You’re probably a busy person. You have external commitments, whether it’s family, work or school. Art has always been your safe haven, but then you realise that you simply don’t have the time for it like how you used to…
Truth is, you actually do.
Everyone has 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. It’s all about how you split your time. In the end, time management doesn’t exist (I mean you can’t control a depreciating asset – something that you can never get back). What does exist though, is self-management. If art is something important in your life, there’ll always be time for it.
1. Plan out your week beforehand
This is something I learnt from Stephen Covey in his book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ (really recommend this book by the way, it’s a great read). We’d usually plan our day at the start of it; however, it’ll give you tunnel vision. There is the tendency to get fixated on specific tasks, which isn’t a bad thing, but you always want to pace yourself and reduce burn out.
Before a new week begins, note down your art goal for the week. It could be something small like spending 15 minutes a day doing a sketch every day. You’ll automatically turn art into one of your priorities. When you plan at the start of the week, you get a bird’s eye view of your commitments.
Now, imagine planning to slip in art at the beginning of each day. With other commitments happening at the same time, you’ll probably put off art.
A tip: trade that time you use watching a silly video to work on your art piece instead. It really works!
2. Be flexible and realistic
If you devote 15 minutes a day to art, don’t pressure yourself into completing a masterpiece within that timeframe. Remember: your goal is to make time for art. It’s not about producing masterpieces.
I spend around 30 minutes to an hour a day working on mellowpaints. I try to finish 2 drawings/paintings within an hour; so that’s around 30 minutes for each. Is everything I produce a masterpiece? Am I satisfied every single time? Nope, and nope.
More often than not, I don’t end up posting works I’m dissatisfied with. But I wouldn’t consider it a waste of time. At the end of the day, it’s about refining a skill – and that takes dedication and time.
Be realistic with your own art progress, and know that it’s OK to make mistakes or work you’re not proud of!
3. Make your art portable
This may not be applicable to you if you’re a traditional artist. For myself, this was the main reason why I made the switch to digital. Because I use my laptop for school, I always bring my Wacom tablet with me. Whenever I have a break or some down time, I whip it out and work on mellowpaints.
If you’re a traditional artist, don’t fret! You can work with your pencil and a sketchbook. If you do traditional painting, bring a few brushes and your core colours (as I call it, paints you always use). Light and portable.
Again, we’re working on the premise of flexibility and improvement. Masterpieces can always be worked on when you can dedicate full focus to it.
4. Always recuperate
As with any creative hobby, art can take up a lot of brainpower. Be wary of turning something relaxing into a source of stress.
This was my downfall during my second attempt at mellowpaints. I forced myself to paint even though I burnt out. I forced myself to take time lapse videos in awkward positions, just to get the right shot. Was it worth it? Hell no. I only started to hate painting.
If you don’t feel inspired to create, you don’t have to. Creativity can’t be pushed or forced. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you settle with the mentality of laziness. Feeling uninspired and lazy are two very different things. Only you can truly discern how you’re feeling.
Take your time to get inspired again. You could go for a walk, listen to some music, or my favourite method: changing your creative environment. Clear out clutter, clean up your workspace, get organised (even if it’s organised chaos). In no time, that artist block will pass.
I hope these 4 tips have helped you in some ways! I truly understand what it’s like to be busy. However, I’ve come to learn that busyness is a form of laziness (thank you Dan Lok). A filled schedule doesn’t mean you’re effective. You can always make time for the things you love.
Best of luck!