Sun 12/7/2008

I had an EXTREMELY productive week. And mostly, that was thanks to a new development I've had with THE SCHEDULE.

Up until now, The Schedule has always been a bit of a theoretical ideal. It was developed at a time when I was out of work and had very few responsibilities. So it operates with the assumption that I have an entire day to draw, from 8am to Midnight with nothing else I need to accomplish. Unfortunately, it has been many years since that was the case.

Even though I have developed variations on The Schedule, most of them just shift around the placement or duration of the work and break periods. It is still a very rigid structure. And because of the generally small time increments, if I have some larger non-drawing task (such as a class I have to teach for 3 hours) I will, more often than not, give up and assume that I will not be able to work a schedule for that day.

So one night last week I was up pretty late, trying to finish coloring this page of Aaron's book. And as I was getting into bed, I thought "I should work The Schedule tomorrow, but I need to prep for my class also...ack!" So I grabbed a piece of scrap paper and started trying to map out a schedule for the next day.

And I know that sounds really simple, but it was like this huge block CLICKED into place. Instead of having this IDEAL of a perfectly scheduled work day, I CREATE a perfectly scheduled work day by basing it on up-to-the-minute information. So normally, if I went to bed at 2am, I'd think to myself, "Well, I SHOULD get up at 7:30, because The Schedule starts at eight" but NOW, I would just look at the clock and say, "Okay, it's 2am, and I operate best when I get 8 hours of sleep, so I'll get up at 10 and schedule my day from there."

Does that make sense? Each night right before I go to bed I take note of the time, allow for a proper amount of sleep, schedule in the various responsibilities I have for the following day, and then build as much work time around that as I can, along with some breaks. (examples above)

THIS IS WORKING REALLY WELL FOR ME. I'm mostly focused on coloring Aaron's book right now (as we head into the home stretch) and in the last week I DOUBLED my productivity using this method of scheduling. I was able to get six solid hours of extremely focused coloring in a day, plus usually an hour or two of Basewood penciling. And that's on top of my teaching responsibilities, attending some CCS classes, and errands, etc. Plus my "morale" has been really good, probably because I'm ACTUALLY getting enough sleep and working hard enough that I want to take a break during my breaks. I even got enough done this week that I felt justified taking all of Sunday "off" to work on personal projects, which has me well rested and ready to face the next week.

I know I'm really lucky to have my entire days to figure out for myself. In this society, it's a real privilege to not have to report in to some place from 9 to 5 each day. That's part of the reason why this stuff is so important to me. If I can work harder and more efficiently and for longer periods of time without going crazy, it's more likely I'll be able to keep doing this kind of stuff for years to come! (Knock wood)

3 comments on this entry

Happy to see you doing what you love, but REALLY JEALOUS of the Angoulême International Comics Festival! maybe next year......

Chance Dec08

Nice work, dude. I should try this, though I am for all intents and purposes, a 9-5'er right now.

Neil Dec08

Nice! I have been thinking a lot about scheduling & organizing lately, as I've realized it will take quite some effort for me to accomplish everything I want to do in the coming year. I just lost one of my 2 day jobs, and it was the only one I have to leave the house to do. I intend to make my next year productive and awesome!

Colin Dec09

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