Artist Time Management - What is My Typical Day?
I start out every day with a glass of wine, some Mozart playing, meditate for an hour, and then start painting. Just kidding I wish! I have kids, a husband AND I'm running a one-woman art business -- so, a typical day is what I'd call "controlled chaos" regardless, here is what a typical day looks like for me.
Monday through Friday, my schedule looks something like this:
4:30 am - 6:00 am: Get My Mind Right: coffee pot is scheduled to go off and I get into my studio to paint in my PJs. I put on noise-canceling headphones and listen to "My Soundtrack" on Amazon and Paint!. This is by far my favorite part of the whole day. I try to post pictures onto Instagram of the morning's success or failures
6:00 am - 7:30 am: Time for School: At 6:00 my watch alarm goes off to tell me to stop what I'm doing and it's time to get the kids ready. So I'm off rousing the kids for school, make breakfast, get changed for the gym, and take the kids to school.
9:00 am - 10:00 am: Prep for Studio Time: I try to get ready as fast as I can so I can get into my studio again and take the dogs for a walk.
10:30 - 12:00 pm: Creative Time: this is either painting, drawing, anything where I create something. The key is to stay off the computer and avoid the squirrel moments
12:30 - 2:20 pm: Computer Time: I keep a list of things I need to do on the computer so when this time comes I can be focused on it. This could be writing blog posts (which I'm trying to be better about), scan in paintings, photoshop the paintings into settings, find new settings, edit videos, social media, email, budget, accounting - there is sooooo much to do!!!
2:20 - 3:20 pm: Get the Kids: My watch alarm goes off at 2:20 pm to remind me to stop what I'm doing to go pick up the kids. They used to ride the bus, but I've found that this break from my studio to the car rider line is an amazing way to get my brain to switch to mom-mode.
3:20 - 8:30pm: Family time. I'm supposed to stay off the phone, iPad, and be with the family. This is sooo hard but I don't want the guilt trips of "you work too much" - it's hard for me to call what I do work cause I love it so much. My daughter doesn't remember when I worked for the corporate world, where I did work all the time from 7 am - 10 pm and traveled and they were in daycare - it's funny how she doesn't remember that. So, while I find this segmented time often difficult for me to do, I know it is valued time with my family.
8:30 - 9:00 pm: Decompress Time: I decompress by picking up, putting things away, prepping coffee, set up my studio to start again in the morning and sitting to read.
9:00 pm: Bedtime At 9 pm my watch is set to go off again to tell me to go to sleep.
Best Laid Plans....
Of course, not every day is as streamlined as I intend it to be. When the kids get sick or when we have an appointment the whole schedule falls out of alignment. But the one thing I try to do consistently is get up at 4:30 and go to sleep at 9:00, sometimes this goes wrong when the kids get sick - why is it they get sick a 3 am? Anyway, I try to schedule all appointments and meetings on one day so I can get the most studio time to run my business, and yes, art is a business.
Did I mention I used to be a project manager and even managed a team of project managers? I'm pretty organized and when I find something that has a pain point I look for solutions and modify routines and processes to address the pain point. The schedule I strive to do, removed a lot of pain points. It took me years to get to this schedule.
Is this typical for an artist?
As far as the typical day goes I don't think there is a typical artist day - we all have our most productive times (for me it's the morning), we all have different family, physical and spiritual needs. I know there are artists who look at my schedule and say (and I quote) "I'd love to be that organized" and I do provide tips based on what works for me, but you see - my schedule, my organizational skills are a must for me to be sane and get all the things I want to get done...done.
If you are looking for a schedule to run your art business and your life, I've put together a worksheet available to Positive Painter Members, to help you identify your pain points, proposed solutions, identify your most productive time and start to develop a routine that meets your needs.
You might also like this article: Why I paint at 4:30 am?: Artist Time Management