THE WAITING GAME

No one is ever 100% productive. No one is ever 100% efficient. No one has 100% of their time to spend on their art. And anyone who says they are either has a rich partner, or a support team who takes care of everything else, or is lying through their teeth speaking metaphorically.

Even if we are amazingly focused and disciplined about making our art, life happens. The kids get sick, the dog gets sick, we get sick. People (and dogs) die. The power goes out. (Yes, even here in “sunny California”, where we’ve had 15″ of rain, including a whopper storm that just left, and yes, some people did lose power.) Heck, sometimes we just run out of paint/clay/paperclips.

Today on Fine Art Views, a writer shared how they maximize their creative time in the studio. They maximize their time spent on other tasks, su as that 30 minute wait at the doctor’s office, and that 4-hour airplane trip.

And so, here are a few of mine.

The most basic tool I’ve found for time management is some sort of daily planner. I used to use those expensive fancy ones, until I kept losing them and having to fall back on my old standby: The lowly composition book.

composition-books

I really need to not use just black-and-white books. Too confusing! And WOW, September was a busy month!!

This actually works better for me, because the task list for some days are very brief (nothin’ much on the page after your colonoscopy exam  health procedures. And other days, there is so much to do, so much information to record, so many things to keep track of, I need more than one page. With a composition book, I can use as many or as few pages as I need, and I can tape or staple important notes, business cards, or sales flyers in there, too.

But even more important than a place to write and plan is this helpful little question to ask myself before starting anything:

What needs to happen before that?

I learned this concept years ago, and wrote about it here. It really helps to sort out your “next step”.

And the reason this can maximize your time in the studio is, so many times we get to the studio to “work”–and realize we’ve left that one critical thing we need at home. Or we’ve forgotten to get that critical little task completed, or forgot to order that crucial supply.

There I am, at the studio, as planned, and I can’t finish the one thing I’d established as the priority of the day.

Here’s a perfect example: I’m back on track with my fiber collage work. I’ve got half a dozen works in progress. I have a couple pieces ready to frame. I have great new ideas for the next projects.

I arrived at my studio, ready to get to work. But when I went to frame one fragment, I realized I was missing a backing board. And everything ground to a halt.

Easily fixed. When I got back home, I put together what I need for the next couple projects. I realized I was out of other sizes and colors of mats. I researched sources, and found a great local mat source. I placed an order, and can pick it up today.

And realized that all this happened because I hadn’t followed my own rule:

Write down ALL the steps that have to happen before a task can be considered completed.

Who has time to do that?? you may well ask.

Well….that 30 minutes in the waiting room? That’s a good time.

That four-hour flight? That’s a great time to layout your goals for the next month. Or even the rest of the year. (Er…just in case that was one of your New Year’s resolutions that never actually made it into reality.) (Not me, of course.) (WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT AND SNIGGERING???)

And here’s the last tip that really works for me, when I remember to do it:

When you stop for the day, leave your work at a place where you can easily pick it up again the next time.

It’s so much easier to get right down to work if you can easily see what your next step is.

Or, if you’ve completely finished your current project, set up for your next one before you leave. This is also a good way to know if you have everything you need to get started. If you don’t, well, you know what to do once you get home. (Or, if your friendly art supply store is still open, pick it up on your way home!)

These tips work really well for me, when I remember to do them! Which reminds me….

Where’s my notebook?? I need to write this down….

 

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6 thoughts on “THE WAITING GAME

  1. As always, thanks for the epiphanies… I’ve gotten stuck on something for months and later realized it was something simple like this.

    Or like not having a clean 6″ square to work in 😉 Working on that part this week.

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  2. Great advice! Now to remember to follow it!
    I’ve been writing a “Sunday summit” once a week for a few years now. First I list my “ta-dahs” of the previous week. Next, those things that fell through the cracks. Then my “Aha’s”, and finally, my “to-do’s” for the week ahead. Sure, sometimes it gets written on Monday or Tuesday, but no matter when I write it, it always helps keep me focused.
    It would be very helpful to add writing down all the “back-steps” to my “to-do” list. Thanks!
    Aloha, Patrice

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is genius. Of course, I am unlike to follow such sensible instructions, but I am going to try and implement some of them. (I used to do that book thing, when I started out, but somewhere felt I had run out of time to do it. Hum. Mefinks that’s coz I stopped 😉)

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    • Dawn, and that’s why I’m here–just in case you stop by! 🙂
      I am constantly falling off my horse. But l’ve become accomplished at getting back on, and that’s what really matters.
      Er–maybe I should send you a black-and-white composition book?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fotfl. When I opted for VR, aka early retirement (at 43) in 2014, along with a wheelbarrow, a slow cooker and other handy gifts, my colleagues gave me a glut of beautiful notebooks…so I could write down what I was doing each day, enabling me to look back and see where my time went. One is filled with jewellery designs (tick) one is stuttery with things I did (half tick) the other 4 are plaintively sitting in my bookcase, beneath my dapping tools waiting for me to use them. Properly, ’cause they’m so pretty!
        I will look one out to start in the new year, and see how I progress! Thanks. And have a fabulous festive season.

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