Fulfilling your desire to be an artist and develop a business while dealing with the distractions and commitments of everyday life can be very frustrating. There are sacrifices to be made, but also planning to be done. Consider these essentials when working towards creating a balance:
Claim your space. Separate your studio area from other spaces, and keep it that way. Some artists do their best work when they are out of the house. Having rented studio space reinforces the business nature of your art, and it takes you away from distractions that can pull you off-track. That studio space may end up being your creative haven. Turn off the phone, and give yourself the time to make art. In Nairobi for a good artist, you can use spaces like Dust Depo at Nairobi Railway Museum or University studio and design rooms which tend to be empty or not so busy during weekends.
Set your boundaries. This takes self-discipline and commitment. Family members, friends and spouses must agree to respect your work hours and give you the time to create. A closed-door should mean “do not disturb” unless in an emergency. Get childcare for young children if you have any who need supervision. It’s a business expense, but worth it!
Make your schedule. Create a regular routine that works around your other obligations as much as possible, but that is consistent so that others know and respect your work hours.
I asked some artist friends how they coped with busy schedules, successfully balancing their business with family life.
Artist Robert is an early riser. he says, “Getting up earlier than my family really gives me a jump on things. It enables me to start working on my business before I need to take care of theirs.” He keeps an ambitious studio schedule and tends to work out in the afternoons.
Designer Artist and Maker Derrick Nash stays on task by organizing his days. He explains, ” Because I am an interior designer, fine artist and paint abstract images on canvas, that is my first priority. I set myself a goal that I complete 1 painting a week or 4 paintings per month. That means I set aside part of my work time I come up with ideas for my next paintings which with proper time management I get to do it on my weekends. That usually takes up from 6-9 hours.
Any extra time after that is used for promotion, social media and research. A To-Do list daily helps keep me on task. There are always going to be interruptions because life happens, but I find that as long as I have my list, I can quickly get back on track. I use my phone calendar & alerts to remind me when my schedule has to be changed for a day. The organization is the only way I can accomplish what I do, so I make sure that I stay focused on the job at hand.”