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There have been so many days in the past where it seemed that I never had enough time to do what mattered most, my artwork.
I know I was busy throughout the day I was working on stuff doing things from the moment I woke up till the moment I went to bed.
But I remember so many days where I would look back at my day and ask myself. what did I accomplish? I had no idea, I didn’t feel like accomplished anything.
Because everything I did was low priority and didn’t move me forward on what mattered most.
I felt like I wasted the day. So many days…
It was tremendously discouraging.
Hear I was, an artist, that wasn’t doing art.
I was doing a whole bunch of other stuff but I wasn’t doing art.
Until one day, I found this amazing tool, or to put it more accurately, I heard the same thing repeated so many times that I could help but wise up.
I’ve heard it described by:
Peter Druker on of the most influential thinkers in management
So when all those amazing creators suggest the same thing, I’m going to listen and do it.
Which I did and it changed everything.
The tool is to measure you day.
Conduct a complete audit, a log, of everything you do throughout the day then use the audit to gain an understanding of where all your time goes and make adjustments.
The result that we want to go for here is to gain an understanding of what we are doing that is not serving our art practice, make adjustments and create time for what we want to do most.
Here is how you do it.
Make a list of all the things you’d LOVE to do if you only had the time. (Seriously: What’s ONE thing that comes to mind as a “Wow. I wish I had time to do THAT!”?)
For the next few days write down EVERYTHING you do from the moment you wake-up till the time you go to bed.
Don’t change your normal routine.
Record what you typically do without embellishment or judgment.
Don’t fudge the numbers.
If you spend two hours watching TV mark it down without judgment, it’s all good.
The purpose of this exercise is to give you an understanding on how you spend your time.
Try to be very accurate here and account for every minute of the day as small as 15 minute chunks.
It’s also important that you record time on your weekends when your schedule has changed because your not working.
It may sound like a lot of effort but it’s not. Make it simple with a pencil and paper.
As you track your time, pay attention to society’s biggest time sucks.
- Social media
- The internet in general (shopping, scrolling, rabbit holes)
- Inefficient meal planning and prep
- Traffic and commuting
- Television (yes, Netflix counts)
- Running errands (non essential, or could be planned during less creative, high-energy times of your day)
- Being on your cell phone for whatever reason (talking, texting, gaming, YouTube, podcasts)
One recent study estimates that Americans spend nearly fiver hours a day on their phones! Yikes!
Even Steve Jobs would limit how much time his family used technology at home.
Chris Anderson, CEO of 3DR and former editor of Wired Magazine puts stringent rules in place for his family. To an interviewer he said that he’s seen the dangers of technology first hand and doesn’t want to see the same happen to his kids.
“It begs the question: If some of the world’s most powerful tech pioneers don’t allow unlimited screen time in their homes, why should we?”
We can appreciate the amazing technology we have today. But part of that appreciation is to understand its hazards. Don’t let screens suck your life away.
Compare your daily log with the things that you would LOVE to do. Any insights?
Here’s the most important step:
When your looking at these two lists. Think about yourself at 95 years old. What artistic accomplishments do you want to achieve with this one precious life of yours? Is your daily log taking you closer to those accomplishments or pulling you away?
Here is some examples of time you could save.
30 minutes a day on your phone or social media = 182.5 hours a year. Or 22 full 8-hour work days.
If I remove that from my life that is almost of month of 8 hour days. I could finish a whole bunch of paintings in that time.
60 minutes a day on news, email and gossip = 365 hours a year, 45 full work days.
Cut this out and you now have the time to build a portfolio of art.
90 minutes a day watching tv, 547.5 hours a year, 68 full work days.
With that much time I could build a website, show all the art I’ve created and begin selling.
Within a few days of doing this you can gain a clarity on the true direction of your life so powerful that it could change everything for you.
That’s what happened to me. I ended up with a lot more time to do things that really mattered in my life and I’m certain it can do the same for you.
After you’ve done this you’re going to have some extra time on your hands. So maybe get started on the next painting project. But if your like me, even if you have the time, one of the hardest things to do is get started on a painting. No worries. I can help you there also.
Check out this video here that I guarantee will help you get motivated to get started on your next painting quickly.
Have a wonderful week!