It’s the third week in the series Making the Most of Your Polymer Clay Studio. I’ve teamed up with Katie of Kater’s Acres and this week she’s discussing How to Be Productive in Your Polymer Clay Studio. Productivity is an interesting one. It sounds like something that’s only reserved for people who have big jobs and deadlines and their career depends on getting things done. But here’s another way of looking at it. Do you have the time to get done what you want to get done in your polymer clay studio? Are you free to create, play, and explore as much as you want with your polymer clay? Or does it always seem that other things come first and you never get a chance to get out your supplies and make things?
Very few people have the freedom of a simple life with no obligations and unlimited time to spend playing in the studio. Some of us have full-time jobs outside the home. Those of us who run businesses still have to do the social media, do the accounting, attend to the paperwork, and even take photographs of our work. All of us have to do our laundry, clean the house, tend to family, walk the dog, and deal with all the disasters that come up such as backed up plumbing, flat tires, sick pets, and broken appliances. Even the good things like vacations, house guests, and family events mean that our time is spread over many, many things. How can we get it all done and still have time to create?
If your creative time is something that gets done after everything else in your life calms down, you’ll never get to it. You have to dedicate time to it and make that time a priority. In The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, she talks about making an “Artist’s Date” with yourself. Marie Young of Marie Young Creative dedicates Saturday mornings to working in her polymer clay studio. It doesn’t matter when you make the time, but you have to carve out a space in your schedule for creativity just like you make time for exercise, doing your laundry, or yes, even going to work. And stick to it. Don’t feel guilty about taking the time to create. Everyone needs time to do what they love. Commit to it!
My husband has spent many years as a project manager and is always telling me that I really need to learn how to Time Block. You see, I’m the kind of person who works on one thing until it’s done, then moves to the next item on the list. That’s bad because I can easily spend way too much time on one thing. Time blocking means that you dedicate a certain time block to working on a specific thing. Then move to the next block, whether you’re done or not. That could mean 7-9am is for starting the day. 9-12 is studio time. 12-1 is lunch and reading a book. 1-4 means social media and computer time. You get the idea. This way you make progress in all areas every day. You don’t have to block out the whole day for this to be effective, though. You could just say that everyday from 1-2 is for working on that project you keep putting off. Just do one hour’s work and then move on to something else. Soon you’ll have that project tackled and it will no longer be a monkey on your back.
Master Your Time
Many of us fall into the trap of doing what comes up rather than what needs to be done. We oil the squeakiest wheel first. But just because someone calls and needs a favor or a child needs an outfit washed does not mean you need to drop what you’re doing and do it right then. Schedule it in. My daughter always tells me that I work too much. And I resent her interrupting me all the time. But after a big discussion one day we both realized that I could tell her “come back at 9pm” and she was perfectly happy with waiting as long as she really did get my full attention then. I learned that I am not “at the beck and call ” of everyone around me and they’re learning that I still do take their needs seriously…just not right at this minute.
Productivity in Your Polymer Clay Studio
Well I could keep babbling on all day about productivity. It’s one of my favorite topics, actually. And someday I’ll talk about my calendar, to-do list, and scheduling routine. But for now, head on over to Kater’s Acres and read Katie’s very excellent suggestions on How to Be Productive in Your Polymer Clay Studio.
You can also read the other articles in our Making the Most of Your Polymer Clay Studio series. Week 1 was Making the Most of your Studio, No Matter the Size. Week 2 was Making Room for Your Polymer Clay Studio. And make sure you come back for Week 4 when I’ll have another helpful article about Your Polymer Clay Studio.