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No lettering practice time? Make some! (+ free time-tracking printable!)

Let’s be real: we only have 24 hours in a day. If we actually get 8 hours of slaeep in, that’s 1/3 of the day gone. Factor in work, meals and commute time, and the remaining time is paltry at best. Where on earth then, can we find time to practice lettering?

But practice makes progress.

That’s the only way you’re going to improve. There is no magic potion — if there were, I’d definitely be writing a post about it. Something like “Need to get good at lettering? Here’s a magic potion (recipe inside)!”

The problem is time. But here’s the good news: you can make lettering practice time.

We waste pockets of time throughout the day. I give myself an hour to commute to my workplace, but I normally arrive 15 minutes early. Before lettering, I would kill time by scrolling through Facebook or Instagram.

Now? I find a place to sit down, take out my brush pen and notepad and letter.

The great part about brush pen lettering is how portable it is. You don’t even need a table — I usually do it in my lap. It isn’t the most ideal, but as long as you’re not in a moving vehicle, you’re good to go!

Related: Brush Lettering: Best Calligraphy Pens for Traveling

How did I find these pockets of time? Well, two words, one thing: time tracking. But there are a few ways to do this!

Digital Time Tracking with RescueTime (it’s free!)

If you’re constantly glued to a screen, RescueTime is an awesome app that does your time tracking for you. It categorises your apps and websites as productive and not productive — though you can tweak those categories too! — and delivers a weekly report to your email.

Long story short, it does your (digital) time tracking for you.

Analog Time Tracking

But if you know me, you’d know that I like pen and paper best! Digital doesn’t have enough nuance. An app like RescueTime categorises websites and programs into work and play, productive and not productive. But take OmmWriter for example. I write my blog posts on it, but I also use it to do free writing when I’m stressed. Or Pinterest! I might be pinning lettering-related pins — productive. Then I may get distracted by a gorgeous Save The Date card and fall down the wedding-themed rabbit hole for an hour or two.

The Colour-Coded Tracker

Digital apps don’t have the nuance I need, so I use a spiraldex in my bullet journal to track what I spend my time on.

Here’s how a spiraldex works: you assign a colour to each activity — for example, red for time spent with my boyfriend, amber yellow for tutoring, grey for meals and sleep and being a bum, purple for working on the blog — and color it in accordingly as the day goes by.

I made it a little more complicated by splitting each section of the spiral into two. The inner spiral is where I plan what I want to do. The outer spiral is what actually happens. As you can probably tell, things don’t always go according to plan!

If drawing that feels daunting, fret not, lovely human! Try timelines instead! Simply just write 1 to 24 at regular intervals and go from there. There are also pen-friendly stickers that you can get instead.

The 15-Minute Tracker

But maybe colour isn’t for you. If you move around a lot, carrying anywhere from 5 to 10 coloured pens could be unnecessary weight you just don’t want to deal with.

What I’ve nicknamed the 15-Minute tracker might be more your style. I learnt this from one of my favourite blogging bloggers and it’s really simple: write down everything you do, every 15 minutes, for a day.

To make it easy for you to get started, I created a set of printables for both analog tracking methods. I can’t print the spiraldex without violating copyright, but a 24-hour timeline works just as well. Download it, print it and start tracking!

Once you’ve tracked a day or two of your usual routine, take a look at how you spend your time and make adjustments. Do you usually come back 10 minutes early from your lunch break? Is there a lull in the morning between packing the kids off to school and getting ready for work that you normally spend scrolling through Facebook?

Once you’re aware these precious little pockets of time exist, the next time they come round, you can make the conscious decision to turn it into lettering practice time. Don’t grab your phone or some Z’s, snatch up your brush pen and paper instead!

What do you think of my way to create lettering practice time?

Try it out and let me know how it works for you. Until next time!