This past few weeks have been really busy on the home front. The amount of school and kindergarten events has been unusually high. I haven't been all that productive in the studio and I can feel myself getting a bit annoyed and stressed about it. But I know that instead of getting frustrated, I really need to adjust my expectations and makes some changes to the way I work. It's only going to get even more hectic in the lead up to Christmas, so I think now is the time to be realistic and adapt accordingly!
So what I've done is I've taken a good look at what time I have available. I don't have another job anymore so art is my main thing but that being said, I do have one child that isn't yet at school and I do almost all the housework and taking kids to sport etc. so my days are pretty full.
To get a better idea of how I spend my week, I recently converted to using an online calendar. I use Gmail so I have gone with the Google Calendar and Google Keep. I'm pretty old-school, more of a notebook and pen kind of girl but I have to say that I won't ever go back to a paper diary/calendar. There are too many handy features like being able to add in recurring activities, set reminders and sync it across your devices. I've been using the to-do list feature in Google Calendar for tasks that have to be done whereas I am using Google Keep, another list keeping app, as a place to store ideas such as blog post topics, marketing techniques, books to read etc.
With a better idea of what time I have available, the next question is, how best to use it? I've created a few broad categories for how I could use time.
(1) Painting on big canvases in the studio.
(2) Small paintings that can be done at the kitchen table.
(3) Admin work e.g. updating website, responding to queries and marketing.
(4) Household chores (argh, there is no getting away from it so best to factor some time in).
(5) Self-care e.g. walking dog, having a bath and reading.
Now it is a matching game. What time best suits what activity? This sounds like it is going to be some kind of magic formula. I highly doubt it! I think it's worth a try though.
So the first match up is pretty easy. I have two days a week when my son is at kindergarten so that's the best time for me to get in my studio and have a good chunk of time working on my larger canvas paintings.
On the other days when my son is home, we often have activities in the morning but then in the afternoon there are pockets of time where I could do either small paintings or admin work. I'd really love to do a new series of abstract paintings on wooden panels so this could be the time for that. I was looking back at old work and I was a bit taken with these 'nest' inspired paintings I did. Would love to jump back into these. Or perhaps it's time for a new sketchbook!
Then there's the afternoons when both my kids are home. I am quickly realising that this time is best left for things not related to art. It's a good time to do chores. I can unpack a dishwasher while getting the kids a snack or sort laundry while my daughter does her homework. It's also a time where I often sneak in a bit of self-care. A chapter of my book or even just a little flick through Instagram.
My son also does a half day at kindergarten on a Friday morning. I am always a bit torn about how to use this time. Often it is tempting to go shopping without any kids in tow, even if it is just to do the groceries! Recently I loved spending a morning writing blog posts and journaling at a local café. I'm thinking this might be the way forward.
With the evenings, usually I relax with a book or watching a series on Netflix. I'm not into painting at night. I doodle with watercolour from time to time but for any other kind of painting I really need natural light. In fact I am a big fan of daylight in general. I'm not an early riser though, nor am I a night owl. I am a very regular get up at 7ish go to bed at 11ish person. This month I've been up a bit later as I have been blogging at night. And while I am missing my fix of books and TV, it has made me realise that there is this parcel of time when the house is quiet that is quite useful. I wouldn't want to use it every night but I think that a few nights a week of business administration could be really helpful and it would mean I could use more of my daylight hours for painting.
As far as household chores go, since being at home full-time with my business, I've changed my approach. I used to have a 'cleaning day' but now I am doing a bit each day and keeping up with it a lot better. I'm really trying to do things like throw a load of washing on everyday. My husband will laugh if he reads this because I am notorious for the whole house running out of socks and underwear. I swear I have changed but I'll be honest it is early days!
Finally there is the weekends. Well if you read my post on embracing boundaries, you will know that I am endeavouring to do less art stuff on the weekends and instead to focus more on spending time with my kids. I think though I would like to do some art projects with my kids so that could be a bit of a compromise! Otherwise though, with summer on it's way, I think we'll be hitting the beach.
Well that's it for today, I've run out of steam! I'm still testing the waters as far as organising my time so I might have to re-visit this topic in a month or two to see if any of my strategies are working!
See you tomorrow. I 'm aiming for some short and sweet blog posts over the weekend and then I'll be back with a bang for the final week of 30 days of Unfurling! Xx