Monday, February 28, 2011

All the hours of the day....

It's really easy to let the day unravel as I try to paint illustrations, juggle various projects, and process new orders. Working from home is wonderful, but invites plenty of distractions from my kitten Puck learning how to climb onto the mouse cage to three cable guys and the downstairs neighbor needing to check the wiring in our apartment this afternoon. Plus there's the never ending flood of social media. Many of my best friends are spread throughout the country from New England to Los Angeles to North Carolina. Facebook and im windows have replaced our old neighborhood haunts as we happily spend virtual time together. As the afternoons draw to a close and five o'clock rolls around I look at my desk and feel frustrated. I know I could be getting more done!

Believe it or not, when I lived back east I was a banker. Every moment of our day was accounted for (literally, even the computers were monitored  for time stamped activity). We made notes throughout the day: who did we speak to, what did they say, was there a possibility for a sale, was there an issue that needed fixing? My days were gently guided by friendly pop up calendar reminders and not so gently motivated by the numbers meetings where I knew I had to have results or get ready to explain myself. It kept us accountable, and now that I'm working from home I realize I need some of that accountability.

I spent this afternoon breaking my week down and then my day. I know I need to paint, that's simple enough. However I also need to find shops to sell my prints, to check etsy for orders, to process and pack those orders, to submit new illustrations to publications and editors, and then to share those successes. Right now my day begins early, charges through in the creative nervous chaos that comes from trying to accomplish all of these things in eight hours, and continues late past midnight. Repeat. It's no way to get anything done, and so I'm ready to try adding a little structure to my day.

After breaking my days into the tasks I want to finish, I gave myself some actual work hours. My work day currently runs from about 8:45am to 1-2am. Seriously. The trouble is my work looks a lot like my free time. I enjoy drawing and painting immensely. Even when I find myself with a free hour or two I devote it immediately to sketching or cartooning. I'm preparing to begin a new web comic and it is much more involved than my last one. Countless nights I set aside an illustration to work illustration, but for the new comic and so it feels like recreation. I worry about tapping myself out though, and I think set work hours will help divide the line between work painting and fun painting. During those hours I'm going to avoid the phone and social sites, as I would have to at any job.

So...I'll guess I've written about it enough, tomorrow I'll start doing it!

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