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Salon Sunday 1

 

I want this blog to be a conversation between me and you, so Salon Sunday will be a regular feature. You are all invited to hang out here and discuss, via comments, the topic of the day, previous posts or in fact anything at all relevant to Planning Creating and Succeeding. Feel free to start your own topic for discussion and to continue to chat all week.

Let me kick you off : I wrote about time recording yesterday so I am interested to know, do you allocate special time each week to planning or creating? What have you learned about how to fence that time off from the demands of the world that you can share with others? If you struggle to do that what tends to prevent you achieving that?
20 Comments Post a comment
  1. Gwyned #

    I am not as fastidious as you, Helen. I don’t start and stop a stop watch. I do schedule Monday, Tuesday and Thursday as my studio days. They are sacrosanct. They are blocked off on my iCal. I will do everything in my power not to schedule luncheons, doctor’s appointments, committee meetings, conference calls or any other distraction during this time. I have even stopped taking phone calls, letting them all go to voice mail. I also resist the urge to check e-mail and if I succumb, don’t respond to anything that requires thought or more than a sentence.

    A mantra I picked up from the secretary at my children’s middle school several decades back is “Failure to plan is planning to fail.” I’ve always been a planner. I work better that way. This mantra reinforces my instincts and acts as a reminder if I get off track.

    I may work bonus hours if circumstances allow. Those three days are my minimum.

    November 4, 2012
    • I like this idea. In the past I have always slotted in, often in the wee hours blog posts, research & other things in addition to tge day job. The day job often growing and taking over into my home life.The key to success will always be the ability to be structured & planned. You only get out, what you put in!

      November 4, 2012
      • plancrea #

        Maybe that’s a good topic for a post – how to separate home and work life?

        November 4, 2012
    • plancrea #

      Hi Gwyned,
      i am wondering, is being in the studio enough to ensure that all that time is spent productively? And do you have a system for dealing with all the emails and phone calls you stack up ( very sensibley) for a later time?

      November 4, 2012
      • Gwyned #

        I work in the studio from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. I break for a mid morning snack, long lunch and for frequent beverage replenishment and bathroom stops. This has me working anywhere from one to two hour intervals throughout the day. Because of the long uninterrupted periods interspersed with planned or needed breaks, I find my studio time is very productive. I also try to alternate tasks – working at the machine, doing handwork, designing, surface design or cutting. I find that by changing what I am working on periodically helps me from getting stiff or if the task is mundane or very repetitive from dozing off.

        I handle cleaning/clearing the studio every week or so as part of my Saturday housekeeping. That way studio time isn’t used to hunt down tools or remove the batts accumulated inside my sewing machine. Weekends are also when I write my blog postings – personal and Visioning Project about what I did the week before.

        I am up between 3:30 and 4 a.m. every morning, including weekends. It is my nature. No different than those of you who work in the wee hours of the night. I begin my day by journaling, then I answer any e-mail that came in overnight. Often treat myself to a computer game if I am ahead of schedule, then I work out for an hour or so.

        On weekday evenings, after dinner, I respond to e-mail that came during the day. I catch up on the weekends – like now. :)

        Wednesdays are designated for the business of art. That is when I review the status of my call for entries, hunt down new ones, fill out new ones, and make business phone calls. I also update my website on Wednesday, removing events that have gone by or adding a new work.

        If family or friends need a call I call them during the evening, my lunch hour or on the weekend.

        Yes, I have husband. We commune over breakfast and dinner, after we have caught up on work in the evening and often work out together in the morning. My two children are grown with families of their own and live 1,200 miles away. My mother passed away in March 2012. She also lived 1,200 miles, but I was an active, very active care taker during the last 5 years of her life. This is the very first year that I have been so free to be so self focused. I am taking full advantage of it for as long as it lasts.

        November 4, 2012
        • plancrea #

          Go you! I envy the ability to dedicate whole days to creativity. with a full time job ( which I love and have no desire to give up even if I could afford to) my creativity has to be done in small chuncks with the exceptions of some weekend days. I suspect that each way of living brings its own orgnaisational challenges.

          November 4, 2012
          • Gwyned #

            …And I longed to return to work for years. I “retired” from a field I enjoyed and felt valued in to being a stay at home mom of two, bored to tears. Of course, if I hadn’t made the switch the odds that I would have focused on art quilting would have been very slim. As it is I squeaked in a few hours of traditional quilting during naps, then school and eventually eased my way to art the side. It was a very long and anything but straight path to where I am today. There were times when I longed for a more a direct route and more uninterrupted time to call my own. Yet the very fact that it took me decades to get here makes me appreciate it all the more. All those interruptions and detours have impacted my work in ways too many to recount.

