Time Management for Creatives

  • SVS OG


    I posted a YouTube Video today about time management. I feel like this just scratches the surface. Watch it let me know if you think I should do a more in depth approach to time management as an SVS class.

    The reason I ask is from a question in the comments. Frank asked, what about the guy who works a day job full time? And I admit, my video is geared towards someone who is doing their thing full time. Here's the exchange I had with him and it makes me think: should I do a full class on time management for creatives, approaching it from every different angle? Maybe an SVS Webinar?

    Frank Murray:

    Hey Jake! So glad your making videos again! I was just telling my wife I need to make a time budget for myself.... I am an artist and musician that desperately wants to JUST be those things but currently I work 60 hours a week welding to support my beautiful wife and three kids. My " free time" is very limited so this video was helpful but not quite suited for my life..... any advise for a guy like me to make the best use of his time?

    Jake Parker:

    I totally get it. For a long time I worked a day job and had to do all my personal/freelance at nights and on weekends. Here's what someone in that situation should do. You might be doing all of these, in which case...I got nothing else to say. But here goes:

    1. If you can figure out how to get down to a 40 hour work week do that, because you'll need it to do 1-6.
    1. Cut the fat - Cut back on (or get rid of entirely) Netflix, Video Games, Social Media Surfing, YouTube Surfing, Reddit, and pretty much anything that doesn't actively contribute to you creating something.
    1. Optimize your commute - If you take public transportation use this time to sketch, or write. Where headphones so people know not to talk to you. If you drive, use this time to listen to podcasts and audio books related to music, art, creativity, and productivity. This boosts your desire to use the rest of your free time creatively.
    1. Optimize your Lunch Break - Bring a lunch so you don't have to waste time going to get it, and find a place that you can actively work on something without being interrupted. You'd be surprised to find what you can get done in a week of lunch breaks.
    1. Go to bed early, and wake up early - Studies show that you're less creative and focused at nights. Your brain has a full days worth of experiences it's carrying around and hasn't processed yet. If you can, do an hour of something before bed, then get your rest and wake up a couple hours early and work on your stuff. There's nothing like going into work already having done something creative.
    1. Optimise Weekends - If your family can handle it, take one day or a half day during the weekend and devote it entirely to your craft. You can use your lunches and mornings to prep for this day, but use this day to get significant work done.
    1. Rest - Take a day on the weekend (I prefer Sundays) to give yourself cognitive rest. Sleep in if you can, do chores, go on walks with your wife/kids. Don't do anything super creative.

    You can do anything for a few months, like stay up until 2am every night working on stuff. But that isn't sustainable. And I don't think you'll produce your best work doing that. So try to find a work/life balance that is sustainable.

    Hope that helps.

  • Hey Jake,

    I think something more in depth would be good, but I have a suggestion for an angle that you might want to take.

    The question people who struggle with Time management are asking is, "How can I get more done?" But I think the question they are really asking is, "How much do I need to get done for it to make a difference?" I think a reminder that small amounts of progress every day will eventually produce a large amount of content. Maybe they can't do a page a day, but a panel a day could produce a finished page every week, which would be a graphic novel in a year. Just because people aren't doing four full comic pages a day in between their day job doesn't mean they aren't productive.

    Also, I would enjoy hearing the topic from the perspective of a parent of small children, but that isn't something everybody would need.



  • Pro SVS OG

    Whoot whoot, thank you Jake.

  • This was a great video, it made me realize I need to start my day writing first and then paint later which is much easier for me

  • Great video! And thanks for the tips. I like the format and how it is broken down into 5 points. All these have been really helpful this year and still working on them. I would love to see a more in-depth svs class at some stage. Maybe each video can be followed by a habit to apply (homework-style) before moving to the next one? Or even a challenge following a webinar to make it more fun and call to action? Just brainstorming what could give the extra motivation for creative people to take the time to implement good time management habits. The idea of the 321-0 system mentioned before has been growing on me, thinking about committing to it for a week soon to try it out!

  • SVS OG

    The video was greatly appreciated and helpful. I am in the same situation as Frank, though, and found myself asking the same question. I work at least a 40 hour week and some Saturdays in a non-art related field and come home to my wife, three year old, and five month old. I am blessed to be able to work on some art while on the clock when the workload eases so that helps some but I realize I really need to "cut the fat" especially with YouTube (even though it is good seeing your new content) and Facebook. I didn't realize how difficult it is for me to switch from consumer to creator untill I thought about just how much time I spend on these things.

    I think this subject would be a great topic for a third Thursday webinar. I'm very interested to hear the different perspectives you guys could walk through together.

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