The previous post — Wanted: Art maniacs — highlighted an art madman I’ve known for the 25 years we’ve been in the gallery business.
A takeaway was that he’s achieved the elusive goal so many creatives dream of — to make a living entirely from his art — by simply diving in every day.
These Notes For Creators are almost always meant for me. This message more than most. Because I live a highly irregular life.
Days are never the same. I travel multiple times a year for a week or more. I run across the state to help my vibrant but aging mom. We have a teenager. Business is fluid, unpredictable. The coronavirus rages.
So it’s rare two days look the same.
But really, it’s me. I’ve set up this everchanging ride of a life. No other art gallery owner hits the road like I do to visit artist studios. At least not by RV.
(Used to be by van.)
I’ve rarely been able to sit for long. I’m antsy. I’ve got to move or change focus.
I prayed when I hit my 30s that I’d subside.
For sure when I hit my 40s.
Definitely by the time I hit my 50s.
So that message about a daily commitment was for me. Because I fail at it so often.
For those of you like me — you eternally flitting creatures who can’t sit still — I thought I should pass along one other idea. From someone who thrives on change yet strives for routine.
The solution that has seemingly burbled up on its own accord is this: Modular core practices.
You could also call it variable time blocking.
Here’s how it looks.
— You sift through your experience to isolate the essential activities in your life that sustain you.
— You identify 5 or 7 areas
— You name them
— You estimate how long you require for each one each day
— Then you feed them into your daily planning structure
— And even if each day is full of surprises and differing time frames, even if appointments and meetings and travel time and obligations tug at you in different ways on different days, you make sure each core practice is scheduled at some point in the day
I’m going to walk you through mine so you get a feel for how this works.
Years ago I honed in on 5 Daily Practices necessary for my sanity. And for my growth.
Plus expressing love energy in my efforts and my interactions
A short session for getting clear on what I really want, could be for any time frame — the next hour, the day, for my life
Getting in motion. Excercise! I like to get at least an hour a day. It grounds and enlivens me
A daily creative practice, writing bookitos, writing to you here or via my email newsletter
Relationship time, connecting meaningfully and lightheartedly with people that matter to me
Then I had an epiphany — two important parts of my day weren’t covered — I really had 7 Daily Practices.
I added these two, because in reality these hours formed the bulk of my day and I was often engaging in them mindlessly:
I own an art gallery, it was important to dedicate the same level of thoughtfulness to those hours as the rest of my life
How did it take me so long to realize the homefront also needed that same high level of attentiveness! They may sound like chores to you, but now laundry and vacuuming and cleaning up are imbued with a deeper purpose for me — and what a difference that makes
So there it is — those are my 7 Daily Practices.
These daily practices are simply building blocks. I move them around each day in my planner to fit my changing schedule.
For an easy visual I draw a little triangle off to the left of each daily practice — it gets colored in when completed. It’s an easy scan down the page to see what daily practices remain.
For example, I try to get my first Body session in early, but it’s not always possible.
No matter, the empty triangle lets me know that particular practice still awaits my attention.
For an irregular guy like me, whose life gets thrown in different directions on different days, now all I need do is make sure I’m tackling each area for some portion of my day, and voila — my days are more fulfilling — life is engaging — heartier even — it is deeper and groovier —
And I don’t fall into bed every night like used to, with a nagging sense of incompleteness.
Even if inexpertly handled, even if a mountain of tasks still need to be tackled, I’ve lived core values that day. Which is surprisingly rewarding.