There just isn’t enough hours in the day! This is my number one excuse for why I don’t make more artwork, why I don’t exercise like I should, why the dishes aren’t done ect. Who has time when you work 40+ hours a week come home make dinner, have a little time to fuck around then go to bed and do it again in the morning?
Truth is everyone has 24 hours in the day. and there are loads of people out there working full time and still doing great things. This excuse is holding me back and I’m sure it’s holding many other artists and creators back.
I wanted to create and implement a strategy that helps me to get everything done and to reach all of my goals. I wanted to share this strategy to create some accountability, and who knows maybe you could get some use out of it too.
Prioritize the most important things
When you have a lot of things you want to do and get done you have to prioritize. For me this means choosing one or two things that I want to get done more than anything. Last month my focus was to revive this blog and get my Fiverr account up and running. This upcoming month I want to get a print on demand shop open, and plan out my next body of artworks. When I have time off from work these priorities have to be at forefront of my mind so that I’m working toward the big goals and not wasting time on unimportant tasks.
Have one goal to focus on for the whole month
When you have a million things you want to accomplish in the year it feels super overwhelming. But having just one goal that you want to accomplish over the course of a month, suddenly it seems so much more doable. For me this month will be focused on planning out a new body of artworks. Of course I have a whole bunch of other things I want to do and I can still work on those other goals, but if I can accomplish this one thing I’ll be one step closer to my big picture goal.
Write out your big goals
Speaking of big picture goals. You have to write them down to make them real. My last two blog posts were about all of my goals for my art and my other professional goals. I can’t just have my goals floating around in my head. I need to have them written down, this solidifies them for me.
Break them down into smaller goals
After having the big goals written down they have to be broken down into smaller goals. These smaller goals become a step by step guide to how to accomplish all of the big goals. Let me use my big audacious goal as an example. I want make money from my art this year. Well to do that I have to first have art to sell. That can be broken down further into choosing a theme for the art i’m going to make, gathering the resources, sketching, preparing the surface for the painting ect. So a big goal like making a new body of artworks can become a small task of gathering reference photos tonight.
Work hard to grind through the small tasks
After having a list of micro goals for tasks you have to actually take the time to complete them. This is sometimes a big grind. For example last month when I was trying to revive this blog I had to go take good photos of my drawings, import them into my computer and go through each and every single one to do color correction, crop them and export. It took me hours to do, but I had to grind through it to get it done. Working hard through that one small goal is a huge part of how I got my website back up online!
Be selfish with your time
Your time is precious and when there is only so many hours in the day you have to pick and choose what you spend your time on. If you have goals like I do then you have to set aside time specifically for reaching those goals. That means saying no to other things that might want that time. I have trouble saying no to those other things. For example right now I have a goal to spend at least 2 hours drawing or painting in the evenings, but it’s so hard to say no to my boyfriend, Chris, when he wants to watch a movie or play a video game with me. Being selfish with my time is difficult but necessary and is something we all should practice.
Do not put off important things for later
Getting stuff done is kind of like ripping off a bandaid. Starting is the hardest part and sometimes you have to act first and think later. I know procrastination is really hard for some people to overcome. I do it too. I’ll think to myself, “I really should get a print store open” but instead of going and just getting it done I’ll think about doing it. Or say to myself that I need to research more first. Or think that I can’t do it until I have everything perfectly ready. But thinking, researching, and perfecting can really just be a form of procrastination. So stop thinking and just do it!
Spend less time on social media
This is another big obstacle for me. I am always wasting time on social media. Instead of drawing or painting I’ll be on instagram looking at other peoples art. Or instead of writing something for this blog, I’ll be writing comments to memes on reddit. I’d have sooo much more time for art making if I got off of social media. In the future I’ll be experimenting with turning off the wifi in my apartment and see if that helps me get stuff done. I might have to lock up my phone too.
Schedule in your down time too
I think I would drive myself crazy if I didn’t have down time. The best thing I have done for myself is schedule in down time. It gives me time to look forward too. For example the hours after I get home from work and purely for relaxing. I’m not allowed to even think about working during those hours. I can just veg-out on reddit and not feel any guilt at all. So when I’m working I can be fully focused, and when I’m relaxing I can turn off completely. It’s beautiful.
So there it is. All my strategies to have a studio practice when I’m working full time and feel like I don’t have enough hours in the day.
I hope someone out there finds this useful. I know I probably don’t have many people reading this blog yet, but I’m hoping maybe a young artist out there will find this article and get a least a few tips from it.
If you have goals for making art or other personal projects let me know and maybe we can walk together in our journeys.