How many of you out there are doing things with your friends or family or maybe taking a day off and are feeling guilty about not getting work done? Or vice versa and feeling guilty while your working. Thinking too much and worrying about your artistic projects and when you will get them finished. Worrying about how you will make time to do the things that need to get done and worrying about being able to do the work when you make the time.
This is something that we all struggle with, I still struggle with these issues and it is something i will continue to struggle with.
Here i will share some of my personal tips and tricks on scheduling and staying focused. Keep in mind these are my own personal techniques i have learned and developed for myself so read and take them in and test them. Then you can create your own and decide what works for you.
- First thing is to learn yourself and your peaks. When are you most productive? Everyone in the world can wake up 1 hour earlier every day, but not everyone is a morning person and waking up early it may take you an hour to create something you can do in 15 min if you were ready. Find your prime time and create time in that productive block.
- It helps me to set my time limits to keep track of my time. I have alarms set by the hour on my phone during studio time. It just takes a push of a button to turn off and keeps me aware of the time without looking at a clock. I use this to make sure i spend 1 hr on my warm up, then whatever i need on my other projects.
- Schedule your days. If you break down your day you will have a visual map of what your days look like. Look into the time that you waste doing unimportant tasks, wasting time doing nothing, sitting in front of the TV, spending hours on the internet etc. Here is a quick example i learned from Noah University that really puts things into a visual picture and the possibilities. Think about a busy man that works full time. Wakes up at 6, works from 7-5, then eats dinner and spends time with his family 5-8:30. After his kids go down he can either sit and relax or he can pour into his craft until 10:30. This is a busy schedule and he is able to spend time with his family, work, and do his craft everyday. By just adding 2 hours at nigh 5 days a week he is able to create for 10 hours per week and keep in mind this is only Monday through Friday. Even the little amounts can add up.
- Set up deadlines for yourself. Take some time to focus on your work and figure out how long your process takes you. Set a strong deadline for yourself that is both giving you a challenge but so far fetched that you are destined to fail. Stick to your deadline and stay on track.
- When you create your schedule it will allow you to focus on the task at hand. You will have your life laid out and you wont have to worry about your time or if you will be able to complete your projects. Now you don't have to feel guilty and you can focus on the task at hand 100%
- Keep a notepad handy and within reach. Notepads help you to catch those ideas as they fly by without distracting you from your work.
- Batches and Borders - multitask projects that you can and do them together to save time from chores to projects. Also put a strong border or fence around your studio time. When you create time for yourself there will always be people trying to break in and steal it, it is up to you to say no and protect your time.
- Getting yourself into the mode - There are 2 things i do for this
- First tell yourself to just go in for 15 min or 1 hr. Just a quick task to start working, after you start you become hooked and spend hours. The small time gesture is to trick your mind into getting started. Once you start your creative side takes over.
- Second is i will take a power nap or meditate before i work. I turn off the lights and tv and lay in the dark. Laying there with my mind racing and being bored i get anxious and thinking about what i am going to do gets me excited and laying there gets me fresh and energized.
- Have your projects ready to go. I read about another artist who lived 5 min from his work place and would take his lunch to go home and work. He was able to create for the 20 min. because his studio was prepped and ready to work. Now this may be easier for some mediums than others but test it out. Have your studio clean and ready to work.
- Keep a track sheet to track how many hours you have been working and what you have been accomplishing. If you look at this over the weeks it will tell you how you work and will inspire you to meet your own goals
every moment counts - even if you only have 10 min.and your not doing anything you can write down some ideas or prep some work.
This is some tasks to start with, I will post more in the future as more ideas come to mind. Thank you for reading and please add your own ideas and practices.
(Below is an example of my track sheets that has my time and personal goals to meet)