7 Simple Ways to make time for your art

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As I’m now back to a 40+ hour workweek and my art time has become more compressed, I’d like to share ways that I’ve discovered work well for me in my goal to make time for my art. Of course, these ways can work for anyone no matter what your schedule is like.

  1. Turn off the tv. Plain and simple. TV can be such a time sink and before you know it hours have gone by.  The same goes for browsing the internet.
  2. Schedule your art time & make it sacred. Pick a specific day(s) and time(s) and only do art during that time. Tell your family and friends that you’ll be turning off all communication devices and immersing yourself in your art. You and your art are worth it!
  3. Learn to say no. Volunteering and helping can be wonderful and fulfilling commitments. The important part is learning the balance and being in tune to how you feel about the balance of your time. If you feel that you aren’t getting enough time for your art then it’s time to look at the balance. 
  4. Divide art projects into small steps. This works wonders to help you feel like you are accomplishing something and working towards your goal. Once I know what I want to create, I actually write a list of the steps needed to complete a project. I can then check them off as I go along. This might sound very left brained and not supportive of the creative flow but the flow actually happens within the steps. It’s important to be flexible with your steps and rewrite your list, if necessary, as you go along. 
  5. Relax your housework standards. Enough said.
  6. Make your art project portable. Whatever your medium of choice, you can make up a small portable art kit to bring along for creating during the kids’ practices, lunch breaks at work, riding on the train, waiting at the doctor’s office, traveling on a plane.
  7. Carry a notebook/sketchbook with you at all times. Ideas come at all different times not just when I’m sitting in my studio so I always have a notebook with me to jot down observations I make during my day – colors, textures, patterns, the light, nature changes. Anything that inspires me.

What helps you make time for your art?

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11 comments on “7 Simple Ways to make time for your art

  1. Judy says:

    Well said, Karen… I agree with all you’ve listed. Now, to put them into action. What helps me is knowing that I have very little actions on my list, then I can concentrate on my art. If I have too much going on, my art takes a back seat… sad but true.

  2. nina says:

    i’m a lucky gal – my art is my job – lucky, lucky, lucky (except for the no insurance thing and the feast or famine approach to $). my pitfall is the internet; at least with tv, i can sit with a tray of jewelry makings in my lap. i WISH i could do that on all the planes i’ve frequented in the last three weeks (ten), but they don’t look kindly upon metal snips, pliers, wire, and such. i commend you for your diligence, karen – and your goals. xxxooo

  3. Frivolitea says:

    Wonderful list. Excellent ideas! I must add that I combine artmaking with housework. I work alot with paper and glue, so while I am waiting for a piece to dry, I throw in a load of laundry or somesuch. Then I go back to the artwork and take the next step… At least, it works for me.

  4. Great post, Karen! You’re right, once we decide what’s most important, we can find ways to do it. I’m writing a murder mystery and sometimes have a hard time keeping to it–seems like other things tug my mind in other directions. Now I have a notebook on the desk to write those things down in list form, to do AFTER I finish the writing. Settles my mind to know that I everything will get taken care of.

  5. artandtea says:

    Thanks Judy. For sure. There are some things like family and work commitments that have to be taken care of first. That said, however, I think that we can still find a small amount of time during those busy times, even if it’s one hour a week, to sit down with our art. It’s so important to keep it a constant in our lives!

    Very good points, Nina. Yes, there are definitely tradeoffs with any position. I have the security of health insurance (the state of MA fines you if you don’t have it!) but way less time to do the art that I love.

    Thanks Lynn, I love your method of getting your housework done in between steps!

    Thanks Kathleen, great idea to use your notebook to do the “brain drain” so you can settle down to your creative work!

  6. Steph W says:

    Thank you! This is just what I needed!

  7. Autumn says:

    Love these ideas, esp the portable art kit.

  8. artandtea says:

    Thanks Autumn! My Mom always gets a zippered makeup bag as a free gift when she purchases moisturizer and I am usually the lucky recipient of those bags. As I don’t really use makeup, I’ve repurposed them for art supplies!

  9. Amy Crawley says:

    Hi Karen,

    These are all great suggestions. Even though my art is my full time business, I’ve learned that if I don’t schedule blocks of time for select tasks, the “loosey-goosey” side of me takes over and nothing (or very little) gets done. Structure and discipline (as much as I dislike that word) are necessary for me.

    I’d also like to add that using a timer to help one focus on tasks can be helpful. I do this for many tasks, from cleaning to art. This is really helpful with tasks that you don’t want to tackle. Set the timer for at least 15 min, do the deed, and then move on to something else. Do that for several days and you’ll get that dreaded task done. For your art, set the timer for an hour.

    Thanks for the inspiration my friend!

    -Amy

  10. artandtea says:

    Thanks Amy! I know, structure and discipline are such left brained ways of being and, as an artist, I want to be in my right brain most of the time! But we can’t do that – balance is the key. Thanks for the great suggestion about the timer. I’ll have to try that with the tasks I keep procrastinating on. Those are the most challenging and giving myself a set time to delve into them is a great idea to get into doing the task.

  11. doras_explorations says:

    Excellent suggestions, Karen ! They apply also to someone like me who is retired……..It is way too easy to waste time when one has time, because there’s always ‘later’. There’s something to be said for time pressure and deadlines ! My biggest time gobbler is the Internet. I don’t Twitter or IM or do chat rooms, but I can’t stay away from Flickr because of all the eye candy!

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