Wednesday, April 20, 2011

HELP for the time challenged artist - by Brienna Pruce

Currently I am polling artists on our Facebook page about what is the most challenging aspect of being an artist. It seems that "running out of time in the day" is the most popular concern (as it has received the most votes so far). Time management is a major problem for all artists! Hah, I know because I am one and we most often times live in our own custom-made time zones. So, I'd like to help fix this with a few simple tips.

First, keep a calendar and actually write down your daily schedule so you don't float off into daydream land. Figure out how much time it takes you to do everything from eating breakfast to picking up the kids from school. You need to write in bold caps: ART TIME and work in time like it is your 9-5 job BECAUSE IT IS!
Second, don't kill yourself just to finish a project.  Instead, write down your ideas as they come to you, take little breaks to reflect on what you've accomplished and come back refreshed. You'll be more efficient (make less mistakes and waste less time) if you prioritize and take time out to take care of yourself.
Third, you're not an island. Make sure you connect with other artists and art collectors so that your work actually goes to a good home and you feel rejuvinated because you know you're appreciated. Actually, motivation and good vibes will energize you and give you the extra push you need to finish something in a shorter amount of time.

Fourth, go to bed (no burning the midnight oil).  Yes, this does sound counter-intuitive, but really this ties back into not killing yourself on a project and also keeping a calendar. You need to have a "normal" schedule, one that includes an appropriate about of rest so that your next day isn't shot to hell! Truly makes a difference, trust me... I know from experience.

Do you have more suggestions for other artists, please share below!


  1. Wonderful suggestions, and a good reminder to make the right priorities, especially the one about not being an island...

    I cant really add anything, except that I have learned to use the non-kids time for myself and creating, rather than the housework and chores which I would have normally done first. I stop myself, and remember that I can also empty the dishwasher/ clean the bath etc when the kids are at home too, but I cant focus on that marionette I am building...

    Its still apparently impossible for me to get to bed early. How many of us are night owls by nature? I suspect its part of the creative thingy...

  2. in the same vein as going to bed on time, waking up on time is important. it's so easy to sleep in if i have nowhere to go, but it made me feel so lazy, not exactly in the mood to start working... i started waking up earlier and it's made so much difference! since my boyfriend has an actual 9-5, i tell myself that for the time he is at work during the day, so am i.

    that and keeping a daily to-do list/calendar have been huge helps in keeping me on task.

  3. Suzy, yes, isn’t that the truth! I think I often times feel like I have to do the laundry, answer the phone, clean the house, do the dishes, cook dinner… and then my art always takes a backseat. Our studios are so often times not separate from our home so there are constant distractions pulling us away. You’ve inspired a fifth tip!!!!

    Fifth tip: Put on your “art” clothes, shut the studio door, don’t answer the phone (unless for emergencies of course), turn on some awesome music to get you going, and set the clock for a full uninterrupted 1-3+ hours of just creative time (however much time you can dedicate). Bathroom and snack breaks are of course acceptable and encouraged, but you cannot do any house chores!

    Hannah, such a good point!!!! Set your alarm as if you are going to work or to school; if your spouse gets up for a 9-5 job, get up with them. I always get up at 6:30am to see my husband off, and then begin my day with a hearty breakfast and then get cracking on my online responses and painting! And to add to this, I have been getting sucked into the virtual world a bit much lately so I have a sixth tip.

    Sixth tip: Social networking is an excellent self-promotion tool, but it can also suck energy from your real world creative time. Balance is the key to producing and promoting your work! You need to create to have something to share, and you need to share to be able to sustain your creation (i.e., sell so you can finance your art).

    ;o) brienna

  4. i use a timer for things that bore me or scare me - like paperwork, which both bores and scares me - and chip away at it over the course of days. amazing what a few minutes will do, and the timer helps me push past the initial procrastination. also, i work faster with a timer - i have a system i use to keep the whole day in balance if you'd like to see:

    thanks for the ideas! it's always a tricky balance. x

  5. Elisa, so smart - timers are what I need!!!! And what a gorgeous site, I have just visited and commented too!!!!!



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