Artists: What are you spending your time on?

My dad blew my mind last night with what's called a Dual-Bottom-Line Matrix. This is a table that typically helps non-profits evaluate their various activities and develop their sustainability. It works great for artists too though. Because as artists we are mostly pursuing a mission (fulfilling career) rather than a bottom line, and we do a million different things in pursuit of that mission. Here's how it works:

  • Some of the things we do earn us money and exemplify our goals as artists (Stars).
  • Some of our activities are wonderful opportunities that pay us nothing but are totally worth it (Hearts).
  • Some things we do have nothing to do with our mission but bring us cash and fund the Hearts (Money Trees).
  • And then there are the low mission low profit activities (Stop Sign). These might be favors, obligations, projects that have gone south, etc..
  • Also different activities fall all over the place in the matrix, and some activities might transform over time. For example my heart has recently turned into my star.
The goal is that everything is eventually a star or a heart but the nice thing about this matrix is that it allows for the complexity that is inherent in pursuing a mission oriented career. Weed out the stop signs, maximize the money trees and cultivate the stars and hearts. Ain't life grand? Thanks dad.

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