It can be really hard when we’re busy to make time for art. Here are some time management tips for artists to help you make time for art and creativity.
Busy means different things to different people. It may be that you’re a parent with children to look after. You could be a caregiver for somebody. You could have a full time job or a second job. There are things like housework to fit in, exercise, seeing friends – there’s just so many things that we have to actually do in our daily lives that sometimes you think “the one thing that I really want to do, I don’t have any time for”. Here are 5 ways you can make the most of your time and find time to make art.
The first thing which I found really helped is have a dedicated space ready with your materials on hand. It doesn’t have to be a whole studio. It can just be a tiny corner of a room in the house. If you’ve got some materials laid out there already, you can just pick them up and almost go instantly. If you have to spend time setting things up and prepping things and getting ready and bringing them out, it’s more of a kind of deterrent to get started. Have them there, and you will more be inclined to actually start and get some creative time in. Having them ready means you don’t waste your time getting things ready if your creative time is limited as well!
Number two is check how much time you’re actually wasting. This is not a nice one. Nobody likes to do this! But we’re like “I’m so busy, I’ve got no time”, and actually, when we start to write down how your time is spent in a day we start to see where we’re wasting time. It could be a lot of time scrolling social media, it could be that you watch Netflix for a couple of hours, that could be all those little things, or just that you’re a bit disorganised.
When you actually break it down, you may realise that you could free up more time in your day. Have a look at where your time’s actually going, and you might be surprised by that. Ultimately, if you want to create, then it should really take priority over some of those other things that maybe waste a little bit of our time.
The next tip is commit to even the smallest amount of creation. So if you have this area set up and you’ve cleared some time, when you think “I’ve only got 15 minutes, it’s not worth it”. Try not to think like that. Just get into that space and think “right, okay, I’ve got a whole 15 minutes. What am I going to do with it? Let’s practice layering colours. Let’s see what happens when I put translucent layers over more opaque layers, things like that. Or how many different masks can I create in this 15 minutes”. Even little exercises like that are so valuable so that when you have a bigger slice of time, you’ve already done the warm up work and the prep work. These small windows of creativity are still engaging your brain in that creative process.
Number four is book out time in your diary just like you would for a hairdressers appointment or the dentist. I know that sounds really dramatic. But sometimes a friend can call and say “do you fancy meeting for lunch or for coffee?” at a time you’ve allocated to create something, and if you’ve not seen them for a while you push back your creative time in favour of the friend. If we keep doing that, the time for making art keeps getting pushed further and further back because we’re prioritising other things. If you had a dentist appointment, you wouldn’t say “Oh, go on that I’ll move the dentist, let’s go have a coffee”. You’d say “I’m sorry, I have a dentist appointment that day, what other time can you do”.
It’s about just guarding that creative time, being really precious about it. Your creative time is important!
My last secret to being productive as an artist is make that time for yourself a priority. It’s not being selfish.
As parents and as generally lovely people, we assume that if we make everybody else a priority, then that makes us a better person, or kinder person, or whatever it may be. In actual fact, if we build in time to look after ourselves, we are much better equipped to look after family and children and parents and our work because we’ve done that little bit of self care.
So treat your time filling up that creative jar as a priority. It is so important for your health and well being (as we creatives know). As humans, we generally push self care to the bottom of the list and think that we need to look after other people so really prioritise yourself and that time for creating art.
Those other tips will help mean that you access your work quicker. If you just stay into a regular pattern, even if it’s 5, 10 or 15 minutes of creative time, if you can actually book in creative slots into the diary so that doesn’t move into next week, you’ll be able to make time for yourself and your art.
So hopefully that helps! It can seem hard to make time for art in a really busy schedule. I’m sure a lot of us can hold our hands up and say it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day! Hopefully these tips will help you find time to be creative and take time for yourself as well.
For more tips on how to be a successful artist, why not join my free masterclass which will give you 4 simple steps to make money from your art. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram where I share more tips and advice for artists too!