About Prime Time

I took a couple of excellent marketing workshops this summer offered by Jason Horejs at Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale Arizona (of all places!).  They have a blog called “Red Dot” that gives artists  all kinds of marketing advice. (Side note:  He has also started an on-line book club, reading biographies about famous artists – which I’m joining.  The first book is about Caravaggio; A LIfe Sacred and Profane by Andrew Graham-Dixon).

One popular component of one of Xanadu’s webinars was Mark McGuiness’ talk based on his book:  Time Management for Creative People.  Words like marketing, time management and goals, usually make artists involuntarily cringe.  However, time still manages to get away on most of us, which is why it is such a sought after topic.

The biggest common sense idea underlined for me during this talk was:  we all have times when we are most creative or productive – when things “flow” more easily.  For many of us (including myself) it’s in the morning, for others it is late at night.  I have always called this “prime time” because I try to make sure I’m not folding laundry or doing another mindless task during my most productive times of the day.  (For me prime time may also be when the weather’s really nice or there’s fresh snow outside).

In my mind, one hour of primetime is worth three hours of regular time, or whole day of tired time.  The key is to cordon off that prime time for only creative work.  That means, turn off the phone, get the computer away from you etc…Think of a realistic amount of time you can reserve each week.  Even two hours of primetime every other day is better than nothing.  I always think of how the thickest books get read a few pages at a time.

This concept really helps with my focus.  Having a more limited time for creative work, actually works for me because I think, “I only have this time frame, so I better make the most of it”.  I end up with way less distracting thoughts like, “I don’t know where to start” or “maybe I should go do something else for awhile”.   I just simply do the work and then move on.  I’ve even set the stove timer, so I’m not having to look at my watch to see if it’s time to pick up my son yet, or whatever else.

The thing that’s mostly changed for me is that I paint most mornings for 2 hours now.  Before I would save painting, like a dessert to enjoy,  when I got all my emails and dishes done.  But, I realize that when I die, I’m not going to rest in peace knowing that throughout my life, I had always emptied my inbox.  And I enjoy the rest of my day better knowing that I’ve already spent time doing what’s important and what energizes me.

I wanted to share this, not only with other artists, but also with students who are learning to draw and paint.  You will be more successful with practicing if you can fit it into some cordoned off “primetime”.  Happy creating!

11. October 2011 by Tracy Kobus
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