Many people have the perception that full-time artists live an easy and carefree lifestyle, which means they only work based on their mood or inspiration. To be honest, I used to have the same fantasy about artists such as painters, writers, poets, calligraphers, etc.
Without sticking to 9-to-5 job, life must be easy and relaxing right?
However, the answer is NO. At least for myself, as a beginner in the art business and working as a marketing freelancer, I have to be disciplined and plan my days because, without self-control, I may be either losing my mind juggling or not earning enough from freelance job, I do not want to end up sleeping on the street.
The 5 key rules that I stick to in order to work 12 hours a day:
1. Balance Diet and Fasting
I love cooking, and I understand how outside food can slowly damage our health. By taking out some time to prepare my own food, I know exactly what I put into my mouth. I found an alternative to my everyday bread for breakfast. What is wrong with bread? You will never know the facts about bread until you read the book- Wheat Belly. I love ban mian (wheat noodle), but I didn’t realise it gives me severe migraine and sleepiness after having it as lunch. By reducing the wheat intake, I've experienced an improvement in overall health.
I have been doing intermittent fasting for years. My weight management just got so easy, and I feel energetic the moment I wake up in the morning. No snooze function is needed for my alarm because I will be completely awake and ready to jump out of my bed without sleepy eyes.
2. Drink Good Water
Growing up as a not particularly healthy kid, I can barely touch cold drinks or I will suffer from breathing problems. Let’s admit it, we hate to drink plain water. Thanks to my mom, we started to use water filtration system more than 20 years ago. I have tried different brands of water purifiers in Singapore, and I was so impressed by Coral Pure- the natural alkaline hydrogen water purifier designed for Singapore water.
There are only 11 countries in the world fluoridated their tap water, and Singapore is one of them. Drinking directly from the tap is not advisable because there are harmful substances such as Chlorine, Bacteria, Virus, etc that make our drinking water nasty, including the notorious Fluoride. I do not enjoy drinking boiled water either because of the Chlorine taste. Coral Pure is the only water purifier in Singapore that removes fluoride and produce natural alkaline for healthier drinking water. After drinking Coral Pure’s water for a few months, I noticed that my constipation problem has resolved, and my body feels lighter. I was able to work long hours without feeling sloppy.
3. One Goal A Day
Many people make this mistake - they do not set the goal of the day. The reason people are unmotivated is due to lack of direction in every- day’s life. Freelancers have to be extremely disciplined when they are not working for anyone but themselves, especially when the amount of work directly affects the income.
First Commission Portrait That Got Me Nervous
4. When Tired, Take A Short Break
To manage my client’s business and my own, my day was occupied with computer work when I'm not painting. I build the website for art business, write blogs, manage different social media platforms, take the time to learn arts, update myself about the ever-changing marketing landscape, and so on. The reason I can afford to work till midnight is that I take short breaks when I feel fatigued. 20mins of rest always does the trick! Laying down or just listening to music can help to freshen and recharge our body and mind. Remember, 20 mins should not be prolonged to an hour.
5. No Social Media In The Morning
Social media is just too dangerous to start a day with. I’ve made the same mistake by watching YouTube or checking Facebook first thing in the morning. This is a huge mistake! Social media is highly addictive and should be used wisely. There are many times that when I put down my phone, I realised that my quick check of Facebook and Instagram has turned to 1-hour scrolling and some cute animals videos. I could’ve made good use of that 1 hour by making myself a nice breakfast and enjoying it, taking a walk outside to enjoy the morning sun, or starting to work earlier to make a productive day.
Lastly, for people who live an artist's life and have a day job to make a living, tolerating uncertainty means not comparing our life with others on financial stability. To compensate for the low sense of security and never-ending worry, I have no choice but to choose better time management, get rid of meaningless social gatherings, and work hard to achieve my goals.