009: Being OK with Only 15 Minutes a Day to Pursue Your Passion

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins

  1. If you have a family, devote your time to them and focus on building relationships with them.
  2. You can have a creative pursuit and a family; you don’t have to neglect either, but you do have to have a healthy balance.
  3. Reconcile in your mind to be OK with having less time to pursue your creative pursuit than you did when you didn’t have a family.
  4. Don’t completely abandon your creative pursuit, but be intentional with however much time you get to spend on it.

The other day my newborn baby daughter turned 2 months old. That time has flown and so many things have happened with her during that time. The thing that I heard at nauseam before (and even after) my daughter was born was, “You’re life is going to be completely different from now on”.

It’s one of those things you know but cannot fully comprehend and understand how it feels until it happens. Now that it’s happened it’s completely true. All aspects of my life are different and especially how I am able to do work and create caricatures.

Normally, and even with my day-job, I could crank out a fully rendered caricature from concept to execution in about 2-weeks. Now it is very different and in fact it is very unpredictable. I used to be able to get 30–60 minutes of work time before my day-job every day and anywhere from 3–6 hours over the weekend. Which even at the time didn’t seem like a lot, but now if I get a full 15 minutes of uninterrupted time a day that’s impressive, but not fully consistent.

I don’t want this to sound discouraging. Yes, when you look at it, it is less time daily which translates to taking even longer to reach my short and long-term goals as a caricature artist and illustrator. However, I like to be pretty positive and objective.

If I get 15 minutes a day that is an hour and a half a week. That means I need to make the most of that time and not dilly-dally and get right to work. It makes my work time more intentional and focused. It’s a challenge to overcome and not a challenge to buckle under.

Having to do more work in less time makes me want to not waste time doing mediocre or substandard pieces. If i’m going to commit to a piece it has to be one that is worth my time and one that I’d be willing and proud to show. Having less time makes me more discerning in my subject choices and concepts.

If you’re reading this and you have children you know exactly what I’m talking about. I can see now why a lot of people abandon their aspirations once they have children; it’s the time factor. However, I’d like to contrast and contest that with that perhaps these people abandon their aspirations not because of the lack of time available, but because they can’t reconcile only devoting 15 minutes at a time.

It is a shock to the system. To once be able to spend countless hours devoting your time to a passion and suddenly you’re forced to only get to it sporadically and in tiny pockets of time is maddening. It is easier to just abandon it altogether because as a creative person and as an artistic person we can’t handle having a restraint on the thing we love so I think that’s why people give up.

I will tell you that I have considered it in the past two months myself. I envisioned myself to just focus on my day-job and devote myself to my family when I get home. I will have weekends and vacations, I will watch movies, go on trips and get together with family and friends. When the time would come when people would ask “Hey, do you still draw caricatures?” I’d smile, chuckle, and shrug as I say, “Yeah, I used to, but I just don’t have the time for it anymore”.

That really didn’t sit right with me. Now don’t get me wrong; I think devoting yourself to your family and focusing on them is probably thee most important thing in the world and more people ought to do it rather than focusing too much energy on their careers and pursuits, but I don’t think we have to go to either extreme of abandoning our creative pursuits or neglecting our families.

I think we just need to be okay with only having 15 minutes a day to make time for it.

My name is Dominic Sedillo and I am a caricature artist. I believe every face has a story to tell and I want to teach you how to tell it. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Medium.