Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Time Managed - by Mike Ciccotello

I get asked this a lot, so I'm gonna' tell you how I complete my children's illustration, social media, website, coffee cup doodles, and freelance work; while having a family, and working a full time job. 

Drawing with the boys - Photo credit to my wonderful wife, Anne-Marie 

I own a time-turner, well not really, but I wish I did. I would totally go back to sixth grade and not trip over those chairs during my student council speech. True story.

Really though, I practice the art of time management. I'm not sure this will work for you, but I'll tell you what works for me. Maybe you'll find a little nugget of useful information and it will help your day-to-day workflow. If not, well, I'm just wasting your time.

Make a Schedule or To Do list

  • Write out your schedule. Identify the things in your life that are constant. Family time, Job, etc.
  • List your projects and goals. Manuscript, portfolio, book dummy, social media promotion, etc. 
  • Break down your projects into time needed to complete by small, medium, and large
  • Place your projects where they fit
For example: 
  • I have 20 minutes every morning. I do my social media posts for the day.
  • I have evenings free after the kids are in bed. I work on my medium and large projects, sometimes I work late into the night.

Website and Social Media

Keep in mind that your schedule may change at any point. Everyone's schedule is different and every creator is different. Some need large blocks of time, some can work in small pockets of time. The key is to identify who you are and work with it. 

Get the easy stuff out of the way. You will have small feelings of accomplishment, and those items won't be hanging over your head. It will also get you into a good habit of getting the small stuff done quickly.

Working on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil in the Procreate App

I have changed my workflow to be almost completely digital since our twin boys were born. It was a bit of a learning curve, but I can be much more productive with a digital studio that fits in my bag.

I am a creator that can do things in small chunks of time, but would prefer large blocks of time. My working process is constantly evolving. You have to go with the flow and be willing to work within the pockets of time that are available. What type of creator are you?

Transferring digital images from Procreate App to Photoshop on my desktop computer

Twitter: @ciccotello
Instagram: @ciccotello


  1. Excellent post Mike! I know that all creatives stress over the subject. It's nice to read about your strategies and maybe add a tool (or two) to what I already do :o)

  2. Mike, thank you for sharing your time management with us. When you break down your projects into smaller pieces do you write it out on paper or do you have software you use to help you break down those tasks? Thanks again!

    1. Hi,
      I use a combination of a calendar app and to do list. Both of these items sync to my devices, so I always know what's going on. For longer projects I put reminders in my calendar so I get notifications ahead of the actual deadline. This way, I stay on track. This could easily be done on paper with a daily planner. I hope that helps.

  3. Michael, how can you cram all this into a 24 hr day? You are a fantastic artist, dad and husband.

    1. I definitely don't do it all at once. I space things out and try to give myself breaks. Thank you very much!

  4. I like the way you use your 20 minutes on social media to post new work. I'm always just wandering around. I'd be much better off using that time to post.