Page From My Sketchbook (click to see larger image)
Tracking Studio Time
Sylvia asked me to talk about how I determine the hours when I posted that I spent 865 hours in the studio last year.
I started doing this when my accountant told me that he thought that it was very important to be able show that I was treating my art as a business should I ever be audited. He felt the number of hours spent engaged in the activity was important information to track.
I’ve tried different formats for tracking this information and the above image from my sketchbook is what I did last year. I like the hand drawn page better than doing it on the computer.
Incorporating it into my sketchbook keeps me connected to the sketchbook on a near daily basis. Good for both keeping the tracking current and for using my sketchbook as I intend for ideas and sketches. I keep the book accessible and open on a table in my studio at all times.
I write down the number of hours spent each day and a brief note about what I was doing.
A few years ago I decided that by setting specific goals for what work I wanted to complete was creating stress when I failed to meet the goal so I decided to switch to setting goals on the number of hours spent in the studio and not worry about what I specifically accomplished. I blogged about this in June of 2006.
For a while I found this to be the solution and it helped me balance my life but last year I found myself right back to the same place being stressed by that magic number of 20 hours in the studio.
No More Ego
In retrospect I realize I did not address the real problem. The real problem is my ego and my judgment of my performance. Last year there were also some additional issues of hiding behind my arbitrary goals to avoid situations I should have dealt with in a healthy manner insteadt of pretending they weren’t a problem.
For 2008 I will continue to track my studio time because not only does it provide useful records for the IRS I find it helps keep me accountable and in my studio. But this year I’m going to approach it in a healthier way. I am not going to set any specific goals for the number of hours to spend each week. Instead I will just write it down and total it up for the month.
I’ll place no judgment on how I did. No more "hurray I made the goal" or frowny faces if I don’t spend time in the studio. Those value calls are unnecessary. I don’t need to label it either good or bad. It is what it is.
I will not keep a running total from month to month and I won’t track the number of hours short or extra I have done. That’s just a recipe to make myself feel bad or boost my ego, which needs no encouragement.
My true desire is to work in my studio and I know that will happen, I trust my intent is enough for it to happen. I know when I spend that time that I am happy. Spending more hours spent does not make the happiness in some way better. It’s just my ego wanting to feel good about itself. I don’t need or want that.
At the end of the year I’ll total up all the hours and irregardless of the outcome I will be content knowing I put in the hours that were right for me.
All this doesn’t mean I’m not going to set goals for my studio. I will continue to do this in a healthy way of setting intent. It keeps me focused and focus is a great thing. Action is good. I’m not going to judge how things go – if I don’t make the goal I’ll just keep working on it. No ego – just pure joy.