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April 2009
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Controling the Internet overload and Studio time

There is such an information overload on the Internet these days that it’s a wonder that an artists gets anything done!  TV shows, world news, local news, family emails, client emails, weird news,computer games, Facebook, Twitter……just to writ it all down is exhausting!    To turn on your computer means you are lost for several hours!

Sometimes I wonder what we all did before the computer?  I used to write in diary type journals and kept a garden journal complete with layouts and sketches. I would sit under the sycamore tree on a nice morning, coffee in hand, dogs at mt side and write quietly. When my children were very small, I got up an hour early and actually worked on cross stitch!

Now I still have coffee in hand in the morning. The dogs don’t lie next to me but wander around on the hardwood floors wondering if I’m going to feed them yet and I type away on my blog journal!  Of course I have to check emails….and that may lead to the news, a joke, a forward, deleting junk mail  and the next thing you know….2 hours are gone.

I usually have something to show for it. But I will not unless I plan!

So I have started getting up earlier and while the coffee splutters and computer is cranking up (broadband) , run up and down the outside length of stairs. A lot.  Nothing like exercise to get the heart and lungs working!  Plus I feel less guilty!  Coffee ready, computer on, I quickly scan the email. If there is nothing of immediate urgency, I stop. Feed dogs. Get moving to studio and outdoors.

Any change in your daily routine is good if it gets you away from things that tap into your creativity and energy.  Life is real and it happens and we cannot always control what happens but we might as well try to control SOME of the things.

An artist is different than most people. No matter how business like an artist may be or how focused, there are those moments where an artist MUST re-energize. It doesn’t take long. But one very simple method IS to move away from the computer!  I do not have a Blackberry right now. Maybe later I will.  But  right now, when I am away from a computer, I want to be away :-)

If an artist is not careful, then some of the online avenues designed to help him or her in actuality, become anchors to their careers!  Just as we have seen friends become addicted to online computer games, so it can happen with Twitter, Facebook or any of the many many online social networks that occupy many people’s time. The computer takes away from studio time. It takes away from family time. It can take away creativity!

UNLESS you take steps to monitor you time and make the most of the time that you do spend on it! The computers will not go away. Use them to enhance your life and your career. But set your own limits just as you do with your art. So many hours here, so many areas there. I have actually made a list of what I need to check when I go online.  It has worked well. Otherwise I get caught up with mundane topics that simply take up my time!

It does not work every day. I am not my usual disciplined self today BUT hey I am sharing this blog with you! The only time most of us use our computer time wisely is if we have a busy day planned or an appointment scheduled. But think of what you would accomplish if you had that attitude every day !

So  run a test!  Make a list of the areas that you HAVE to check and do it in a timely manner. Reply, post, lurk, etc. but then, walk away.

And as to that hand written journal that I used to keep…well maybe I’ll get into that journaling art everyone is mentioning…it’s nota  new concept  but maybe, just maybe, an early morning hands on project is good for the soul!

2 comments to Controling the Internet overload and Studio time

  • This is so true! The internet can be a great tool for giving and receiving information, but it can eat up a lot of time better spent in the studio. I’ve been guilty of spending far too much time on the computer lately. It is nearly all business related, but not all of it is necessary. I really need to make an effort to be more efficient with my computer time!
    I like your idea of making a list of “must do’s”. Setting a time limit would work too.

  • You definately need discipline with respect to computer time – but also with phone interruptions, the doorbell, and other chores that distract you from painting. Monitoring computer time but allowing yourself other activities that burrow into creation time won’t solve the problem. :)