Monday, October 12, 2009

Take Your Hobbies to Work Day

Recently, I've begun experimenting with painting at work during my lunch hour.

So far, its been GREAT!!1!! Blagrhwwertght! Flrppt.

No, seriously, its been a really good experience. Not only does it help with my stress levels, but it also has helped speed up Project Future Boys. I recommend it for anyone who has a lunch hour and works at a place where this will fly. Here are my reasons:

Stress Relief
My job is often rather more stressful than it needs to be. This is mostly due to the actions of a few of my insane coworkers and the constant last minute approach that the director takes with everything. At the beginning of the semester, things were pretty bad with all of the increased student activity on top of everything else.

My stress level was very high and, short of going home, I had no way to keep on an even keel. Later on, as things began to settle back down, I started looking for things I could do to mellow the rough spots out in the future. I eventually hit upon doing what I would do at home when I was stressed out - paint.

If you've got stress at work, then try taking your hobby with you. Its a great release. Just the 30 minutes a day I manage to sneak in on my lunch is more than enough to relax me when I need it. Its a great release to focus on something I really enjoy. Totally takes my concentration elsewhere for a few precious minutes.

Speed Up Your Time Line
The other really neat advantage of painting at work is the decent sized boost it can give to a project's time line. Over the course of my week, adding that half hour per work day gives me a net of 2.5 hours. Without using up any more time than I normally would at work, I manage to squeeze in a little extra juice on whatever project I'm working on. Truth be told, there are many days where all I get is about 2.5 hours of painting. Its like finding a free day. Pretty sweet deal.

Just based on the amount of writing I've done for both points, its pretty clear which aspect of the whole endeavor I value most.

Getting Started
I've covered the 'why', lets talk about the 'how'. First things first, the idea is to paint during your lunch hour. Which means painting is in direct competition for time with eating. This raises the issue of time management. I usually eat first. Since I normally make my own lunch, I don't have to waste much time picking up food or doing much more than reheating it in terms of preparation. I can usually eat my lunch at a healthy pace (not wolfing it down) and then get about 30-40 minutes of painting in.

What this means for you is that you need to figure out your own balance between eating and painting. Two pieces of advise: don't forgo your lunch to paint and don't eat while you paint.

The next major obstacle is get your workspace, supplies and equipment ready. Make sure you have enough room on your desk (or wherever) to work. You will also probably need some additional lighting. The lights in my office are nowhere near strong enough for my purposes. Luckily, I have a easily portable fluorescent lamp I leave in my filing cabinet. I also recommend some kind of anti-mess technology. Your work bench at home is something you can get paint on and so forth. Your desk at work is not. I use an old file folder. Its all I really need.

Everything else is just basic supplies. I get paper towels from the bathroom and I have an old Gladware container that does double duty as a water container and as a travel box for my paints and models. I leave the light and a spare pallet (or spare fantasy bases) at work and transport the brushes, paint, models and water container back and forth as needed.

The whole deal is pretty quick and easy to set up and take down and is extremely portable. Below are some pictures of what my desk typically looks like. Please ignore the lack of water in the container, the 30 year old carpet, the aging and beat up blinds and the mess of cables.

The last few things I can suggest are to double check the paints you're bringing with you before you leave home. There isn't too much you can do about it and it can totally shut down your plans. I'd also recommend saving the little protective tubes that better paintbrushes come with. Traveling can be hard on a brush. Unless you have a brush box,* you'll need some way of protecting the bristles. I'd also advise against planning to do any painting that's overly time consuming, messy and/or complicated. 30 minutes can leave you in a time crunch - though it may teach you to paint a bit faster.

As I'm wrapping this up now, I'd like to reiterate how positive an experience painting at work has been. Give it a try yourself.

* First link I came to for an example rather than a product plug.

1 comment:

  1. Wh,wh,wherr,wherrk?
    Was ist das?

    If you ask my wife, I take 2.5 hours out of my painting day looking for a job. :D