Aiming for a Work - Life Balance
Like many others, the pandemic gave me some time and perspective to reflect on what was important - it gave me the opportunity to think about how I used my time.
It wasn’t always easy to manage everything with two small children and a full time job. It didn’t leave much space for creativity, which was something I felt was missing from my life. For that reason I decided to move to working part-time (2-3 days a week) to spend more time with my children and to make more space to be creative. This has changed everything. I now balance work, children and my art business - I feel lucky and grateful that I have the opportunity to spend so much time doing what I love.
It takes a lot of organisation to try to fit everything in, and I don’t always manage it, but I will tell you a little about how I try.
During the 2-3 days a week that I’m not teaching, I try to fit my art around the children and school. This is the routine which has been working best for me so far:
8:00am - 9:20am - Morning school routine.
9:30am - 1:30pm - 4 hours to paint, photograph paintings, go to the framer etc
2pm - Collect my 5 year old from school.
3pm - Collect my 8 year old from school.
3:00pm - 8:00pm - Homework, play, shop, walk, housework, garden, dinner etc.
8:30pm - 10:00pm - Emails, packing, posting on Instagram, ordering art supplies etc.
10:00pm - 11:00pm - Netflix/read
Not Just Painting
I love painting, but there are a lot of non-painting activities involved with making a business work. These ‘behind the scenes’ aspects have taken time to learn. For example, setting up the website was a new experience and quite time consuming, especially figuring out practicalities such as different shipping zones. However, I found it rewarding when I could see the progress and how it improved over time.
In a typical week, I spend 60% of my art time painting, and 40% on all the other tasks such as organising photographs, framing, sending emails and spending time on social media. It can be very easy to get caught up in consuming so much online - I don’t always spend my time wisely, but I’ve started making a conscious effort to try and use it more effectively.
When I’m not looking after my children, teaching, painting or catching up on admin, I’m often thinking about what I should be doing next with my art. To switch off, I spend time outdoors - going for a walk or spending time in the garden.
It’s impossible to devote time to everything so I try to be as quick as I can with less enjoyable jobs such as housework! Luckily (for me) my husband enjoys cooking so that takes the pressure off in the kitchen! When I was working full time and painting at night, I found the time by cutting out TV. I quickly realised that painting was so much more relaxing and it was very rewarding to see how much I could achieve by being disciplined and consistent.
The Importance of Recharging
I really value having time to recharge and reset. A change of scenery is so important to rest and refocus. There is something about the coast - hearing the waves and feeling the fresh sea breeze on your face that certainly helps you to recharge. Time spent up in Tyrone also brings about a slower, more relaxed pace. Even if I don’t always realise it at the time, these breaks away from the easel, website and social media feed my creativity in the long run.
So, to summarise, I have dreams and plans, hopes and goals. I try to balance work and life while appreciating the fleeting moments of the here and now. I definitely don’t have it all figured out just yet but I’m going in the right direction and that’s good enough for now.
How do you fit creativity into your day? How do you find balance? Does my typical day sound like yours? Do you have any tips for me? Send me a message here or on Instagram - I would love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading! 🤍