"Is that the real time? How is that possible!?"
Between marketing, managing your inventory, accounting, grant applications, phone calls, emails, and events, it's difficult to make time for everything in your art career and personal life. While running the business side of things is essential to a thriving art career, we’re willing to bet the joy of handling invoices wasn’t really the reason you became an artist.
Are you struggling to find time to create or just wish you had more of it?
We’ve put together a little exercise in self-reflection that can help you figure out how to gain more time back for your art.
Read through the questions below and answer them honestly. We’ve even attached a handy worksheet you can download, print and fill out as you go!
Your responses will shed some light on your creative process and help improve your time management—including what you need to prioritize, what you should let go, and how you can tweak your schedule to include time for making art.
Because time is a precious commodity and you should spend it doing what you love. Let’s begin!
1. List the things you love spending time on.
What are your favorites things you get to work on as an artist?
I love spending time on: ________________________________________________________________
2. List the things you hate spending time on.
What are tasks involved in your art practice that are your least favorite?
I hate spending time on: ________________________________________________________________
Next, circle the things on both lists that help your art business succeed. Cross out the ones that do not help. Think about ways you could either group or spread out the tasks you dislike (but have to do) to get them done more quickly.
3. List the ways you procrastinate.
I procrastinate by: ________________________________________________________________
Procrastination can be part of the creative process. But, are there better ways you could be spending your downtime? Write them down here.
4. List the things you need to improve upon.
I need to practice: ________________________________________________________________
Artists are always learning and improving. But, not fully understanding how to do something takes more time. Make time to practice the things on this list.
5. List the things that get you out of your head.
The things that get me out of my head are: ________________________________________________________________
Creative block and self-doubt happen to everyone, but it can take valuable time away from making your art. The next time you experience these blocks, turn to these actions to help clear your mind.
6. List your daily routines.
My personal routine is: ________________________________________________________________
My work routine is: ________________________________________________________________
7. List what interrupts your time creating.
The things that interrupt me are: ________________________________________________________________
Circle the things you have control over, like checking social media or emails. Make a plan to keep those distractions at bay, such as putting your cell phone in a drawer when you get to the studio.
8. List the ways you can protect your time and energy.
I can protect my time and energy by: ________________________________________________________________
Work-life balance is important. What needs to change? For example, you may want to implement a “no interruptions” policy for certain hours in the studio, as well as block out a time each day for a much-needed break. Add these ideas to your list.
9. List what gets your creativity flowing.
My peak creative time is: ________________________________________________________________
The things that inspire my art are: ________________________________________________________________
The actions I take to feel creative are: ________________________________________________________________
When you understand your creative process, the faster you will be able to harness it.
10. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your organization skills?
I’d rate my organization skills at a: ________________________________________________________________
Rate yourself 1-10. Reflect on why you gave yourself that rating. Because the more time you spend dealing with chaos in the studio, the less time you have for your art.
11. List all of the tools you use to save time.
The time-saving tools I use are: ________________________________________________________________
Review your list, and ask yourself if there are any tools you should be using. What processes could you add to your workflow that would help you save time? Write them down.
12. Make a schedule.
My ideal week looks like this: ________________________________________________________________
The last step!
What’s left? The best part—making artwork.
Download and print the step-by-step worksheet here so you can check back in on your answers and stay on track.
It’s easy to get bogged down in business tasks because you want your art career to succeed. Keep your passion and energy alive so you can keep moving forward as an artist. In the end, it’s all about balance!