Episode 133 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Take Time Off

Take Time Off

This one may seem easy, but for most, it is not. Especially if you are living a freelance lifestyle or if you have different jobs or even if you are a full-time artist. When do you take time off? You might think that you are always off because you can choose when you work, but that is not the same as taking time off regularly. A comparison that comes to mind is what sex therapists tell their clients. When a man and a woman go to a sex therapist and tell them that they are not having sex because of mutual resentment or something, there is one interesting suggestion  that the therapist usually tries. The method is to tell the couple that they must both abstain from sex for a week or until they see the therapist again. Of course the couple protests, saying that they were already doing that, and that is not why they came to therapy. But the therapist counters by explaining that if they agreed not to have sex, it would at least be something they agreed upon! The couple is still unsure, but the therapist continues to talk, explaining that if they take time off, consciously, from having sex, they can stop beating themselves up about it. Then after the next session, they can all evaluate what happened and decide how to move on.

That’s a strange method, isn’t it? When I first heard that, I was amazed, but it makes sense. The person who told me about it was the husband in the couple. He said it really irritated him. But he also said it was nice not to argue about it and lay down all weapons for once. Amazing, isn’t it? Simple exercises that we can do can teach us profound things about how we function in this world and how to do it more effectively.

The Time-Off Plan

Taking time off is the perfect solution for the too-busy person who is trying to get more done than is possible or at least thinks there is not enough time in the day. I would take off one entire day if possible. How about Sunday? If you must, choose half a day. Then do the following on that day:

  1. Make a promise not to check email or look at a computer for that entire day (or half day).
  2. Do something you enjoy for the sake of it: read a book, take a walk, or play a game.
  3. Be aware that this is your day off; you earned it and are fulfilling an exercise as well.

That’s it. Keep it simple, unplugged, and mindful. This is another technique in time management because it teaches you how to relax and that makes you refreshed when you go back to work, not just more of the same. It is also a lesson in enjoying yourself! When I am stressed, I always remind myself of this thought: “Why am I doing this if it is not fun?” That usually calms me down because why would we get stressed out over something we have chosen to do? The ups and downs are part of any process.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 132 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Book-Ending Technique with a Friend

Book-Ending Technique with a Friend

This is a classic technique where you check in with someone regularly. It could be a friend or someone you hire, like a coach. But you have an agreement with this person that goes something like this: “I will write to you every weekday before 6:00 pm, reporting on the work I did that day.” Then you design your new schedule as we have before. You choose one thirty-minute period, not much longer or shorter, and you do your work in that period and send it to your friend or coach.

This is an exercise that works for me. Also, if you ask this of a friend, you are asking them to help you, to help you accomplish a goal, and if all they have to do is receive your emails once a day, five days a week, why not? Wouldn’t you help someone wanting the same thing? Offering an exchange like that with someone can work very well. This can be done with a family member, old friend, or someone you hire like a coach or an assistant. For the sake of experimenting here, you could ask a friend or someone very close to you. Tell them that you need their support and are doing an experiment to see if you can reach a particular goal. Tell them your plan: you will work thirty minutes a day on it and email them every weekday to state your progress. That is all. They have to read it but do not have to respond if they don’t want to. Chances are, they will respond a little, and you will have a relationship over just this issue.

The main issue is that you hold yourself accountable by writing that check-in report every weekday. Also, you are reaching out to someone and telling someone what it is you are reaching for, and when you begin telling the world that you will do something, it tends to get done.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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