Eli is the artist behind our Sshh card (in February’s box) and one of the fabulous cards in April’s Ace box. As an artist and stationery lover, and fellow slow living advocate, we asked her what a typical day looks like…
There is no such thing as a typical day for me. Each day is a completely new experience and I’m never entirely sure how it will play out when I open my eyes in the morning.
I love it that way, and it’s one of the reasons I chose to leave the 9-5 lifestyle five years ago and strike out on my own.
As I don’t have a typical day, I have decided to just track my journey through the world on just one day – a random Friday, in the middle of February. Fridays happen to be my most routinified days, as well.
8.30am – I wake up, usually without an alarm clock, grab a very quick breakfast (yoghurt & granola with 2 large glasses of water) and head out for a run. I started running at the end of December and today I managed to run for two straight miles! Now that’s the way to start a day.
I’m home by half nine, and I make some coffee for me and my (also self-employed) Beloved. We lounge around for a bit drinking our coffee and making plans for the day.
10am – I have a long-standing telephone engagement with a friend every Friday morning at 10. It started off as an accountability call as we were both on the same business course, but now, almost a year later, it is much more informal and has become a source of pure joy as we fill each other in on our triumphs and struggles over the past week.
11am – Fridays are planning days in our house! Every Friday my Beloved and I sit down for our weekly marketing meeting. We each get half an hour focused exclusively on our business, and we share marketing ideas, help solve each other’s problems within the business, set our weekly goals and track our progress. It’s fast, furious and always baffles me how much we can get done in such a short space of time. I’m hugely fortunate to have a live-in mastermind partner!
12pm – This is my Edwardian Lady Hour, during which I do my correspondence and reply to any non-urgent emails which may have built up over the course of the week. If I have any birthday cards or thank you notes to write I’ll do them now as well. It’s a very peaceful and efficent way of dealing with what can be a huge time and energy suck during the week.
1pm – Lunch. I usually take a long lunch but I’m meeting my brother for coffee later so I just grab a quick salad and head back to my studio.
1.30pm – Now, the real work begins! I have three projects on the go at the moment: my first solo exhibition, the publication & launch of my first book, and a hand-illustrated ecourse I’m working on called Discovering Colour. In terms of priorities, the work for the exhibition and the book are most pressing so my attention needs to go there first.
I manage to finalise the guest list for the private view; finalise the layout of the exhibition and arrange printing and framing details; do some next-step work on two unfinished pieces; and collate all the various different parts of the book ready to work on the layout next week.
4pm – I down tools and head out into the wind and rain to meet my brother for coffee and a catch-up. He’s self-employed as well and we are planning to do a bit of a sweep of the various meet-up and networking events in Bristol together over the next few months so we discuss that for a while as well as having a general catch-up.
6.30pm – I head back home to discover my Beloved hard at work in the kitchen making dinner for us (egg & chips – one of my faves, a total guilty pleasure).
We eat and then snuggle up in front of the telly for a bit before heading upstairs to get stuck into a good book – I’ve just started Peaches for Monsieur le Curé by Joanne Harris.
11.30pm – Lights out, it’s sleepy time zzzzzzzzzzz
As you can see, the bulk of my important work happens during a few short hours in the afternoon. It used to consume me and I would work all hours until my eyes turned into the swirling saucers you see in old cartoons.
I am currently trying to shed some of my workaholism (it’s easy to fall prey to when you love your work) and adhere to a much more laid-back schedule. I recently aquired a mentor to help me make the best of my business, and on my first session I showed her my (as long as my arm) to-do list, whereupon she burst out laughing.
I am now under strict instructions to have only four things on my to-do list, one of which has to be a treat or self-care activity just for me.
It’s a real struggle and I sort of feel like I’m on holiday all the time these days but I’m astonished at how much I’m getting done. Being forced to do less makes you incredibly choosy about what you spend your time on and helps to get you crystal clear on your priorities. These days I only work on three projects at a time (with the ultimate aim of knocking it down to two or even one. Baby steps to start with though) and I have so much free time it’s unreal. I’m reading for pleasure again, going on loooong walks whenever the sun comes out, spending lazy afternoons doing nothing with my beloved. Cue happy sigh…
Doing less is amazing. I highly recommend you try it.
Artist, writer, gratitude junkie and creative business guide, Eli Trier is paving the way for her beloved tribe of misfits to get creative, get unstuck and make up their own rules in art, business and life. She has just finished a year-long Gratitude Project where she drew pictures and wrote thank you notes to the people who have changed her life. In 2014 she is working on a new art project, Get Some Cat-titude – An illustrated guide to life with a feline twist.