Some weeks fly by and at the end of them, we wonder why we never took time to sketch, to paint, to write or edit a poem. Tests and college admissions essays, volunteer work and family commitments distract us from our creative work.
Bosses ask us to work an extra day on the weekend, the day we intended to dig in and start creating. Yet we want to be artists and we long to create art.
So Mint Artists Guild wants to help you start to achieve your goals – they are written goals, right? – by sharing some time management techniques. Here’s five:
Create time blocks for creative projects. Set up your creative routine around a regular time to work. This could be an hour a day, first thing in the morning, or four hours each Saturday. It could be Friday evenings, as long as you are comfortable missing out on dates, art openings and more. Choose a time when your creative energies are strong, though there is scientific research that shows you can be very creative during non-peak times and when you’re tired. Create a must-create habit on specific days and times. “Attend to it everyday—the results are worth the effort,” wrote Sarah Rauch in a Tiny Buddha post.
Make work-in-progress visible. Leave the paints and brushes in plain view or the uncut leather and tools to work it sitting on a side table. Having them right there will make it easy to resume creating. “When you walk into your space, they should be staring you down,” wrote Jeffrey Silverstein in The Creative Independent’s tips-packed piece on balancing full-time jobs with creative work. Silverstein is a teacher, musician and writer.
Create a good neurochemical balance. This means creating when your serotonin and dopamine are high. Reduce your stress levels with a quick meditation and eat some protein and healthy foods just before you start working – and your creativity may soar.
Develop real deadlines. Deadlines can help focus your mind and your attention. And deadlines that matter work even better. So when your work is due to be hung in a gallery show on Friday, you must have it finished and delivered before then. If you promised a collector they could pick up a piece on Sunday, you want it finished and ready to be wrapped up a day or two before then. For Mint Artists, deadlines exist for the Youth Art Fair in Northville, our Abuela, Grandma, Bibi intergenerational show with Hannan Center and the Palmer Park Art Fair in Detroit.
Use your time well. We all get the same 24 hours a day, so how much time do you spend on social media or watching Stranger Things or other Netflix shows? Oil painter Chelsea Lang writes of training herself to be a morning person so her art comes first (before her day job). She also evaluated which activities distract from art-making without giving her leisure time joy. Yes, this means cutting out marginal activities to make time and energy for your creative work.
If you need more inspiration to start creating regularly, read the Mint blog post about artist Judy Bowman setting one big goal and using that to guide her choices, and also Shirley Woodson’s approach of creating many paintings at once.
Start small, perhaps by setting aside three hours a week to make art and see how that blooms into a bigger commitment to your creative future.
Photo:Deva Darshan on Unsplash