First of all, I would like to thank all the kind messages for my last post a couple of weeks ago. It was a vulnerable post for me and to receive such kindness and support made me feel so grateful and useful. In this week’s post, I would like to discuss time management and its impact on making everything seem feasible while I also take the opportunity to show you my last piece which really illustrates the topic. You will understand why :-) This might seem like a very evident idea with so many productivity blog posts and videos out there but this is less of a “tips on productivity” post and more a “give time and value to your dreams” post. As always, I can only speak from my own experience and, as I am too on the pursue of a fulfilling and sustainable creative life, I hope this can be useful to someone else going through the same.
The idea for this post came from the realization that my stress levels while trying to tick all the boxes of all the things I wanted to do were ramping up. I have always been a very organized person in terms of work, studies and even traveling but tackling my own artistic dynamics and establishing routines was never my forte. It lately came to a point when I also understood that by not setting priorities and creating better habits, I was treating my passion just like another side project that may or may not come to fruition. Facing that I am most of the time my biggest obstacle is not easy but sometimes it is even harder to figure out how to turn things around in your favor. How to, instead of being harsh on myself, exploiting my best talents and skills. I think that’s when magic started happening for me.
GIve it time and structure
I don’t know if you have heard about author Louise Hay (I would truly recommend her) but she would frequently use the analogy of planting a tomato seed when creating experiences for ourselves. The trick is to any seed to grow is to give it time, use fertile soil, water it daily and let the sun shine on it. Might sound very cheesy but it makes total sense to me in terms of my dreams. This message is a reiteration of my last post which was essentially about not giving up and putting one foot in front of the other. But equally as important as doing the work, is creating a structure that will in fact make sure that you persist and have a certain prospect of what you need and want to accomplish in a week, a month or even a year. Planning has always been daunting to me, specially for myself and my artistic career, but it has been a major stress reliever. There is also this notion that creativity or artists work on inspiration or some sort of muse when, in fact, it has more to do with an athlete that trains every day to be in the desired stage to achieve a goal. I think artistic careers should be considered also on that perspective so that it would be easier to realize that what you really need is patience, consistency and self-awareness.
In terms of using my best skills, I also realized that there are some aspects of working in a day job (which I currently am) that could be beneficial for my freelancing work. Having a schedule, prioritizing tasks or taking proper breaks would need to be part of my routine if I want to make it sustainable. I am aware that many of you might already been doing this while others may have trouble knowing how much time you can devote to building up your dreams. In any case, creating a structure regardless of the amount of time, I believe is something I should have done a long time ago. It is important too, in my opinion, to know how you work best to effectively make the most out of our time. The duration and nature of the tasks and the frequency of the pauses you need will depend on that knowledge about yourself.
Have you heard of the Pomodoro technique? ´Pomodoro´ is tomato in Italian so again, tomatoes are right on point! If you are not familiar with this method, the concept is very simple. Basically, when faced with a large task or a series of tasks, they can be broken down into shorter intervals of, in this case, 25 minutes with a pause in between of 5 minutes. These intervals are called "pomodoros” and they are meant to keep you focused during those 25 minutes. After four "pomodoros”, one is supposed to take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes. This is a technique that a friend mentioned to me and I believe it is used mostly for studying. There are many techniques out there to schedule time and I am mentioning this one solely to give you an idea of things you can do. I am experimenting myself! I have been guilty before of losing track of time and staying for too long in front of an artwork so setting proper breaks is something I am really relying on now.
One finally realizes too that it is not so much about managing time but about managing and knowing yourself and giving you the best shot at anything. I hope you have enjoyed this post and that it has some value for you if only for the love of tomatoes 🍅;-) I truly believe we all deserve the chance to pursue happiness so why not start scheduling it? How many pomodoros would you need?
Maybe like Charlie’s character (or myself for a very long time) in the Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks, you are at “the age of not believing”. Well then here’s some advice from the one and only, Dame Angela Lansbury: