How Can We Be More Productive Artists?
Artists are like sharks in the sense that they need to keep moving to survive and to thrive. It is often said that if a shark stops moving, they will die. If an artist is not growing they are artistically dying. That movement for the artist is their time working on their art.
There are no finish lines or pragmatic levels of achievements for the artist as there are in other careers. Art is not a career that one can measure in common terms. There are no promotions or company perks that come on schedule.
So how can this seemingly unbalanced and formless career bring balance to the artist? They need to use the tools of the “non-artists” to rein in their wandering, creative and active minds. One of these tools is time management.
I have read many books on the subject of time management and most of them are not geared towards the visual artist. They are directed at the office manager or business person within the corporate structure. When I first began reading these books on time management I was a little disheartened. As an artist, I feel that I am the polar opposite of these corporate types who can naturally schedule their time within day planners and business meetings.
Just as we pose the model to capture what we want to express, so could be the time management techniques we capture to produce the work.
An example of making one of the principles work for the artist is the concept of scheduling their day and avoid little distractions that can mess up such a schedule. These little distractions of the day, such as unnecessary meetings, checking emails several times a day, are just a few of the silent assassins of effective time management.
The largest percentage of fine artists today must have regular 9-5 jobs to pay the bills. The artist today is no stranger to the corporate life although I honestly feel that the artist has no affinity for the corporate world. This mixture is oil and water.
We can, however learn from our time in the corporate world. At the easel or drawing board we need to be just as careful with our time. The easel is where our business happens. Just as for the corporate manager, one rule that the artist should set for themselves is to limit or prohibit checking email or social media while in the studio. Independent studies have proven that limiting social media and checking e-mail throughout the work day increases productivity by leaps and bounds. There are many other ways the artist can claim back time that has been wasted away of their own accord.
The artist can take back some of that lost time each and every day. Just one hour of intense and uninterrupted time dedicated to painting or drawing is worth a week of thoughts wishing they could get the energy to begin.
I definitely suggest picking up some powerful books on time management. Remember that they don’t need to be geared for the artist. We artists definitely know how to adapt to and create opportunities to find the time, and space to work. Learn the skills to become better time managers and better artists.