How to create a positive work-life balance as an artist

An artist is what so many people dream of being when they grow up – and rightly so. It’s an amazing, creative profession where most of us are doing what we love, every day. It’s also a career that can be very flexible, as you’ll probably be self-employed.

But that also mean that if you don’t know how to manage yourself, it can quickly take over your entire life. It’s important to set boundaries. Even if you love your job, you still need breaks!

Lara Scolari, leading Australian contemporary visual artist, shares the ways she maintains a positive work-life balance as a self-employed painter.

  1. Have a routine

Routine is easier to come by in the average 9-5 than it is when you’re working for yourself. But it’s so important that you don’t burn out, so you need to get into working hours as you would in any other job! It doesn’t mean you have to come in at 9 and leave by 5 – you could work 7-11 and then 3-6, or whatever’s best for you. Work out when you’re most productive and structure your day around that. That’s a luxury many don’t have.

  1. Move around

Artists are often sedentary – make sure you get your body moving regularly. Keeping active is good for both body and mind, and I find it’s great for my creativity as well.

  1. Always make notes

This is a good way to make sure that even when you’re outside the studio, you’re taking in the things you’re seeing. But it also means you can enjoy your spare time, logging ideas for later, without having them take over your free time.

If inspiration strikes, write it down/draw it and come back to it when you’ve got time. I always keep a handwritten/drawn diary – I find the tactile nature of pencilling things down rather than noting it in my phone means that when I come back to the idea, I’m more in tune with the space I was in when I first thought of it.

  1. Allow yourself to switch off

If you’re having a day when nothing’s going your way, take a break – go and have a coffee or lunch with a friend, or just go home and watch some trashy TV.  That’s a far better use of your time than trying to force something creative to happen when it just isn’t.

  1. Always get back to people

Being an ‘arty type’ can sometimes come with the stereotype that you’ll be unreliable, so it’s especially important to acknowledge and respond to emails and calls as best you can. I’m not saying you need to be on your phone or in front of a computer 24/7, but keeping on top of things will mean you never miss out on an opportunity!

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