Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Process: Time Management


Ah. the exciting topic of...time management? Yup. This post is about how I schedule my time. (BORING) I have to admit, I love when artists/writers share their methods for getting stuff done. So I'm sharing mine. Take THAT, internet.

I've kept a daily planner/pocket calendar thingy since the days of college; I wouldn't really know how else to keep track of all the crap* I have to do. My current (and favorite) planner so far is this little number from Moleskin. I've used this type of planner for the past three years...:



It's about 3.5 x 5.5 inches, so yeah, I like to write SMALL. I love seeing the whole month! Since my days at my non-comics (Aquarium) job change week to week, I use red pen to outline shifts.

For comics, I will make deadlines for the week, and check them off as I go (or reassess my schedule if I don't meet them).

Food, travel and social stuff go on here too. I also enjoy anytime I can use stickers (see the tiny fruit ones on the top? those were to remind me to pick up the farmshare that month).

With all that said, I feel like I'm just finally starting to be more efficient with my time. Up until last fall, I was still working 3 - 4 days at the Aquarium, so my work-from-home time was only about 3 - 4 days a week. Now, it's more like 5 - 6, so really planning out each work-from-home day is important (for me at least). Here's 2 versions of a-day-in-the-life-of-Maris:

DAILY WORK SCHEDULE (average)
9 AM wake up, work out
10 AM coffee + breakfast, maybe some planning for the day
11 AM shower/clean
12 AM - 2 PM work
2 PM - 2:30 PM lunch
2:30 PM - 7 PM work
7 PM - 8 PM dinner
8 PM - 11 PM work
11 PM - 1 PM tv/movie/video game/doodling
TOTAL WORK TIME: 9.5

DAILY WORK SCHEDULE (crunch time)
9 AM wake up, work out
10 AM coffee + breakfast, maybe shower
11 AM - 2 PM work
2 PM - 2:30 PM lunch
2:30 PM - 7 PM work
7 PM - 8 PM dinner (sometimes takeout)
8 PM - 2 AM work
TOTAL WORK TIME: 13.5

Things like breaking a bigger project into little mini-deadlines, and establishing daily/weekly/monthly expectations are helpful to have on there too (and they can help to prevent going into "crunch time" mode). Basically, if I get to check something off once I've done it, I feel good. For really big accomplishments, rewards like going out to fancy dinner, or starting a video game (SKYRIM!!!!) are nice little perks (haha Skyrim pun). I'll save the Skyrim post for another day though.

All that said, I am always looking for ways to work more/faster, but without sacrificing my sanity. Cooking, taking walks, working outside (when possible) are all little ways I try to not become a total comics zombie. Also, having a part-time job that engages me in a completely different way than comics has been integral to my well-being. Plus, I am more than happy when those two worlds meet (I'll be posting soon about some Aquarium comics I'm doing!).

Ok. Hopefully that's helpful or interesting. I know it helped me to put this in writing...Oh, and speaking of which, I have been curious about digital calendars, but for now I will keep it strictly physical (call me old-fashioned).

*note: When I say "crap", I am referring to paying bills, car maintenance, appointments, meetings, etc. It's not ALL crap, I promise.

3 comments:

Jesse Farrell said...

Thanks for posting this! I too love it when artists/writers share their methods for getting stuff done.

Nicole Nally said...

I really love when anyone shows how they manage their time.
I try and do the same but I'm not nearly as in-depth as you. I'm starting to think that maybe I should be.

maris said...

Thanks! I should have mentioned above that Alec Longstreth was the artist that first got me thinking about this type of thing, and he has excellent posts on the subject matter here:

http://makecomicsforever.blogspot.com/2005/10/schedule.html

and here:

http://www.alec-longstreth.com/blog/464/

-maris