Let me tell you about my work habits. My work habits when I’m making art on my own that is. When I’m working a job for someone else my work habits are the same as everyone else’s. You pay me to come in and do the job so that’s what I do. When I’m on my own and have to set my own hours and motivate myself to gets things done it’s all different. But I am good at motivating myself to make art so I’ve got that in my corner.

I’m a morning person so I get up early. If I’m in my home studio for the day I’m usually at the drawing board and ready to go at 8AM. I usually like to know what I’m doing for the day (drawing, painting, digital work, or whatever) the day before I do it. As I end one day I often decide what I’m going to do the next day. It doesn’t always work out that way since some mornings I don’t feel like starting anything big. That’s why I usually have small things around that I can work on at any time. If I can’t motivate myself to get anything big done then I go small. It helps to have patience with yourself.

I have exercise built into my routine too. Five days a week I stop work at 9AM to go for a bike ride. That takes about 40 minutes and I’m back at it around 10AM. I like to ride early when I have some energy. I’ve tried riding in the afternoon and it was so much harder. Besides me having less energy in the afternoon I would waste energy during the day thinking about how I’d have to get a ride later. 9AM comes so quickly that I have no time to think about it.

I also do some push-ups and deep knee bends a few times a week. Usually around 4PM but sometimes when I’m on a roll and don’t want to stop I’ll do them later. Between 6-9PM. I’m less scheduled with these exercises than with my bike rides.

I stop for lunch at noon and for diner at five. I can spend anywhere from half an hour to an hour for my meal breaks. It all depends if I want to get back to it or not. At a such break at a paying job no one ever wants to get back to it. But working on my own stuff is different. I’m more motivated to get back to work,

Being a morning person I often get tired in the afternoon. Starting sometime from 2-3PM I can run out of energy for a while. I find it best to take it slow in the afternoon and not push myself too much. I take more breaks in the afternoon but eventually I’ll get a second wind.

I’m generally a fast paced person and since I exercise I have pretty good stamina. But I’m 30 years past 25 and don’t have the stamina I had in my 20s. I was never a “Burn the midnight oil” kind of artist but back in the day I wouldn’t stop work until 9PM. I could go all day working on something. From 8AM until 9PM. Thirteen solid hours.

Now I have to pace myself differently. I’m still a fast paced person but a bit slower. I have to take more breaks that I used to. I almost never work until 9PM anymore. I stop at 8PM and even then from about 6-8PM I take it slow and just get little things done. I’m okay with leaving something until tomorrow.

Back in my 20s (and maybe into my 30s) I used to work myself too much at times. I’d forget to take breaks and time off. I’d be working for money X days a week and working for myself the rest of time. I sometimes wouldn’t have a day of for weeks. I’d work 12 hours a day every weekend and everyday I wasn’t in an office. I wanted to get my own stuff done and wouldn’t notice that I was wearing down.

One day after a few weeks of working a lot I’d get up in the morning and wouldn’t be able to do anything. I’d be so tired that getting up out of my chair was difficult. I’m good at being self-motivated so I’m often psyching myself up and thinking “Let’s get going” to myself. But on these days it was more like “Holy cow, I can’t move!” I’d maybe get one or two small things done throughout the day but mostly I’d sit and rest. I haven’t had one of those days in years but I did last Friday.

I still work a lot of days in a row but I pace myself differently. I don’t push it like I did in my youth. I used to push myself to get something done that same day if I could. Now I wait until tomorrow. I know getting it done today won’t do anything but make me tired.

It was last Thursday (March the 10th, 2022) that I got on a roll. It was a roll like I haven’t had in years. Everything was just going right. I was getting stuff done and the things I was doing were all flowing like water. There was no struggle. It was all as smooth as silk. So I didn’t want to stop and ended up working until 9PM. I usually don’t pay attention to “Being on a roll” as I know that persistence it better than inspiration but that day I was feeling good and didn’t want to stop. At 9PM I put everything down and was very satisfied.

I thought I’d pick it up in the morning but on Friday morning I couldn’t get out of my chair. I was tired. Too tired. I certainly didn’t feel like I was wearing down on Thursday but on Friday I was worn out. I could get nothing done. I ended up realizing that is was a lost day and that took me by surprise. I couldn’t remember that last time I was that exhausted and it really snuck up on me.

I got a couple of small things done that day but mostly I didn’t try. As self-motivated as I am if my body says no then I’m going to listen to it. I’m okay with pacing myself and taking it a little slower. I’m not 25 anymore.