Monday, October 26, 2009

Baby steps

The end of August marked the sixth month of my full-time art practice, so I took stock of how productive I'd been so far, tallying up the hours spent on various projects. This was not as hard as it sounds, since I note down my activities daily using a timesheet.

The timesheet is a concept I borrowed from lawyers. A unit of time is six minutes. This makes it easier to manipulate the figures using base-10. Hence:

Stretching watercolour paper, 5 units (half an hour). Writing an art proposal, 70 units (7 hours). Writing an exhibition review, 146 units. Attending an art opening, 10 units. Keeping abreast of art news & blogs, 5 units. And so on...

When I looked at my results, I was disappointed because I always expect more from myself. After a while, I consoled myself with the fact that dealing to my art practice for an average of 4 solid hours per day was not so bad after all, given I was still trying to find my daily rhythm. It was also reassuring to know that a large bulk of that studio time was devoted to painting, writing & preparing proposals (all the proposals came to no fruition, but that's okay, I'm still learning).

The results also helped sharpen my daily goals. I now tell myself every day that I have to get over that 4-hour mark. This helps when the day starts to drag after lunchtime!

Here are some organizational tips that I find very useful

If something can be done in under 2 minutes, just do it immediately before you forget. The '2-minute rule' is especially useful when having to send brief email replies.

At the end of your day, plan for the next by deciding on 2 things to accomplish before 10am, be it making a telephone call or finishing a drawing.

Take note of the things you tend to do when you procrastinate. For some, it's attending to emails and surfing the internet (I'm guilty as heck). For others, it's going to the coffee shop on the pretext of planning in your diary.

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