After reading Alyson Stanfield's new book, I'd Rather Be in The Studio, I started organizing my studio and schedule. As a result, I came up with a way to help maintain a balance in three different areas of my life: family, art and me. I find that when my life swings too much in any one direction, the other areas become neglected. As a result, I often feel very stressed and unfulfilled.
I decided that I needed to establish a way to devote time for each area. I calculated that I have about 14 hours per day to work with, 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. I created a form (that's the former graphic designer in me) and broke it down like this: 3-4 hours for myself--shower, dress, eat, meditate and go to the gym; family, 6-7 hours--that includes everything to do with the house and family, and 4 hours for art--which includes creating, marketing. If I schedule it, it's more likely to get done. If I'm aware of how many hours I've spent in each area, I'm more likely to keep things balanced and moving in a positive direction. I'm also less likely to feel pressure to add more to my schedule. ("No, I'm sorry, but I really CAN'T ___________________ this month.")
I found the key to success in using this form is flexiblility. During the course of the day, things change regularly--kids get sick, old friends call and want to chat, the computer crashes. At the end of day, I can look at what was done, how much time was spent in each area and how to plan for the next day. It has made me more productive and, strangely, more creative. I find that when my mind is free from stress and distractions, I am freer to create. I am also freer to have fun in the evening and to enjoy the "art of nothing".