Art Business
Art Business

Balancing a Full-Time Job with Fulfilling Creativity

Quitting your day job to pursue your daydream is the ultimate fantasy for artists (and for anyone else tired of the daily grind). But before you submit that letter of resignation, take note of how some of the most famous artists made a living while living up to their creative potential. For instance, Keith Haring was a busboy at a nightclub while Jasper Johns was a salesclerk at a bookstore. So no matter your current job situation or your future career goals, you can make time for your creative endeavors without creating a gap in your employment history.

Buy More Time in Your Day

Unfortunately, the phrase “buy time” doesn’t represent the actual ability to purchase additional hours in the day. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to use money to maximize the time you already possess. For example, you can outsource chores to free up your schedule for the paying side gigs you want to work outside your day job. It seems counterintuitive, spending money to make money, but it makes more sense (and literal cents) when you calculate the dollar value of your time. A photographer who earns $100 per hour could skip the two hours it takes to clean her apartment, hire a maid service for $25 per hour, and hire herself out to work a photoshoot where she’d clean up (monetarily speaking, of course).

Wear Your Pajamas to Work

Sure, you could sport a pair of Suitjamas at the office, but you’d be better off wearing your own comfy clothes while telecommuting from the comfort of your home. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 50 percent of the American workforce already has a telework-compatible job and if yours is such a job, you should take advantage of that option. Perhaps the biggest benefit is the time you’ll save from cutting out the commute, which takes an average of 26 minutes each way. Rather than spending almost an hour each day cursing out traffic or struggling to squeeze onto the subway, you could allocate that time to working on your own creative endeavors. You’ll also score bonus time in the form of lunch hours not spent in the office cafeteria and break time not wasted surfing the Internet in your cubicle.

Turn Side Hustles into Your Main Hustle

Dog VacayThe standard 40-hour workweek isn’t for everyone, especially those working in creative industries. And thanks to the recent growth of the gig economy, more people are abandoning the permanent workforce altogether. Long before the advent of Airbnb and Uber, the gig economy was already the employment model for most artists working on a contract or freelance basis. Now, you can earn a steady income comparable to a full-time salary by supplementing your artistic wages with side gigs that offer more flexibility and more freedom than traditional 9-to-5 jobs. If you love animals, you can earn extra bones by being a pet sitter through services such as Rover and DogVacay. Or if you own a car, you can use sites such as Turo and Getaround to rent out your vehicle by the hour, day, week, or month.

Take Inventory of Your Time

“If you have time to get on social media to tell me how busy you are, then you have time to pursue your creative interests,” says author Elizabeth Gilbert. The writer of “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” shows no fear in exposing this harsh truth: that the excuse “I’m too busy” is simply an excuse. Yes, your full-time career and your art keep you legitimately occupied, but you also waste a lot of time doing things that aren’t so important. One way to avoid such squandering is by keeping a detailed log of how you spend the 168 hours in a single week. It’s a tedious task, but you’ll be able to see exactly how you spend your time and more importantly, how you waste your time. Those 18 minutes you spend browsing Netflix could be better spent cultivating your creativity than debating between “Stranger Things” or “House of Cards.”

About the author

Jenna Briggs

Jenna Briggs is a writer and editor living in New York City. She currently manages editorial operations for a global market research company. Her freelance work has been published in The Philadelphia Inquirer,, and other publications.

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