there were lots of useful

suggestions about how to better manage our time so we can sustain our creativity and

mental well-being. These are all of the suggestions I managed notate, there may be

others I missed! Please do add stuff in the comments if I've missed anything, or if you

weren't at the session but would like to suggest or respond to anything.

Create a system: Set particular days/times for creative work and for admin taskscompartmentalise

the time so 3 ó days per week are creative and 1 ó for admin. Or

work on creative stuff until lunchtime and admin in the afternoons. Be as disciplined

about keeping this creative time sacred as when in rehearsals.

With company meetings, create a system where every 3rd or 4th meeting is purely for

creative discussion.

If you want less admin, make smaller work.

If the project is larger than you can currently manage, either put it in a box for later and

work on something smaller for now, or bite off just a little bit of the project and work on

that specifically.

Don't take on too much too soon, and be willing to let go of enough of it.

Invest in better conversation- Regular meet ups with fellow creatives are helpful- get a

buddy, set up regular meetings, and use the time to talk creatively or set each other

little creative tasks. This also helps relieve the isolation individual artists often feel.

You could meet in person or on Skype, or chat on the phone.

Going for a walk is important.

Find an hour every day to practise (like dancers/musicians)

Regard creative development as work – eg going to a gallery/reading a book about a

favourite artist. (Recommendation of a book called ‘The Artist’s Way’)

Go out to a workplace to do the admin stuff- a coffee shop or a hotdesking place. Don't

do it on your bed in your pj's…

Outsource questions to social media- get used to asking for help.

Admin is more fun if it's creative- meet up with other people working on the project and

work on the task together so it becomes part of your practice.

Make your admin creative- budgets can be exciting because they can change the


Use funding apps as a way to better understand what you are making and to find new

ways to describe your show.

Use time on trains to do your admin.

Producers exist to enable creatives to do their creative jobs.

Keep a clear distinction between work and home.

Leave London and move somewhere less expensive – greater expense = greater

amount of admin.

Streamline your admin- use tools to help(eg. Doing tour bookings on google sheets

and making the sheet available to the whole company means you save time on having

to email it to everybody). Use the “expensify” app to keep track of budgets and


Have creative conversations- get a buddy and be reciprocal

Skill sharing of admin methodology – what schemes exist to facilitate this? We need a

space for informal sharing of practice- arts forums in Birmingham exist for this


Sandra at Friction Arts runs a scheme for artists of all ages for continuing practice

development, cross art form. Artists are mentored and supported. Credits systemartists

save up credits by volunteering and get a space (for example) in return.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions!

Report by Alison Neighbour

[email protected]


Sharing, Creativity, development, Development, advice, Collaboration, creativity,

sharing, admin, collaboration, well-being, systems, Producing, producing, Advice