If you read yesterday’s post, especially the part that deals with all I’ve been doing this last few weeks, you might get the idea that I have time management down to a science. If that’s the case, you give me far too much credit. No, truth be known, I waste far too much time. I have this habit of getting into the midst of a project and hitting one of those “stuck points”—you know when you hit the creative wall and you get frustrated. Yes folks, it happens to us all. There are quite a few times where I’ll jump over to check email or social media and end up passing entirely too much time looking at things that do nothing to advance my cause and more often than not, find something that will ruin my mood and get me even more blocked. Or sometimes I’ll jump to a game on my phone, and I’ll “Oh just one more level” myself into a wasted chunk of time. Please remember, I write a lot more posts that say “Yeah, I’m a mess too.” and a lot less posts that say “I’ve arrived.” When it comes to time management, I can be a real dummy. How about you?

So what can we do better:
1. Have a second project to jump to when the first one is stalled.

I usually try to work on two projects at once and I try to avoid more than four. That way when I get stuck, rather than jumping to something meaningless, I can continue moving the ball forward.
2. Have a constructive diversion.
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I have a table in my studio, that always has a model car on it. I love to build models. It’s a creative diversion, but it is also very structured. I can only do a little at a time and it has to be done step by step, so I can’t really spend all day at it, just enough time to re-mesh my mental gears. My Creacher cartoons are another example of this.
3. Break your project into manageable steps.
Nothing is more intimidating than looking at a huge project in it’s entirety. More often than not, this will frustrate you and get you stuck, but what if instead, you had individual steps to complete. Each time you cross one off, you feel a little sense of accomplishment. Simple example of this: The text book for my latest master class came to my Kindle the other day and I had the reading progress set to “time left in book.” Imaging how intimidated I was when I opened the book and saw I had 88 hours left to read. I went right in and changed it to time left in chapter. I still have 88 hours of reading to do, but it sure feels more manageable in one hour chunks.
4. Stay off social media.
Yes, I know, this one is ironic as I write a post I hope a lot of people read on social media. Still the more we avoid social media, the more work we get done.
5. Look for wasted time.
Please read this one carefully, especially if you’re in my family. There are a lot of times in the evening, when the family is together, where we will spend considerable time around the TV. Now my family values my presence, and I value theirs, and family time is never wasted, but I’m not always all that interested in what we’re watching, and even if I am, I often don’t have see every moment of the show, so I’ve found several activities that I can do where I am still very present, but I can also get a little work done. Chief among these is drawing and creating graphics. I get a lot of cartoons drawn and a lot of powerpoint slides done while hanging out in front of the TV.
6. For goodness sake, rest.
In every creative project, there will come a time when you’re just fried and it’s time to pack it in and pick it up when you’re fresh. Trust someone who has done this a million times. If you push past your burnout point, you’re probably going to end up having to redo that work anyway. Better to lay it aside and start fresh later.

Well that’s just part of it. I’ll post more later, but for now, get back to work!

I will, too.

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