Monday Series: Back to School


Welcome to the C&B Blog Back to School Edition!

I still can't believe we're a month into this already. I said it in my newsletter and I'll say it again: time has FLOWN. All in all, I've received far more engagement, orders, and commissions than I was expecting in this first month. I remain extremely thankful.

Tomorrow is September 1st and since I'm always in the market for a new process/habit/experiment, I thought I would take some of the things I learned over the last month and try to incorporate them into what I'm calling my "Back to School Schedule."

Things I Learned

  • Left unchecked, my night-owl tendencies will evolve to the point where I am almost-nocturnal. I could very easily become a person who goes to bed at 4am and wakes up at noon. This is impractical for many reasons. 
  • Perhaps related to the above, I generally wait until 8 or 9 pm before I begin drawing my most important project of the day. This is also impractical. I don't care how much of a night owl I am, I have to make better creative decisions at 4pm instead of 2am.
  • Schedules are hard. There is a balance between too-rigid and not-rigid-enough. I have not found that balance yet.
  • I have so many commissions and ideas! The balance between finishing commissions, fulfilling orders, and creating new work for myself that is pushing my art in a desired direction is going to be tricky but necessary.
  • There is no end to the number of small, organizational tasks one has to do for one's business. It is very easy to spend all of my time on these at the expense of creative work.

Things I'll Try

  • Another schedule. I have to get out of my 2:30am-10:30am sleep life. Here's the proposition:
    • 8-9am: Wake, Coffee, Small Chores, Reading for Fun
    • 9-11am: Business Stuff - Anything for my business that is not strictly art creation.
    • 11am-1:30pm: Long break for exercise, shower, and lunch. I need enough time to do all of those things in a relaxed and complete way. This is also the time of day that exercise feels best in my body.
    • 1:30-6:30pm: Uninterrupted art time. I'm going to put my phone in another room and focus on drawing, designing, exporting, etc during this time.
    • 6:30-8pm: End of work day walk, if desired. Cooking, eating, cleaning.
    • 8-9pm: If and only if I feel like working some more, or I have a deadline, I will do some work during this hour.
    • 9pm-12am: Stop working and start decompressing by watching tv, reading, doing small house chores like laundry, taking a bath, etc. I have to turn my brain off at this point or else I'll never sleep.
    • 12am: Bedtime
  • Related to the above, schedule time specifically for art. Lots of time. Every day. I've made art a habit, now I have to make it a habit that happens during daylight hours.
  • Not sure how I'm going to balance the commissions and the portfolio development quite yet but I think the key lies in giving the personal pieces deadlines that fall between the commissions and treating them like paid projects. It will help prioritize.
  • Keeping the business-y tasks within my 9-11am business block every morning. I don't need to be spending any longer than 2 hours each day on this stuff right now. I'm an illustrator. Illustration should be the bulk of what I do each day.

We're on day 1! So far so good. I woke up at 8am and have been following the schedule. It's currently 10:51 so I am within my business block as I write this. When I'm finished, I'll exercise, etc. I feel good about this one so far but we'll see. Obviously, I have a hard time sticking to schedules.

I'm giving myself exactly one day—today—to create a piece for the August Illustration contest at SVS. Lol, we'll see how this goes. If I get something together, great! If not, it's ok. I'll enter next month or the following. I wasn't expecting to be as busy as I have been. But hey, that's a great problem to have!

See you next week!


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