At one point in my adult life, I found myself without a job and, at the same time, financially supported. Great, I thought, I can make lots of art. While I did make some very good paintings, I also found out that when I didn’t have a job, time opened up into this difficult mind-numbing void. I needed social interaction, and a schedule would have been helpful as well.
These days, I have a wonderful part-time job, and I am still able to paint. It is really the best of both worlds. I have also learned a few tricks that change how I interact with my free time. I make to-do lists. They can have anything on them. Today’s list includes: take a nap, take a walk, garden, blog, clean desk, grow cat grass, work on frames, paint. Even if I am not able to accomplish all of the items on my list, it is possible that I will accomplish at least one of them. The satisfaction I have when I cross off an item on the list is amazing. Making a list also helps empty my mind of all those nagging thoughts, reminding me of what I have to do. Once I write them down, there is no fear that I will forget them.
Another tactic that I have considered, yet never had the courage to attempt, is creating a schedule. The idea is that you include everything in your schedule. If you need time to stare out the window, or drink tea, you put that on your schedule. I guess I would fear getting off-schedule, but since I am the one who made the schedule, this seems a little odd.
While lists do help a lot, I also make plans with other people, exercise, and use the reward system with myself. I am strict and sorta stingy because I will tell myself, “If you work on frames for one hour, you can garden for one hour.” See how both of those items are on the list? No sweet incentives here, but then I’m not overly interested in candy anyway. Also, I cheated in my favor because “grow cat grass” and “garden” are both gardening.
How do you schedule your time?
How do you keep a sense of fun and freedom while meeting goals and deadlines?
Does exercise help you meet your goals?
What is your favorite incentive?