Sick of feeling unproductive? How to make time for your Creative Outlet
No this is not a boring lesson on Time Management!! (well kind of but a little more realistic and relatable)
If we're thinking realistically... taking time out everyday for your creative outlet or hobby may seem like a lot. ESPECIALLY, if you work a full time job as I do. You only have the after-work fatigue time, or the wee hours of the night to work on your craft.
Then the weekend hits and all you want to do is hang out with friends and family, go out to eat, or spend your well-earned pay check on a night out in Boston. Your free time is your free time to do what you choose, but if you're anything like me, and feel like you could use some more of that time, then read some tips I've put to the test since starting my art business that have truly changed my life.
1. Minimize your distraction time
Or as the Italians say "dolce far niente": the sweetness of doing nothing. Everyone enjoys doing nothing every now and then. But when is doing nothing too much?
I think of my distraction time as any time spent aimlessly scrolling through Instagram & Facebook, watching Netflix shows/movies that I'm not learning much from, taking naps, OR plain old being lazy. Trying to minimize this time can be hard, but when you do and replace it with something that is still fun but a little more productive and works toward your goals, you will see how much time you really do have.
IF you think you'll #struggle minimizing this special time then read my next tip...
If you really don't want to give up watching that episode of The Office that you've seen 100 times to focus on your art or hobby, think of ways you can multi-task.
Can you set up Netflix on your phone in your art room and work on your art while you watch it?
Instead of going to the same bar every weekend, maybe you can convince your friends to go to an art gallery opening, craft fair, concert, or some kind of creative social with you...
If you feel you can't do any of the above then keep on readin!
3. Make your distraction time productive time
How can you take what you're already doing every day and make it more productive? Instagram is the biggest distraction in my life 100%. I used to consider it a "distraction" because it took me away from work and into a world of memes and dog videos. Instead of scrolling through Instagram aimlessly as I used to, I started a Business Instagram to connect with other accounts and businesses that inspired me. You can do the same. There's an Instagram account for literally ANYTHING you can think of. Along with following accounts of your interest, also take the time to follow motivational, business, and money saving and investing type accounts as an additional motivator. Once you have found relative people in your community online, take time to promote yourself, your art, and your brand online while here and there: checking on your friend's posts on your personal account. Message people and comment on their work. Scrolling through Instagram with this intent is kind of like doing research on your study to see what's out there. I've found this a great way to feel like you aren't wasting your life staring at other people's lives.
My second largest distraction is Facebook. Instead of spending hours watching videos on Facebook- still spend the occasional hour BUT look into joining Art's Community or Business/ Entrepreneurship Facebook Groups for Networking.
A few I have recently joined are:
Joining 5-10 relative Facebook Groups throws in a little bit of productivity in the meme-filled newsfeed.
Another huge distraction?
N E T F L I X (soon to be Disney+ distraction)
Turn Netflix into an inspirational time by watching art, music, creativity, business, or anything that relates to your outlet- type shows. Because yes those types of shows are out there.
Here are my favorite creative shows on Netflix that keep me inspired and motivated in my industry:
1. "abstract: The Art of Design"- love these unique stories
2. "The Creative Brain"- awesome psychology behind creativity
3."The Pixar Story"- fun and Disney relative!
4. Chefs Table- this one is food related, but is still so interesting and inspiring and I LOVE FOOD!! Always good to hear an inspirational story to motivate yourself with whatever art of hobby you may have.
Music related shows:
YET ANOTHER DISTRACTION WE ALL MAY COME ACROSS?
Y O U T U B E
Instead of watching YouTube Videos that may just drag you down a YouTube Black Hole and lead you to that video where you ask: Why am I watching this and how did I get here? Choose to listen to Podcasts instead! Podcasts are an amazing way to Multi Task! You can listen and learn while you’re creating or taking action. I am still in the stages of discovery with Podcasts, but some I have been listening to while I paint, brainstorm, work, commute, do the dishes, clean my room, exercise (proving my multi tasking point) are:
IN CONCLUSION there was a time in my life when I thought deleting all of Social Media would make me a happier person- would help my focus and appreciation of life.
That was until I realized that that's not the answer at all. The answer was to RE-DIRECT my attention.
If I were to delete all my social media accounts that would just make me insignificant to the greater world.
The answer is not being insignificant, it is being significant for the reasons that matter to you.
So don't be ashamed to put yourself out there. With all I've learned now, it's crazy to think that there was a time I didn't know half this stuff existed. I didn't know there was motivational stuff on Netflix, Podcasts on Spotify, or so many amazing Art accounts on Instagram. In my experience, no one really tells you this stuff, it just has to be discovered by you. To be opened to this world, has changed a lot for me and ESPECIALLY for my motivation!
4. Break your work into pieces
I started to draft a rough timeline that seems to work for me when I have an order that has to be completed. When I say I take it step-by-step I mean there may be one day I only put in 5 minutes toward the piece I'm working on. Another day, maybe a few hours. It is best to keep this flexible so that it really is adjustable with your weekly schedule. Because after all, every week is different. One week you may have dinner plans Tuesday and Thursday night, maybe you're going away over the weekend. Fitting in your art or hobby is just about scheduling it in! With this rough outline, I am never overwhelmed with how much time needs to go into a piece. I just think of it as a continuous work in progress.
I give a guarantee of 10 days to create and finish a custom piece with Carly's Vinyls. This is how I break down those 10 days so they are not overwhelming:
Day 1: Brainstorm: for a day or so, I'll think about the custom order and gather all the information I need to start it. I'll finalize ideas with my customer, and really start to think of an outline
Day 2: Before any physical work, I like to layout any images I may include in a Google Document. This helps contain all the information together and get what I like to think of as a story board. I'll also hop on Pinterest if I'm in need of some inspiration and ideas to build from, but I make sure to always make those ideas my own
Day 3: My first steps of producing the artwork include: picking out a Record to design on with a relative Vinyl Record Cover & Sleeve. This helps me imagine and build a theme, as well as picture the finished product
Day 4: I will start painting the background of the design on the Record
Day 5: Start adding details
Day 6: Add some more details!
Day 7: Space out any images on the piece and start pasting imagery or pictures I've received from the customer
Day 8: Coat Layer 1 (let dry)
Day 9: Coating Layer 2 (let dry again!) Make any edits that may need to be made
Day 10: Finishing spray, and take pictures of the product and send them to the customer!
This is a rough outline, sometimes I'll finish a piece all in one night. Sometimes it’s done in 3-5 days (most of the time, especially when I get really excited about finishing it). But if I have a busy week, or am lacking motivation, this lil guide helps hold me accountable to my 10 day guarantee! Woohoooooooooooo
With this outline, I have continually proven to myself that I know it is possible to create, I just have to start.
Taking action and taking those first steps is the most important part.
LASTLY, if you find it that hard to make time for your hobby... that probably means you don't enjoy it enough and should think about getting into something new!
Thank you so much for reading and tune in bi-weekly for more posts on Off The Record!