The other day, I was speaking with a friend and I said, “I’m a lazy artist.” She asked what I meant by that; I thought I’d share what I said with you too.
If you’ve ever felt like you’re too lazy to do the creative thing that calls you, or conversely, you wish you could be lazy but you feel like you’re too busy, keep going to read the article. If you’re rather watch and listen, jump to the video at the end.
What I mean by lazy…
What I mean when I say I’m a lazy artist is I don’t want to work all the time, 8 or more hours a day and on weekends.
I cherish my down time. I cherish my self-care time. And I cherish my family time.
Because these pockets of time are so important to me, I’ve sometimes felt conflicted about having enough time to make my art, which is also critical to my well-being.
I’m a maker, a creative first and yet, I’m always seeking alignment between my calling and my personal and family needs. So for a while, I fought my laziness.
Doing that, fighting my laziness, backfired on me. I ended up feeling resentful towards the thing I most enjoy doing, being an artist.
So something had to change.
Embracing the lazy…
That change began with a decision to embrace the lazy, to stop trying to be someone I’m not.
Then I took two steps to set myself up for success, which you can do too.
These steps are:
- Give yourself permission to be yourself
- Put systems and structure in place to allow you to be productive and proactive
Give yourself permission…
The first step to success as a lazy creative is to give yourself permission to be yourself. Here’s what this looked like for me:
I’m a slow mover in the morning and always have been. But I was pushing myself as an artist and creativity trainer to get up and get moving as if I still had a corporate job. I was forcing myself to get up earlier than I like (around 4:30 AM), to rush through my shower, to shovel down breakfast, and be at my desk or in my studio by 7 AM. This left no time for self-care, which for me is journaling, meditation, and exercise, all of which I know I must do at the start of my day or they won’t happen.
So after deciding to embrace my lazy, I gave myself permission to be myself. I get up at 6 AM and journal for 20 minutes. I eat breakfast and catch up on social media and email. I meditate for 10 minutes, then I go for a 2 mile walk. I come home, I shower, and then I start my work day around 9:30 AM.
I work until I’m done, with the goal of never working past 5 PM, so I can relax before making dinner, and then enjoy down time with my partner in the evening, which includes reading and the occasional show.
Your permission will look different than mine. You’ll need to get clear on what’s important to you so you can choose what your lazy looks like.
Systems and structure…
The second step is to put systems and structure in place so you can be your most productive and proactive in the time you have available to you. Giving yourself permission to be yourself is important. To pull it off, however, this step is critical.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been able to complete my work in less time than others (and my results were stellar, so it’s not like I was cutting corners). What this meant was I accomplished more in four to six hours than others did in eight.
When I remembered this about myself, I realized I could continue to embrace my lazy even as an artist. All I needed to do was set up systems and structure, much like I’d done throughout my corporate career.
I’m a productivity and time management geek. One of my personal mantras is “work smarter, not harder”. I’m an expert at designing solutions and finding efficiencies where others only see obstacles and an endless road. So I decided to apply these skills to my own art career.
One of the most valuable structures I use is time blocking. It allows me to divide my work into similar chunks so I can focus on one thing at a time. I have two full days for administrative work, which includes creating and scheduling my marketing content. I have three full days for making art in my studio. By using time blocking, the pressure fell away to do all the things on all the days. Now, if I want to make art on a Saturday or Sunday, I do it for the joy of it, not because I didn’t have time during the week.
One of the most valuable systems I use is a task app. I use Todoist, where I dump every single to do that pops into my head. Each week, I go through it (I’ve got it organized into work segments) and schedule my work for each day of the following week. I don’t have to think about what I’m going to do on a given day or what topic I’ll write about for my weekly article – I’ve stored it all in Todoist. My lazy artist brain is free to be creative because it’s not loaded down with tasks and projects.
These are just two examples of the systems and structures I use. There are loads more out there to choose from, which means what I use might not be right for you.
I’m a lazy artist. But by granting myself permission to be myself and then putting systems and structures in place that allow me to be my most productive, proactive, and creative, I’ve found success.
If this is something that calls to you, I can help. I work with people just like you who feel too lazy to do the creative thing that calls, or conversely, feel too busy. I work with you to grant yourself permission to be yourself and then train you on the systems and structures that’ll be most effective for your situation. Whether you want to insert creative time into your day, or you just want to be more productive and proactive at work, creativity training can help.
P.S. If you could use help to embrace your lazy, get in touch and we’ll set up time to talk about what I call The Hilary Method, my process to help you become more productive and proactive so you can be more creative.
P.P.S. If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!