(A sequel to Five Reasons You Need a Survival Job)
When you're an artist, spending time on anything but your art can feel insanely frustrating. But remember, you need that day job. Here are five tips for surviving your working life so your artistic life can flower.
Be a clock watcher. Punch out when you're expected to punch out and go home when you're scheduled to go home.
If your schedule is flexible, make it inflexible. Designate your work hours and don't stray from them. Keeping a strict schedule will help you focus your non-working hours on your art.
At my last day job, I ate lunch at my desk so I could do a smidgen of writing at least twice a week. It wasn't always brilliant, but it was better than nothing!
Try squeezing in ten minutes of brainstorming here, fifteen minutes of Internet research there - it all adds up in favor of your artistic work. Even tiny tasks like reading two industry-related articles or one page of a book on your craft during each shift can help you feel creative amidst all the button-pushing.
You're not there to make friends. Or enemies. You're there to make money to support your artistic life. Getting too involved in the goings on around the office takes up valuable energy you could be devoting to your art.
Unless gossip somehow inspires your work, stay out of it.
The to-do list, the co-worker stress, the annoying politics of the break room - leave it all at the office. You should fall asleep every night with artistic thoughts in your head, not thoughts of how to conquer that spreadsheet.
Working hours are for working - the rest of your hours are for you!
For most people, getting offered a promotion or new responsibilities is the ultimate goal. But you're working a day job to make money to support your creative endeavors.
If you can advance in your job, fantastic - more money for your art! But if taking on a larger role means more stress and longer hours, feel free to pass. Your creative time and attention are much more valuable than a better title.