3 Steps to Finding Time for Your Art

Step 1: List everything you do every day for a week, with how long you spent on it. Don’t leave anything off but also don’t obsess about being accurate to the second. Add the days together to compile a master list, arranged by time spent from most to least.

Step 2: Rearrange the list in order of priority, rather than time. What’s important to you and what’s crucial for everyday life.

Step 3: Move “Art” from wherever it is on the list into the top five. Whatever’s below it on the list should get done only after you’ve spent some time being creative.

In other words, give your art priority. Stop giving yourself permission not to be spending the time on it. Daily life does make relentless demands on us, but if you wait around to “find time” for your art amongst everything else that has to be done rather than “making time”,? it rarely happens.

Art Studio in Skye Scotland
My painting space

I’ve never heard anyone wish they’d spent more time doing housework (which is not the same as wishing the house was tidier). I’ve heard many a person wish they spent more time being creative. Get up half an hour earlier, go to bed half an hour later, shut up shop earlier once a week, go out during lunchbreak with a sketchbook, doodle in a meeting, do arts and crafts with the kids… greedily grab the time in your daily life and demand it of yourself and your family. It’s not being selfish, it’s investing in yourself.

If space is an issue, or needing to keep art supplies away from tiny hands or inquisitive cats, set things up so you can shut it away quickly when you’re finished. Create a studio in a cupboard that you can shut the doors on and lock away. Put a couple of nails on the inside of the door to hang a canvas or drawing board on and you won’t need an easel. Have a cloth you throw on the floor to protect the carpet. Set a still life up on a shelf. If you’ve got your headspace sorted, you don’t need a big physical space to paint.

5 Replies to “3 Steps to Finding Time for Your Art”

  1. I really enjoy your posting. I ve not been painting for over four years now due to what you described in your writing as “Daily life does make a relentless demand on us”.

    I appreciate your courage in advicing especially me to commence work.

    Hope to get my materials back soonest and start painting.

    Thanks.

    1. It can be hard to prioritize yourself and your art, but by doing so you recharge your batteries and everyone battles. Start today with a ballpoint pen and piece of computer printer paper folded into four to make a mini sketchbook. Doodle, draw, make an art wishlist, just make lines … but start today.

  2. yes, thank you for the spark of hope. its almost too long though i still cannot throw it all away. there was even a time that urge to paint became so unbearable, i thought i might cut off my ear. -someday

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