Where do you guys get the time???

Hey, great forum…nice to meet you all… :wink:

Ive seen some work on here, coroflot and other places which is just amazing but im wondering where people find the time to practice so much to get to that level.

Currently im practicing and working on the following:

  1. my sketching skills
  2. my CAD skills
  3. my music production skills
  4. keepin healthy, going to the gym etc.

Now when i finish work atr 5.30pm theres only so much time left in the day and im just wondering to myself how can i master any of these things, all of which i love…how do i seperate my time, there just doesnt seem to be enough time in the day.

Please share your thoughts and let me know how you manage your time cus im crap at managing mine!!



I find I do certain things better at different times of the day, so it good to work your time around to your strengths. During uni I used to start the day early 7ish do Engineering/maths work, then go in to the workshops/studio 9-5 skechcing/model making, then come home relax and get stuck in to the CAD stuff in to the night.

I find I have a dull period between 4-6 at work…i try and fit in the simple, dull tasks in here. I think there was a tread regarding big lnuches a while back. might be good to search the boards.

Its also good to maximise your time, communting to work I either kain it on my road bike in to work, doing the exercise box. Or take it slow on the bus and read a design mag/book or do some small sketch work…doodle

Sometimes you have to face the fact your can’t do everything all the time…especialy when its nice and sunny outside.

Wait till you have a baby, wife and house to take care of. The you will see how fast the time in the eveninig goes by.

They key is to find a little time daily. 15 mins a day of sketch work will pay off in the long run.

sketch on your break during work. do you work weekends? i know its time for relaxing but if you are serious about improving your skills you should make some time on the weekend.

While I was on my placement a while back the one of the freelancers there…who was married with kids…said I should go and have some fun traveling and not worry about finding a job after work, because all the time goes far to quicly.

Kinda like you dont know how good it is until its gone then its to late.

Also if you want to get good at freehand sketching my tip would be to try doing some drawn animation or erol yourself on a short coursed. I did one at Central saint martins…it forces you to draw lots and lots and you get some reward when you see it animating at the end.

my 2p

“Wait till you have a baby, wife and house to take care of. The you will see how fast the time in the eveninig goes by.” … :laughing:

very true man, very true. Most of my friends have got kids now and most of them are just content with any old job just driftin along and gettin hammered at the weekend when they can!!

Im thinking that im gonna set myself a timetable because unless i have a structure i find myself wasting lots of time doing not alot. For example:

6-7… eat
7-8… sketching (real life things out door like building etc to get a good grasp of perspective, a tip i got from here)
8.30 - 10.00… gym
10-12… CAD
Then bed

Something like that anyway, i havent properly thought about it yet but you get my drift. Maybe rotate stuff around so i can get my music in too. But then i love movies as well so i need to refrain from looking to see if theres any on!..Its all about self discipline i suppose??

These days, everyone is trying to buy stuff, fill their houses, and keep up with their neighbors.

An older friend of mine had given me some great advice one time.

Strive for the three key lifestyle!
one key for your car
one key for the office
one key for home.

If you can get to two keys, great, but three is realistic for most people.

I looked back and found that I was a nine key guy (way too many cars). I have changed and will be down to three by the end of the year hopefully.

Prioritize, get after what is most important but also the most fun (so you stick to it), focus, and I also stopped watching TV which helped…

yeah TV is certainly bad…unless its the World cup…as it only comes around every 4 years. The internet can be just as bad though.

An ex college told me once:

“Quality time at work, quanitity time at home”

Multitask. Sketch while eating, talking on the phone…bring your sketch book when you have to get something at the store. Keep your sketchbook next to you at work even while doing CAD. Designing never has to be scheduled. Incorporate it into your everyday activities, and you will find yourself coming up with many more design solutions to your everday problems.

Definitely prioritize and set some unbreaking time for things that have to be done no matter what. I have pretty much the same 4 in my list, except I’m now living with my fiance with 6 kids, so you can imagine my time is cut way beyond short!

