Time Managment for Artists

Time management has never been my strength, but I have learned ways around it.

I’m the kind of person that thinks in blocks of time instead of by a schedule. I also have a nasty problem with only being able to draw when I’m in the right mood. It’s the product of my OCD but is still a hurdle for everyday life, when everyone else expects you to work with precise timimg.

Still I’ve learned a few things over the years:

If you work in blocks of time, then commit to it. I’ve had struggles with sitting down for my work at a good time but then getting distracted or not having anything in my head. For art, it means major creative block.

I learned from an episode of Writing Excuses that if the blank page “mocks you” then you sit and force yourself to write, even if it’s crap. I’ve harnessed that mentality in art by letting myself just sketch whatever, even just shapes.

Treat your time jealously. If you were working a regular job, your boss would expect you to be at work on time. Treat your work space like your office and be at your desk or studio when you told yourself you would be. Then block out other distractions (especially if you are easily distracted).

Beware of burnout. Remarkably, time management isn’t always about being a workaholic. With my sensitive mental disposition, I’m more aware that I need breaks from work. The mentality of getting things done is draining so letting myself slack off at time is helpful. Sometimes when your daydreaming or distracted is when creative problems find solutions.

You don’t want to let yourself burnout by being mindful 24/7, so take time to sharpen the ax with relaxation. Read books, play games, watch tv, or go out with friends. Use whatever will recharge your batteries so you can be back at it with renewed vigor.

Take health seriously. Time management means nothing if you are sick or depressed. Even if funds are a main concern, you can talk to someone about how you feel. Physical issues like colds, broken bones, or viruses are best looked at by a doctor, but I know not everyone can afford a psychiatrist.

Apart from scheduling doctor’s appointments, make sure you’re in regular contact with people you trust to talk about your feelings. The catharsis of venting properly or just airing problems out is immeasurably valuable until you can see a professional.

Art School

Remarkably I would not recommend art school to aspiring artists. It may be from my personal experiences but art school is the quickest way to kill real inspiration. As much as I loved learning about the “rules” of art and design, there are lasting issues that still stunt my growth.

Now everyone is different, and there are probably people who would be well suited for an art school. From what I’ve seen, the ones to get out unscathed are few and far between. I thought it took very little to injure my determination but it turned out that my depression really stunted my art career.

Depression hits more college age students today than before, and it’s growing. I fear that will not change much, unless there is a major revamp of university life.

But I will say this to my rising seniors: if you want to go to art school, don’t let people stop you. Art as a career is truly a noble path, and I wouldn’t change my own decision for anything. If you have the drive to get into the field, do it my whatever path you choose!