One of the biggest improvements in my life has been the decision to give myself time to clean up.
One day it clicked that projects require 30% of your overall time to complete them. I was never allowing enough time to finish them properly, i.e, to do the drying and signing, framing, labeling and packaging, mailing, blog and website updating, financial paperwork, communication, the putting away of the materials and references, not to mention the maintenance required for my studio/office such as upgrading technology and keeping the place neat. Nor was I giving myself anytime to reflect.
Now I make Fridays for finishing what I started during the week. I don't allow myself to begin something new on a Friday. I just go around and see what is already in the works and play a game with myself to see if I can get it done that day. This simple practice has greatly improved my productivity and the quality of what I am making.
I've expanded the concept by giving myself time to catch-up/clean-up during key times of the year. And it seems to be working.
For example, last week I gave myself time to clean up after the holidays and get myself in order before jumping into my studio to begin the new year. I usually don't. As a result, things would pile up on me emotionally. My surroundings would be chaotic. And I would feel out of control.
It also worked when I gave myself two weeks in the late spring do all the home projects as well as the gardening I really enjoy. Ditto in the fall. I took a week in early November to focus on just cleaning up.
I don't actually stop doing my creative work during these periods. It's just a priority shift. I do them at a lower level and don't schedule major events or activities during these periods.
The trick for me is to stop doing the clean-up after the allotted time and just "let it go."