10: Make time for illustration when you don’t have any

10: Make time for illustration
when you don’t have any

Can you think of a single person who has too much time on their hands? In this fast-paced modern world we live in you can blink and miss an entire year of your life. We all chase that extra hour in the day and yearn for an extra day in the week. Between unforgiving jobs, demanding social lives and family responsibilities how does anybody have time to do what they love? This post is about making time for your passion so that it can grow and flourish.

Making your time count towards your dreams

Firstly, we need to address the fact that we can’t actually ‘make’ time. Time is not something we can create out of thin air. However, we can ‘find’ time to do what we love through the sacrifice of other activities. Success isn’t defined by what we’re willing to do, but rather what we’re willing to sacrifice to get there.

How much time do you spend in an evening watching Netflix? How much time do you spend scrolling through your Facebook feed? How many hours have you racked up on Pokémon Go this year? All of those things take time, and I’m guilty of spending mine on those things rather than pursuing my dreams. It’s not to say any of those things are necessarily bad, either. Consequently, I’ve definitely had loads of fun running around hatching Pokémon eggs. Additionally, I’ve be thrilled while covering my eyes and glued to the TV screen watching Stranger Things. However, none of these things were contributing to achieving my dreams.

If you think this is a post that’s going to tell you to drop all of the things you love, and just focus on work, then you’re wrong. Every night my girlfriend and I find the time to cook dinner and sit down and eat together. We find the time to watch a TV show and we even play PlayStation sometimes too. We make sure we spend time together in the evening, but also allow ourselves time to do our own things. I decide to spend that time working on an illustration, writing content, or doing another activity related to my passion. I could easily lie out on the sofa, take it easy; but that’s not going to benefit me – I care about my dreams.

Everyone has different responsibilities; don’t compare yourself to their success

Now that all sounds dandy for someone who finishes work at half 5 and has the whole evening free. However, not everyone has the luxury of time. As I mentioned in my last blog post (09: Don’t Compare Yourself To Other Illustrators Success), everyone has different responsibilities.

As a parent, you’ll know how much time and attention you have to dedicate to your children. Making sure your children are cared for will always be the priority. But, let’s consider the time you have once they’ve had dinner or been put to bed. How much time do you have left before you need to call it a night too? Even if you decide to watch one episode of your favourite TV show instead of two – that’s progress. An hour spent doing what you love is better than no time spent on it.

Early wake, early create

If you’ve made it this far into the post, now I’m really going to test your dedication – but hear me out. Waking up earlier has changed my life. Yes there it is – the news that nobody wants to hear.

One of the most common problems I’ve heard other aspiring illustrators talk about is feeling drained. This creative drain is definitely something I’ve suffered with for years, too. Coming home from work, feeling completely drained of all creativity and energy is a common, haunting problem.

When that happens I go to slumping on the sofa by default. And, I’ll stay there until it’s time to drag myself into bed and start tomorrow. Well, if you don’t have the energy to hustle after work, why not try doing it before?

Now, you’ve got to understand something – I absolutely hate getting out of bed in the morning. Does that resonate with you? I’m sure you’re nodding your head. And, what could be worse than getting out of bed a few hours earlier than you have to? Giving up on your dreams; that’s what.

I think about that when dragging myself out of bed every morning. I think about how much more I’m going to achieve in those few hours by waking up than I am in bed, so I get up.

Better quality time for unique ideas.

I’m not suggesting that you should sacrifice your sleep at all. After all, you know best about how many hours you can operate on. However, you should adjust the times you go to sleep and wake up instead. This is so you can find more time for yourself in the day, while the world is sleeping. There are fewer distractions earlier in the morning, making it a much better time to work.

Waking up earlier solves multiple problems. When you sit down to write or create after work your head is already full and overworked. It has consumed so much content that it can be difficult to create anything that is genuinely yours.

What I mean by this is that your work is influenced by everything that has happened that day. Maybe it’s as simple as something you saw on Pinterest or an article you read on Facebook. The ideas are too fresh in your mind to create something new and original.

When creating is the first thing you do in the morning, you can approach it with a clear mind. More importantly, you can approach it with your own unique voice. At this time you haven’t consumed anything yet, and you’re full of creative energy.

A winning formula for a more productive day

The first things you do in the morning can set the tone for the entire day.
Ever heard of waking up on the wrong side of the bed? It’s the same thing – You should start your day off in the best way possible.

You may believe that spending time hustling with your passion in the morning will be detrimental to your day job. In fact, the opposite is true. There isn’t a day where I’ve woken up early and felt too tired to face the day job. Instead, I feel fired up and inspired to tackle my responsibilities head on. Even my boss has turned around and picked me up on it. Commenting, I look fresher and my ideas I’ve contributed have been much more creative.

There are many benefits to waking up earlier and getting more of the correct things done first. Waking up early means I’m naturally tired in the evenings and actually want to go to bed earlier. I no longer want to watch that extra episode on Netflix (which makes the series last longer too!). I no longer want to play that dangerous, “oh, just one more game” of FIFA, either. In contrast to how I would never feel tired and never want to go to bed before, this is fantastic.

Do more of what you love, less of what’s holding you back

We all have things we can sacrifice to make more time for ourselves; but don’t always like to admit it. You should ask yourself what is more important to you. If Netflix is more important than the passion, that’s fine. And, if there’s nothing you want to sacrifice in your routine, that’s fine too. However, you can’t complain that you don’t have enough time to do the things you love.

To make more time for yourself in the day, you can sacrifice less beneficial interests. This doesn’t mean you have to stop doing them altogether. Furthermore, you can make your day more productive by adjusting your sleeping pattern. Waking up earlier and creating before going to the day job has many benefits, including becoming better prepared for work. Consequently, this helps you overcome the problem of not feeling creative when you finish the day job. Additionally, this allows you to create your most unique work by approaching it with a clear, free mind.

More about waking up early, the right way

Waking up early is never easy – in my next post I’ll be writing about some proven methods to help you get your feet on the floor, and improve your creativity early on in the day.

Make more time for your passion and keep hustling.