Cosplay builds can be huge projects to tackle, and every single cosplayer out there has things in their lives going on other than building cosplay, even the professionals. Whether it's work, family, friends, or other obligations, cosplay isn't the only thing you have on your schedule, so it's important to learn to manage your time in order to complete your cosplays before the next con or event. In this blog post, we'll give you some cosplay time management tips to help you deal with that all-too-familiar con crunch feeling.
Tips for Cosplay Time Management
- Don't wing it. Perhaps the biggest time-stealing culprit is having to do things twice because you didn't think it through the first time. Not only will you waste less material and probably spend less on your cosplay if you plan it out first, but you're much more likely to make fewer mistakes and finish your build on time. Make patterns, draw things out, watch videos to learn how to do certain techniques before you get started, and with all that knowledge in your head, you can more avoid more time-wasting do-overs than you would have otherwise.
- Plan according to the magnitude of your cosplay. What we mean by that is take a second to think about how complicated your project will be. Is there a lot of detail, or multiple pieces and parts to build, or something difficult that will take a long time to build or dry before you can move on? Trying to cram a cosplay idea that will take too long to build, even under perfect circumstances, into a last-minute time frame will only cause you lots of stress and disappointment when you can't complete it in time. Do your best to choose cosplays that are doable in the time frame you have before you need to wear them. There will always be more time to do that more difficult build in the future!
- Spread the work out. Once you have a plan for what you're going to build, figure out pockets of time to work on it over the course of the coming days, weeks, months, etc. Leaving your build to the last minute will cause all kinds of problems, including a lack of time to get things done. However, if you work on your cosplay over a longer period of time, you'll save yourself a lot of headaches in the long run. Remember when your English teacher said you couldn't write your entire essay in one night? Even if you could, it usually wasn't the best idea. The same goes for cosplay. Save your sanity and space out the work.
- Don't lose sleep. Seriously, unless you are entering the cosplay contest TOMORROW and your cosplay isn't done (in which case, we'll direct you to all the other tips on this list), don't pull an all-nighter to finish your cosplay if you don't have to. Figure out what absolutely has to be done, leave off some of the smaller details or props if you can, and make sure to get a good night's sleep. If you can't enjoy the event the next day, what's the point of having your cosplay finished? Do yourself a favor and be sure to get some zzz's. No one will notice that you left off a few minor details in favor of some rest.
- Find an accountability buddy. Finally, if you find that you have trouble sticking to your schedule or procrastinating too often, find yourself a buddy to keep you accountable while you finish your cosplay. This could be someone you send pics and messages to as you work, updating them on your progress. Or, you could use social media as a platform to track your progress and updates as well. By committing to sharing your cosplay progress, you help motivate yourself to get the next task done and not procrastinate so much.
Avoiding Stress by Planning Ahead
Con crunch is a well-known feeling for most of us, and it's not fun to feel like you're racing against the clock to finish your cosplay. While it might take some time to get a feel for how long certain tasks take while working on your build, with practice, we can all build better time-management habits to help cosplay feel less stressful. One of the reasons why we, as humans, tend to procrastinate certain tasks is that we fear how difficult those tasks might be. However, with a solid plan for your cosplay before you even get started, that fear can feel a lot less intimidating, leading to less procrastination and more creation. Cosplay is supposed to be fun, not a chore, so spending the planning time upfront is one of the best ways to avoid the mistake of putting yourself in a time crunch later.