            November 4, 2012
  2. My schedule is so simple and routine I have no need for time-recording. I tried for a while setting up ‘blocks’ of time to do certain tasks but I found I just didn’t need this. I have repeatedly read of how many people I admire have used this method though, so it’s one I always have in the back of my mind in case my life somehow magically transforms into one which needs more than the most basic time-management.

    I am really looking forward to reading all your posts here! I have greatly enjoyed the ones you have written for Philofaxy, and the one you wrote to introduce this project interested me especially because of the manner in which you said your binder ‘evolved’ from what was essentially a ‘notebook’ of blank sheets, but with all the benefits that come from a loose-leaf system. This is a technique I am intending and longing to try myself, and have been thinking about for the last few weeks, so your post has been a timely encouragement for me that this method can be successful.

    Thank you for sharing all this knowledge :)

    November 4, 2012
    • plancrea #

      i am interested.. Tell us about your simple routine and how you got it that way would you? And what is the purpose of your new binder?

      November 4, 2012
      • My life is basically so simple because my disability and severe chronic illness don’t allow me to do very much, to be honest. I study with the Open University, so again although I have a general course schedule, I have a lot of freedom over when I actually complete it. I find with the work that rather than plan to do a certain amount in a day, I do better, and find it less stressful, when I just sit down with it and see how far I get. I do keep specific task lists for assignments if they are complex, but otherwise, I prefer a kind of ‘flow’. I am working on making personal task lists however, because otherwise I let certain things slip – for example, I am the worst letter/email writer in the world!

        My new binder will partly go along with the module on Design Thinking I have just begun with the OU. My usual subject area is classical history, and I have no art or design background, so it’s a very daunting challenge for me (and I suspect your blog has come along at just the right time!). I have an A5 Malden set up as a course binder, with the admin details, reference information, assignment details and so-forth, but the binder I want to set up will be my version of the ‘sketchbook’ they advise us to carry. I know from past experience that if I try using a bound sketchbook I will fail, because basically I can’t draw, so I get inhibited by the expectations and the binding and panic. A ring-bound system frees me from that, and I am finding it really helps me work things out.

        But my plan for it is a little broader, and I am basing the idea off a number of others, including some of Cal Newport’s brilliant ideas, especially the ‘notebook method’. What I want is a space for ‘thinking’ without limits. Mostly blank paper, no appointments, lists or deadlines. I intend to use sticky notes or bookmarks or something to write down just a couple of things at a time I want to think about, for my course or anything else really. I’ve already found this helps me with novel planning – if I sit down to plan, I can’t, but if I sit down with a note that asks me ‘why does character A hate character B?’ somehow I get a lot further. Your description of your binder as a kind of ‘brain’ on paper is exactly what I want.

        I apologise – you can tell it’s NaNoWriMo month by how much I am blathering on, but I hope this makes some kind of sense!

        November 5, 2012
  3. plancrea #

    Well,how rude does it look that I didnt turn up to my own Salon until so late.. Nt a ood day for my 3G to fail!
    By coincidence I noticed that someone else was also thinking about time recording this week. Check out http://planningwithprintedportal.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/stop-watching-with-paperchase/

    November 4, 2012
    • Thanks for the mention Helen. Yes. I time record quite significantly. I have another 4 inserts relating to time-recording which i have not blogged about as i didn’t people analysed it that much. Like you the habit stems from time recording at work. But I find it useful to ascertain whether I am making good use of my time. Gives me a reason to change any of my habits / what I am doing and overall I find it makes my time management better.

      November 7, 2012
  4. Diane #

    I have worked at becoming more organized on the planning part, and I now do that daily. The filofax makes that an enjoyable treat — and I like sitting down to map out the tasks and goals I have in mind. But I am not so good at the allocating specific time to create. I think it is related to a subconscious feeling that creative time is “fun” and “luxury” and, and unless i have a specific deadline coming up, that I must do other chores first. I will have to try blocking in a specific creative time this week and see if I can’t get myself headed toward that habit…

    November 4, 2012
    • plancrea #

      that definately works for me, as it does with exrecise. if I make an appointment for a specific time I am much more likley to kepe to it.

