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The Most Wonderful (Thing About) Time

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and we are bouncing around the art studio like crazy elves who have lost their minds.

Every year, I say “Next year I’m going to take it easy and not put too much on my plate.” By the time June arrives, my Jekyll and Hyde shambles out of hibernation and forgets what the plan was. That’s usually when I get REALLY excited about doing some project that I’ve wanted to do, which then leads to another and another. By the time the holiday season comes around, I’m writing two books and a workbook, recording audiobooks, designing a new series of paintings, revamping the website, designing playing and tarot cards, finalizing art calendars, expanding on video and music creations, and planning for art encased in resin for jewelry. Not to mention all the ongoing projects, commissions, orders, and normal business running type things. Then you get into the multitude of projects Klee is working on and it looks like a metal confetti bomb went off in the studio.

Rafi in a messy art studio

The thing is, I honestly don’t know that I would have it any other way. I remember the first three years that Klee and I really went for this creative lifestyle that we are living, and the studio was a snooze fest. I mean, we had music, fun, and the occasional projects going on, but I think I was a little timider back then when it came to time. I would hear myself say things like “I’ll work on that when I have time.”

The problem was that I never had enough time to do anything… so I never got started on things and they went in a journal.

The one thing you have to do as an artist is create. If you are not creating and you are always just thinking of creating, then I’m not sure you can call yourself an artist. I mean, you can call yourself whatever you want, but you won’t FEEL like an artist, which is what matters most in my line of work.

The irony is I am working on WAY more projects now and seem to have more time. A few years ago, I realized that it wasn’t the number of things I was doing, it was how I felt doing them. More importantly, what narrative was I repeating to myself about what I was doing?

Time seems to follow a universal, tick tock rhythm… but it doesn’t. In the Special Theory of Relativity, That guy with the crazy hair determined that time is relative. In other words, the rate at which time passes depends on your frame of reference.

Let me blow your mind with some strange and most likely incorrect “Rafi logic”. We know that the faster a clock moves, the slower time passes according to someone in a different frame of reference. That’s why GPS clocks on satellites have to adjust depending on their speed because the faster they move, the slower our clocks run down here on earth. Yeah, that shit is cray. The clocks on the satellite tick slightly faster, by about 45 microseconds per day.

To me, that means that if you are in movement, time slows down around you. So when you are just sitting there telling yourself you don’t have enough time or hemming and hawing about how to start, chances are, you’ll feel like there is not enough time. In my experience, whenever I get stuck in an indecisive rut, the day just flies by and next thing you know, I haven’t done anything.

On the other hand, when I just fa-chunk it and get started, I usually get more done than I anticipated. Klee likes to call it warping space and time.

That is the most wonderful time. The time I make for the things I love. This year as you run around trying to get all the things done, keep this in mind… Just do it.

Get started on that project. Give that hug. Say I love you. Take that walk. Take that phone call. Take a moment to appreciate the little things. Do that thing that scares you. Change that habit you don’t like. Smile at yourself in the mirror. Take time to relax. Read that book. All of those things that you have put off… Just do it.

No one said you have to get them done in a day, or do them ALL now, but if you don’t get at least one started, it will never happen.

Try not to repeat the words “I don’t have enough time.” and replace them with the words “I make time for the things that matter to me.”

So enjoy this Holiday and make time for ALL those special little things that you love.

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Scale It Back If You Have To – How Not To Burn Out

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about time. 

As some of you guys know, I’m in the midst of writing a new book, the Rogue Artist Guide To Rogue Marketing. I’m very excited about putting this book together and out there in the hands of other creatives. One reason is that I want to help artists market their artwork out into the world, but also to be able to write down the marketing methods of my madness. 

Now, the interesting thing about writing a book is that it is very, very time-consuming. The other interesting thing is that being an artist, and creating artwork is also very, very time-consuming.

Throw in the fact that we have commissions, a YouTube channel, podcasts, blogs, music, motivational MP3s, a Patreon following, and zoom meetings and it could feel downright impossible. 

I’ve had people ask “Rafi, how do you even find the time to be able to do any of the things that you do?”

Here’s the interesting thing, you’re not going to find extra time to do anything. Time doesn’t change. Our perception of time on the other hand, does. 

In this modern world where everything feels like it is moving at a thousand miles a second, it is easy to feel like you are not doing enough. Unfortunately, that can cause you to do too much.

There are times where I have to reevaluate all the projects that I’m working on. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, you cannot manage time. 

You can however, manage the tasks that you take on for yourself. At this point, I am a little overwhelmed by the number of projects that I have going on. Between the art creation, the book, the YouTube videos, the podcasts, the music, and everything else that’s going on, I find myself feeling a bit overwhelmed by my own creative process. 

I get contacted all the time by artists who tell me that they feel a little bit overwhelmed in their art career. I can understand where they’re coming from. The one thing that I could suggest is to reevaluate constantly, and take a look at all the things that you have going on. 

The fact is that “more” and “faster” doesn’t equal better. At this point, I am putting out so much content that even some of our most loyal peeps are having a hard time keeping up. I know that’s contrary to what a lot of people will tell you, they will tell you to do more social media, do more marketing, do more art. They will tell you to do more this or more that in order to get known. 

I think that there comes a time where you do need to step back. 

Because if you’re not taking time for yourself, then you have no time to give. No matter what you do, the ability to give is your biggest and most unique marketing advantage.

This week, I am sitting back and re-evaluating and deciding to pull back a little bit from the internet world. 

Immediately my insecurities flare-up. I think to myself “If I don’t reach out to people, if I don’t let them know what’s going on, if I don’t post the newest video, if we don’t post the new podcasts, people are gonna forget about us. 

Everybody’s gonna think that I let them down. 

My people-pleaser flares up and starts itching and causing me to get overwhelmed. The thing is that the more you get out there, the more people you think are expecting stuff from you. Unfortunately, this means that the people-pleaser within you starts telling you that you are constantly doing a bad job.

I’ve actually been to this place before. I almost burned out last year because I had taken on way too much, so I scaled it back. I still released new art, videos, podcasts, and fun things, but I allowed myself to have more me time and produce a little less content.

I don’t know if it was 2020, but so far, it’s easy to blame 2020 for just about everything, so why not this too. 

If you find yourself verging on burnout, the best thing you could do for everybody involved is to take a step back, reevaluate what you’re doing, and just scale it back a little. When you scale things back, you allow yourself the time and the energy for yourself, for the projects that you’re working on, and for everyone else. 

So don’t be afraid to scale it back. No one’s going to forget you. No one’s going to be disappointed. No one’s going to think that you’re letting them down. 

And if they do… F them.

Just scale back and take that time for you.