Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Notebook

"Summer Girls - work in progress" - 8 x 10" colored pencil on paper.
Copyright 2007 Maggie Stiefvater.
e-mail me at portraitswithcharacter AT gmail.com if you want to call dibs on it before I'm done.

I know Monday's supposed to be my day for art business posts, but I got off a day and I don't want to wait until next week to talk about it. My topic for today is . . . duh duh duh (not quite the same effect typed as when said out loud) . . . time management. I've talked about this before in my How To Juggle post, but now life is getting more complicated for me for two major reasons.

1) getting a book deal that means my novel has to be completely revised according to my revised synopsis in short order
2) having two toddlers whose naps are getting very Very short

As it's just not an option dropping anything out of my schedule, I'm going to tighten my ship. I just know there's enough time for it all in there if I work hard enough. Soooo. What am I doing, you ask? Cloning myself? Hiring a manservant? Neither, dear readers! I've bought a notebook.

GASP! duh duh duh (okay, that really doesn't work in print . . . I need something new to indicate suspense).

In it I'm putting every day of every week for this month. First I'm crossing out every Sunday. Sunday's my day off. I don't do anything productive that day at all. Just lounge around. I need that so on Monday I want to go back to work so bad I'm crawling the walls.

Then I'm crossing off every Friday evening and every Wednesday afternoon. Those are going to be my writing times.

Then I'm pencilling in "commissions" on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Then "shipping" and general art on Mondays.

And general art on Saturdays.

And I'm sticking to it. I already know that if I give myself a deadline, I work better. Better even than if someone else gives me a deadline. Because I'm less forgiving! I'm also going to pencil in the exact commissions I'm working on each day so that when I sit down, I don't spend any time going "uhhhh . . .", I just get right to work.

My finding is this: the less time you have, the more you have to schedule it. So who else is buying a notebook this week?


Katherine said...

You'll be scheduling the TV time next!

I don't have a notebook but I do have a calendar with enough space for writing on right in front of me. (I cannot bear those ones with teeny weeny spaces)

I also find it a lot easier when I do certain things on certain days.

It's getting the right balance between being very structured - so that you are superefficient - and also being able to be opportunistic - so you don't miss out on that great idea you just had..........

I now find that if I write down my great ideas and do a little bit to them I can then park them until I've got the time to come back to them.

So - at the back of this new notebook maybe you could try having a page for the "I'm a creative genius with great Ideas - To Do List"! ;)

Jeanette said...

Calendar in Outlook is my saviour. My life exists in electronic form. Yes I know, I know what if it crashes you say? Well then I cry.

Rose Welty said...

Are you scheduling the kids too? :-) I know that sounds funny, but in two weeks my world gets rocked and my plan includes schedules for the kids. How else am I going to be able to get everything done (without them burning down the house in the background? :-)

Debbie said...

I bought a note book about 3 months ago. I put down a schedule and any thing I need to remember. I lost it about a week later. I occasionally come across it and put it where I will remember it. Then I forget it again. I wish you better luck!


Anonymous said...

Hey Maggie,
Been reading your blog for a while now it always make me smile.I know what you mean about organising time I have the same problem and work better with a timetable, so methinks I will get that notebook too.
Congrats for going into publication, hope it goes well.

Anonymous said...

Since my husband leg amputation this past May my time schedule is totally crazy. He is coming along great and has the prosthesis but still "takes up" my time from art production to lesson preparations. Both I NEED to be doing since it supplements our income since he has been "out of commission". I have to schedule all doctor appointments first then work around that. If the class I teach at the community college "goes" then I will carve out Mondays for that and juggle the dr. appts around that. I let my students chose the time and day they want to come, we check my schedule since part IS chisled in stone and so far seems to work. Even after 45 years of marriage and many, many commissions and art classes husband still does not have total concept of my time, but does try to be not TOO demanding. I also need to mark out time for my web site visits with you, Maggie and with Robert Genn and 3 e-pals I have from WetCanvas site. All in all I am pretty lucky. Helen Scott New Bern, NC

Stacy said...

Personally, I'm a list girl. I don't work well with schedules and don't like being told what to do, even if I'm the one doing the telling!!

So I make a list with everything that has to get done and everything that should get done and a few things that I'd just like to get done. The "have tos" get dates beside them so I don't miss a deadline.

Then I pick from the list based on what I feel like working on. Lucky for me I work best to external deadlines so the tasks with dates never get lost. Unfortunatley a lot of my art tasks don't have deadlines, so I may need a new system for them.

One word for Jeanette and her electronic calendar...Backup. You will be happy you did!

leslie said...

I have perfected the art of making lists.
And I was unaware, until now, what notebooks were for. I just collected them because they were made of paper :)
Maggie, just the idea of having to do all you do with toddlers in the mix is remarkable.


SHERI C said...

I had no idea that you had young children as well! You inspire and encourage me all the more! Congrats on the book deal. It is just so exciting right now isn't it?! And thank you for sharing about your things to do and schedules and trying to make it as an artist and writer. You give me hope...

Belinda Lindhardt said...

Another Fabulous post and artwork maggie thanks again for inspiring everyone.

I hope it works for you, i find hard to schedule in mudane things like preparing food or doing the washing and the housework .. i have started to look at that time as my thinking time or planning time. Just that change in my thinking means i actually enjoy this time a little more as i dont have the pressure of performing. I still hate doing the dishes tho ... !! such a time waster

Quilt Knit said...

Well, I have always had a schedule notebook. I have been using Yahoo calendar since 1997, when I found it. I also, use Amazon.com to reinforce special Days. Always good to have two door bell chimes - one for each ear. My newest schedule-is trying to be more productive at work. With my work. Doing my ACEO cards and 4"x6" and bookmarks are working out. I do not care what the boss thinks anymore.
I have been planning for over a year to transfer to MY Life full time. Of course the full time will be after They kick us out.
I also love the large desk Calendars. Wonderful for the powerMac to help me with the dates and large areas for instant thoughts - and sketches, not able to be done randomly on a computer.
This weekend pictures from Rosie's - Bet you have to bake all day SUNDAY! My eldest is back in Iraq.
((( Circle of Hugs )))

Quilt Knit said...

My schedule 1997: Lost my job after 16.5 years.
Two children in highschool, One headed to college.
Both in JrROTC. Being made to start the day by going to a pre college counseling for displaced women with children- 6 hours a day to evaluate you and your children for the stress of college. (Tech School that was no.5 in the Country - now 4 year Tech School and new name.) Taking oldest child to all the entry college counseling. Day started at: 5:00am, interviews for ROTC and college and had to take Child to University across town to participate in ROTC. Then pick up youngest and go to Football game or practice at offsite campus highschool. Home and dinner at around 7:00 pm everynight. FEED child at home.
Sleep till 10:30 to go to part time job to show college I was a worthy adult - and employable - to attend said college. Off work at 3:30 Am and pick up Oldest child and take to University for physical workout with ROTC, sneak a shower on campus waiting for his hour of ROTC to be over. Grab a coffee, and do some homework from counseling - Lucky me! Had made all A's in psychology. Only one that ever had the homework done. Take child to College pick up high school student and take to school, then to my counseling. Take youngest to after school job Steak Escape. Sit and try not to be noticed till Home again. NO DAYS Off! I think I beat you already. Made Phi Theta Kappa.
I did this? Exhausted! Nite Nite.
Welcome to your new Non life.
Sherrie Proceed with extreme caution.