People love to measure their physical exercise. A pedometer to tally thousands of steps per day. Counting push-ups and crunches. Devices on exercise bikes to track time, distance, and velocity. And of course, stepping on the scale to see if any pounds are coming off.
Why does measuring our workouts seem so important? One reason is that consistency is the key to success when you’re trying to get stronger. And the way to stay consistent is to measure and plan.
Doing creative work also means showing up and continuing. A fulfilling creative life requires attentive focus from you almost every day, just like physical exercise. Here are a few simple suggestions to help you track your time on your artistic work.
Set an hours-per-week goal.
You need to put in significant time per week to do fulfilling work. Whether you’re uber-busy with other obligations or have all the free time in the world, choosing an hours-per-week goal will help you progress toward finishing your projects.
Say you are a fledgling writer who wants to break through and see her first published short story. Your first goal could be to write 10 hours per week, including at least one hour per day. Your second goal could be to spend three hours per week researching the business side, so you understand the steps for getting stories published.
Keep a log
Write down how much time you spend each day on your work. It may sound tedious, but it takes just a moment if you keep the log close by. It may sound like overkill, but do it for a little while just to see where you’re at. You might think you spend ten hours a week on your poetry, but maybe it’s closer to four or five. You won’t know if you don’t measure it.
Find one or two friends to share your artistic goals and ideas with, including your hours-per-week goal. There’s nothing like having someone ask, “How you doing?” to keep you honest. And you can return the favor for someone who is also on the artistic trail.
Remember to keep yourself accountable too. Write down your goals. Put reminders on your calendar to check those goals every few weeks or months. Getting support from others is necessary, but no one can get behind your work if you’re not behind it first.
There you are, a few small things to help track your creative time. Just like your physical health, your imagination will thank you down the road.