Are you finding it difficult to balance spending time on your work, being with family and friends, and taking some personal time? It can be a challenge, especially if your focus is on gaining new animation clients or getting noticed as a successful animator in the industry.
The good news is you have complete control over how you want to work. What many animators don’t realize is that you’ll never “find” time to do something; you have to make time. If you want something to happen, you have to make changes in your life, whether they’re big or small ones.
If you want to stop feeling like there’s not enough time in a day to do what you want, it’s time to restore your work-life balance. Luckily, that’s completely doable without sacrificing your personal or career-related goals! Here are six ways to achieve work-life balance as an animator.
1) List Down Your Priorities
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The first step towards finding your perfect work-life balance is figuring out with elements of your life carry the most weight. Ask yourself: what things do you value? Who or what do you think you should get the most of your attention? What activity should you stop doing or which acquaintance might be dragging you down instead of lifting you up?
Listing your priorities will help you create a schedule for yourself. When creating this schedule, consider: what should you be doing every day or only two times a week?
Do you want to work for clients all day or have time for your personal projects at the end of each day? These are some questions that can guide you in making a list of your priorities.
According to Mayo Clinic, if you want to get things done, you should remove events or people in your life who don’t add value to your life. It can be hard to say no to parties or coffee dates at first, but when you focus only on the essential things, you will live a more meaningful life.
This concept will help you set your boundaries as you work as an animator. After listing your priorities and values, you will have an easier time with the next step: building a daily routine.
2) Build a Daily Routine
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People work their best when they follow a daily routine. Skilled at Life says you will become more efficient if you can build your routine since the number of decisions you make each day will be reduced.
When you have finished doing one task, you can move on to the next task without thinking or planning too much. You can use your time working instead of planning or preparing.
For example, instead of replying to your emails whenever you get a notification, take a look at your day or week and select specific timeslots when you respond to all your emails. You could also commit to working for a certain number of hours per day or per week.
If you decide to end your work hours by 5 pm each day, make it a point to drop everything at 5 pm sharp. Don’t work overtime. As they say, work smarter, not harder.
Instead, reward yourself with a meal with a friend, a relaxing time watching tv by yourself, or some time with your family. Creating your daily or weekly schedule will allow you to focus on animating during your work time and resting during your rest time.
Ubel Arts suggests that you segment your day based on when you feel more productive and when you should spend time with your loved ones. If you’re a morning person and you feel productive and creative from 8 am-12 pm, then work during those hours time.
If you feel like your energy level gets low in the afternoon, you can work on your personal project, read a book, take phone calls, and do a few house chores.
If you want to make sure you can do everything you have to do each day or each week, use a traditional planner or a digital calendar such as Google Calendar. Brow Env says that you should put your personal to-do list each day in your calendar, not just your meetings with your clients.
Your routine can change in the future but what’s important is that you are able to make time for what matters the most. Doing this will allow you to have a structure and flow in your daily life.
3) Set Up Your Animation Studio
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Pick a room or space in your home where you can get creative and concentrate on working. You don’t have to rent a space to use as an animation studio if you don’t have the budget for it or if you’re more comfortable working at home.
However, if you think it will help you animate better, get a separate studio space. While working in your creative space, wherever it is, make sure it is free from distractions such as the TV, social media, your pet, or your kitchen.
If you work at home, let everyone in your household know that you are not disturbed during your work hours or when you are in your home studio.
4) Get Moving
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Do you keep crazy hours as an animator? If so, you’re not alone. Many artists work on an animation project for long hours without taking breaks, eating at the right time, or exercising. Even though it can be hard to step away from your screen and disrupt your creative flow, working long hours is not a good practice.
There are some pretty scary stats associated with extended work times. According to Artists Network, prolonged periods of sitting and lack of body movement could result in many diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Sitting for more than six hours a day will make you 40% more likely to die in 15 years than a person who sits for only three hours a day.
To avoid potential health issues, you should include at least 30 minutes of exercise in your daily routine. In addition to this, don’t forget to include mini-breaks to walk around from time-to-time. Pacer suggests that walking for at least 5 minutes every hour can reduce your risk of developing a health condition.
Exercising decreases your chances of becoming diabetic, obese, depressed, or getting atherosclerosis (having plaque in the arteries). It also increases your energy, reduces food cravings, and even improves your mood.
If you find yourself exceptionally busy with work, set a timer on your phone or computer to remind you to get up and walk. It would be wise to walk at the same time every hour and every day so that it can become a part of your daily routine.
If you feel like circling your house or studio for five minutes is too dull, you can run an errand, walk your dog, or walk with a friend. This will make your walking break more fun and even longer.
5) Meet Other Animators
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It can be so easy to live in isolation, especially if you work from home. However, you should remember that networking with other animators is necessary to become a successful animator.
Ubel Arts says that talking to other animators can build personal and professional relationships and even become a way for you to get your next paycheck. You can attend summits and seminars or go online to attend webinars. Even easier than that, you can engage with animators on social media.
Join Facebook and LinkedIn groups where you can learn from animators. You can even give your advice to novice animators who are going through what you’ve experienced when you were getting started.
Aside from finding work opportunities by getting in touch with other animators, you can also find an excellent support team. They can become people you share your struggles and victories with and prevent you from feeling lonely.
6) Make Time for Self-Care
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After spending hours in front of your computer or drawing pad working on creative output, it’s time for you to refuel your tank. Elena Taylor says that as an artist, you always strive for perfection, but you can do something you love without trying to be perfect when it comes to hobbies.
There’s no pressure to do things quickly or well because you have no one to please or pay you. This can be as simple as going to the beach with your family, going on a weekend getaway with your friends, playing an instrument, reading a book, or working out.
You may not earn money from your hobbies, but that’s not the point. Leisure time can release your stress and clear your mind at the end of a busy day. If your hobbies make you feel good about yourself and keep you motivated to work, you should make time for them. Remember that the hobbies that typically make people happy and reenergized may look different from what you like.
Summing It Up
As a freelance animator, your schedule is flexible. You have control over how long you want to work and when you want to work. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t organize your life!
You want to gain success as an animator while achieving a work-life balance. To do that, make sure you prioritize what’s important to you, build a daily routine, work in your own creative space, take breaks, meet other animators, and make time for self-care.
Follow these tips, and you won’t feel like you lack time each day to get your work done while also living your life.
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