      November 4, 2012
  5. In the past I’ve been very faithful about sitting down on Sunday evening & planning out my week. Sometimes I printed off a weekly vertical calendar & made a plan & then transferred it to my daily pages. Lately I’ve had a hard time getting it done. My life is SO unpredictable & busy! But I do try to plan on Sunday. If not, I find that I am not very productive during the week. But when I have a plan in place, I get a lot more done & feel more in control.
    You mentioned something about tracking your quilting time. I’m a quilter, too. I don’t routinely track my time but if I’m doing blocks, I like to time a couple of them so I have an average of how long it takes to quilt a single block. Part of the reason I do it is so I know how long it takes if I have a deadline and because people always ask me how long a quilt takes to make. Having that simple number helps me have an idea.
    I used to work for lawyers but we didn’t do much tracking. They were estate planning attorneys and charged flat rates for their work. We only tracked our time on special projects. That’s a lot of work! I’ve done it at home sometimes – just to see where my time goes. It’s very eye opening.
    Love the new blog and I’ll be checking back regularly. I LOVE the subject of time management and planners.

    November 4, 2012
    • plancrea #

      Thanks for calling in! I agree about the Sunday planning. I have a new ritual of taking my planners to the local cafe, having breakfast then, with a fresh pot of tea getting all my lovely filofaxes and pens out and having a good plan. Sets me up for the week and I find it pleasurable and relaxing to do it there. Today I was there so long I added a third pot of tea and a piece of raspberry brownie cheescake to the ‘breakfast!’

      November 4, 2012
  6. Jaynie Himsl #

    How do I allocate time? In the short term, I make enough supper one night so we have left overs for another night. Sure saves too much time in the kitchen. I work part time and have no kids at home anymore so mostly I have the luxury of lots of time to create. To read that others sit down and make a plan or use a timer kind of makes my skin prickle. I guess we all have ways that work best for us. I have goals set but they are longer term. I’m planning to have finished a set of five pieces in a theme for an adjudicated show in the new year. Between work and life I probably have three days a week that are predominantly create days. I’ve never actually noted how many days or the amount of time I am in my studio. This loose
    planning seems to work best for me.

    November 4, 2012
  7. Azreada #

    Being retired is a way of life which is luxurious, yet filled with pitfalls. Time has a way of slipping away when no plan or time constraints are part of the daily routine. Stopping to prepare meals and throw a load of wash into the machine can be seen as unwelcome interruptions. I appreciate your emphasis on time recording and realize that if adhered to, this could mean more efficiency, more discipline and more accomplishments. Thank you for beginning your new blog with this topic.

    November 5, 2012
  8. Alison Reeves #

    I’ve really enjoyed reading how everyone organises themselves – there is almost a sort of voyeurism in peeping into other peoples lives and routines, but when it happens it’s surprising how often a new idea is born.

    I totally understand that one has to plan and the saying ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’ is so true. And yet I have to fight myself to make plans.- I have no idea why because I know it makes sense – am I a chronic procrastinator or possible just lazy? Who knows. However I have found the act of writing it down, or having a set ‘routine’ (e.g. change the beds on this day, change the towels on that day’) makes me do these things – and I am working at extending this.

    I go to a Saturday quilting workshop once a month (10-4.30) which I love and I get so much done because I have devoted more time rather than a snatched hour here or there. The practice of blocking time off for this work makes sense and one which I am determined to do more often.

    So, I’m taking a long time to say that routines and time recording can be a very important part of creative work.

    November 5, 2012
  9. Brigitte Red #

    I have never considered keeping track of time spent on projects with a stop watch! I suppose in order to see where and how much time is spent time recording would be a good way to keep track. I have not yet reached the point in life where I can retire, so my creative time is usually allocated to evenings when my Muse has been talking to me during my travel home from the office. Some evenings the Muse is very talkative; other evenings it seems as if the Muse is AWOL.
    Working in a legal office, I am very familiar with deadlines, and a bring forward system. it seems that this is how I allocate time when not at work…I bring forward things that seem to have slipped by the wayside and “get ‘er done.” For example, when I have spent too many evenings piecing quilt blocks and the laundry has piled up, I bring forward the laundry. I know that this is not an ideal way to accomplish various goals that I have set.
    Salon Sunday will be a very help tool to encourage a change in some of my planning habits or lack thereof.

    November 7, 2012

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