It would be easy to say that poor time management is a special kind of problem for artists. Creative types are sometimes thought of as a little flighty anyway. But I think anyone who works at home suffers from this affliction. Granted, not all artists have studios in their homes, but all of the artists I know personally do. And we are all distracted to some degree by the needs of the household: the dog that needs a walk, the phone ringing, a child that needs a ride home from practice, the laundry spilling over in the hamper, well, you get my drift. And for many people working at home, they are dealing with a certain sense of guilt when these household issues aren't dealt with. Guilt is an unproductive emotion. Not that I'm immune, just that I recognize that guilt is not going to help me keep my house clean, and it certainly isn't helping finish art projects. So now that I have identified the problem, and at least one useless response to it, now what?
Recently I read entries on two different blogs about this. Both by artists, and both set up REALLY rigid schedules for themselves. At least, to me they seemed really rigid (being the floaty, play-it-by-ear type). One is Nikki Wright (see her system here)who has chopped her day into 1/2 hour to 1 hour blocks, in order to accomplish what seems to me to be a Herculean workload. Honestly, I would never consider trying to do that much in a day, and I know that I would chafe under the yoke of a schedule that tight. Another artist that works well under considerably more structure than I can tolerate is Lisa Call. Her blog details how she went from being very structured to being more laid back, and is reverting to the structure. It's how she works best. (see her system here) I read these within a day or two of each other, and though to myself that I was surely lost, because I had no hope of working like that. But as so often happens, synchronicity threw me a bone. I encountered the 20 Hour Challenge.
An artist on Twitter decided to set up a challenge for herself to spend 20 hours a week dedicated to producing her art. It could be structured any way at all, just that she was committing to 20 hours. She asked if other artists might be interested in joining her in the challenge, for their own benefit and to provide support for each other. Well, that sounded right up my alley, so I jumped on it. The deal is this: every Friday afternoon on Twitter, we will report to each other what the result of the week are, what the challenges have been, even do a little show and tell, etc. And no rules against discussions of challenges and need for support in between Friday tweet-ups, of course. We will use the #20hrchallenge hashtag on posts, so that anyone can search for posts by other artists on the subject. Read more about this here from Lori Woodward Simons, the artist with the fabulous idea! If you think a challenge like this would benefit you, join us on Twitter! My account name is @lapetropoulos, and Lori's is @Loriwords. We will officially begin the challenge on Tuesday, May 26 after the holiday weekend, but no reason not to join up now and get the discussions started. See you on Twitter!