Do you ever struggle with a lack of time and feel like you just can’t get everything done? Do you ever wonder how you are supposed to be the artist that God has called you to be, yet don’t seem to have enough hours in the day? Well, if that’s you, then keep reading because I’ve got some practical strategies for finding more time for the things that really matter.
One of the five roadblocks I’ve seen hold artists back over the years is this whole concept of overwhelm and the lack of time. You might be nodding your head right now, thinking, Matt, I know what you mean. A lot of artists struggle with this, but here is the thing that I have learned about overwhelm and lack of time. How you spend your time is simply a reflection of a few things in your life:
And all of this can be summed up into one word: Vision.
How you spend your time is directly related to vision. It’s the Bible that tells in Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” or as another version reads, “the people cast off restraint,” and one of my favorite translations says that without vision that “people run wild.” So how does all this relate to time and time management?
Vision from God about your life and art allows you to have a standard by which you choose how to use and prioritize your time. It helps you to know who you are and what you are called or meant to do in your life and with your art. Without that in place, then it's too easy to let circumstances and other people determine what your priorities are in life. Then before you know it, your time, your money, your energy, and your focus have been hijacked by someone else’s agenda.
I had to get to this place in my own life. The place where I fully embraced God’s call and plan for my life as a husband, a dad, an artist, and as a father to Artists. Understanding who God created me to be and knowing what He has called me to do guides how I choose to invest my time. This vision for my life helps me to prioritize what I say yes to and what I say no to in my day.
What’s Eating Up YOUR Day?
So, I am going to give you a little assignment that you can do right now to start taking control of your time. For the next seven days, grab your journal, a legal pad, or even a piece of paper and write down everything that you are doing in 15-minute increments. Now, I know that you are probably saying, “OMG! That is a lot of detail.” Yeah, it is, and that’s the point.
This time assessment is a commitment, but it’s really going to reveal where you are spending your time. Yes, I want you to include the random scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, the daydreaming, and anytime you spend unfocused. Be sure to include doing things for your family and friends, even the things you do out of guilt or obligation.
Time for YOUR Aha Moment
And then at the end of the week, what I want you to do is this: Go back through that assessment and look at the areas where you choose to spend your time. Ask yourself the following questions:
The point of this exercise is not to feel shame for what you didn’t do but to help you see what you can do. Most people who do this week-long time assessment end up having a complete light bulb moment of realization: “OOOohhhhh! My Goodness! I’ve wasted a whole lot of time on a whole bunch of nothing.” The important thing is to take that Aha moment and use it as a call to action.
Ask Yourself This
Once you’ve completed this exercise and find yourself staring in the depth of this Aha moment, this is what I want you to ask yourself. “What am I willing to give up or change in my life right now in order to live the life that I believe that God has designed me to live as an artist?” I know that it's a tough question, and not one to be answered lightly. But I’m also convinced that every artist who answers this question is ready to step into the fullness of what God has for them.
I hope this has been a big encouragement to you. If this article has been a blessing to you, take a moment to share it with a friend, share on social media and comment below!
Thanks for reading.
Matt Tommey is an artist, author and mentor who is passionate about empowering artists to thrive spiritually, artistically and in business.