Is your fulltime work ID related or unrelated. If ID related, it should be easier for you to get your sketching in. If not, sketch before work and on your breaks. Pick quick things to eat for lunch. I’m known for eating oatmeal, if fills you up, takes 30 seconds to make (even less time if you have a hot water spout on the cooler) and only takes 5 minutes to eat (as opposed to 15-20 min downing a burger and fries).
I give myself a mandatory 1hr sketch practice time everyday no matter what. I don’t have to concentrate doing the drills so they can get done while the house is in an uproar.

Give yourself definite cad practice times also. And if time is so locked up, do what I do…I keep tutorial pdf’s, and make notes from everyplace I see on cad strategies, rendering tips, etc…so even if the house is too distracting for me to actually work on cad, I can read and study the tips to help make it less things I have to wonder about when I actually can get on the machine. It really does help, I’ve done it before…reading instruction manuals and tips about a program I’ve barely had time to touch, then when I get a chance, I get up to speed really quickly. All depends on if you’re good at following directions and learning the idea/strategy behind what you’re reading which you can then apply, only thing you’ll need to actually practice is exactly where those tools are that you’re looking for and how to deal with those unexpected glitches.

For the workout, cut rest times between sets or do supersets. Gives you a harder workout in less time with more aerobic/muscular endurance emphasised. You’ll stay toned and can finish your weight training within 45 min to an hour, especially if you do a split routine (certain bodyparts for one day, spread throughout the week). If you’re trying to bulk up, heavier weight, less reps and sets, stick to core multi-joint moves, and you’ll still cut your workout time down.

Regular work time is hard if you’re working from home. Find a way to get everyone out of the house or be an ass, put on the headphones or earplugs and zone out. If you were away at the office you wouldn’t be there, so during your work time you’re “not there” (even if physically you are). If you do actually get to go to an office, consider your situation much better (unless you have a long commute!!)

Then make sure you have a set bed time/hours of sleep to get. It’s very important because you can try cutting into your sleep hours to do stuff but then you pay for it the next day by not being able to function as well (destroying your productivity).

In some extreme cases you may have to do a “time shift” where you sleep at a weird time like right after work from 7pm-2am, then get up when you have uninterrupted time (because everyone else is sleep).

Music is the hard thing because that can easily eat away at hours. My time for that is when it’s too distracting at home to do anything else, then that’s when I get those types of things done. So I put on the headphones and do some general track layout, finding samples, etc. No mastering of course but you can get a general feel or sound going pretty quick. Then you pull aside your saturday night when everyones sleep to bang through the important stuff, final mixdowns, etc.

Good luck to you, finding time is definitely a hard thing. Especially if you have lots of varied interests that you pretty much don’t have time for once you get older. Good luck, post your potential schedule. I know there was a thread awhile ago where people posted their daily schedules, might want to look that up.

Take care.

Heck, I don’t have cable!

All of my motor-sports support time is gone. I have two motors to rebuild, and a boat motor that needs attention.


Thanks for all the feedback especially skinny as you definately seem to be on the same page as me.

A bit of background…

I’m studying for a BSc in Product Design and i have completed three years so far. My third year was an industrial placement working as a Development Designer for a POP/Retail company which i thouroughly enjoyed even though it was not straight Product Design. I am now working a shitty call centre job until October when i go back to uni to finish my final year.

Between now and then i want to think of the product i will design for my final year project and start banging out concepts and doin research so that im 100% ready for when i start. Theres no point coming second in my opinion and with the experience i gained over my last year with the POP company i was working for i reckon i should be able to do some great work.

The only problem is im finding it really hard to decide what product to do for my final year. I just cant seem to find the inspiration.

As i also make computer based music using samplers, synths etc im trying to think of a product to do with that kind of thing i.e mic stands, heaphones or something along those lines.

How did any of you come up with the idea for your final year project?? Did you just pick a product to improve or did you have a spark from somehwere which set an idea off??

