Classroom 101: Finding Time To Do It

A lot of us have very busy lives these days. Full time day jobs, kids, shows, networking…With all this going on, how do we find the time to do our crafting? Do we work during lunch breaks and nap times? Do we set aside a specific schedule? Do we wait until inspiration hits us? I get asked these things pretty frequently, because I am a busy stay-at-home dad who also does freelance design and illustration on top of personal work and shows. People naturally want to know how all that manages to get done. Here’s the short answer: Sleep is for sissies.

That answer may seem overly simplistic, and that’s because it is. It does touch on the real answer though; In the course of your day, where are the things that you could shorten or eliminate to make time to create? I steal five minutes here, and there, and when I had a “real” job I would totally use my lunch break to sketch out ideas and jot down notes for blog posts. Now I use the kids’ nap time. The important thing about both of those time slots are that I view them not as a “time to get some work done”, but as my time where I can do what I want.The very most important thing to remember is that we make things because we love to do it. Even on our worst day, when we’ve got a thousand orders and we don’t know where we’ll find the time to get them done, it’s better than the average day in the office.

I like to generally make sure that I have some time each day for working on my crafting. Even when it’s just a couple minutes to get something started or to work out an idea. Art and making things is a part of my day to day life, and I try to keep it as simple as possible so it doesn’t feel like a chore. Sometimes though, I need a larger chunk of time to really concentrate on what I’m doing. That’s when scheduling becomes necessary. The only rigid schedule I stick to is that on Sundays, I do all my invoicing and write this blog post. Those are both work related things that need to be done, so it doesn’t matter if it feels like a chore. Then there’s also fun scheduled times like Fusion’s monthly “Crafternoon Delight“, where a bunch of crafters from the community get together at the shop, work on their projects, eat, and hang out. Its a great way to get away from the studio, get something done, and get to know other members of the community.

Finally, television is my enemy. I have lost more hours of my life playing video games, or watching stuff that I didn’t care about just because it was on. Sometimes this happens because I go down to the studio and I’m not feeling very inspired, so I “take a break while I think about it”. Which is an even worse trap than “I need a clean studio so I can get some work done.” One thing that I do to combat this, is listen to books on tape or podcasts while I work. That way I feel like I’m being entertained, but I’m also being productive at the same time. While I’m on the subject of inspiration and podcasts, I was listening to “The Nerdist” podcast the other day and he was interviewing author Neil Gaiman, who had this to say about inspiration:

If you only write when you are inspired… you may be a fairly decent poet, but you will never be a novelist. Because you’re  going to have to make your word count each day, and those words aren’t going to wait for you whether you’re inspired or not. So you have to write when you’re not inspired. and you have to write the scenes that don’t inspire you. And the weird thing is that six months later, a year later, you’ll look back at them and you won’t be able to remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired, and which ones you just wrote because they had to be written next.

He went on to compare the craft of writing (or creating) to building a wall, saying that you have to do the work of stacking one stone on top of another and eventually you’ll work through the tough parts. Inspiration is great, and we always have to be ready to seize it when it shows up. If we wait for it though, I don’t think very much will get done…or we just won’t be going to bed that night.  Ha-ha-ha!

There are days where it’s easy to find the time to do it, because we just have to get it done. So how do you find the time to do it the rest of the time? When you’re working on new product or just trying to shore up your inventory for shows, shops and etsy. We’d love to hear where you steal those moments.  Leave us a comment!

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3 thoughts on “Classroom 101: Finding Time To Do It

  1. Winnie Bahr says:

    Jeffrey you have a real talent for writing!!! I love reading your blog posts as you always make me think and laugh at the same time. Thanks for taking the time to fit your blog posts in!!

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