Do you struggle to make time for art? I hear this frustration so often. And I hear myself saying it more often than I would like to. This week I stepped off the treadmill of work, life and busy-ness for the first time this year. I realised I was feeling stressed and exhausted and I just wasn’t getting to do enough of the things that nurture me.

This morning, I saw a quote on a Facebook post by John Freeman: “If you are not doing what you love, you are wasting your time.” Clearly, I’m not the only one who struggles to get off the hamster-wheel of doing-ness. We’re all very good at procrastinating, and at letting all sorts of things get in the way of what we really want to do. Most often though, we can make small changes that make a difference to the amount we make time for art.

Small changes to make time for art

  • Put a time in your calendar. Once something is in the calendar, it reminds you to do it, and you have to actively think about the reasons you might be replacing it with something else. Put a slot in your calendar as often as you want to paint: daily if you wish. Just make it realistic so you don’t get into the habit of just removing this important appointment with your art materials.
  • Learn to say No to other things. This is my nemesis. My children are very fond of reminding me that, “No is an actual word.” I’ve always been someone who takes on too many commitments. Today I was told of an excellent way to think about this. When asked to commit to doing something that she needs to say no to, Lesley Farbridge points out that she is unable to give the new thing the time that it deserves. Such a wise way to consider new commitments and decide whether you should take them on.
  • Have a small area set up for your art. Having to set up and clear up again every time you want to make art is a hassle. Make it easy to pick up and start whenever the creative urge strikes (and when you’ve scheduled time in your calendar).
  • Set up a Pinterest board to collect inspirations. That way, you can hit the ground running when you have even a short break in which to paint.
  • Do something often and small. Even 10 or 15 minutes of creation is worthwhile.
  • Remove any expectations. Take the pressure off yourself by just letting yourself create for the pleasure of the process. Doing this will stop you from finding other less daunting things to do in your painting time.
  • Think like a child. Children learn by playing. We forget to do this once life’s obligations fill our days. Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves. Things we enjoy get more of our time.

Isn’t it interesting how themes start to come together in your life at a particular moment? Different aspects of time and how we use it have been appearing in significant forms in my life recently. If this interests you, I’ll be writing more about it in my Art Boost on Sunday. (If you sign up for it, you’ll get 5 professionally designed inspirational quotes as well).