Time is what we want most, but what we use worst. – William Penn (1699)
Even in the 17th century they worried about time. We always want more and no one’s figured out yet how to make the day longer.
I’ll get to it…. later…..
Many artists suffer from the misuse of time. Whether it’s not buckling down to consistent work day after day, a disorganized calendar which makes us too busy to be productive. Do you know someone who constantly cries I need more time!
Time management is your best friend as a free lance artist. Because you don’t have a traditional nine to five job, you have to figure out not only when you’re going to work but how long projects are going to take.
Get control of you time
Put writing time in your schedule or calendar.
If you’re not writing consistently, start thinking of it as an appointment you can’t miss. You wouldn’t blow off your doctor (I’ll get there…later) don’t blow off your writing time. If it’s in the schedule, don’t cancel it. Don’t put something else in it’s place, don’t agree to go for coffee. Keep that appointment.
If you don’t like the rigidity of an appointed writing time in your day – then block off times in the calendar where you’re not allowed to schedule anything else. The last week of the month for example.
Overestimate your time. If you’re teaching a workshop, or giving a presentation, don’t just schedule the day. Block off two days before hand. That way you give yourself time to review notes, to prepare, to even just think about what you’re going to do. There’s nothing worse than feeling unprepared or looking unprepared for an event.
Look at your calendar daily. It’s great if you’ve got everything mapped out on your calendar. It’s not great if you never look at it and you make plans on the fly. That’s how you end up double booking, or not giving yourself fully to a project because you’re swamped. Put your calendar on your phone. Have it at your finger tips so that if someone wants you to do a reading, or wants to set up a meeting you can be honest about your time. Which leads to the best tip for time management….
Say no. If someone asks you to do something, and you’re booked up, say no. Don’t imagine you’re going to re-organize your time to make it work. Or that time will magically appear to make it happen. Time never magically appears.
Give yourself time to have a life
Time management is not about being rigid. It’s about being organized, productive, and ultimately giving yourself time to have a life. As artists it’s important that we get out into the world. That we examine humanity. How can we do that if we’re hunched over our work 24/7?
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Groucho Marx