Time Management for Artists

You know me: I looooooove talking about time management. It is something that I’m always trying to improve for myself and for other people. If you read the blog because you are looking for tips and tricks to make these precious hours count for something, this article is for you!

As an artist with a day job, you probably don’t have much time to allocate to your art in the first place. So, how can you make sure you have the most time possible. And how can you make it as efficient as possible?

Well, you are in luck because today I’ve decided to compile several resources about time management. Each of these videos have very good points and strategies to help you deal with your obligations.

They all have different points of views and strategies, because we are all different. Some of you might be more attracted to a rigorous planning of your time, while others might respond better to a flexible strategy. So I hope that the examples that I’ve chosen have a wide enough scope that at least one of them will inspire you and help you do more art.

Laura Vanderkam – How to gain control of your free time (TEDWomen 2016)

I really like this talk because Laura Vanderkam is a specialist in time management. She has studied many very busy people, with many different obligations. And she is very knowledgeable on the subject, while also being personable. In this talk, she introduces us to the concept of “time elasticity”, which means that by changing the way you see your priority, you will change the time you find for them.

I really like the “I don’t have time = it’s not a priority” equivalence, because I find it very true in my everyday life. And when it comes to finding your priorities, Laura Vanderkam has also two strategies that are very insightful. Basically, this talk is a must watch!

Best quote: “Small moments have great power

Aileen, from Lavendaire –  How to Make Time for Everything You Want to Do

I like this video because in a few minutes, it outlines very simple tips and tricks to save you time every day. It’s not necessarily revolutionary or groundbreaking, but sometimes it’s good to have reminders of how we can make the most of our time.

In my book The Part-Time Artist, I have a method that is similar to Aileen for dividing your week between the different activities that you have or want to do. I love the way she illustrates this in her video, and it gave me a few ideas to improve the way I plan my weeks!

This is a very concrete video that can help you immediately.

Best quote: “Be real with yourself: does this schedule look doable?

Brandon, from SchaeferArt – How I Balance Work and Art

This is a genuine time management video from a real artist, and I love it! Sometimes, time management advice can feel a little bit too “business” or a little bit too “general”. But here Brandon speaks the language of art, and of people who have to navigate between art and day job.

I like that he talks about having a system, because I find it essential too. We won’t all have the same system, but if you want to manage your time better you’ll have to explore different “to do list” systems and find what works best for you. I am currently exploring a new app, Evernote, because I find that pen and paper is a bit too limited for the activities that I have to do. So far, I like it a lot!

And of course, my favourite part of this video is that it talks about habits and prioritising. I think Brandon summarises a lot of important concepts that you need to think about when you want to manage your time better. 

Best quote: “Successful people are the ones that do things that unsuccessful people don’t want to do.

Jake Parker – Time Management for Creatives

If you have read my book or if you follow this blog, you know that I really like Jake Parker’s videos and I’ve been subscribed to his channel for a while. They are insightful, brilliant and motivational for every artist. I really like what he does, and this video is no exception.

I like particularly that he reminds us that our time is valuable and that we should not waste it. And I really like the part about to-do lists and why they don’t always work. There’s a real risk that if you use to-do lists the wrong way, you might not prioritise things properly and make yourself more stressed than necessary.

Refocusing on your most important task and reorganising your time around that is the best way to manage your time efficiently. Basically, another must watch video!

Best quote: “The key is to spend the most productive hours of your day doing the most important things.

MindTools – Time Management Mistakes

And then finally, for those of your who really don’t have much time, here’s a very short video about the biggest mistakes we make when we try to manage our time. Not using a to-do list effectively, not prioritising or letting ourselves be distracted are just a few of the mistakes we all do.

Sometimes it’s nice to have short reminders of the things we should NOT do, so if that’s your case, this video is for you!

Best quote: “When you overextend yourself, you don’t have the time or energy to do your best work.

Do You Have Time Management Tips?

Share them in the comments below!