I am a very structured and habitual worker. I like to plan ahead, and to set deadlines for myself. If I don’t self-regulate, I won’t be able to get the task at hand, whether it be a piece of artwork or homework, finished on time or to the level that I think that it should be at. My work habits for creative thinking and actually doing the work are similar in certain aspects, but are a bit different. There are even slight differences between when I do artwork, and when I study or write my papers.
When I am doing an assignment, I like to be very wide awake (often I drink something caffeinated), and I usually like to do this sort of work in the morning, or right after I get out of a class, so that the material is still fresh in my mind. I like my environment to be very cozy and warm while I am studying, and I need it to be fairly quiet. I cannot concentrate with a large number of people around me. I am a very social person by nature, and if too many people are around me (especially if they are engaging in conversation as opposed to studying) I am tempted to socialize instead of study or do my homework. However, I cannot concentrate when it is completely silent either. I usually put in my headphones and turn on my Pandora radio to one of my classical or relaxing stations and immerse myself in that sound. These things usually produce the best results in my schoolwork.
When I am formulating ideas for my artwork, I usually work under extremely different conditions. I think about these things in the morning when I get up and take my morning shower. I will turn the water on as hot as I can physically stand it, crank up some sort of pop or 80′s music, and just sit there in the shower for awhile with my eyes closed, going through ideas in my head. This way I can shut out the outside world and truly visualize what I am trying to depict in my artwork. Sometimes it takes only 10-15 minutes, other times it may take me an hour or so to work out a composition in my head. In this way, I can truly control what influences my artwork. Only what I let in can affect what I am trying to create, so usually just the music that I am listening to.
Lastly, when I am actually working on a piece of artwork, I have a different set of conditions that I usually need to be fulfilled. Contrary to my usual working conditions, when I work on artwork I don’t mind being around people, it seems to calm my nerves, and make me less uptight about my work. I’m a lot more open and free-flowing when I work on my artwork. It’s almost as if time doesn’t exist. I can get so much done and it seems like only 30 minutes have passed when in actuality I’ve been working for 3 hours. Also unlike my other work, I tend to not get as stressed out about it. I know my limits when it comes to my art, and I don’t feel the need to push myself beyond what I can do at the current time. I know what I can do, so I focus on that. Ironically, even though my mind is free flowing, I feel as if I am at the height of my intellectual awareness and my dexterity when I am working on my artwork. I think straighter, see clearer, and work harder, I become very structured and methodical. My art is an application of everything that I have learned, the exhibition of my knowledge as a person, and of the world around me. All of my observations and experiences. That is what I channel into my artwork. In short, my artwork is the ultimate display of my self-efficacy. I am most sure of myself when I am doing my artwork.