For this month’s Artists Synchroblog we were asked to write about what time of the day we are most productive.
Once upon a time, I was an early bird.
I’d get up at the crack of dawn, because I liked how quiet the house was before the hustle and bustle of the day started. My mind was always clearer after a good night of sleep. I’d hear my Dad get up and leave for work. I’d watch the sun come up through my bedroom window.
By the time I was in university, the only way I could be an early bird was with the help of a very large mug of espresso. Night time was when I did my best work.
In my early years of making jewelry I’d regularly only get about 5 hours of sleep a night. I’d come home from my day job, eat dinner, and then start on whatever jewelry project I was working on, and finally drag myself to bed after midnight. That trusty mug of espresso would get me going in the morning again.
Then I had kids.
Anyone who has followed my Year of Jewelry blogs over the years has read my stories about trying to juggle working on jewelry with trying to care for small children. There is no best time of the day, only 10 minutes bursts coupled with complete and total exhaustion. Espresso intravenous, stat!
Over the years, it hasn’t so much become a matter of what time of the day I physically feel most productive. That seems to always be in flux, as I juggle seasonal changes of shows, teaching, the children at school, or on vacation, or a husband who works Monday-Friday or a rotating 12 hour shift schedule. People gasp when I tell them I maintain eight calendars, but it’s the only way I maintain any sense of order.
I gave up caffeine six months ago. Adjusting has meant learning to really listening to my body and its rhythms. If I need a nap at 2 p.m., I take a nap at 2 p.m., and then I’ll work from the time the boys are in bed until midnight. If I wake up at 4 a.m., I’ll take advantage of the quiet and do planning and research or answer emails.
What I need to be productive is a focused start point and peace and quiet. Right now, the focused start point comes with the help of a Job Jar. I wrote a bunch of things I need to do on individual pieces of paper, scrunched them up and threw them into a jar. I’ve included projects that are long neglected, as well as routine jobs. I shake the jar, pick one out, and do it, regardless if it takes five minutes or five hours.
I feel an energizing sense of accomplishment when it’s done, and that, more than anything else, gives me the jump start I need to tackle the other things on my To Do List.
The Artists Synchroblog is a group of bloggers who post every other month on the same topic, sharing our experience or perspective. On alternate months we undertake a Pinterest Project where we each take inspiration from a Pinterest picture, create something (art, a meal, a DIY project, etc) and then post about it. You can read more about the Artists Synchroblog here.
Please visit the other synchrobloggers this month and read their stories about being an early bird or a night owl!