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Time For Art

Economist Lionel Robbins defines Economics as, “… the use of scarce resources (or goods) which have alternative uses.” We refer to much of those goods as Commodities and the most recklessly used commodity isn’t oil, water or even Green M&Ms. It is a commodity we all have but only in a finite supply, never to be renewed nor recycled. That commodity is Time.

Think of your daily life right now. If you were to be on your deathbed with only minutes to live, would you regret missing this evenings edition of TMZ? How often have you sat in front of the TV or computer, not to “decompress” (a useful action for sure) but just to occupy your attention or avoid boredom. Are you really getting something out of that experience? Would some other activity be a more profitable and rewarding use of this resource?

And it’s not only our own Time we squander, other peoples Time is taken without thought. Sometimes innocently, “Do you have the time?” Others not so much. Like when we ask a salesman to show us all the features of the latest TV model on the showroom floor, only to return home and buy it at a discount on Amazon. That salesman will not only not get a commission, they will never have that time back. Though that might have been a good investment of your time, you have stolen somebody else’s. And I have to admit, if there was a law against stealing Time, I’d be on a chain gang.

What is interesting is that we do innately understand all this. After all, most people are paid by the hour and prices are partially set by the amount of time one spends creating a good or service, let alone the Time spent acquiring that skill. If how to take a food order required as much Time to learn as how to take out a brain tumor, we’d all have Universal Fast-Food thanks to McDonald’s Care.

The connection of Time to Art is no less apparent. Artists use time to not only develop their skills, but the very act of creating is enriching for the soul and thus not a, “waste of time.” What can make the practice a waste and inefficient use of your time is to draw or paint without focus or purpose. So…

Focus on a specific problem or skill to develop. For instance, capturing expressions. Or better yet, one expression. One expression from every angle… only on women. In fact only middle- aged women, say at least forty. Spend one hour everyday for two weeks on just that and that alone and you’ll not only draw her with expertise, you’ll remember to call your mother.

Then to not waste Time at work you should…

Extract as much information out of your client as you can. Force them to “paint a picture” with their words so as to leave as little up to chance as little as possible. Yes they are looking for your creativity but if you draw with sharp edges and in their mind are thinking rounded corners, you just wasted both of your Time.

When Time is spent, there is no refund, no return and can never be recreated. Do you really want to waste your Time on unfocused practice or endless revisions of a toothpaste commercial storyboard? Wouldn’t you rather spend your Time on something you would really rather do, like watching TMZ?