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Thread: Time Management

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Thanked 1,471 Times in 723 Posts

    Time Management

    For those of us that aren't paid artists (and probably for many of those who are), 'life' can sure get in the way of studying art. Take... uh, me for example. I go to school (two majors and a minor), work, and have a pretty hectic schedule. Basically if I want to sit down and focus on a personal project, it means I have to pull an all-nighter, which I'm reluctant to do most of the time because it greatly affects how well I can study the next day (which means Friday nights are my big art binge time). During the summer, I'm going to be working 60 hours a week (which I'm very thankful for, pays tuition), working out, helping my parents out around the house, and taking online classes. I see all these as essential parts of my life, none of which I mind doing, but it leaves me with very little time to pursue improving my artistic skill. I'm certain I want to pursue art as my career, but looking at the skill level of many of the people on this site, I feel like it's going to be near impossible to catch up (you can look at my deviant gallery if you like (check my sig)... I don't think I'm hopeless, but man do I have a lot of work to do!).

    But this topic isn't about me, I'm just using myself as an example. What I want to know is what sort of tips, practical or otherwise, people may have for managing the necessities of life in order to work on their true passion, art. I know I'm not the only one here with a busy schedule... so how do you guys do it? :o

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Thanked 186 Times in 109 Posts

    Time management = setting priorities

    There are 24 hours in a day.
    Of those 24 hours you probably sleep roughly 8 of them.
    Then you have 16 hours remaining. In those 16 hours you have to fit everything you do, study, social stuff, working out and developing your art.
    Let's assume your 16 hours are completely scheduled.
    You can do two things: cut time from one thing and spend it on something else. To put this in other words, if you want a career in art and you think you need to practice more you need to cut time somewhere else. Drop one of your majors or the minor, don't work out, don't help your parents, don't work in the holidays. Spend all that time on art.

    If you don't want an art career that bad, there is another option. Finding idle time. I've done a huge part of my study while travelling with public transport. It was about 1.5 hours single trip 4 days/week so I had 12 hours/week to study. Time I didn't need to spend at study while at home.
    Recently I went to work with public transport for about 2 months and I could easily have finished reading some books or making some drawings. When travelling with public transport there is a lot of waiting involved (at least for me).

    Same what I'm doing now. I'm running some heavy function on our system that causes my entire session to lock up. It will take some time so I can't do much work there. At the moment I'm posting on CA, but on other times I'm reading business documents or working on other things. But I could also draw something, like I did last week.

    Bottom line: take a sketchbook with you at all times and use every idle moment to draw. That's the easiest part.
    Next learn to set priorities. Can you get good enough for a job in art if you practice more? If so, what of your current activities could you skip? Not entirely but if you help your parents for 2 hours instead of 4 and you draw those two hours, will they get mad at you? Do you want the body of an athlete which requires 3 hours/day of workout or will a regular body you can have with one hour/day be enough for you?
    How important is art for you and what are you willing to give up for it?

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Berlin - Germany
    Thanked 106 Times in 84 Posts

    I don't know, I guess people study what they want to do, what are you studying? If it's not art, why not?

    Maby May be read a book on time management or... :o
    60 hours of week of 'work' doesn't sound fun or conducive to getting better at what you want to do though.
    I mean, sure you have to survive and work, but, you're a student, you should have time to study what you need to, to get into a job you want to do later, if your parents aren't on the virge of bankruptcy and or you're not starving, take a while to do what you want and see if you can't make it what you need.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Virginia, USA
    Thanked 408 Times in 235 Posts
    I've got a lot of respect for people who can pull of busy schedules, but remember to give yourself some time to breathe...otherwise you're gonna burn yourself out.

    If you don't already, carry a small blank book with you...something that's gonna be easy to access. Get an idea while you're walking to class? Write it down en route. Professor running a bit late? Sketch some thumbnails, quick gestures, etc. Although I don't recommend drawing during traffic jams...I have. >_> Basically, if you can get your planning out of the way by using up small bites of extra time, you'll have even more time available to work on the actual piece.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Thanked 1,471 Times in 723 Posts
    I am studying art, majoring in Illustration and Digital Art, minoring in Graphic Design. My school doesn't really push the students that hard though, so I have to do a lot of learning on my own. As for work, those hours are pretty essential. My parents aren't in a position to help with tuition, and scholarships, loans and financial aid only knock out about two thirds of tuition (which sounds like a lot, but that still leaves me with several grand that I have to earn over the summer). I'm not set on being a super-athlete or anything, but I do want to work out an hour and a half or so most days, just so I can feel reasonably good about myself and be healthy. I could sacrifice this, but I don't think it's a wise idea to sacrifice one's health (not that I would be sickly I guess). I need the online classes if I want to graduate on time, and my parents are basically supporting me for free, so not helping them would be pretty ungrateful. I'm not saying this to complain, just sort of thinking my priorities out loud. I mean don't get me wrong, art is a huge priority for me, but right now I just don't think it would be wise to get rid of other things. I might have to wait until I graduate to really focus in on what I want to do... depressing D:

    Carrying a sketchbook with me is something I definitely need to get in the habbit of doing. Actually it just occured to me... at my summer job we usually get 2 or three hours of driving time a day. Last year I was one of the only people with a liscence, so I had to the driving, but if that's changed this year then that would be an excellent chance to do some sketches.

    Thanks for the comments, appreciate it

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Thanked 700 Times in 293 Posts
    It's a tough balancing act. Sometimes I'll sacrifice my body a bit (cut back on exercise) and my sanity (cut back on relaxation & meditation) to get more time for art outside of work, but I can only do that so long before the two things I've sacrificed start affecting the art I'm doing. If I'm stressed out and achy I tend to be much less effective when I do have time to paint. But if I do everything I need to to keep my body & mind fresh I have very little time left to paint. So I go back and forth.

    One thing I can recommend is to do something very small every day to keep things moving- a sketch of a simple object from life, a composition sketch, a self portrait, anything that interests you. Like working out, a little bit each day can be more effective than bigger workouts sporadically.

    Then find regular times on top of that when you definitely can and will work for longer periods on top of that, and really stick to them. It doesn't have to be huge amounts of time- it's more important to be regular. Leave other times free for relaxation and seeing friends. I find if I'm not regular the whole thing goes to hell and I get very little done. It's tough sometimes when friends are going out and doing something fun on the nights I work on art, but in the long run it's much more frustrating when I don't get the art done.

    It can also be very helpful to scale back your expectations to something realistic given your time and work habits. You need to find things that are conducive to the schedule you can keep.

    And definitely always keep a small sketchbook on you.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    New Haven, CT
    Thanked 973 Times in 520 Posts
    If you are really CERTAIN that you want art as a career, you need to make time for it. A lot of things that we tend to think of as "essential", usually aren't. As soon as you put something in a non negotiable box, then your ability to make changes plummets. As an example, working out for an hour and a half? Admirable, but far from necessary. You can be healthy spending 20 minutes, especially if you are already in decent shape. 2 majors and a minor? Again, admirable for trying to pull it off, but for what? If art is what you are CERTAIN you want to do, it should be ranking as a much higher priority.

    You have to make some tough choices sometimes. You may need to sacrifice for something you really want. Get less sleep, get less exercise, go out less, work a more manageable job... whatever it takes. If you aren't willing to sacrifice something, don't be surprised when you never find the time.

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