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Budgeting Time

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 9:28 pm
by thirdeyeh
Lately I have found myself really grappling with the need to better budget my time. I am preparing my home for a baby and trying to juggle multiple projects at one time while holding down a day job. I'm just wondering what some of your solutions have been, or what you would like to do. Who knows, maybe we can all help each other here.

Have you found that you just have to pull really late nights? Or maybe you sacrifice time in the early evening to work on things. All of your thoughts are helpful.

Posted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:36 am
by cecil
i find that i have so much time i get nothing done. i work at a little pizza shop less than thirty hours a week, and just live with my dog. so when i sit down at my desk and write, i spend four or five minutes thinking about how i can get it done later. then i read. so i get nothing done, with plenty of time to not get it done in.

Posted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:52 am
by Og
When you have a lot of time, it's easy to waste it. 20 years ago, I didn't have a wife, or three sons, or a job that takes 60 hours on some weeks, or a raft of side projects I wanted to work on, or a lawn to be mowed, or a dozen other things that vie for my time. Now I look back and wonder where all that time went! I have less time than ever now, but it forces me to concentrate on what I want.

All this to say - budgeting your time is just the art of giving up something to get what you want; you can't have it all. More time working on your graphic novel means less time doing something else... watching TV, maybe, or surfing the web. You'll have to sacrifice something, but it's easier to handle and to judge your priorities if you remember what is important to you.

Good luck...

Posted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 4:20 pm
by briantaylor
Holy...! I was just about to ask about this same exact topic! Thirdeyeh you read my mind!

I'm also trying to figure out an efficient way to budget time to work on my graphic novel. Wish I had some answers, but I'm kind of in the same situation here it seems. I'd be curious to know what others have done though. Late nights? Early mornings? Using any and all spare moments? No social life?

Right now, the best strategy I can come up with is to give up a great deal of my social life and instead stay at home and draw. Easier said than done though...especially after a long day at work.

But what I figure is, if you can devote just one hour a day on your project, you're a lot farther along than if you did nothing that day. And then over time, those hours add up. Then for me, on Tuesdays and Thursdays I don't go out with friends, and I can devote more time to the project.

Anyway, cool topic.

Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:33 am
by Mac McCool
Time-management is basically discipline. And discipline is easier when it's a routine.

But my more valuable 2 cents: when your baby's born, fine-tune your artistic ambitions so that they don't stress out everyone at home. Your kiddo will grow fast, and the best gift a parent can give children is time spent doing things together (loving them is pretty much a given!). So learning to say "wait!" to some dreams and projects will be worth it in the long run, because once your kids go to school and then become teenagers, you'll gradually regain all the time you need to pursue those dreams.

Best of luck! You'll do GREAT!

Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:52 pm
by mestioko
I agree with Mac. I have 5 kids and a sweetheart, and some things have had to be sacrificed a bit for the bigger picture. More recently I'm at a place in life where I have more time to devote to my projects, and at best it's getting in a little time each day to move things along. I cherish the time. I wish I could say I were perfect at it, but I think Mac is right on the whole routine aspect of it. Even if it's just a little installment each day. Of course I'm talking from the standpoint of someone who's moonlighting his dream on the side; I know everyone has their own unique variables and priorities. I just try to keep it sane, striving for reachable goals w/o putting unrealistic pressure on myself. Slow and steady; drip, drip, drip. ;)

Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:04 pm
by mestioko
thirdeyeh: I've found my most productive moments early in morning before the house wakes up. I remember when staying up 'til 2am (or pulling all nighters) in college was nothing but a chicken wing. That schedule can be really trying on a family however. Now I find my most productive moments in the still quiet of the early morning (say 5am-ish). It's only 1-2 hours, but it feels great to get something done before moving on to the rest of the day.

BTW, your first 6 mos with baby will be an adjustment for both you and your sweetheart as there will be feedings every two hours, lots of diapers, not to mention a general lack of REM sleep :) But after that, kids can usually sleep through the night. It's a fun time and COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY WORTH IT!

Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:41 pm
by thirdeyeh
Thanks everyone!

I completely agree about the need to put some dreams on hold, or just in their proper place for awhile. But what matters most to me is that I have a wife who won't let me give up. I don't think I can. Having a child on the way drives me harder. I draw now, and paint and think to myself that now I have a focus. Who knows what's ahead, but I am blessed to just have a child on the way, a wife that's awesome, a job that's stable (here's hoping it stays that way in this economy) and a dream that keeps me going. All I know is that I I tell my wife all the time I create with my children in mind now. It's really put a different weight on the issue for me.

I should look more into getting up early rather than working late into the evening. It's just such a bad habit. Right now I am finding that with my schedule as it is I get quite a bit done because I have two week days off, as well as Sunday. So those two week days I pretty much treat it like I am going to work as an artist. I get up, start some house work and at no later than 10 I sit down at the drawing table or computer and work all day. It really brings a sense of accomplishment to me because I feel like devoting two full days to artwork allows me that oppurtunity. The problem is just that the other work days my time is limited. I should use my breaks and lunch more effectively so I can come home and call it a day after work for the most part (painting makes this part difficult, can't bring an easel there).

So I agree discipline is key. Do you think it's just findning the way that disciplines yourself best? Like whether deadlines are what helps, or a time each day, or a location where you work?

Posted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 6:14 am
by Mac McCool
Mestioko's got great points! You'll adjust several times when the baby's there, so no need to sweat it right now. And another huge bonus of having kids: in-house focus group for your children's art! :wink:

Posted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 9:57 am
by mestioko
RE>>in-house focus group for your children's art!

Ha-ha. Yes indeed!

Posted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:06 pm
by briantaylor
Thirdeyeh, just wanted to chime in and say what's been working out for me so far. I've started getting up super early to work on my comic (5:00am). It's crazy, as I'm not at ALL a morning person, but I go running first for a half hour and by the time I get back, I'm totally pumped to get working on my story!

I like the idea of putting first things first. It's nice because the morning hours are a time when there are few distractions. It definitely takes discipline, but I'm beginning to feel like I'm taking control back over my life just a little bit. I hate the feeling that I'm letting yet another day of my life pass me by while I WAIT for the time to work on my dreams. By working on my comic first thing in the morning, I'm establishing it as one of the top priorities in my life and not just something to do in spare moments. By the time I get into work, I feel as though I've already acomplished a great deal for the day.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know what's been working for me as of lately. Hope that helps!

Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 4:48 am
by thirdeyeh
Yeah it does Brian! A lot of people do the early morning thing and I really should start doing it myself. It would require a lot of discipline for me because I am not at all a morning person either. But I do agree that when I am able to get up early and get things taken care of I feel like the day is off to a great start. Also, if I did that I would be more likely to get to bed early with my wife for once. So bonuses all around! I'll have to give it a try.