Time Management for the Artist

Happy new year, everyone! As 2012 begins and we move out of the holiday season and back into a more normal working routine, it’s natural to be considering what you’ll be doing with the year ahead, how you want to use it, and what your priorities will be. Of course, much of this kind of thinking relates to your personal life, in a way separate to the part of your life which is involved with creating art, although naturally a connection exists between the rest of your life and your artistic process. But it’s also a good time to consider what you want to do specifically with your art in the coming year, identify some of the challenges you might face, and think of ways to manage them

One aspect many artists worry about is time management. Sometimes it can seem as if there are such a lot of things competing for your time and efforts that it’s impossible to decide between them, and nearly impossible to do them all. To tell whether you really are taking on too much, you need to analyze your tasks and how much time things should take. It may be that you need to say ‘no’ to certain projects, or put others off until a quieter time. Don’t let guilt or a fear of missing an opportunity force you into taking on more than you can handle; in the end, you’ll only end up shortchanging something or even everything you’re doing in a desperate attempt to do it all.

fried-mudd-studio-1Often, however, getting everything you want to do done is just a matter of managing your time effectively. To do this, you need to work out your priorities. What is most important to you? What balance of time and energy do you want to give to the different demands in your life? You’re the only one who can know this, and it’s important to work it out before you start trying to work out any kind of schedule for you time. If your priority this year is getting into a gallery, or entering a number of fine art competitions, then you need to put a lot of time aside for achieving this, and not end up spending all your time in your studio sculpting or painting, however tempting that might be.

Once you have decided on your priorities, you need to sit down and work out what time is available for art-related work during your week. This varies enormously from person to person; some artists do most of their art-related work at the weekend, while others have made it a full-time job that takes place between 9am and 5pm. Others work best at night, or only in the early morning. You know what time you have, and unless you can change the other factors in your life to accommodate an alternative arrangement, it’s vital to be able to work effectively in the time you have, whether that’s 2 hours a week, or 40.
cathy-sketchbookYou need to make sure everyone around you knows when your ‘art hours’ are and that they are times when you should not be disturbed for anything trivial. Whether you’re making phone calls to galleries and collectors, emailing buyers and readers, making arrangements for participation in an art fair, or working on a piece of artwork, you need to be able to concentrate on it and give it your full attention as much as is possible. If for some reason you’re having trouble focusing on your task one day, or one week, use the time that you couldn’t paint in to make calls, or the time when you couldn’t get through to anyone on the phone to write your next email. There are always other things waiting to be done. Then, you can do the postponed task during time set aside for whatever you ended up doing instead.

Despite all of this planning, you have to accept the fact that your ideal schedule will probably vary according to the other things going on in your life. It’s important to realize this from the beginning, or you risk experiencing continual unnecessary frustration and irritation that will make enjoying life harder and won’t help your art either. Just as you’ll sometimes have to rethink how to spend the time spent doing art-related work, you’ll sometimes need to give less time than you’d like to it at all, as other things take priority. However, it works the other way around as well – there will be weeks when things worked out more easily than expected, or some other plan was canceled, and you have more time for art than you expected. Don’t worry about this natural fluctuation; expect it and simply try to use your time well doing whatever needs to be done in the moment. This fantastic article was taken from agora art gallery blog.

 

 

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