PS. Skinny, what type of music are you producing and on what setup??

I had the same problem when it came time to do my thesis project. I started to think about what industries I was interested in working, some of them I had no work to show once I got out. I picked a topic that was of interest, but really showed my skills in research and understanding a users needs and interest. I selected a demographic that there was no way I could design for without extensive research and really understanding what drew them to a product. It was a struggle at times trying to stay motivated because of who I was trying to understand and the problems that in a way I couldn’t relate to. I am happy with how things turned out and I did learn a lot working through the problems.

Anyway I would look through your portfolio and identify what you are missing and what else you might want to learn before you leave school. It seems that people sometimes tend to go for something safe, and just repeat a process they have learned, but I say learn all you can along the way.

Do make sure it is something you will really enjoy working on though, you will be putting a lot of time into.

This is coming from someone who completed a thesis about a month and a half ago.

Good luck coming up with an idea, its a very good idea to have your mind made up before school starts.


See above post for how to approach your project. Definitely don’t waste it on a styling job, make it something you have to do some research on. it would be nice and stand out in your portfolio if the project was a new product for an untapped need/ market as opposed to another cell phone.
My music stuff: I was a pretty popular house dj in NE in the underground circuit. I won the wmc dj competition and it was the first and only comp I’ve ever done, did it more to prove something to myself. After all the hype, nothing came of it, they even screwed me on the prize but I had the satisfaction i wanted. Got fed up with the politics and bs and “social issues” in n.e. so I moved to the chi to play with the big boys and do my design simultaneously. The dj scene is oversaturated here and everybody only seems to respect the producers. I was always interested in it so figured I’d try my hand at it to keep me interested since I was starting to get bored with just dj’ing. Just couldn’t do much more with it but producing would be a completely new thing to learn. it would be fun going through those beginning years of sucking at something only to get good at it and surprise yourself later. I like reinventing myself every once in a while so that was my new chance to do it again.
It’s slowed up a lot due to the new household situation I put myself into this year so I’m not sure when I’ll get back to it. I’m just using Reason, Peak, used to use Sound Forge and Acid also. That with a basic keyboard and I’m set since I do electronic music, don’t really need much more. I have friends with albums out that do it all in reason and things come out really nice. Nowadays with that and good samples you don’t need much gear unless you play live instruments, sing, etc. but for what I do, reason is good enough for the stage that I’m in right now and probably will be in for a while.

Do you have too many hobbies for your free time?

Many of us get inspiration from our hobbies, but when do they become distracting?

I am guilty of too many distractions and hobbies, yet have reigned in the problem with this quick approach.

" if I am doing this, then I am not doing that."

It helps simplifying tasks that are an obvious waste of time.
Take this one- If I am watching cable than I am not doing CAD.

If I am shopping five times a week, then I am not relaxing at home drawing five times a week.

You can prioritize the time waster activities and start doing them half the time.

That’s definitely a way to solve the problem. If there are new things you’re trying to learn or get good at, do them one at a time and once you get to an acceptable level of proficiency, then go to the next. It may take a while but it’ll be less stressful than trying to do/learn all at once.

If you’re working out and trying to make drastic body changes, put the music on hold for a bit until you get to the point where you’re satisfied and only have to do a short half hour maintainence workout 3 times a week, then get back to the music production. Or if you’re learning a new cad program, it may be hard to get a handle on it off of only an hour a day, so put everything else on hold and burn through a solid 2 weeks to get a grasp on it. Then you can do an hour a day “maintainence” once you get through the major learning/familiarization curve.

Some things you’ll need to do everyday like your sketching but it can be done. Good luck to you.

  1. my sketching skills - at work - for every project we sketch. no need to practice…btw, practice doesn’t do much. either you can sketch or you cannot.

  2. my CAD skills - also at work.

  3. my music production skills - nights

  4. keepin healthy, going to the gym etc. weeekends and evenings