Thursday, March 14, 2013

Time Management

Lately, I find myself wasting a lot of time jumping from one small task to another and getting bogged down. I need to get smarter about managing my time.

Granted, there are daily chores and errands that need to be addressed, but the need to focus on my artwork is what really matters. I've been working in the studio so erratically that I find myself hanging onto ideas that no longer look promising. I end up feeling stymied, can't get projects off the ground and I'm constantly trying to breathe life into ideas I've lost interest in. It's definitely time to ask myself, "Is the project worth pursuing?" If not, drop it and move on. Since my ultimate goal is to up my productivity I need to implement a more structured time-frame for working in my studio.

I usually start my day by just “winging it”; setting off without a plan or direction and end up wasting time. To remedy this, I've decided to revert to something that I did for decades as a teacher; use a plan book. As an educator, you are required to map out your teaching day and keep track of lessons to be covered. I think a similar system will help me structure my day and prioritize my activities.

This morning I sat down and made up a simple plan book. If I take just five minutes to establish a short list of tasks and create a daily schedule I'll be more successful focusing on what matters most. Hopefully I'll see progress by weeks end.

Finally, I need to avoid distractions. Busywork on non-essential tasks wastes time and ends up being a form of procrastination. I've decided to set specific times to be "off the grid"; no cell phones (stop checking my inbox throughout the day), and definitely limit my computer time.

I don't know why I'm struggling so much with this whole time management thing right now but if anyone has other strategies they use to work productively from home, I'd love your input. Since Spring is a time for fresh starts, I'm going to finish up the day by straightening and organizing the studio, tossing out anything that no longer speaks to me on a creative level and start fresh in the morning. 

1 comment:

  1. I can relate, Melody! I think a list is really helpful, especially a list that breaks down tasks into clear and manageable bites (eg. "make sketch for print ABC" rather than just "work on print ABC"). Another technique I use to separate studio time from the rigors of daily life is to do a little entering-the-studio ritual. For me, it involves lighting a candle and doing 10 minutes of meditation, but it could be anything that suits you.

    Hope you can get some momentum going.