All my life I have had a very specific way of working. In high school I would research an essay topic up until the day before it was due, then pull an all nighter to get it done. I would cram to study the night before, I would spend all year thinking about gifts to buy then buy them all in the rush two days before Christmas at 3am.
And mostly this worked very well for me. I got great marks, I bought the right gifts and I somehow developed the notion that I can only work with a deadline looming.
“I’m great with deadlines!” I would say
Unsurprisingly, I moved into project management where everything is planning and everything is deadlines and best of all, the deadlines are for other people! I mean sure, it was my ass on the line if it went over time or budget, but it never did because I’m great with deadlines.
Now that I’m an artist, I plan everything. I plan my next 5-10 works, posts, tweets, exhibitions… I have shows to propose for and applications to file, I have ideas coming out my ears! But I don’t have deadlines for most of these things. And often they don’t happen. For the first time in my life I make the deadlines for myself and I’ve come to a new realization..
I suck at it.
I can organize anyone and anything, but i can’t organize myself out of a wet paper bag. I can paint a work for an impossible deadline, But i can’t paint a steady stream when i don’t have one looming. I can do anything in my career, As long as I have been given a close deadline.
But I can’t keep going on like that anymore. February and March made me realize that I have to learn to manage my time better. I have to force myself to think more than a month or two ahead and work consistently. This involves unlearning a lifetime of bad habits. But hopefully it will mean that I can avoid the peaks and troughs, the 13 hour studio days and the resulting 13 hour physical and emotional crash days. I can’t physically take it and if I manage my time better I shouldn’t have to. There has to be a better way and I’m going to find it.