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2018: The Year of Systems

Acrylic peony flower square small painting

Even though we're not quite into February, this week marks the beginning of a new set of schedule trials.

2018 is all about systems. Creating systems that reflect my priorities and the varying demands on a day. I want them to push me but be flexible enough to adjust as life adjusts.

January's experiment feels like a success: I figure out my non-art evenings.

"Wait," you say. "This  your ART blog. What does this have to do with art?"

Everything.

Because when you're self employed EVERYTHING affects the time you've dedicated to your craft.

I have an incredibly understanding husband, but grocery shopping and cooking are still my jobs in our relationship. If I don't do it on the weekends then my guilt creeps in and I end up spending most of a Monday on it. And not art.

My suspicion is that most people who don't paint or draw a much as they'd like end up there because of something similar. It's not that they haven't scheduled time for the laundry or the painting. But if the laundry doesn't get done during its scheduled time for whatever reason, art is the first thing to get pushed aide.

In January I made a list of evening priorities, like cooking. I figure out how many times I do it per week and then schedule two days for it per session. So for example, I cook twice a week. In this new flex schedule that means I cook ether Saturday OR Sunday. Then I cook again either Wednesday OR Thursday.

If my gym nights end up being Monday, Wednesday, Friday then cooking is Thursday. And I don't say yes to anything else Thursday night. If emergency babysitting pops up Thursday, then I'd probably cancel Wednesday gym.

It means I say no to a lot of week night social stuff. It also means I never go to art groups. But I no longer feel bad about this. Instead, I feel good about the fact that I'm wasting less time feeling guilty about the things I know I need to do every week. I'm surprised less often by the fact that I still need to grocery shop. It's being realistic about how much time LIFE takes, doing it when I should, and then enjoying my time in the studio as a result.

So in January, I figured out a way to approach evenings. A system that gives me my days for my 3 day jobs. Now February is about figuring out how to manage those days. I'll report back.



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