Time management for cosplayers can be a huge challenge. Here’s my tips for staying on track, even if you don’t have a lot of time to work on cosplay.
I’ve balanced full time jobs with cosplay, running a small business, and taking on side jobs with varying levels of success over the years. In the process, I’ve learned a lot about how to be more efficient! These are steps that have helped me stay on track.
Organize your Work Area Having your supplies and tools accessible will improve your efficiency when working on a project. By cutting down on the time spent looking for things you need, you put more time back into your construction. Invest in Tools Having the right tools is important not just for the quality of your costume, but also the speed at which you finish it. If you find yourself routinely making bias tape or ruffles, having tools such as a ruffler foot or a bias tape maker will improve your workflow. Owning rotary cutters can speed up cutting out patterns.
Take Breaks Take short breaks regularly while working. This will help you avoid burn out and improve focus. (Just don't take a break doing something that is a time sink!) Give yourself 10 minutes every so often to disconnect from your project. You'll produce better results by avoiding overworking.
Calendar Out Projects
Using a monthly calendar to chart out deadlines for costumes will allow you to visualize just how much work needs to be done. It also can help you rationalize a realistic timeframe for making something. Writing out notes and estimates on how long you think you need to complete a project will help you make better choices on how many costumes you obligate yourself into to making.
Commit to a time block to work on tasks. Sticking to a schedule every week makes projects more manageable. If you set aside 2 hours each night for 5 days a week to work on cosplay, you may be surprised at what you can get done. This is especially critical for those of us who work full time jobs but have an active interest in this hobby.
Use Apps that Help with Planning There are a number of organizational applications available for smart phones, computers and tablets. Making use of calendars, project planners, and list applications can help you stay on track. The application Cosplanner is one app that is geared towards cosplayers specifically, and contains a number of features that are extremely useful. Prioritize Be honest with yourself about what projects are more important to you. Taking on too many costume plans can sabotage all your projects. Many cosplayers will opt into making too many costumes and end up not finishing or not being satisfied with what they make. It is important to consider what projects matter more to you, or you may bite off more than you can chew.
Outline your Goals
Visualize what matters to you, and write those goals down. Make choices on what you work on next with your goals in mind. For example, if you want improve your skill with Worbla, pick a costume with armor to move up your project list. Maybe you want to cosplay something that challenges your sewing skills, helps you break out of your comfort zone, could win best in show at an event, or helps you get more traction online. Any goal is a valid one, so don't be afraid to be honest with yourself when outlying your goals.
Avoid Time Sinks
Imgur or Wikipedia might be really engrossing but allowing hours to slip away online can sabotage your progress. Identifying time sinks that do not benefit you is important. Cutting out behavior that wastes time helps you work towards your goals.
Balancing life with cosplay construction isn’t easy if you work long hours or have a demanding schedule. You won’t be a superstar at scheduling and time management every week, but if you pace yourself and prioritize it is possible to do more with what time you have. Best of luck on your projects! <3