Friday, April 30, 2010

Time Flies!

I'm curious about time management in the arts world...   Mine is terrible.  I'm wondering if there are other "terrible time managers" out there that are struggling to shape up before they end up shipping out...

I've been told that artists, perhaps more than anyone else, have to impose a sense of structure on themselves in order to get anything done.  Art, ironically, may seem like a creative, no holds barred free-for-all on the surface, but it's far from that in reality.  A lifestyle that may seem to have no rules, no bosses, and no time clocks is actually filled with them--but they're all self-imposed.

There are a lot of great resources out there about time management--any trip to even a FedEx/Kinkos has racks of books that can tell you about it.  And there are a lot of art books that talk about creativity and selling your work.  But there aren't many books about living life in "the studio" and what the structure of an artist's daily life is like.  Maybe that's because there are so many different artists and no structure works for everyone.  But being self-employed doesn't mean one can do whatever one wants when one feels like it--it actually means learning how to develop a sense of worth that makes self-imposed structure worth the struggle.

A lot of outsiders may think that an artist simply lounges around in their studio "playing".  But what they consider "play" is actually diligent attention to the task at hand.  Scheduling those tasks, estimating their completion time, and forcing one's self to get up at a regular time to make that "play" part of a regular routine... That's a lot of work.  Allowing yourself as the artist to "be your own boss" is tough--you have to be tough on yourself sometimes.  Because no one else will be until the bills come due, and that's not a lesson one wants to learn...

And I struggle with this.  Intellectually, I know this information.  But in practice it's a lot easier said than done.

I think I have to start with the small things.  Like going to bed at a decent time and waking up regularly.  I'm not a morning person, but not getting my day started until mid-morning means that I am up late.  Plus, lunch and dinner are "distractions" that eat away my work time because my work time is later than usual.  So, I think my first baby step is making myself stick to the structure of a schedule.

And I think motivation is the key.  I have to "want it" badly enough that I will do it.  I need it badly enough.

Anyone else have struggles like this?

Until next time, Live Life with Relish!

Photo by Michael Cavén, Creative Commons License.


  1. The only way I could make myself disciplined in my production was commit to a market date and hard over the rental money. Thereafter, I'm driven by fear - of having an empty table, wasting my rental money, embarrassment seeing how I'd invited everyone to come see my new designs etc. Also, there is an actual deadline to meet. You find yourself motivated very fast.

  2. I think that's what I'm going to have to do. Sometimes just diving off the cliff is a good idea, huh?


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