Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Honor Your Personal Clock

If you follow Monkey + Seal's personal art pages (ie, not Monkey + Seal but Eve Skylar and Rick Kitagawa), you'll know that a lot of posting happens around, say 1-3am. Why? Is it because of optimum web traffic? Definitely not. It's because that's when we have time to work on our personal stuff.

When people ask us about our working schedules, we get a lot of people surprised that we often sleep at 3-4am, and don't get up until 10 or 11 (or noon, if we can help it). However, we find that it's really important to honor your own personal creativity clock.

Some people are night owls, others are morning people, and there are others who nap a few times a day but work early and late. Whatever your personal creativity clock tells you, if at all possible, try to follow it. If you're a morning person, don't try to stay up late to finish something, get up early to tackle it. If you're a night person, waking up early is going to kill you, so maybe you should try and power through into the wee hours.

"But Monkey + Seal," you may be asking, "what if my job/kids/whatever" gets in the way? Well then friend, you need to do some moving of stuff around. Honestly, it is possible to turn into an early riser. If you are strict with yourself and keep waking up at the same time every morning for a month, regardless of when you get to bed, you can train your body to wake up at the same time each day. However, if you are the most creative at night, you will be doing yourself a disservice. Perhaps your work schedule will fall more in line with a majority of the people you might be doing business with, but you'll be losing out on your optimal time for creating.

No matter how well rested Monkey is, while he is more productive in the mornings, he doesn't really get creative until around 9pm. What this means is that it's pretty pointless for him to wake up early if he doesn't have to. He performs better by doing a lot of his brainstorming and creative work between 9pm and 2 am. Also, naps completely mess up his sleep schedule, and he can only nap when he's extremely sleep deprived. Seal, on the other hand, has two creative spurts: one in the morning and one late at night after dinner. For her to keep focused and creative, she needs a nap in the late afternoon to keep fresh since she's working early and late at night.

Because we freelance, we're able to shift a lot of things around to fit our own personal schedules. But if you're in school or have a set job, a lot of times your schedule might not be as flexible. In this case, the trick is to move around what you can do to make time for your own personal work. If you're a morning person, maybe that means waking up extra early to put in an hour or two before work, or making sure you don't stay out too late on Friday night so you can put in an early Saturday working on your art. Whatever it takes, we encourage you to prioritize your creative work and carve out some time during your optimal creative peak and make some magic.


nerd JERK said...

Thank you for writing this post, guys. It made me feel like my naps are justified...

Not that you wouldn't want me having zombie dreams, but sometimes I feel super guilty for not working while I'm sleeping. As you could probably guess, I'm always running away from zombies/to-do's-on-my-list while I'm tryin' to get some shut eye.

This post has remarkably made me think that I might be able to put them to rest at last.

<3 - Steph

Eve Skylar said...

Hooray, Steph! I felt the same way for a long time. I thought my naps were very strange and that I wasn't beeing "productive" or using my daytime to it's "maximum." But in the end, being an artist takes up a lot of energy and our energy fluctuates throughout the day (we are not machines), and we just need to know that pattern and put it to use. That means, putting aside the socially cultivated guilt and accept the reality that there are times (and days) when you are productive and times you are not - and finding the best structure for your inner artist. :)