Work-life balance for artists

Being able to work without interruption is a luxury and all of us try to get the most out of this opportunity. At times, in this process, we tip the balance between our work and daily life.

I currently have the bandwidth to dedicate more hours to my creative work and my duties towards my family are at a minimum.  Being a full-time artist for two years now, I feel it’s an appropriate time to share with you how I’m trying to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Although I started writing this post for artists, the steps apply to most individuals, irrespective of the nature of their work.

Work-life balance to me is dividing your time and energy for activities related to your personal and professional life.

Having a work-life balance gets a lot of attention, but achieving /maintaining it can be tricky, especially for people pursuing their passion as their line of work. 

Passion towards one’s work can lead to overworking. Eventually, it can even affect/ lower your creativity leading to burnout.

Don’t get me wrong though, pursuing your lifelong interest as a career is immensely satisfying. However, even if you love your work, you have to treat it as a profession by making boundaries.

Most days, I really enjoy working long hours, seven days a week. But the overall quality of my day-to-day life makes me want to balance things a little.

 I am still making a lot of progress at work, making or creating what I want but the lack of a work-life balance has started affecting my overall well-being. I feel accomplished but exhausted by the end of the day. 

So what do you do when you feel burned out? Maybe take a vacation?   

At least in my case, once I come back from a vacation, I end up overworking to compensate for lost days. If you are like me, the method of taking a break might not work as a long-term solution.

 So I will share with you five simple steps I have been following to improve my daily life –

Step 1 –  Accepting the need for balance

Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.- Betsy Jacobson

Loving your work doesn’t mean you have to feel guilty about devoting time to other activities. Simple tasks which are part of your day provide a much-needed break. Making meals, finishing odd jobs or spending time with your family or friends can help you feel more fulfilled.

Allowing yourself to enjoy your hobbies also fuels your creativity. You can read more about it here.

A beautiful quote to sums it up: 

Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. 

Step 2 – Make boundaries, make a workspace

If you are working from home, it’s essential to separate your workspace. Working from the comfort of the bed might not be great in the longer run. Your workspace can be just a plain table and a chair at any spot in your house. Dedicated space will help you to keep a tab on your work hours and make you more productive. 

Step 3 – Fix your work hours

It helps a lot to fix the number of hours you are at work. There is no restriction on the time you want to allot for your creative work, it is totally up to you.

Fixed working hours can help you go back to your day-to-day life without feeling guilty. Your mind will get used to the fact that once you wrap up, you will not return until the next day. 

Your productivity might not be at its best when you implement this step, but routines can be helpful.

You can choose to divide your work hours into a couple of slots based on your comfort level. But, remember, even flexible work hours have to be defined.  

Step 4 – Enjoy, unplug yourself after work hours

A little structure in your work life can work wonders. Without having to compromise your productivity, you can take better care of yourself.

Once you fix the work hours, you will have the rest of the time for yourself. You can use it to help your family or do all kinds of activities which you enjoy. Cook meals, read books, spend time with your loved ones, even get a new hobby. 

Do consider reading: Do artists also need a hobby?

Tip -You can keep a small diary within your reach for those new ideas which strike you at random times. Write these ideas down and build on them during your work hours.

Step 5 – Implement and Improvise

In today’s fast-paced life, maintaining a healthy balance can take a lot of effort. It’s possible that you will not get any work done for a couple of days/ weeks when you try to break into a new schedule.

It might take time to figure out the kind of balance that works best for you but it is worth it. Hopefully, the steps I’ve shared can help you figure out your own happy routine. 

I will end this post with a quote I read in the book “Keep Going” by Austin Kleon

When you don’t have much time, a routine helps you make the little time you have count. When you have all the time in the world, a routine helps you make sure you don’t waste it ” 

If you want more motivation, you can read these articles :

The best thing ever written about “work-life balance”

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